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Title: Diplomatic Days
Author: O'Shaughnessy, Edith
Language: English
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Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
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     BOOKS BY
     EDITH O'SHAUGHNESSY


     A DIPLOMAT'S WIFE IN MEXICO. Illustrated.
     DIPLOMATIC DAYS. Illustrated.


     HARPER & BROTHERS. NEW YORK
     [ESTABLISHED 1817]



  [Illustration: HILLSIDE HOUSES AND CHURCH TOWERS IN THE ZAPATISTA
   COUNTRY
   Photograph by Ravell]



     DIPLOMATIC DAYS


     BY
     EDITH O'SHAUGHNESSY
     [MRS. NELSON O'SHAUGHNESSY]

     AUTHOR OF
     _A Diplomat's Wife in Mexico_


     ILLUSTRATED


     HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
     NEW YORK AND LONDON



     Copyright, 1917, by Harper & Brothers
     Printed in the United States of America
     Published November, 1917



CONTENTS


  FOREWORD                                                           xi

  I

  First impressions of the tropics--Exotic neighbors on          Page 1
  shipboard--Havana--Picturesque Mayan stevedores--Vera
  Cruz--The journey up to Mexico City

  II

  First visit to the Embassy--Adjusting oneself to a height of  Page 16
  eight thousand feet in the tropics--Calle Humboldt--Mexican
  servants--Diplomatic dinners--Progress of Maderista forces

  III

  Mexico in full revolution--Diaz's resignation wrung from      Page 32
  him--Memories of the "King in Exile"--President de la Barra
  sworn in--Social happenings--Plan de San Luis Potosí

  IV

  First reception at Chapultepec Castle--First bull-fight--A    Page 47
  typical Mexican earthquake--Madero's triumphal march through
  Mexico City--Three days of adoration

  V

  Dinner at the Japanese Legation--The real history of the      Page 61
  Japanese in Mexico--Dinner at the Embassy--Coronation
  services for England's king--The rainy season sets in

  VI

  Speculations as to the wealth of "the Greatest                Page 69
  Mexican"--Fourth of July--Madero as evangelist--The German
  minister's first official dinner with the Maderos as the
  _clou_

  VII

  The old monastery of Tepozotlan--Lively times on the          Page 84
  Isthmus--The Covadonga murders--The Chapultepec
  reception--Sidelights on Mexican housekeeping--Monte de
  Piedad

  VIII

  Elim's fourth birthday party--Haggling over the prices of     Page 93
  old Mexican frames--Zapata looms up--First glimpse of
  General Huerta--Romantic mining history of Mexico

  IX

  The Vírgen de los Remedios--General Bernardo Reyes--A         Page 107
  description of the famous ceremony of the "Grito de Dolores"
  at the palace

  X

  The uncertainty of Spanish adverbs--Planchette and the        Page 120
  destiny of the state--Madame Bonilla's watery
  garden-party--De la Barra's "moderation committee"--Madero's
  "reform platform"

  XI

  Election of Madero--The strange similarity between a Mexican  Page 127
  election and a Mexican revolution--The penetrating cold in
  Mexican houses--Madame de la Barra's reception--The
  _Volador_

  XII

  Dia de Muertos--Indian booths--President de la Barra          Page 141
  relinquishes his high office--Dinner at the Foreign
  Office--Historic Mexican streets--Madero takes the oath

  XIII

  Uprising in Juchitan--Madero receives his first               Page 153
  delegation--The American arrest of Reyes--Chapultepec
  Park--Sidelights on Juchitan troubles--Zapata's Plan de
  Ayala

  XIV

  The feast of Guadalupe--Peace reigns on the                   Page 164
  Isthmus--Earthquakes--Madero in a dream--The French colony
  ball--Studies in Mexican democracy--Christmas preparations

  XV

  The first Christmas in Mexico City--Hearts sad and            Page 179
  gay--Piñatas--Statue to Christopher Columbus

  XVI

  Off for Tehuantepec--A journey through the jungles--The       Page 184
  blazing tropics--Through Chivela Pass in the lemon-colored
  dawn--Ravages of the revolution--A race of queens

  XVII

  Gathering clouds--"Tajada" the common disease of              Page 198
  republics--Reception at Chapultepec--Madero in optimistic
  mood--His views of Mexico's liabilities to America

  XVIII

  Washington warns Madero--Mobilization orders--A visit to the  Page 206
  Escuela Preparatoria--A race of old and young--The watchword
  of the early fathers

  XIX

  A tragic dance in the moonlight--Unveiling George             Page 217
  Washington's statue--The _Corps Diplomatique_ visits the
  Pyramids of San Juan Teotihuacan--Orozco in full revolt

  XX

  Madero shows indications of nervous tension--Why one guest    Page 226
  of Mexico's President did not sit down--A novena with Madame
  Madero--Picture-writing on maguey--Picnic at El
  Desierto--San Fernando

  XXI

  Mexico's three civilizing, constructive processes--A typical  Page 245
  Mexican family group--Holy Week--"La Catedral" on a "canvas"
  of white flowers--Reply of the Mexican government

  XXII

  The home of President Madero's parents--Señor de la Barra     Page 254
  returns from Europe--Zapatistas move on Cuernavaca--Strange
  disappearances in Mexico--Oil--The President and the
  railways

  XXIII

  The "Apostle" begins to feel the need of armed forces--A      Page 269
  statesman "who is always revealing something to
  somebody"--Nursing the wounded at Red Cross headquarters

  XXIV

  One Indian's view of voting--Celebrating the King's birthday  Page 279
  at the British Legation--A single occasion when Mexican
  "pillars of society" appear--Reception at Don Pedro
  Lascurain's

  XXV

  Orozco and his troops flee toward the American border--A      Page 295
  typical conversation with President Madero--Huerta's
  brilliant campaign in the north--The French fêtes--San
  Joaquin

  XXVI

  Balls at the German Legation and at Madame                    Page 310
  Simon's--Necaxa--A strange, gorge-like world of heat and
  light--Mexican time-tables--The French trail

  XXVII

  A luncheon for Gustavo Madero--Celebrating the _Grito_ at     Page 316
  the Palace--The President's brother explains his
  philosophy--Hacienda of San Cristobal--A typical Mexican
  Sunday dinner

  XXVIII

  Good-by to Mexico, and a special farewell to Madame           Page 333
  Madero--Vera Cruz--Mexico in perspective



ILLUSTRATIONS


  HILLSIDE HOUSES AND CHURCH TOWERS IN THE                  Frontispiece
  ZAPATISTA COUNTRY

  THE REVOLUTIONARY CAMP, MAY 5, 1911                 Facing p.       10
  (In front, Francisco I. Madero, behind him, José
  Marcia Suarez. Next him, Gustavo Madero. At
  left front, Abram Gonsalez. All are dead)

  FRANCISCO I. MADERO                                 "               24
   (From a photograph taken in 1911)

  MADERO AND OROZCO IN 1911--MADERO AT THE            "               34
  LEFT

  MEXICAN WOMEN SELLING TORTILLAS                     "               42

  NELSON O'SHAUGHNESSY                                "               46
    (Secretary of the American Embassy, 1911-1912)

  PAUL LEFAIVRE                                       "               46
    (French Minister to Mexico, 1911)

  FRANCISCO LEON DE LA BARRA                          "               46
    (President _ad interim_ of the Mexican
     Republic between Diaz and Madero)

  A ROAD-SIDE SHRINE                                  "               56

  VON HINTZE, GERMAN MINISTER TO MEXICO (1911         "               74
  to 1914)

  MEXICAN WOMEN WATER-CARRIERS                        "               88

  A TYPICAL GROUP OF CORN-SELLERS                     "              108

  ELIM O'SHAUGHNESSY, MEXICO, JUNE, 1911              "              134

  MADAME LEFAIVRE, WIFE OF THE FRENCH MINISTER        "              134
    TO MEXICO, 1911

  XOCHIMILCO                                          "              154

  BOATS ON THE VIGA CANAL                             "              200

  AT EL DESIERTO, APRIL 29, 1912
    (Mrs. O'Shaughnessy and Elim in the foreground)   "              234

  LUNCHEON AT THE VILLA DES ROSES                     "              234

  (In front row, left to right, Mr. de                "              234
  Vilaine, Mlle. de Tréville, Ambassador
  Wilson, Madame Lefaivre, Mr. J. B. Potter,
  Mr. Rieloff (German Consul-general), Mrs.
  Nelson O'Shaughnessy, Von Hintze, Mr.
  Kilvert, Mr. Seger)

  A BEAUTIFUL OLD MEXICAN CHURCH                      "              262

  MEXICAN NUNS GOING TO MASS                          "              304



FOREWORD


The letters which form this volume were written in a period of
delightful leisure, when I was receiving my first impressions of
Mexico. The might and beauty of the great Spanish civilization, set in
a frame of exceeding natural loveliness, kindled new enthusiasms, and
to it all was added the spectacle of that most passionately personal of
human games, Mexican politics.

Though I was standing on its threshold, I had little prescience of the
national tragedy which later I was to enter into completely, beyond
the feeling of mysterious possibilities of calamity in that rich,
beautiful, and coveted land.

I saw as in a glass darkly dim forms whose outlines I could not
distinguish, and I heard as from a distance the confused cries of a
people about to undergo a supreme national crisis, where the greatest
delicacy and reserve were necessary on the part of the neighboring
nations.

Since then all has happened to Mexico that can happen to a land and
permit of its still existing. Even as individuals bear, they know not
how, the unbearable, so has Mexico endured.

It is not easy for those who witnessed her great years of prosperity
and peace to be reconciled to the years of chaos which have followed,
unable as they are to distinguish any good that has resulted to
compensate for the misery undergone.

All theories have been crushed to atoms by the tragic avalanche of
facts, and above it the voice of the prophet has been heard, "Let that
which is to die, die; that which is to be lost, lose itself; and of
them that remain, let them devour one another"--until the time comes
for new things.

                                            _EDITH COUES O'SHAUGHNESSY._

PARIS, September, 1917.



DIPLOMATIC DAYS



I

     First impressions of the tropics--Exotic neighbors on
       shipboard--Havana--Picturesque Mayan stevedores--Vera
       Cruz--The journey up to Mexico City


                                                   Off the Florida Keys,
                                   On board the _Monterey, May 1, 1911_.

Precious mother: From the moment of arrival at the docks I began to
have a suspicion of the tropics, which, however, with everything else,
was in abeyance as we rounded Cape Hatteras. During that period an
unhappy lot of passengers spent the hours more or less recumbent.

We left New York on a day beautiful and sunny overhead, but uncertain
and white-capped underneath, and I don't want to repeat Cape Hatteras
in any near future. However, sea evils are quickly forgotten, and I am
"taking notice" again.

When we got down to the docks strange equatorial-looking boxes were
being unloaded, and there were unfamiliar odors proceeding from crates
of fruits, with spiky green things poking out, and something aromatic
and suggestive about them. Unfamiliar people more highly colored and
less clear-cut than I am accustomed to were gesticulating and running
about and talking in Spanish, with quantities of strange-looking
luggage, countless children, and a great deal of very light-yellow
shoe.

It was twelve o'clock as we left. N. had our steamer chairs arranged,
and we went down to lunch to the sound of the loudest gong that
ever invited me to refresh. The _comedor_ (dining-room) had its menu
printed in English and Spanish, and, of course, I lapped up the Spanish
names with my lunch, which gave a charm and a relish to the otherwise
uninteresting food. Table decorations in the shape of paper palms
were rather disillusioning. The merest scrap of any growing exotic
thing would have satisfied me, though N. said I was probably expecting
to find the _comedor_ smothered in jasmine and mimosa, with orchids
clinging to the walls. Well, perhaps I was. You know I am romantic.

I am now ensconced on deck. Low, yellow stretches in the distances are
the "Keys," and I am beginning to feel a slow firing of the imagination
as we slip into these soft, bright waters--into the Caribbean. Our old
Lamartine quotation comes to mind, "_Ainsi toujours poussés vers de
nouveaux rivages_," etc.

A Mérida family occupies the state-room nearest mine--five children,
mother, father, and a beetling-browed Indian maid. I stumble over
details of their luggage every time I go out of my cabin--a pea-green
valise, a chair for one of the younger children, a large rocking-horse,
a great, round, black-and-white cardboard box from some hat-shop in
Fourteenth Street--they don't seem to mind what they carry.

Their parrot I had removed early in the game; none of them ever went
near it to give it food or water, though they had gone to the immense
bother of traveling with it. It was evidently pleased to be going back
to where it had come from, and its liveliest times were between 4 and
6 A.M. and 2 and 4 P.M.

They have an awful little boy they shriek at, called Jenofonte (in
toying with my dictionary I see it is Zenophon in English). He "hunts"
with a quiet, bright-eyed little sister called Jesusita, whom I have
several times found in my state-room investigating things. It seemed
at first like having them all in with me. The state-rooms have only
the thinnest partitions, with about a foot of nothing at the top for
ventilation.

The steward tells me they get off at Progreso. "Papacito" is a wealthy
henequen planter. "Mamacita" boarded the ship wearing huge diamond
ear-rings and molded into the tightest checked tailor-suit you ever
saw. This morning she is perfectly comfortable in a lace-trimmed, faded
lavender wrapper--doubtless inspired by the warm air. I can see her in
sack and petticoat on the plantation.

The boat is full of children, and how they squabble! The various
parents come up and talk in loud, harsh voices, and gesticulate and
scream what seem maledictions on one another, and one thinks there
is going to be a terrible row, when suddenly everybody walks off with
everybody else as pleasant as you please, and it is all over till the
next time.

More or less sophisticated literature was sent me for the voyage by
various well-wishers. To-day I have been reading _Les Dieux ont Soif_,
but with a feeling that this is not a setting for Anatole France, and
that I would do better to wait in spite of all the cleverness. He can't
compete with this sea-preface to the Mexican book I am to read.

I have an exotic neighbor in the chair next mine who attracted me
the first day out by her steamer rugs, which seemed to be white lace
bedspreads with wadded linings, now not as fresh as they were before
we all disappeared during the rounding of Cape Hatteras. I have only
been wont to travel in directions where steamer rugs _are_ steamer
rugs. I was further interested by the pillows embroidered with large
pink-and-blue swallows and the word in Italian, _Tornero_, reminding
me of the things one used to buy at Sorrento or Naples or in the Via
Sistina.

A large, fierce-mustached, chinless man sits by her--husband, manager,
protector, or devourer, I know not. She is an Argentine dancer going to
do a "turn" in Havana, a good soul with a naturally honest look out of
her sloe-black eyes and the most lovely lines from waist to feet; for
the rest getting top-heavy. I imagine she is "letting herself go," as
large boxes of chocolates and candied fruits are always by her side,
which she presses on Elim every time he appears. He is sitting by me
and says to tell you that he has you _zucker-lieb_.

He runs the deck from morning till night, and I think his little
alabaster legs are taking on a brownish tinge. It is getting very warm,
but there is always one side of the boat where a breeze is to be had.
He has been divested of most of his clothing, and is wearing a little
pale-blue linen suit, short above his sweet, white knees. He looks like
the fairest lily among all these dark blossoms.


                                                                _Later._

Between six and seven o'clock the sea was a marvelous mauve and blue;
myriads of little white-winged flying-fish were springing out of the
water; over us was a green-and-orange sky in which a pale crescent moon
was shining. Tell Elliott these wondrous seas seem to belong to him. My
thoughts enfolded him tenderly as a soft darkness fell.

Early to-morrow morning, about 6.30, we get into Havana. The Jacksons
cabled us before we left New York to lunch with them at the Legation.

The _Monterey_ has been taking strange, unrelated assortments of
passengers to Mexico for decades, and her only resemblance to the big
ocean liners is that she floats. The cabins have hard, narrow berths
with a still harder shelf of a sofa, and when I add that a bit of
cloth was tied round the stopper of my basin to prevent the water from
running out, you will quite understand. I used half of my bottle of
listerine on the stopper, and then removed the cloth, with the result
that I have to be quick about my ablutions. But when one is running
into a blue-and-mauve sea with a rainbow-colored sky above, it does
not matter; one is bathed in a gorgeous iridescence. The captain tells
me that on the last trip they ran into a hurricane, with the water
suddenly slopping and washing about in the famous _comedor_, everybody
wet and trying to stand on chairs and tables, screaming and saying
prayers.


                                                               _May 3d._
                                            Between Havana and Progreso.

Yesterday we had a pleasant day with the Jacksons. You know they are
always handsomely established, and we found them in a very beautiful
old Spanish house opposite an old church with a pink belfry, and a tall
palm pressed against it--the sort of silhouette I had dreamed of and
hoped for. My eyes received it gratefully as we drove up to the door.

Once in the house, dim, cool, large spaces enveloped us, and Mrs.
Jackson, very dainty in the freshest and filmiest of white dresses,
received us. We had not met since the old Berlin days. Mr. Jackson,
also in immaculate white, was coming down the broad stone stairway from
the chancery as we got there.

They showed us the interesting house, a type fast disappearing, alas!
Mostly they are being turned into cigarette-factories or being torn
down to make room for entirely unsuitable buildings, such as are in
vogue in the temperate zone. Large suites of rooms are built between a
wide outer veranda and a large inner corridor giving on a courtyard.
During the season of rains, it appears, the water rushes down the
broad stairway, and the furniture in the huge, window-paneless rooms is
piled up in the middle. Nobody keeps books or engravings in Havana, on
account of the dampness. There is not a first edition on the island.
Even shoes and slippers left in the closets get a green mold in no
time. Mr. Jackson says they have a lot of work at the Legation, and
everything in Havana costs the eyes of the head.

An hour or so after lunch, with its "Auld Lang Syne" flavor spiced
with our hot, tropical inquiries, we took a drive along the deserted
Malecón, the entire population evidently at the business of the siesta.
But Havana should always be seen, indescribably beautiful, from a ship
entering the port in the pearly morn, as I saw it.

About four o'clock, when we were driving to the landing, the town
began to wake up. There was much coming and going of a many-colored
population, with the dark note dominating, and much whistling and
humming, and many knowing-looking, pretty, flashing-eyed, very young
girls were walking about. We had been refreshed with one of the
national beverages--shredded pineapple in powdered ice--most delicious,
before leaving the Legation. It helped us over the blaze of water to
the _Monterey_.

After getting back I walked about the deck, watching the beautiful
little harbor filled with all sorts and conditions of ships, hailing
from the four winds of the earth. The _Kronprinzessin Cecilie_, with
the new German minister to Mexico aboard, was just going out of the
harbor, and I was shown where they were busy dredging for the _Maine_.
A part of her historic form was to be seen and "gave to think."

About six o'clock fiery clouds began to pile themselves up in the
heavens with a lavishness I am unaccustomed to. One could not tell
where the sun was actually setting. The whole horizon was red and
pink and saffron and vermilion, and the rose-tinted Cabaña fortress
and Morro Castle cut sharply into it. The waters of the harbor slowly
became a magnificent purple, and as the ships began to hang their
masthead lights, and the throb of coming night was over everything,
we steamed out. For long after we could see the jeweled lights of the
lovely isle. So far, so good.

We have a day at Progreso, and we are planning to go ashore to
visit Mérida, the famous old capital of Yucatan, and evidently most
interesting. The accounts in Terry's Guide are quite alluring. It was
founded on the remains of the ancient Mayan city, and has a celebrated
cathedral built by one of the men who came over with Cortés, and still
filled with good old things. The description of Montejo's house, with
its door flanked on each side by the stone figure of a Spanish knight
with his feet on the head of a Mayan Indian, shows what that conqueror
thought of the situation.

Captain Smith, very rotund and quite blasé about the thrills of
passengers, who has not been ashore at Mérida for three decades, though
he passes by many times a year, recommended us to stay on the boat,
saying Mérida was always "hotter than Tophet," too hot to see anything.
"I know," he added. "I have seen 'them' go and seen 'them' return."

Some spectacled German travelers quite enlivened the deck to-day. When
they first hove in sight I thought they were professors or scientific
men of some sort, each having a large, flat valise under his arm. The
valises, according to the modest yet piercing glance I cast, proved,
however, to be filled with underpinnings for the female form divine,
that they are going to introduce into Yucatan--coarse embroidery
and lace-trimmed articles, with machine-stitching you could see the
length of the deck, and both men simply dripped with samples. Dots,
stripes, and checks, with the prices attached, seemed to be their whole
existence.

Awhile ago, however, the largest and most florid one leaned against
the railing under the warm starry sky, as we steamed through a
phosphorescent sea, and sang Walther's "Preislied" in a beautiful tenor
voice, with the purest, smoothest phrasing. The other, regretting
at intervals that he had not brought his _geige_ with him, hummed a
delightful second part to _Wie ist es möglich dann dass ich dich lassen
kann_. It was all as natural as breathing, and as close.


                                                              _May 4th._
                                         Between Progreso and Vera Cruz.

The voyage is drawing to an end. A peace which doesn't pass
understanding has fallen on my part of the ship as the Mérida family
and their rainbow luggage were taken off to the sound of the shrieks of
the parrot, the screams of the family, and endless running back to get
things.

We did not go ashore, after all, as we had planned. From the direction
of Mérida came a strange heat enveloping like a garment, a heat unknown
to me, and a dazzling glaze of light, which seemed to bore holes
through the eyes. Later on at sunset, red as blood, there was a spongy
crimson ambiency about each figure on deck.

All day we watched the spotlessly clean Mayan stevedores unloading the
cargo on to the lighters. It was an effect of brown skin and white or
pale-pink or green garments, which I suppose had been some coarser
color to begin with. They are Mayan Indians with a big civilization
behind them. I remembered dimly those beautiful illustrated reports--I
think from the Smithsonian--that I used to look at in the Washington
house curled up in an arm-chair. It affected me to see these remnants
of a past race arrive for the unloading of our steamer so clean, so
fresh-smelling. All day long they have been crying "_Abajo!_" and
"_Arriba!_" as the heavy load swung down or the iron claws swung
up. The little boats and lighters of all kinds have pious names--_La
Concepción Inmaculada_, _Asunción_ (the grimiest and smallest of all
was _La Transfiguración_)--instead of the _Katies_ and _Susies_ and
_Dolphins_ of another clime.


                                                                _Later._

We were thankful we had not ventured into the Mérida furnace. Some
stout Germans who left in the morning active, rosy, fat, and inquiring,
came back languid, lead-colored, flabby, and silent. What happened to
the two who debarked to introduce coarse undergarments and fine singing
into Yucatan I shall never know.

I thought of Elliott, when the darkish women in pink dresses, with a
blue veil or two and jewelry and many children, got on the boat to go
from Progreso to Vera Cruz. It must have been the sort he used to see
in Haiti. I have just written Aunt Laura, to post at Vera Cruz, that
she may know we are _en route_ to the land of the cactus. Events have
succeeded one another so quickly these past few months that I am dazed.
Only the thread of love and sorrow and high adventure that holds life
together keeps me steady.

Yesterday Elim said, in the same tone he would have used feeding the
swans and the deer in any one of the accustomed international parks,
"Now I am going to feed the sharks." He was hoping they would show some
interest in the bits of bread he threw at them. These wondrous blue
waters are simply infested with the ravening creatures, and any one who
fell overboard would not need to fear drowning. Since we left Havana it
has been all color, no contours, no masses, even, except the gorgeous
sunset clouds, and they have presented themselves with unimaginable
pomp and circumstance. I have never seen such a waste of color.

The German son-in-law of Senator Newlands, whom you saw in Berlin, is
on board, also a count and countess--I _think_ the same ones that mixed
the tomato catsup in the bath-tub of the Washington house that the
clergy provided for them when they came from Rome seeking fortune. An
unidentified youth, _terzo incommodo_ or _commodo_, for all I know, is
with them; the returning families and German commercial travelers make
up the rest.

To-day, though the sea is smooth to the eye, there is a long, slow
ground-swell, and this blanket of heat further relieves one of all
strenuosity. I begin to understand lots of things. Campeche Bay is a
far cry from the Ritz-Carlton--but what would life be without its far
cries?


                                                           _Friday 5th._
                                                      Nearing Vera Cruz.

Very hot, though early this morning there was a drenching rain, a
deluge. The heavens simply opened, and everything, for an hour, was
running with a great sound of water. Now the sun is out, a strange,
pricking, nerve-disturbing sun.

  [Illustration: THE REVOLUTIONARY CAMP, MAY 5, 1911
   (In front, Francisco I. Madero; behind him, José Marcia Suarez; next
   him, Gustavo Madero. In khaki at left front, Abram Gonsalez. All are
   dead)]

I have a deep thrill of excitement when I think of the Mexico in
revolution that we are nearing, steaming so quickly to the center
of it all. The victories, the defeats, the glories, the abasements,
vanishings, and destructions we may witness, all that troubled magnetic
unknown awaiting us! In looking over the newspaper in Mrs. Jackson's
cool, dim, vast boudoir we saw that the Madero revolution is taking on
great proportions. Old things and new wrestling for supremacy, "and the
heavens above them all."

The ---- are going on to Mexico City to "_chercher fortune_." He is the
brother of the tomato catsup bathtub episode, as I gathered, when he
spoke of a brother having been in Washington. He quite frankly tells
people that he himself has had bad luck, as on the way to Mexico he
had stopped at Monte Carlo, and of the hundred thousand francs raised
to begin life again in the tropics he had lost eighty thousand at the
tables. Very sad!

We land at Vera Cruz about noon, according to Captain Smith, and can
take a night train (thirteen hours) up to Mexico City. I had some
thought of persuading N. to wait over, that we might make the famous
journey by daylight. But the train leaves at 6 A.M., which would
mean a night in Vera Cruz, and what I hear about the hotels is not
confidence-inspiring. I have a feeling of being completely at the mercy
of the unknown and the only partially controllable--unknown microbes,
unknown humanities, unknown everything; and there is the blue-eyed boy,
so we will probably let the scenery enjoy itself.


                                                         _Later, 3 p.m._
                                    Sitting on deck in Vera Cruz harbor.

To-day is a great national holiday, the 5th of May (when the French
were defeated at Puebla), and things are not moving quickly, at any
rate not in our direction. The health officials have not materialized.
Somebody said it was a bad time to arrive, anyway, as they would be
taking their afternoon naps.

The only other visitor from foreign parts in the harbor is the
_Kronprinzessin Cecilie_ lying against the white glaze of shore. An
old Spanish fortress, San Juan Ulua, is near us--now used as a prison
and most dreadful, I am told. But I keep thinking how, through the
centuries, the vast, shining wealth of Mexico poured into Europe from
this port.


                                                                _Later._

The polite, vestless but _not_ coatless health officials have found
us "clean," and we are now waiting for the next set--I think it is the
port authorities--to finish _their_ naps.

On the docks so near, but apparently so far, is lying or sitting
a dark-faced, peaked-hatted, white-trousered race with one tall,
white-skinned, white-clad figure standing out--our consul, evidently
come to meet us. Captain Smith told me that in the old days navigators
got into Vera Cruz by the picturesque means of steering so that
the tower of the Church of San Francisco covered the tower of the
cathedral.

I was standing by him (it was his ninety-ninth entrance into Vera Cruz
harbor) just as we passed the lone palms on the flat, sandy island, and
he heaved a sigh of relief. In addition to the sandy islands and the
lonely palms were blackened ribs of various ships that did not get into
port. These things and the blur of heat confusing the outlines of the
city into a mass of white, pink, and green, with a hint of a lustrous
mountain form on a far horizon, are what I see as we sit here ready to
step ashore into the unknown.


                                           Mexico City, _May 6th, noon_.
                      Hôtel de Genève, a stone's-throw from the Embassy.

We got in early, at 7.30, and I did not feel, driving through the broad
streets with their wash of Indian color, as one often does entering
strange cities in the early morning: "Why, oh, why have I come? What am
I doing here?"

There seemed abundant justification, if one could only get at it;
some personal pointing of the finger of a generally impersonal fate.
It's all very strange to both the psychical and physical being. N.
went early to present himself to the ambassador. We had purposely not
telegraphed our arrival. Elim is out with Gabrielle, and I am rather
limp and listless after the sleepless night, which was an unforgetable
rising up, up, up, with a ringing in the ears, through an exotic,
potential sort of darkness.

My last word was from the boat, posted at the consulate. Mr. Canada,
our calm, sensible, silver-haired, blue-eyed consul, welcomed us at
Vera Cruz, piloted us quickly through the furnace of the customs,
across an equally hot interval of sand and cobblestone to the dim,
cool consulate, where a strong, unexpected breeze was blowing in at the
sea-windows.

Then ensued a great telegraphing to and fro to know if the line, the
only one rumored to be intact to Mexico City, were really open and
safe. Other encouraging rumors, such as the cutting of the water and
light supplies of Mexico City by the revolutionaries, were rife. But,
not fancying a marooning in Vera Cruz, we decided "If it were done,
'twere well 'twere done quickly."

Half an hour before the train started, with babe, baggage, and maid
safely on board, we took a little turn about the streets. A blessed
blue darkness was falling, all that glaze of heat was gone, and the
note of color proved to be little low, pink houses with a great deal
of green shutter and balcony. We went as far as the Plaza, drawn by
the sound of some really snappy music. Indians, mantilla-covered,
white-clad women, little children in various stages of undress, and
a foreigner or two smoking, were sitting or walking about in the
palm-planted square, and under some arcades people were eating and
drinking. The domed and belfried cathedral was only a dark mass against
the sky, but all the same I deeply knew that it was the tropics, the
Spanish tropics. Thus has many a one debarked in a tropical port,
and there is nothing at all extraordinary about it, except one's own
feeling.

As the train moved out of the station every man had his revolver or
his rifle ready at hand, and there was a great wiping and clicking
and loading going on. The colored porter and a young man reading the
_Literary Digest_ gave, however, home notes of security.

It wasn't one of those nights when you "lie down to pleasant dreams."
As I put my head out of the window at one of the dark stops the scent
of some sickeningly sweet unknown flower fell like a veil over my
face. There was a hollow sound of the testing of the wheels. Torches
and lanterns cut the darkness, so that I got suggestions of unfamiliar
silhouettes, as a peaked hat or a flap of a cape or a bayonet caught
the light. Soldiers were guarding the bridges and trestle-works, which
seemed endless.

As the first dim light began to come in at my window I drew up
the curtain and looked out on a scene so beautiful, so unexpected,
that I could have wept. The two great volcanoes, Popocatepetl and
Ixtaccihuatl, were high, rose-colored, serene, ineffably beautiful
against the sky, still a pale tint of _bleu de nuit_. I felt all the
alarms and uncertainties of the darkness slip away. Elim was rolled
up like a little ball at the foot of the berth, nothing of his head
showing but a shock of yellow hair. We were safely on the heights.

Dim, bluish fields of the unfamiliar maguey were planted in regular
rows. Even as I looked out they began to take on a rich, brownish-pink
tone, the little Indian huts along the way became rose-colored,
everything began to glow. The two peaks, which had had no place in my
consciousness since I wrestled with their names at school, were masses
of flame-color against a sky of palest, whitest blue. At the little
stations an occasional red-blanketed, peaked-hatted Indian appeared. It
was the Mexico of dreams.



II

     First visit to the Embassy--Adjusting oneself to a height of
       eight thousand feet in the tropics--Calle Humboldt--Mexican
       servants--Diplomatic dinners--Progress of Maderista forces.


                                                          _May 7, 1911._

Yesterday proved very full, though I had thought to engage it, as far
as the outer world was concerned, by a single visit to the Embassy. N.
came home to lunch with the announcement that it was Mrs. Wilson's day,
so I went back with him, thinking to greet her for a moment only, but
she insisted on my returning for the afternoon reception, and was most
cordial and welcoming.

I came home, tried to rest, and didn't, and, finally pulling my outer
self together with the help of the big, black Alphonsine hat, sallied
forth at five o'clock to see the general lay of the Mexican land. I
found various autos drawn up before the Embassy door, and Mrs. Wilson,
very gracious and attractive-looking in a heliotrope dress, was
receiving many callers in her handsome, flower-filled drawing-room.
Various diplomatic people were presented, but mostly, as it happened,
from or about the equator.

I met, however, a charming young Mexican--Del Campo, I think his
name is--from the Foreign Office. His English was so choice and
delightful that I asked how it came about. He explained that he had
an Irish mother and had been _en poste_ in London. Toward the end the
ambassador came in, very cordial, and asking why in the world we hadn't
telegraphed that we were coming up on the night train, so that we might
be properly met; but I told him one _couldn't_ be "properly met" at 7
A.M.

An agreeable, clever man, Stephen Bonsal, who has been correspondent at
various crises for various newspapers in various parts of the world,
came in late. He is down here to watch the progress of the revolution
from the very good perspective afforded by Mexico City. After every one
but Mr. Bonsal had gone there was an interesting conversation about the
potentialities of the Mexican situation.

The ambassador is a great admirer of Diaz, and fears the unknown
awaiting us.

In the evening we dined with the first secretary, Mr. Dearing, a
delightful man of good judgment, with dark, clever eyes, who says he
has in view just the house for us. I am glad to find him here.

It's all rather a blur of fatigue, however, and this morning not much
better. I am conscious all the time of an effort to adjust the body
to an unaccustomed air-pressure, a different ambiency. After all, it
is nearly eight thousand feet in the tropics. This hotel "leaves to be
desired" from every point of view, and we must make other arrangements
at the earliest opportunity.


                                                                _Later._

Various reporters have been here wanting details of our "previous
condition of servitude," and bothering us for our photographs, which we
have not got.

Mr. Weitzel, special secretary, sent from Washington to "help out"
pending N.'s arrival, has been to lunch, and I am going out to drive
with Mrs. Wilson in a few minutes.

Was it not tragic--one of those tricky, inexplicable, unnatural
arrangements of fate--that Aunt Laura, up from Tehuantepec on business,
should have been leaving one station as we got in at the other? It
would have seemed to the human understanding the preordained moment
to span the decades between this day and that long-ago parting in my
childhood.


                                                                _Later._

Just home from a delightful drive about Chapultepec Park with Mrs.
Wilson. It is entered through a broad, eucalyptus-planted avenue with
fine monuments and vistas, leading into the beautiful, poetic grounds,
with the far-famed castle of Chapultepec standing on a hill in the
midst, about which grow countless varieties of exotic tree and flower.
As we drove about she told me of the wonderful fiesta there at the time
of the Centenary, when the park was hung with thousands of electric
lights, of the dignity and state of Don Porfirio, and of Doña Carmen's
wonderful white Paris gown and her strings of pearls and diamonds, and
flashing through it all her gracious smile as she received the great of
the earth, gathered from the four winds.

But there seemed something of a fairy tale about it all, with a
revolutionary army in the north headed straight for us, brought
together by an unknown dreamer of the dream of equality, a sort of
prophet and apostle.


                                                              _May 8th._

I have already sent off two letters, but this goes _via_ the pouch to
Washington. I am not formulating anything about Mexico. I feel myself
simply a receptacle for impressions not yet crystallized.

I am now going to look at the house Dearing spoke of. This hotel,
though quite new, is already rickety and proves itself more primitive
at each turn. The doors in every room are placed just where you don't
expect them; either you can't shut them or they won't open. The hot
water runs cold, and the cold hot. We are up a huge number of stairs,
the first step placed at right angles as you go out of the door; and
I seem to be living in a world of luggage. The pleasant rooms can only
be got at through the undesirable ones. The food to me is interesting
with its American veneer over unclassified substances, but would never
do for Elim.

This afternoon I made official calls with Mrs. Wilson--just a leaving
of cards, and in the evening we dine with Dearing and Weitzel, who,
now that N. has arrived, is returning immediately to Washington. The
weather is beautiful, but the dark and splendid clouds that yesterday
"gathered round the setting sun" are, they tell me, the forerunners of
the rainy season.


                                                          _May 9, 1911._

Instead of dining with Mr. Weitzel we all had a very pleasant dinner
at the Embassy last night. Everything exceedingly well done. A Belgian
_maître d'hôtel_ has brought his Brussels ways with him, and it might
have been a pleasant dinner anywhere. The Embassy is very handsomely
equipped throughout with the furnishings of Mr. Wilson's Brussels
Legation, and the rooms are all large and high-ceilinged and generally
ambassadorial-looking. Mr. Wilson has a very complex situation well in
hand, but says he has ample reason to fear that if Diaz goes it will
be an embarking on unknown seas in a rudderless ship. Personally I
have not got any of the points of the compass yet, but something seems
brewing in all directions.


                                                                _Later._

We took the charming dwelling I spoke of yesterday--not too large, and
thoroughly furnished by comfortably living, cultured people--42 Calle
Humboldt. The name of the street itself is in the proper Mexican note.
I want to keep the house, which is built in the dignified, solid way
of half a century ago, on the basis of the former masters, so I looked
over the accounts, which in themselves give a picture of Mexican life.

The servants get fifteen cents a day for their food, consisting largely
of frijoles, and their everlasting pulque, which my nose is no longer a
stranger to, and their wages range from seven to nine dollars a month.
There is a dear little flower-planted corridor--pink geraniums and
calla-lilies--running around the four sides of the _patio_, on which
all the rooms open, and there is a second brick veranda, with various
shrubs and flowers and oleander-trees, out beyond the dining-room,
where Elim can play in the flooding sun. Four of the servants have been
many years with the Americans to whom the house belongs, Mrs. Seeger
and her daughter departing only last week on the Ward Line _Merida_.

The house has never been rented before. Its only drawback is that it
is in the center of the town, though it is at the end of the street
near the broad Paseo. The Embassy is some distance out, in one of the
new "Colonias." We can move in immediately. Everything is in apple-pie
order. I have seen two smiling, black-dressed, white-collared,
white-aproned maids, who said they wouldn't stay if I got a butler.
It sounds so promising that I certainly won't introduce any possibly
disturbing element into this paradise.


                                                      42 Calle Humboldt.

I am sitting here quietly in the charming little library waiting
for the _maître de maison_, whom we have just missed; a few final
arrangements are to be made. There are many bookcases filled with
really good books, easy-chairs, writing-desks, and all sheltered from
this beautiful but cruel light by awnings at the windows of court and
street--everything comfortable and _comme il faut_. The rooms have the
high ceilings of this part of the world, and in the drawing-room, which
gives into the library, are more books, and furniture that will be
pleasant to live with.

Mrs. S., fearing possible destructions of a very probable revolution,
took with her all her really good portable things, I understand.
Collections of fans, paintings on bronze, some old pictures, valuable
bric-à-brac--in short, the gleanings of years. I am thankful, of
course, not to have the responsibility of anybody's special treasures.

The rooms are all enfilade, with the open corridor running around the
inside of the _patio_, and all, except two big corner rooms giving on
the street, open onto it. Just opposite is the Ministry of Finance,
and at the head of the street in the big Plaza is the Foreign Office.
There is an artesian well at the back, but the water must be boiled
and filtered. I understand one must keep one's eye on the filtering
and boiling, which seems superfluous to the Aztec. Nothing is spoken
except Spanish, which pleases me, as it will break me in immediately.
The servants are a cook, the two nice maids, two washer-women, and a
little half-priced maid called a _galopina_. As you will judge by the
name, she does all the running, and doubtless the kitchen work nobody
else will do.

I am most fortunate not to have to try my novice hand on getting a
household together in this land of unknown equations. Just to step into
a well-ordered household is a piece of good luck. I have already seen
a corner I shall make mine, a sofa near a bookcase and reading-lamp,
and an old, low, square table which I shall put beside it for books and
flowers, and where the tea will be brought.


                                                             _May 10th._

A word in haste by the pouch. Don't believe all you see in the
newspapers, and especially don't let the Paris _Herald_ make you
panicky. We are well, and to-morrow we move into the pleasant home.
In case there are riots we can sport not only one oak, but two, as
there is a double set of doors to the large vestibule leading into the
courtyard, and we are up one flight, in what the Italians would call
the _piano nobile_. Nothing above but a flat, convenient, accessible
roof. I am told the roof is a great feature of Latin-American life,
especially in revolutionary days.

I write at length about the disposition of the house because I know you
will like to hear; not because there is one chance in a thousand of the
siege so much talked about, though it seems in the note to order large
supplies from the American grocery-stores, and people are having their
doors and window-shutters strengthened. The fighting on the frontier
has nothing, as yet, to do with us.


                                                             _May 12th._

All peaceful here in Mexico City. Diaz and Madero are supposed to
come to some sort of terms. The well-seasoned inhabitants who know the
people and conditions feel there is no cause for personal anxieties,
though, of course, there are always alarmists. One minister, whose
posts during a long career have been Guatemala, Siam, and Mexico, talks
wildly, and has stocked his house for a siege. He lets the water run
into his tub at night for fear the water-supply will be cut off, and
has had iron bars put across his shutters.

Yesterday, when we got to the house, there was not a sign of any of the
servants. It appeared completely deserted, and might have been a Mayan
ruin so far as signs of life were concerned. After an hour of thinking
their delicacy, or whatever it was, had gone far enough, I investigated
the back quarters, and they all appeared smiling and ready. As I
understand it, there was some Spanish-Indian idea about not intruding
at first; but _I_ wanted to get settled!

I was out this morning, getting a few necessary additions to the house,
though everything is here, even to some linen and silver. The departing
Belgian secretary is having a sale, and I met there several of the
colleagues looking over his household gods.

Last night we were again at the Embassy for dinner, and the cook
returned me some of the morning house money--fifty cents or so--that
had not been used. I was so surprised that I took it. They seem a
pleasant, peaceful, gentle, ungrasping sort of people.

The house is open day and night--we live a practically outdoor life.
To get to the really charming dining-room with its yellow walls, rare
old engravings in old dark, inlaid frames, its cabinets with bits of
Napoleon, Maximilian, and other old china, we have to go out under
"the inverted bowl" of an unimagined shining blueness and around the
corridor. It certainly poetizes the hour of refreshment. The climate
is indescribably beautiful to _look at_, but it is all too high. Few
foreigners can stand it _à la longue_. The _patio_ was flooded with
moonlight when I went to bed, and flooded with sun when I woke up. I
praised Allah.

The dinner of twelve at the Embassy last night was very pleasant.
President Taft's announcement that there would be no intervention made
every one feel easy again. Rumors had been rife in town as to possible
decisions in Washington. I sat between the ambassador and an American,
Mr. McLaren, an _intime_ of Madero, in whose house he lay concealed
last autumn when he was in danger of arrest.

I was most interested in hearing, at first hand, about Madero. Mr.
McLaren, a clever lawyer with a long experience of Mexico, says he is
inspired, illuminated, selfless, with but one idea, the regeneration
of Mexico. He seems to have no doubt of Madero's being able to work
out the Mexican situation along high, broad lines, and thinks he will
surely be here, in the city, through force or the abdication of Diaz,
within a month or two.

Mr. Wilson, on the contrary, told me again he saw with dread the
overthrow of the Diaz régime. Though the President is eighty-three,
with many of the infirmities and obstinacies of old age, he also
preserves many of the qualities that made him great, and Mr. Wilson
said that he personally, in all his dealings with him, never found him
lacking in understanding or energy.

I reminded myself of La Fontaine's fable, _Entre deux Âges_, with
the difference, however, that instead of having no hair left, I had
no opinions left, when we rose from dinner. We drove home in an open
motor under a thickly starred and gorgeous heaven; but the unfamiliar
constellations gave me sudden nostalgia.


                                                                _Later._

Last night the Ward Line _Merida_ sank. The wife and daughter of Mr.
Seeger were on her. After five hours of anguish and uncertainty, in
complete darkness, bereft of every personal belonging, the passengers
were transferred to the United Fruit Company steamer that ran into
them. The news has just come in. It makes 42 Calle Humboldt seem very
safe. To think that as we were returning to its security from the
pleasant dinner at the Embassy the disaster was taking place!

  [Illustration: FRANCISCO I. MADERO
   (From a photograph taken in 1911)]

I look about this comfortable home and think how sheltered a spot had
been forsaken but a short week ago, of the treasures chosen from walls
and cabinets to be out of possible revolutionary harm, and now all is
lying at the bottom of the sea, off Cape Hatteras, and we, strangers,
are safe in the shelter of this home. "Who shall escape his fate?" I
keep saying to myself.


                                                             _May 13th._

On the 10th Juarez was captured with its commanding officer, General
Navarro, by Orozco and Giuseppe Garibaldi, who is down here following
out the family traditions. I am writing in the comfortable little
library, doors opening everywhere on to the flower-planted corridor.
I have been reading Creelman's _Life of Diaz_, and three volumes of
Prescott are waiting on my little table. Suddenly I find I am hungry
with a great hunger for the printed page and the old objective and
impersonal habits of thought. In Vienna the personal, with its "grand
seigneur" contour, seemed to replace quite sufficiently for the time
any objective views of life. A woman who reads there is likely to
be _mal vue_, which for some reason does not at all do away with the
insistent seductions of Viennese life.

Yours from the Dolder received, and the sight of the envelope showing
the familiar Zürich lake and hills made me realize the mountains and
seas that separate us. Elim went to sleep with the envelope under
his pillow. The beautiful park nearest us, the "Alameda," of which I
inclose a post-card, is unfortunately haunted by Indians, picturesque,
hungry, dirty. If it is true, as transcendental souls say, that beauty
is food, I need not worry about _them_, but it does not make the place
very tempting for Elim's airings. He will have to be driven up to
Chapultepec Park.

We are to be presented to the President and his wife this week, and are
looking forward to meeting the maker of modern Mexico and his charming
consort. They are in their large house near the Palacio, but generally
at this season have moved to Chapultepec.


                                                             _May 16th._

Yesterday Madero and Carbajal, who is the peace envoy of Diaz, whatever
that may mean, went into conference at Juarez to consider the proposals
of the Diaz government. Everything here is in a melting condition, and
how it will crystallize the fates alone know.

Various "innocent" bystanders were killed or injured at Douglas in the
early days of the revolution. Some still more innocent, looking neither
to the right nor to the left, also got hurt, as, for instance, the lady
leaning over the wash-tub with her back to the land of the cactus. They
have put in a nice little bundle of claims, and one flippant newspaper
at home suggests putting the town of Douglas on wheels and moving it to
a place of safety, rather than going to the expense of invading Mexico
for the recovery of claims past and future.

Last night we dined at the handsome French Legation in the Calle
Roma. The minister and his wife are away, and in their absence the
_chargé d'affaires_, De Vaux, is living there with two friends, a Mr.
de Vilaine, very _au courant_ with Mexican matters, and who has large
mining interests in Taxco and Colima. He showed us some interesting
silver ingots from a little mill at Miramar on the Pacific coast, made
up after the manner of the early Spaniards.

A young man, D'Aubigny,[1] in business here, completes a pleasant trio,
and we had a very agreeable dinner. The retiring Spanish secretary,
Romero, just appointed to Teheran, and his Viennese wife were also
there. Romero bears testimony to race, and his long and elegant
silhouette fitted into the charming rooms most harmoniously; but a
tall, distinguished-looking man, whose name I did not get, ought to
have been hanging, clad in a ruff and velvet doublet, in a gilt frame
among the Velasquez in the Madrid museum.

The Belgian minister, Allart, who has been here during the last several
years of Don Porfirio's glory, took me out. The conversation everywhere
turns on the political situation, suppositions as to the abdication
of Diaz, prophecies as to how and when Madero will arrive, if the city
will offer resistance, and each one's little plan of campaign in case
of siege.

There is a temporary narrow-gauge railroad running from the arsenal to
the Buena Vista station, across the beautiful Paseo, for the expedition
of men and munitions if necessary, which Allart told me appeared last
March in the night soon after Limantour's return. Nobody seems to know
exactly what forces are at the disposition of the Federal government.
The newspapers get rich on the situation, however, and certainly it
enlivens the dinners.


                                                         _May 20, 1911._

The Madero forces are in possession of the ports of entry at Juarez and
Agua Prieta, and can collect the customs which, as one minister said,
would be spent in fancy by all, but in reality by the usual nearest
few.

I saw some Mexican suffragettes the other day whom I wish their
American sisters could have gazed upon. They were armed with bandoliers
full of ammunition crossed over their breasts, and it did look like
bullets rather than ballots among the sisterhood here.

N. has photographed the _patio_ and corridor, and I will send you some
copies as soon as possible.

Yesterday I called with Mrs. Wilson at the house of Mrs. Nuttall, of
philological and archæological fame, who is away. It is the celebrated
but ill-omened house[2] that Pedro de Alvarado, Cortés's beloved,
hot-blooded, dashing lieutenant, built just after the Conquest,
when Coyoacan was the favorite spot of the high-born and high-handed
survivors. It has a most artistic façade, pink, with the pink of ages,
and decorated with a lovely lozenge-shaped design.

One enters through a great carved wooden door, with an old shrine above
it, into a beautiful courtyard with patches of sun and dark corners,
and going up a broad flight of outside stairs one finds oneself on a
wide Bougainvillea-hung veranda.

Mrs. Laughton, Mrs. Nuttall's daughter, gave us tea in a
high-ceilinged, thick-walled room, filled with flowers and bric-à-brac,
with a beautiful, very large, couple-of-centuries-old portrait of a
nun Mrs. Nuttall had found in some convent looking down on us. As the
poetry and beauty of that old civilization invaded me I thought, "This
is what all of Mexico might be, and is not." Beautiful shell designs
are over each door leading into rooms of romantic and unexpected
proportions. Afterward we went down-stairs and passed through the
courtyard, in one corner of which is an old well, overgrown with
flowers, which has a history as dark as its depths. The body of
Doña Catalina, the first wife of Cortés, is said by evilly disposed
historians to have been thrown into it after a quarrel between herself
and Cortés in the old near-by Palacio.

As we walked in the garden I felt some strange magic exhaling from it
all, something possessing and almost imploring. There were such lights
and shadows, such contours of cypress and eucalyptus, mingling with
quince and pear trees. The old arbor in the _carrefour_ is overgrown
with white roses, and the rest of the garden is a mass of lilies
of various kinds, heliotrope, and great tangles of trailing pink
geranium and honeysuckle. Blue-flowered papyri were clustered about
a microscopic, water-lilied lake, quite black in the late afternoon
light. Around all was an old pink, vine-grown wall. It was the _hortus
inclusus_ of poets, and I perceived then in its fullness the dark,
lovely imprint of Spain upon the lands she conquered. The English,
German, French stamp on their colonies that I have seen is pale,
effaceable, and doubtless would be lost immediately once the power is
withdrawn. But this Spanish stamp has a deathless beauty, and in all
the washings of all the generations it does not seem to come out or
off.

I stay at home a good deal. It is so pleasant--and after so many years
of the concurrences, of the displacements, the hastes and excitements
of the great world, how I love this full leisure! After all, what is
needed to make life interesting, I am discovering, is not action, but
atmosphere, and that I have here.

The President is very ill. I am deeply disappointed that our audience
has to be put off. I want to see the old régime, now decidedly
tottering, in its accustomed setting. It appears he has an ulcerated
tooth, and there can be no receptions, formal or informal, in the
present state of affairs. Indeed, I have not seen "hide or hair" of any
of the actual government. Doña Carmen, of whom I hear so many tales of
goodness and tact, combined with the charming elegance of a woman of
the world, seems adored by high and low, and is very Catholic. The not
too drastic enforcement of the famous "Laws of Reform" is said to be
due to her influence.

I have been looking into the history of Mexico since the
"Independence"--to try to get some sort of a "line" on governmental
psychology. So much bloodshed has always attended a change of
government here.

First came men like the priest Hidalgo and Morelos, his disciple, men
of burning hearts and flaming souls. Then appeared a set of what to-day
we would call intellectuals: Comonfort, Lerdo, Juarez are types. The
long reign of Diaz was preceded by all sorts of upheavals, in which any
one who had anything to do with government lost his life.

However, all this concerned the Mexicans alone. But now, with
disorders menacing huge foreign interests, a new element of discord
and complication comes in. As the generations renew themselves with
certainty and promptness, in the end the blow to things industrial is
the most serious; and don't think me heartless for stating this simple,
cruel truth. Diaz seems at last pushed to the wall, and, of course,
with him many foreign interests, which I understand are vital to the
life of the country. He has had much wisdom, but the gods seem to have
withheld knowledge of the very practical recommendation of one of the
old philosophers about succumbing in time. He is supposed, however,
to have promised his resignation, if his conscience lets him. He fears
anarchy, and, of course, he knows his people very, very well.

Even I, stranger and alien, have a sort of feeling that if this
revolution proves successful the "liberties" of the Mexican people
will, as usual, get lost in the mêlée. Giuseppe Garibaldi is said to
have received the sword from old General Navarro, when he gave it up
at Juarez. Can courtesy to foreigners be carried further? The Boston
_Evening Transcript_ had an amusing bit, particularly so to me, saying
the difficulty of finding out what is happening in Mexico is that of
telling which are the names of the generals and which those of the
towns.


                                                              _May 22d._

I am at home to-morrow, Tuesday, for the first time, to whomever it
may concern, taking the day every other week, as seems the custom
here. Besides getting settled I have begun laying siege to the Spanish
language with my dictionary and my special system; I must learn to
read it immediately. An old copy of De Solis is what I am "at" now,
_Historia de la Conquista de Mexico_, printed in Amsterdam, beautifully
bound in red leather with gold tooling, dedicated _al Serenísimo Señor
Maximiliano Emanuel Duque de las Dos Bavieras_. I gloated over its
title-page, and its "chaste and elegant style" makes easy reading.

The natural changes are so beautiful here. The day gives way to night
without any twilight, but instead there is a sort of richly colored
lining to the first darkness that has a suggestive, indescribable
charm and mystery. When Mrs. Wilson and I drove home from the Casa de
Alvarado yesterday a mass of amethystine shadows closed about us and
all the world, and then in a moment it seemed to be night; but as I
got out of the motor I found the darkness was rich in the same way some
very old, glinting brocade would be rich.


     [1] Killed during the battle of the Somme, 1916.

     [2] The Casa de Alvarado was once the home of the American
     consul-general, Mr. Parsons, of regretted and appreciated
     memory, who was killed stepping out of a street-car in Mexico
     City. Mr. Laughton subsequently was murdered while at his
     mining-camp. Of course this has nothing to do with the house,
     but its history, nevertheless, is bound up with such decrees
     of fate.



III

     Mexico in full revolution--Diaz's resignation wrung from
       him--Memories of the "King in Exile"--President de la Barra
       sworn in--Social happenings--Plan de San Luis Potosí.


                                                              _May 23d._

My first "Tuesday" was accompanied by a drenching rain, but the
colleagues mostly showed up, _noblesse oblige_, each giving some rather
disquieting items about the political situation, according to his
special angle.

Mrs. Wilson, who always does what it is "up" to her to do, of course
came. We are the only nation here having an embassy. All the others
have legations or agencies of some sort, or have turned their affairs
over to the most related friendly nation on the spot. It puts the
Embassy in a position of continual supremacy as far as rank and
importance go.

Mr. de Soto, the "Velasquez" of the French Legation dinner, came
in late. He had spent last winter in Rome with the Duke and Duchess
d'Arcos. The duke was Spanish minister here years ago. We talked of
distant Roman friends. He has often been to Marie K.'s beautiful house.
I shall enjoy seeing something of him. He knows Mexico in all its
phases, and I find myself eager to turn the pages of this wonderful new
chapter, which I feel should be written on maguey, not on mere paper.


                                                   _May 24th, midnight._

Mexico is in full revolution, or, rather, in what seems the normal act
of getting rid of the executive. At five-thirty I walked back to the
Embassy with Mrs. Wilson, from the Japanese Legation near by, where
we had been dallying with the German and Belgian ministers on Madame
Horigutchi's day.

The butler, watching at the door, rushed out to the gate when he saw
us, in the greatest excitement, passing old Francisco, the Embassy
gendarme, to say that five thousand people were making a demonstration
in front of the Diaz house in the Calle de Cadena just back of the
palace, and that there was going to be trouble.

My one and instant thought was to get back to Calle Humboldt, to
Elim, the falling of an empire being quite a side issue. Just then the
ambassador drove up in his motor, having come by a roundabout way from
Diaz's house, where he had been making inquiries as to the President's
health. He had just escaped being caught up in the mob.

I jumped into the motor, and he told Alonzo to take me home as quickly
as possible. The growling, rumbling sound of a far-off mob is a
disquieting thing, and I was trembling for my boy as I drove along.
We had the thick doors of the courtyard entrance (the vestibule, or
_zaguán_, as they call it) closed and barred, all the front shutters
fastened, and soon were as snug as possible. Too snug to suit me, for,
once my infant was safely barricaded, I felt the spirit of adventure
rising.

N., who had been on an errand at the Foreign Office, where he heard
the news, came running across the Paseo, thankful to find us all safely
housed, with the further information that mitrailleuses had been placed
on the palace roof, and that the police had fired on the crowd in the
great square, who were shouting, "Death to Diaz!" many being killed and
wounded.

Later on, about nine o'clock, with Dearing and Arnold, who were dining
with us, we sallied forth to go to the theater as we had planned. A
drenching, torrential rain had come on. The streets along our route
were completely deserted, the rain having dispersed the mob more
efficaciously than the cannon. There were not more than a dozen people
in the whole theater, "El Principal." The only inconvenience I had
on that eventful night was being seated in front of three of our own
compatriots, whose peculiar form of blasphemy got so on my nerves that
I had us all change our seats before we could even try to listen to a
farce on the order of "Pagliacci," without the killing.

As we came out there were no cabs to be had, not even a disreputable
_coche rojo_, and we walked home down the Avenida San Francisco and the
broad Avenida Juarez under umbrellas. The town had a general look and
feeling of having been through something. All was barred and silent
except a few broken shop-windows, whose owners had not been quick
enough about their shutters. In the windows of one of the tea-rooms
were piles of untouched cakes and candies. One had only to put one's
hand out to get them.

Farther along, huddled up on the steps of the gaudy Spanish exhibition
building, were two tiny Indian boys not more than five or six years
old, so sound asleep that their little hands refused to close over the
pennies we tried to give them. We finally put the money, not in their
pockets (they did not have enough clothes on to have pockets), but
behind their little backs. They have probably been cold every night of
their lives, so damp stone steps and a rainy street could not prevent
their slumbers.

  [Illustration: MADERO AND OROZCO IN 1911--MADERO AT THE LEFT]

Well, Madero is coming to change it all, to heal the antique sores of
Mexico. "_Ojalá_" (God grant), as I have discovered they are always
saying when they aren't saying, "_Quién sabe?_" I must put out my
light. It has been an exciting day. Even if you have not been fired on
yourself, it's nervously disturbing to know that near-by people have
been.


                                                        _Ascension Day._

This morning the mob was shot down at the top of our street in the
broad Plaza de la Reforma, between the Foreign Office and the statue of
the Iron Horse. I felt myself not an innocent bystander, but a foolish
one, as to the sound of quick-firing guns and screams I stepped out on
the balcony and saw the mob running in all directions, some dropping as
the guns placed by the statue turned with a horrible, regular slowness
across the street.

N. had rushed home from the Embassy by a side way, hearing that our
street was the scene of action. I felt we ought to do something besides
remaining behind closed doors when that agony was being enacted; but
I was told by N. and Mr. Seeger, who came up from his office below to
see how things were going, that Americans in general and the Embassy
in particular should keep out of the trouble. In fact, it wasn't our
funeral. Police-attended stretcher-bearers appeared on the scene a
little later, and the streets were cleared of dead and wounded.

N. sent a note to Limantour, to the Ministry of Finance, when things
were at their hottest, thinking it might possibly suit his needs to be
within our extra-territorial walls for a few hours. He sent back the
most appreciative of notes, saying, however, that he had no alarm.

A day or two ago, standing at the window, I saw him come out of the
ministry. There is a clean-cutness about him and his Gallic origin is
written all over him in an unmistakable elegance. He is considered by
friend and foe alike to be absolutely incorruptible, and the only thing
I have ever heard even whispered against him is that he is _rich_.
However, the Romans that made the roads doubtless got rich, but they
made the roads, which is what mattered to the Romans. On all sides are
evidences of his taste as well as of his ability, for, besides creating
modern financial Mexico and placing her on her golden feet, he laid
out the park, he designed the uniforms of the mounted guards there,
beautified many of the streets, and in a hundred ways helped to make
Mexico City what it now is. The Paseo, the beautiful avenue leading
for several kilometers from the "Iron Horse" to the park, was laid out
during Maximilian's time, and was known as the Calzada del Emperador;
and the beautiful eucalyptus-trees that adorn it were planted by order
of Carlota--_tempi passati_.


                                                      _May 25th, later._

All quiet again in the shade of Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl. To-day
at 4.30 Diaz's resignation was finally wrung from him.

There are picturesque tales of Doña Carmen standing, black-robed, by
his side as he signed away his glory and power, and perhaps that of
Mexico as well. A vast throng waited all day for the news before the
closed doors of the Chamber of Deputies; but the mob is again simply
a peaceful-appearing crowd, singing the national anthem and crying,
"_Viva Madero!_" interspersed with an occasional "_Viva De la Barra!_"

I must dress for dinner at Hye de Glunek's, the Austrian chargé--the
only invitation any one has accepted or given since some days. Mrs.
W., who is always very kind, lends us the Embassy auto. One of the
incidents yesterday was the looting of the pawnshops. I am afraid the
Paris _Herald_ will have blood-curdling accounts of the goings-on, and
I will send a cable to you, hoping it will get through. In the midst
of life we are no more in death here than elsewhere, and it is all
extraordinarily interesting.


                                                             _May 26th._

The streets were completely deserted last night as we drove home from
the very excellent dinner at Hye's, at which the German and Belgian
ministers, the French chargé, the Spanish minister and his pretty
daughter, the Romeros, _et al._, assisted. One sees no Mexicans of
any political shade abroad these days, and the change of government
has been effected mildly rather than otherwise, if one looks back
over Mexican history. A few hundreds killed and wounded, a very few
thousands of dollars damage done to property in town, and the great
and long and glorious Diaz régime is a thing of the past. Mexico is to
tread untrodden paths.

Robles Dominguez, who is Madero's representative here, has been dashing
about the streets on a big black horse accompanied by his followers,
all wearing the national colors on their hats, promising in the name of
Madero everything on earth to the people gathered at the various points
where he speaks. In many places the tramcars leading to the different
suburbs were taken possession of by the mob, who rode free, to carry
the good news "from Ghent to Aix." The cars everywhere were simply
plastered with them.

Señor de la Barra was sworn in as President of the republic in the
afternoon. No anti-American riots, which were at one time feared,
though the ambassador and his staff had the pleasant experience of
being hissed as they went to the Cámara for the ceremony. From the
little balcony of the drawing-room I could see De la Barra quite
plainly as he came down the Paseo, bowing on all sides, grave, but
amiable and dignified, in the presidential coach, and across his breast
the green-and-white-and-red sash of his high office.

Glittering, blue-uniformed outriders with polished silver helmets
preceded him, and the crowd was rending the air with "_Viva De la
Barra!_" I saw De la Barra with my physical eye, but I was thinking of
the great old Indian, the maker and molder of Mexico, who was wont to
go down the broad avenue in that same coach to the sound of vivas, and
wondering would they see his like again. I am sending you a post-card
photograph of Maximilian in uniform, and Carlota in a blue dress with
many pearls, which is not really so beside the point. Diaz helped to
close that epoch. We now witness the closing of the Diaz epoch.[3]


                                                             _May 27th._

Though the mob turned into the tamest thing possible in mobs, and
the revolution into the tamest thing possible in revolutions, I keep
thinking how both did their work and how never again will Diaz drive
up the beautiful Paseo, receiving the plaudits of the people. The town
is busy preparing for the reception of Madero and for the elections.
General Reyes is still feared by the new party. Madero said to one of
our newspaper correspondents the other day that the only unfavorable
thing in the Cabinet was the admission of General Reyes as Minister of
War, and that the members of the Cabinet and governors of states would
be selected later by himself and De la Barra. It looks as if in the
apportioning out of the plums the first seeds of discord will be sown
in the new political garden.

Yesterday we went motoring with Mr. S. and Dearing over the great,
beautiful hills to the west. Something like Italy and yet not at all
like it in the feeling of light and color. For the first time I looked
down on the city from a great height, seemingly on a level with the
hills that hold the cup-like valley, and I saw again in all their
beauty the two shining volcanoes flanked by the matchless hills. There
was an immense exhilaration in the fitting of the mind to such a remote
and gorgeous horizon, and suddenly I found it did not matter if it were
peopled or not; it seemed quite complete, even humanly. There was a
wonderful lightness about the air. Little puffs that one could not call
wind came and brushed our faces with a brilliant yet feathery feeling.
The Ajusco hills with their suggestions of brigands (I have not been
thinking much of brigands since the tales of Raisuli and Perducaris and
Miss Annie Stone) gave a "human" touch to the whole.

In going out of the city we passed through Tacubaya, a very attractive
suburb with handsome houses hidden in great gardens, and an old palace
of some archbishop; but the most interesting thing about it was the
Indian market, spread out on the steep, cobblestoned highway. There was
just enough room for the motor to pass between the mats on which were
spread their wares. Great piles of pottery, bright rolls of cotton,
were laid on squares of cloth, or little mats made of rushes, and
there were infinitesimal groupings of eatables of various kinds, little
piles of five nuts, or three oranges, or little heaps of melon-seed, or
beans.

Indians, picturesque beyond description, were bending, selling, buying,
just as they have done since prehistoric days. It was the brightest
bit of color I have ever seen, with the thread of Indian life that it
was strung on. The Indians compose themselves into beautiful pictures
everywhere, and further on the road was full of pottery-makers, bent
beneath their huge loads, basket-makers, sandal-makers, women and
children equally laden, going with their quick Aztec trot to their
journey's end.

All was quiet in the little villages through which we passed. I wonder
if they know something has happened to their Mexico?


                                                             _May 29th._

In the revolutionary lull we have all been vaccinated, and I have been
looking into the drinking-water question quite exhaustively.

I felt rather discouraged when the doctor suggested boiling even
the mineral water, _Tehuacan_, from a place near Orizaba. In general
the microbe question keeps foreigners busy, and more alarmed if they
have children than the sound of artillery. One has to learn to live
here. The food leaves much to be desired, and if we were delicate or
gourmets, there would be a great deal of difficulty ahead.

Friday Mr. and Mrs. Wilson and the Embassy staff come for dinner, the
first time I will have had any one except those dropping in informally.
I don't know how it will turn out. There is a nice American range in
the kitchen, but the cook, it seems, prefers the classic _brasero_, and
a turkey wing to fan the coals. It is not as primitive as it sounds,
however, for the _brasero_ is a tiled affair and has holes on the top
for saucepans. They say the American stove would make even the saints
too hot. How they produce the nice roasts or bake with the thing is a
mystery to me.

However, the whole cooking business is beyond me, though I have put an
embargo on _riñones_ (kidneys). Every time there is a halt in remarks
about the menu, Teresa suggests _riñones_, which I despise with my
whole soul. I am not enthused by organs, anyway, as food. I would
put an embargo on _cabrito_ (kid), but stewed it's objectively one of
the best dishes she prepares, and I would eat it under another name.
A certain _sopa de frijoles_ would be nice anywhere, and with slices
of lemon and hard-boiled egg in it is really delicious, and recalls
vaguely the thick mock-turtle soup of my native land. There is a "near"
apricot, called _chabacano_, ripe at this season, but it's only "near,"
and there are quantities of small, fragrant strawberries.

At Hye de Glunek's I ate, for the first time, the very fine mango, in
its perfection. The eating recalls stories of the original fountain-pen
and the bath-tub, but the fruit is delicious, even the first time you
eat it, with a slightly turpentiny, very clean taste, and cascades of
juice. There is a way of sticking a single-pronged fork into one end,
while you peel it with a knife, and then proceeding, which makes its
consumption possible in public.

  [Illustration: MEXICAN WOMEN SELLING TORTILLAS
   Photograph by Ravell]

To-day we lunched with the British chargé in his temporary quarters,
as the new Legation, which is going to be a delightful dwelling, built
with some regard for latitude and longitude and altitude, is not yet
ready for occupation. Hohler came to Mexico from Constantinople, and
wherever he goes collects works of art. In his apartment were all
sorts of quite beautiful, Oriental bric-à-brac and hangings, which,
somehow, did not seem as Oriental here as they would in other places.
Simon, the newly arrived French _Inspecteur des Finances_ of the Banco
National, with a brilliant Balkan record behind him, was also there
with his wife. They are "enjoying" the Hôtel de Genève, while awaiting
the arrival of their Lares and Penates, stalled somewhere between Vera
Cruz and Mexico City, and Madam S.'s maid is already down with typhoid
fever.

Yesterday, when N. boarded the tram, a smartly dressed, handsome
Frenchwoman had just got on with neither Mexican money nor vocabulary.
He came to her assistance, and they felt quite like long-separated
friends on discovering "who was who" at the luncheon. In the center
of the table was a lovely silver bowl of old Mexican artisanship,
filled with unfamiliar, theatrical-looking fruits. I compromised on a
_granadita_, which is like a pomegranate in color and taste, but small
and oblong in shape. Of course the "old hands" were trying to enlighten
the new-comers, but it was rather the blind leading the blind. Nobody
can tell what the gigantic political changes will lead to, or what
this new wine of fraternity and equality, fermenting in the oldest of
bottles, will do to their heads. A gentle joke as we got up from the
table, about the pictures in last week's _Semana Ilustrada_ (showing
insurrectos burning bridges), to the effect that the national sport
might soon prove to be _la promenade_, if artless, was more to the
point.

There is a good deal of talk here about something called the "Plan
de San Luis Potosí," apparently the building stones of a new Mexico.
It's the manifesto Madero made at that town in the early stages of
his revolution, a rather personal and arbitrary political document,
in which he declares himself the mouthpiece of the nation's will, and
pronounces the last election of Don Porfirio illegal. It was, as far
as I can see--which is not, of course, very far--like all his other
"elections." Madero finished by saying that the republic being without
a legitimate government, he assumes the provisional presidency. It's so
simple it may succeed, and the Diaz government left a comfortable sum
in the treasury to begin operations with, some sixty-five millions.


                                                             _May 31st._

The "official" family dinner went off all right, so I am having the
ambassador and Mrs. Wilson, Von Hintze, Hye, the Austrian chargé, and
De Vaux to dinner on Sunday--eight in all. This is the limit, not
of the table and the dining-room, but possibly of the handmaidens.
Leclerq, who is departing for Brussels and the Foreign Office,
has given me the use, till I have made other arrangements, of his
table-silver. I do, indeed, sigh for the silver and linen in Vienna.

Madame de la Barra receives the _Corps Diplomatique_ on Saturday
afternoon. It will be her inaugural reception as first lady in
the land, and, indeed, the first complete tableau of the _chers
collègues_ that I will have seen since our arrival. I suppose I will
get a glimpse, at least, of some of the up-to-now invisible Mexican
statesmen.

Life goes on here quietly, as far as I am personally concerned, but
underneath it all there is the unmistakable beat and throb of changing
governments, the passing of the old order, the beginning of the new,
with all its potentialities. It is a many-colored background. I am
sending an illustrated paper of the shooting done by the mob in my
street, _La Semana Ilustrada_, which is printed at the other end
of Calle Humboldt, as is also _La Prensa_, a newspaper belonging to
Francisco Bulnes, the cleverest of the publicists here, and a star
among the intellectuals. I am between the making of history and its
annals.

The _Courrier du Mexique_ and the _Mexican Herald_ I read daily.
The _Courrier du Mexique et de l'Europe_ (_Ancien Trait d'Union_)
was founded in 1849, and has survived many vicissitudes and many
governments. Its files would make strange reading, with their
succession of political hails and farewells--or rather farewells and
hails.

Gabrielle is doing very well, though she is suffering from _Heimweh_
for Vienna. The Austrian chargé sends me accumulations of the _Neue
Freie Presse_ to sweeten what she calls "diese Mexico." The Indian
maids are almost too good to be true. There's a dusting and a sweeping
going on that would satisfy a better housewife than myself.

I am quite in love with my street--it has so much for the eye, so
much to intrigue the imagination. As I told you, just opposite is the
Finance Ministry. Endless motors belonging to the old and new régime
and the intermediate, the _Trait d'Union_ régime, fraternize in front
of it. Diagonally across is the home of Diaz's son, Porfirio, who seems
to have neither the talents nor the ambitions of his father. The house
is a very Mexican-looking affair, though not after the good old models.
It is a reddish pink, with superfluous cupolas and bay windows, all
lined with pale blue. Great vines of the magenta-colored Bougainvillea,
"the glory of Mexico," hanging everywhere, further enliven it. The tiny
triangular garden also has various obstreperous and violent-colored
botanical specimens.

A little farther down the street, however, is the real gem, for there
I perceived, in passing, storied Spanish-American life being enacted.
It's a low one-storied house with heavily grated windows, only a
couple of feet up from the street. Behind that grating I actually saw
a pink-robed señorita sitting, with a flower in her hair and a letter,
which I knew must have been a love letter, in her hand, all just as it
ought to be, as far as local color is concerned.

The other night, hearing the sound of music, I stepped out on the
balcony. Behold! there were the outlines of some kind of Romeo
playing the mandolin, in front of that window. It's so complete, so
ridiculously like what it ought to be, you will think I have added
something, but you don't have to add anything here; it's always all
there. That end of the street is where the offices of _La Prensa_ and
of _La Semana Ilustrada_ are, and the little newsboys (_papeleros_)
bring things quite up to date when they dash past crying out new
editions.

The other end of the street, which is short, gives on the Plaza de la
Reforma, where the new, handsome Foreign Office is, and the beautiful
equestrian statue of Charles the Fourth of Spain, which Humboldt said
could only be compared to that of Marcus Aurelius on the Campidoglio.
There are two or three handsome houses belonging to Mexicans between
me and the Plaza. The Suinagás', whose daughter is married to a French
diplomat, and the Saldivars', next the Finance Ministry, are other
houses in the good old style of several generations ago. In former
days the streets were familiarly spoken of as _calles de Dios_ (streets
of God); pious, picturesque, but probably not resembling those of our
eternal abiding-place!

  [Illustration: NELSON O'SHAUGHNESSY
   (Secretary of the American Embassy, Mexico, 1911-1912)]

  [Illustration: PAUL LEFAIVRE
   (French Minister to Mexico, 1911)]

  [Illustration: FRANCISCO LEON DE LA BARRA
   (President _ad interim_ of the Mexican Republic between Diaz and
   Madero)]


     [3] I had three glimpses of the "King in Exile." First in
     Rome, the Easter Sunday of 1913, after the Madero tragedy.
     As I went across the Piazza Barberini I saw flying from the
     middle window of the _piano nobile_ of the Hotel Bristol, the
     Mexican colors, floating there by what strange chance, the
     eagle holding in its claws the antique serpent against the
     green, white, and red. As I went up the stairway there were
     numberless and unmistakable Mexicans on the landings, and
     several priests were waiting in the antechamber.

     Doña Carmen came in almost immediately with the "grand air" I
     had heard about, handsome and composed, a veritable queen in
     exile. She was dressed with extreme elegance and simplicity,
     in a perfectly plain, dark-blue gown; around her throat was
     a pearl necklace. After the greetings she seated me on the
     gaudy, gold-and-blue sofa, and took her place beside me. Once
     or twice her eyes filled as we spoke of Mexico, but mostly
     there was a remote look in them.

     When Don Porfirio entered the room I knew him for a leader of
     men. _Anno Domini_ had weakened his will, perhaps, but had
     not bowed his proud figure nor dulled the piercing look in
     his eye, which I remember as hazel with a very large, light
     iris, the pupil dark and fiery. We could not but speak of the
     Madero tragedy, Don Porfirio talking in Spanish, I in French.
     I found myself slightly trembling. He repeated several times,
     "I foresaw it all--my method was the only one," and once he
     added, "How shall one judge men other than by results?" I saw
     in his eye that same remoteness which I think an observer
     would have found in mine also; for instead of the gaudy
     hotel room I saw Chapultepec high up, swung in a strange
     transparency and Don Porfirio's destiny blocked out against
     it.

     In Paris, that same summer of 1913, at the Hotel Astoria, I
     witnessed another _étape_ of the painful, unfit Odyssey from
     hotel to hotel. The antechamber was filled with their luggage,
     plastered with endless hotel tabs. Don Porfirio's mien was not
     quite so majestic, his heart was more broken, his hope less,
     his years seemed heavier, and they were uncertain where next
     to turn their steps, to San Sebastian or to some "cure" in
     Switzerland.

     On my way back to Mexico on the _Espagne_, September, 1913, I
     was sitting idly watching the Spanish shores off Santander.
     There were some Syrians on board suspected of _quién sabe_
     what disease, and we were not allowed to go ashore to visit
     the old town. About four o'clock a small launch was seen
     approaching. In it were Don Porfirio and Doña Carmen and
     Don Porfirio's daughter, Doña Amada (Madame de la Torre),
     whom they were bringing to the ship, which was crowded with
     returning Mexicans, anticipating the pacification of the
     country by Huerta. At the news that the "grand old man" was
     in the launch there was a rush for the railing. Don Porfirio
     could not come on board on account of the quarantine. It was a
     tragic moment when he took his daughter in his arms, and many
     eyes filled with tears as she tore herself from him and came
     hurriedly up the gangway. Farewells were waved as the launch
     turned toward the land. Don Porfirio, upright, majestic,
     motionless, had his eyes fixed on the ship with its prow
     toward Mexico. Who would, if he could, have searched his heart
     or said of what he was thinking, the old, the illustrious, the
     once powerful, in "the fell clutch of circumstance"?

     As long as I live his figure will be to me the sign and symbol
     of nostalgia, as he stood in the small launch, his head bared
     under the brilliant sky, the bright spot of his red necktie
     accenting the whiteness of his hair, watching with longing
     eyes the ship turned toward the land which had given him
     birth, and which he in return had made great and honorable
     among nations.



IV

     First reception at Chapultepec Castle--First bull-fight--A
       typical Mexican earthquake--Madero's triumphal march through
       Mexico City--Three days of adoration


                                                             _June 4th._

Yesterday we went to the De la Barras' first reception, a tea neither
formal nor informal, at beautiful Chapultepec, lifted high up on the
historic hill overlooking the city and the beauteous valley, in its
gorgeous setting of mountains and volcanoes.

There is a pretty grotto-like modern entrance at the foot of the hill
which takes visitors to the elevator, a shaft pierced in the rock,
and from the darkness one steps suddenly on to the enchantment of the
terraces with their matchless view. There is a winding road which takes
longer, ending at the great iron gateway of the military school, and
one must cross the broad terrace, where the cadets are walking about or
drilling.

Madame de la Barra, herself a widow, the sister of the President's
first wife, has only been married a few months, and is smiling, fair,
and un-Mexican-looking, of Swiss descent. She was daintily dressed in
some sort of beige chiffon with pearls about her neck, and had easy,
pleasant manners.

There was no chance for conversation. The whole Diaz set, with very
few exceptions, has vanished, not into thin air, but into retirement
or Europe, and society will have to be reorganized from new elements.
These new elements did not seem at first view to be very malleable.
A circle of iron, in the shape of ladies--old, middle-aged, and
young--kept formed about Madame de la B., and I was wedged in, for
quite a while, between a granddaughter of Juarez wearing, among other
things, a huge and, it appears, historic emerald pendant, and a young,
inquiring-looking woman. I mean inquiring for these climes, where
external phenomena only remotely give rise to speculation. She was in a
décolleté mauve passementerie-trimmed gown, with a train--what we would
call an evening dress. The experienced foreign diplomats mostly kept
outside the circle.

Mr. de la B. was moving about the beautiful flower-planted terraces,
smiling, suave, _homme du monde_, as well as President of Mexico, but
the skein from which he is to knit the national destinies is somewhat
tangled. He and Mr. Wilson were colleagues in Brussels. Now the turn of
the wheel has made him President, and Mr. Wilson ambassador.

Some of the well-seasoned foreigners were predicting immediate
difficulties in the disbanding of the revolutionary forces, which seem
to be composed of those who don't want to be disbanded, those who want
to be disbanded immediately, and those who want to be ban_dits_.

I must say I found it all very interesting--a little gem of a picture
of life in Mexico. As a sudden darkness rose up from the valley, rather
than fell from the sky, one of the volcanoes gone suddenly blue, the
other still aflame, the gathering melted away.


                                                             _June 6th._

Yesterday, Pentecost Sunday, I went to Mass in the cathedral where
Maximilian and Carlota were crowned, and Iturbide and his consort.
It is a large, ornate structure, though the lowish roof, earthquake
height, I suppose, takes away from the effect of the interior. Three
huge altars and a choir also combine to spoil the perspective, but it
is imposing and the outside is a lovely grayish pink. It is built on
the site of the great Aztec temple, over countless images and remains
of the _teocali_ (temple), which the conquerors demolished as soon as
they got their breath, after the taking of the city.

I found it full of a multicolored crowd. The Indians were most in
evidence, but there were all sorts and conditions of people. Despite
what is said to the contrary, the Church has an enormous influence
on life here--on institutions, habits, and customs. The convents,
monasteries, and seminaries were suppressed in 1859, and no one since
has been allowed to leave money or property to the Church by will, but
here as elsewhere there is no way to prevent the Church from getting
rich. With a constantly renewing collection of individuals having no
personal wants, concerned largely with the promises of another life,
the aggregate of their activities through the ages will always be
enormous in the way of mathematical progression; and I don't see in
a free world why they haven't as much right to spend their money and
energies that way as in the usual spending for personal and mundane
aims.

In the afternoon we went to the bull-fight; it was De la Barra's first
appearance at one as President of the republic, and a great occasion.
The vast crowd was very enthusiastic. We saw every color of garment,
every shade of face, every shape of hat, under the blue, blue sky. We
_de la haute_, or, for that matter, anybody who can pay the price, sit
in the shady side of the ring. The sunny half is occupied by dazzled,
smiling Indians.

The President was greeted by the magnificently played national air, and
the stirring of the great concourse as it rose, and the _vivas_, had a
something impressive. A moment or two after, the _entrada_ took place.

Some beloved matador, whose name I don't know, was greeted with cheers
that rivaled those offered to the President. He had on a gorgeous
blue-and-gold cloak, resting on one shoulder, the body of the cloak
caught up and held with the left hand on the left hip, leaving the
right arm free. He was followed by other less-resplendent individuals
(the men of his _cuadrilla_), and soon the ball really opened by the
dashing out of the door of a splendid dark bull.

I hid my eyes at the goring of the horses, poor old Rosinantes
that they were, ready for the grave, and other high-lights of the
occasion. The President gave many purses. It was a very expensive
afternoon, doubtless, but it will increase his political popularity.
The gaily-dressed _toreros_ would go up to the box after their special
"coups," and, with uncovered heads, hold out their hats, and he would
lean forward and present the purses. At one time the arena was covered
by hats of all sizes and descriptions thrown by enthusiasts, and
returned to them by the various bull-fighters. As you will suspect,
however, "bull-fight _me_ no bull-fights." It isn't one of those things
that it will please me some day to have done, according to the Latin
poet. I would like to sponge it out of memory.

The dinner here this evening was not a success. Perhaps the scent of
the bull-fight hung around me still or perhaps the personal elements
did not combine chemically. The dinner itself was all right. There is
a delicious, fat-breasted quail (_codorniz_) to be had at this season.
The conversation was of prophecies concerning the 7th, when Madero, the
"Messiah," the "Bridegroom of Mexico," whom he is to lead into paths of
peace and plenty, is to enter the city. I kept quoting:

     "One man, with a dream at pleasure,
     Shall go forth and conquer a crown."


                                                             _June 7th._

This morning, at 4.30, the town was shaken by a tremendous earthquake.
I was awakened by the violent swaying of the house, so violent that
as I jumped up I could not keep on my feet. There was a sound as of
a great wind at sea, and on all sides the breaking of china and the
falling of pictures. Elim, who was fortunately sleeping in my room,
awakened and clung to me, asking, "What is the matter with the ship?"
N. was calling from his room and trying to open the door.

My first thought was that we were in some dreadful, mysterious storm,
_not_ of earthquake. When things had quieted down a little, and I
could get to the window, I looked out. The streets were full of people
in their night garments, in the most complete demoralization, some
on their knees, others under the lintels of the doors. There was a
groaning and a calling on God, accompanied by a still very sensible
movement of the roof-line. Servants finally appeared, white and
terror-stricken, with long, black hair floating down their backs and
their shoulders, hunched up under their _rebozos_.

I was sorry for the damage done to the S.s' nice things--by shipwreck
_and_ earthquake. Our house is a good old house, strongly built in a
firm quadrangle; yet the shape of my room at one moment was not square,
but diamond-shaped!


                                                                _Later._

I have just come back from a look about town. I saw the wrecked
barracks in the Puente de Alvarado. Sixty soldiers were buried under
the debris, and the _ambulanciers_ were bringing out the silent,
plaster-covered forms as we passed. A big warehouse at one of the
railways was completely wrecked, but there was no loss of life as the
employees, of course, were not there at that hour. Everywhere were
great ruts and splits in the streets, which looked, in places, as if
they had been plowed up.

We took a turn through the Avenida San Francisco, gaily flagged like
all the streets through which Madero is to pass. All Mexico seemed
afield, despite the fact that we may have another "quake" at any
moment. At the corner of the historic Church of La Profesa great crowds
were gathered, looking up at the ancient dome and nave, rent in several
places. Police were standing in front of the carved doors, in the
Calle de Motolinia, to prevent the foolish, as well as the pious, from
entering. It is very much out of plumb, anyway, having suffered from
other earthquakes in other centuries, when, I suppose, the same sort of
crowd gathered about it.

Everybody had a sickly, surprised, pale look, and many, it appears,
suffer acute nervous attacks after such an experience. It is the
biggest earthquake they have had here in several generations. Mexico
City being built on boggy, spongy land is what alone has preserved it
from complete destruction on various occasions.

Some speak of Madero's being heralded in by this convulsion of nature
as a bad augury: others see in it a sign from heaven. I say, _qui
vivra, verra_.

Madero was supposed to reach Mexico City at ten o'clock, and begin
his triumphal march from the station through the great thoroughfares,
down the Paseo, the Avenida Juarez, the Avenida San Francisco, to the
palace; but it is now 2 P.M. and he has not yet come. As the day wears
on the earthquake begins to be interpreted solely as a manifestation
of Divine Providence in his favor. No soldiery out. This, I am told, is
to show the mob that they are trusted by their champion and savior. It
strikes me as a bit too trusting; if any excitement does arise among
the mob, already unsteadied by the earthquake shock, how will these
people be controlled?


                                                              _Evening._

At three o'clock Madero passed down the Paseo. Our enthusiasm had
somewhat abated after the long wait, but we stood up in a motor in
front of our door, and could see the immense concourse acclaiming him.
There was a great noise of _vivas_, mingling with shouts of all kinds,
tramping of feet, and blowing of motor horns.

I could just get a glimpse of a pale, dark-bearded man bowing to the
right and left. I kept repeating to myself: "_Qui l'a fait roi? qui l'a
couronné?--la victoire._"

It appears that his departure from his ancestral home in Parras,
and the journey down, have been one of the most remarkable personal
experiences in all history. There were three days of continual plaudits
and adoration, such as only the Roman emperors knew (or perhaps
Roosevelt when he went through Europe).

People came from far and near, in all sorts of conveyances or on foot,
just to see him, to hear his voice, even to touch his garments for help
and healing. It appears he had a wonderful old grandfather, Evaristo,
founder of what promises to be a dynasty, who died just before we came
to Mexico, and who, it is said, had misgivings about the strange turn
of the family fortunes.

Well, it is a curious experience to see a people at the moment of
what they are convinced is their salvation, to see the man they hail
as "Messiah" enter their Jerusalem. I can think of no lesser simile.
The only thing they didn't shout was "Hosanna." The roofs were black
with people along his route. Many threw flowers and green branches as
he passed. As for the equestrian statue of Charles IV., in the Plaza,
it was alive with people, who clung all over it, climbing to the top,
sitting on Charles's head, hanging to his horse's tail.

Madero could make no speech on his arrival here--loss of voice and sick
headache, I see by the evening newspaper. The journey and this climax
of his entry into the capital doubtlessly overwhelmed his mortality.
The crowd, however, was too intent upon its own experiences to feel any
lack. The "redeemer" was with them and his mere presence seems to have
been sufficient.


                                                             _June 8th._

It is after dinner; N. has gone back to the chancery. All doors and
windows are open, and a cool, thin, dry night breeze, most lovely, is
blowing in.

I sent a _Mexican Herald_ about the _temblor_ and the entry of Madero.
The streets are not yet quiet, though the _vivas_ for Madero have
somewhat died down.

Even that crowd had its physical limits. I can't understand why, when
the streets are burst open, great rifts everywhere, especially in the
neighborhood of the Embassy, that there not a vase or a photograph was
upset, though some heavy bookcases filled with books, in the basement,
were thrown to the ground.

I am reading _The Relations of Bernal Diaz_, companion and chronicler
of the Cortés expedition. It is quite the most romantic, realistic
bit of literature I ever got hold of, and has, here on the spot, a
double-distilled charm. I was interrupted for a day by the arrival of
that other conqueror.


                                                             _June 9th._

Knowing how anxious you would be, I cabled on the 7th; now comes your
cable asking for news and an announcement from the cable office here
that my cable has been returned. It appears the employee just omitted
Zürich; the address, Waldhaus, he explained in the note, he thought
would be enough--the effect of the earthquake on _his_ brain, I
suppose.

It appears the New York newspapers said Mexico City was nearly
destroyed. You must have been on the _qui vive_ for two days. If the
earthquake had been up to the newspaper account, you would doubtless
not have heard.

People holding property here are not worrying about natural phenomena.
The ever-increasing banditry all over the country, murders of people on
isolated haciendas, and general dislocation of business and lawlessness
are what worry them. A swift sliding down into the old pre-Diaz
brigandage is feared. The slopes are so attractive to the dissatisfied
and uncontrolled. _Facilis est descensus._

Madero has publicly announced that he will encourage American
investments, but that he will oppose all trusts and unjust concessions.
It sounds almost too reasonable to be true. He made these statements
from some place in the north when he promised to liberate all political
prisoners and all prisoners of war. This revolution in Mexico has
been full of contrasts, to say the least. Has any one ever seen such
an anomaly as we witnessed here? The heads of a solid, recognized
government turning over their offices to a relatively few armed
opponents. I put it all on _Anno Domini_, not because so-called
democratic principles have suddenly won a miraculous victory. The old
dictator's hand was weakened by the stronger hand of time--and a "man
with a dream at pleasure," etc.

Found your letter of May 26th on returning from a motor drive
with Dearing and Mr. S. to a beautiful old town, Texcoco, where
Nezahualcoyotl, the Marcus Aurelius of Mexico, lived.

Except the ancient sun-dial in the palm-planted Plaza, however, there
is little to recall that civilization. A big church, built by the
friars on the spot of the old temple, was filled with the usual Indian
population, sitting and kneeling with their children and their burdens,
and as mysterious as that Cortés found worshiping Huitzilopochtli,
or any of their other gods. The Indians are religious, rather in the
Oriental sense, it seems to me, than in any way resembling ours. It
is certainly not given to the lower-class Anglo-Saxon to kneel with
intent, uplifted eyes, outstretched arms, motionless, before some
reminder of an invisible God. It does not take us that way. It seems
to be as much a part of the Indian's life, that going in and out
of churches, as eating or drinking, and just as essential, and why
that habit, which seems to compensate for so many things obviously
lacking, should be a reproach to those who instilled it I can't see.
It's all most interesting to me, fresh from Prescott and Bernal Diaz.
A crumbling, picturesque monastery and inconceivably desolate, dusty
seminary join the church where the friars used to teach. Oh, the poor
friars! There is so little account taken of their ceaseless activities,
of how they found a wilderness, dotted it with churches, schools, and
hospitals, stamped it with a seal of matchless beauty, brought it out
of the worship of greedy gods, human sacrifices, and abominations,
counting no cost, and showed as best they might dim shapes of more
benign powers. I can't see what all the hue and cry is about, all the
revilings. We couldn't match the record. We have disfigured Mexico
wherever we have set _our_ seal. Frankly, I'm for the friars.

  [Illustration: A ROAD-SIDE SHRINE
   Photograph by Ravell]

One enters Texcoco by a broad, broken street leading into the Plaza.
Interspersed too liberally between the once handsome low dwellings
are the pink-and-blue pulque-shops, with their fringes of colored
tissue-paper. The names of these depositories of the _licor divino_
are often curiously bound up with the history of Mexico, and make you
feel you have got hold of the "real thing." _La Hija del Emperador_[4]
and _La Reina Xochitl_, a beauteous patrician, married to a Toltec
king, go back to prehistoric days. _El Gran Napoleon_, with cocked hat
and hand in his breast, painted almost life-size on a corner shop,
was more picturesque than the one that had a hand in the making of
their history. _La Mujer del Moro_ gives the Moorish touch, and _La
Estrella del Mar_ recalls the buccaneers as well as the ages of faith.
There was a very good one near the little viceregal bridge, with
its battered coat of arms, just before we got into Texcoco, called
_Las Bergantinas_, in memory of the spot where Cortés launched his
brigantines in his attempt to take Mexico City, which then was only
reached from Texcoco by water. I feel on quite intimate terms with the
conqueror. It is Cortés here, and Cortés there, and Cortés everywhere.
He put his seal on the whole country, and one walks quite intimately
and enthusiastically with him. He was such a human sort of person,
and with all his adventurous spirit very _grand seigneur_. Bernal Diaz
tells how well and smartly he dressed, being very particular about his
linen, under dark, rich garments, and inclining to a fine gem somewhere
on his person, and how pleasantly he played cards, with little jokes
running through it all. It reminds me of bridge evenings with the
_chers collègues_. But all is historic on this lovely plateau. They can
pull down everything and wash it in the most modern of blood, and the
scent of ancient and adventurous deeds will hang round it still.

The valley was swimming in a sort of gauzy luminosity, not just light;
the volcanoes, well washed yesterday afternoon, were at their most
beautiful. We could not bear to turn homeward and went out through the
old town, which had also enjoyed a viceregal popularity, as fine old
doors and glimpses of vistas into large courtyards showed.

These _patios_ of Mexico are most attractive. One is forever peeking in
through doorways of strange houses, where flowers, children, washing,
mattresses, water-jars, dogs, sometimes a palm or a cypress, contrive
to make something always alluring and mostly lovely. We lunched late in
the auto, under the shade of some eucalyptus-trees, and then pressed
on through the lovely hills and over meadow-bounded roads till we got
to the little village of Magdalena, where an indescribable melancholy
mingled with the slanting bronze afternoon light filtering through
the shade of the old trees. A grassy Plaza, planted with cypresses and
patterned with sunken escutcheoned grave-slabs, led to the pinkish-gray
church with its lovely old Spanish doors. A crumbling, broadly
scalloped pink wall, with flowers, vines, and spiky green things
clinging to it everywhere, surrounded the whole. The warm, lustrous air
fell about us like a lovely garment. It was a place of enchantment,
where we seemed to clasp hands, for a moment, with a past age of
exceeding beauty.


                                                            _June 11th._

Now that the political excitements have calmed down, the dinners have
begun again. The Italian Legation on Tuesday, the Japanese on Thursday
(Madame Horigutchi is a Belgian), the Belgian minister the next day,
and there is a dinner at the Embassy on Saturday. On the 22d the
British chargé gives a coronation house-warming in the new Legation,
which is not yet finished enough for him to really move into.

Yesterday was again Mr. Wilson's day, and very pleasant. The handsome
rooms were filled with roses in their last blooming. The rains wash
them out at this season, and indeed at any season they must be plucked
at sunrise or they quickly fade at this altitude. The buffet was
lavishly spread, Mrs. Wilson dedicated a becoming blue dress, just
arrived from Brussels, and I had on what the _Mexican Herald_ kindly
called this morning an "exquisite creation of painted chiffon."

The first visitor was Madame de la Barra, with her sweet manner and
amiable, unstudied expression, also freshly and Frenchily garbed. I
think she would like to branch out and do some entertaining during
their short and uncertain tenure. The great castle, with its ravishing
terraces, its large spaces, calls for functions. Mrs. Bedford made
affectionate inquiries for you. Many of the colleagues came, and many
Americans. There was a pleasant coming and going all the afternoon. Mr.
James Brown Potter and Mr. Butler, who lives with him, came in late,
further enlivening things, as seems to be their wont, and last the
ambassador and N., just in from Saturday golf, which, at this season,
politically and from the point of view of weather, is a more than
usually uncertain game.

The murder of three hundred and three Chinamen at Torreon has made a
great row. We were surprised and faintly amused to learn that China
demands an indemnity of one million from Mexico. Has Chinese life
ever been so high? The whole thing was a horror, however. Terrible
atrocities were committed by the troops under Emilio Madero. The
Chinamen were mostly market-gardeners peacefully cultivating vegetables
in gardens back of their little houses, through which they were hunted
and shot down like so many rabbits. There are other horrors related
of tying them to horses headed in different directions, of babies on
bayonets, etc. It is a most regrettable little fling on the part of the
"Liberating" Army. Madero, very averse to shedding blood, is said to be
horrified at the occurrence.

It makes me sad to think that, after a century of blood, all is still
before the Mexican people, who have left the seemingly solid land
of the dictatorship and are headed straight for the mirage of an
impossible equality.


                                                            _June 14th._

Last night was the big dinner at the Italian Legation. Countess
Massiglia is an American. I sat between Von Hintze, whom I like
very much, and Mr. Brown, president of the National Railway. Dear
Mrs. Harriman sent us a letter to him, saying we might need "sudden
transportation."

Mr. B. is a power here, one of the twentieth-century conquerors and
civilizers. Brains, energy, courage, have taken him far along his
successful career, and, incidentally, helped to cover Mexico with
railways. It was most interesting hearing at first hand how the curtain
had been rung down on the Diaz epoch, for it was he who had arranged
for, and been witness to, the tragic departure of Don Porfirio, in
those dim, early hours of the 26th. A military train, in charge of some
trusted general (Huerta), followed, escorting the illustrious chief
from the earthly heights of destiny, in every sense of the word, down
the declines of sorrow and old age, out to the great sea.


     [4] "The Daughter of the Emperor," "Queen Xochitl," "The Great
     Napoleon," "The Wife of the Moor," "The Star of the Sea," "The
     Brigantines."



V

     Dinner at the Japanese Legation--The real history of the
       Japanese in Mexico--Dinner at the Embassy--Coronation
       services for England's king--The rainy season sets in.


                                                            _June 16th._

Last night dinner at the Japanese Legation. A very elaborate and
beautiful centerpiece arrangement of tiny lake and grove decorated the
table, and the food was very good. That was the Belgian touch. They are
used to _la bonne chère_. All the dinners now are a sort of hail and
farewell for Von Hintze and ourselves newly arrived, and the departing
Romeros, who have been here some time and are very popular.

There is always a lot of talk about the Japanese in Mexico, but their
real history here, as I have discovered, is not disquieting. Some
Japanese statesman (of course I forget his name) first conceived
the idea in 1897 of starting coffee-plantations on a large scale in
Chiapas. The pioneers were called "colonists," and were followed by
"immigrants." All had bad luck with the enterprise at first, but by
economy and industry finally got prosperous.

As for Horigutchi himself, amiable and intelligent and, of course,
unusually intimate with the French language, it is said he knows
how the Emperor of Korea died, _pués quién sabe_? At any rate, he is
peaceful and smiling now, his Belgian wife is dressy and hospitable,
and he has an interesting little daughter. The house is the usual
compromise between good Japanese things and expensive European ones,
always painful to our esthetic sense, and doubtless to theirs as well.

Again I have waked up to this wondrous sun and these open windows,
and the shining, flower-planted _patio_. Am having a little luncheon
here. Von H. Stalewski, the Russian minister, Martinez del Campo, third
introducer of ambassadors (he of the charming English), and the Simons
and the French chargé. A magnificent blue Puebla bowl, such as were
used in olden days for baptismal feasts, now very difficult to find,
decorates the center of the round table, filled with red and purple
sweet-peas--_guisantes de olor_ they call them; fifty cents for the
whole glory. All our cakes, ices, etc., are ordered from the Café de
l'Opéra, kept by French people in the Avenida Cinco de Mayo, where the
Mexicans drop in between five and eight for tea or chocolate or some
sort of consummation.

Von H. is finding himself out of his natural orbit here. His eyes
filled with tears when he said to me at dinner at the Italian Legation
the other night: "I miss my friends." We were having a little exchange
of sentiments and illusions. I imagine he is _un sensitif_, and it
_is_ a far cry from what we have had and known before. He has the
world manner, varied official experience, and an unexplained personal
equation.

There had been no diplomatic dinners for six months here on account of
the troubles, and when everybody has had one things will settle down
again.


                                                            _June 18th._

Your letter saying you were thinking of the Pentecostal fires on the
Umbrian hills, has come. I forget all pains, if pains there were, and
am glad of that and all other experiences life has given us together.

Mrs. Wilson goes to the United States next week for several months
until her boys are settled in school and college. I shall miss her very
much. Besides being one of the most admirable women I have known in
public life, she is a pearl of a _chefesse_.

I have dwelt much on my easy, pleasant days here, surrounded by new
beauty and new interests, books, companions--on this experience of
an unknown land with nothing of the "pace that kills," nothing of the
wearing "concurrence" of the great cities. In fact, I am experiencing
to the full, in Elliott's phrase, "the comforts of the tropics."

Elim has been enticed into the tiniest and darlingest of pajamas on the
ground of being ready for the next earthquake. For some reason or other
he had clung passionately to his little nighties.


                                                            _June 21st._

A delightful dinner at Mrs. Wilson's last night, everything bearing
the special dainty touch of the _embajadora_. The table was a mass of
La France roses and violets, and the pink-shaded silver candelabra
emerged from light clouds of pale-pink gauze. Large and deliciously
prepared _langoustes_, very difficult to get here, formed the _pièce de
résistance_ of the dinner, which was most lavish throughout.

On Mrs. Wilson's right was Rafael Hernandez, first cousin of Madero,
a very handsome man of about thirty-five, with dark eyes and flashing
white teeth and brilliant coloring. Every now and then you come across
some one here with what we could call a "complexion," and you never
forget it.

I am interested in seeing the members of the coming dynasty appear on
the political stage. Hernandez, a lawyer of repute, is now Minister of
Justice. I sat between Mr. Lie, the Norwegian minister, who is a son of
the author, Jonas Lie, and we talked a bit of Scandinavian literature.
I read only last winter his father's great, sad book, _Les Filles du
Commandant_. I had known him slightly in Berlin, when he was military
attaché, before what we used to call the "divorce" of Sweden and
Norway. Hohler was on my other side, and between courses we did quite a
tidy bit of confidential journeying on the political chart. He is ready
to crown King George and Queen Mary to-morrow at the new Legation.


                                                             _June 22d._

This morning we went to the coronation service for the King of England
and Emperor of India in the English Church. The thought of the same
prayers going up everywhere for him on whose dominions the sun never
sets was solemn and imposing. The _Te Deum_, preceded by the Litany
beseeching the Lord to have mercy on miserable sinners, alone kept it
in the note of mortality. The town is flagged, and, though we had no
king in person, we had the most royal weather.

Several hundred people were at the reception, all the _chers
collègues_, various members of the government, and the British colony,
of course, with a certain number of curios, such as all colonies
produce on national occasions. The Legation is not yet furnished,
though the chancery is in full blast, and Hohler has his study most
comfortably arranged with a lot of his own good things. He has just
found an old Spanish cabinet--a mass of ivory, mother-of-pearl, and
silver inlay--that makes you wish you were a burglar.

At five o'clock President de la Barra, very smiling and spick and span,
arrived, accompanied by his staff. He was welcomed by the national
hymn played with much spirit by an excellent orchestra. Others of the
government were Emilio Vasquez Gomez, Ministerio de la Gobernación
(Interior), and Mr. and Mrs. Pimentel y Fagoaga (Mr. P. is a banker
and president of the city council). Mr. Creel, former ambassador to
Washington, white-haired, pink-complexioned, un-Mexican-looking, I also
met.

Later General Reyes appeared, once, possibly still, the idol of the
army. You can never know here, for between sunrise and sunset the
victorious hero can become a hunted fugitive. There is something about
General Reyes, with his upstanding mien, long, white beard, shrewd
eye and air of experience, which would not have fitted badly into the
presidential frame. I am told there was a psychological moment when
fate was ready for him, but now it is too late; other forces have
crystallized.

Everybody was making the rounds of the Legation, which is going to be
most attractive and convenient, the only fly in the ointment being the
garden. During the building large quantities of lime and all sorts of
unproductive refuse were left about, and Hohler thinks he will have
to change the whole soil. Up to now nothing save the irrepressible but
beautiful pink geranium has been willing to grow.

I was borne, with the French chargé, on a steady tide, setting
through the long, unfurnished dining-room, to a temporary grotto-like
inclosure, the walls of which were lined with palm-trees and hung with
the Union Jack, where the refreshments were served. I heard a little
joke going around with the punch among the somewhat homesick colony,
"Can you hear the crowns settling on the brows of King George and Queen
Mary?" It mingled harmlessly with the congratulations and hand-shaking
and health-drinking of a very pleasant and, one hopes, auspicious
occasion. In London the sun had long since set on the actors in a new
page of England's history.


                                                            _June 25th._

There is no doubt about the rainy season having set in. Rain fell
yesterday during three hours in drenching sheets that darkened the
city. I could scarcely see across the street; but I had the lights
turned on and proceeded with Prescott's _Conquest_, not read since
years. I am entranced by his vivid, flowing style and the wealth of
reference and learning. The very initiated have said that it is not
all true, but if it isn't it ought to be, it's so good. The copy I
am reading was published by Galignani in Paris in 1844, and must be
a first edition, as his preface bears the date, "Boston, October 1st,
1843."

In a small section of the bookcase near my divan, where I sit or rest
or where the tea is brought--where I always am, in fact--are the poets.
I can reach out and refresh myself with almost any of them. There is a
set in that old-fashioned blue-and-gold binding, such as you used to
have (1878 is its date), containing Shelley, Keats, Byron, Tennyson,
Longfellow, Whittier, Mrs. Hemans, _et al._ But they are only a few of
the denizens of the "poets' corner." Palgrave's _Golden Treasury_ is
the first book on the first shelf.


                                      Peter and Paul's Day, _June 29th_.

The saints' days follow quickly here. Also I find that instead of
indifferentism the churches are packed with men, women, and children
on all occasions. Am now waiting for Madame Chermont, the agreeable
American wife of the Brazilian secretary, and we drive to Chapultepec
Park with our children and listen to the music. A fine military band
plays by the largest of the natural lakes, and it is the great morning
rendezvous of Mexico City. The two boys will disport on the grass and
incidentally have a few "good" fights plastered in between the gentler
occupations of catching butterflies and picking flowers.


                                                              _Evening._

I made calls all the afternoon, two violent thunder-storms enlivening
the getting in and out. At Madame Lie's an almost terrifying darkness
fell, lasting for an hour or so. The lights were turned on, but we
all continued to look like specters, with an unnatural, lusterless
saffron light filtering in at the windows, showing the Indian butler
coming and going quietly with the tea things, and lighting up delicate
sprays of yellow-brown orchids from the Hot Country on the table in
some Scandinavian silver vases. At six o'clock, as I came home, the
volcanoes appeared like heaps of purest gold piled against the blackest
of clouds.

San Pedro y Pablo seems to be celebrated here by the giving of toy
pistols, and other noisy weapons, to children. There was more or less
"popping" going on all the morning. For some reason there is a legend
to the effect that the devil roams abroad on this day seeking whom he
may devour.

I thought of San Paolo Fuori le Muri and the celebrations in the great
Basilica, and the Roman world on its way out of the Porta San Paolo
past the pyramid of Caius Cestus and the grave of Keats.


                                                            _June 30th._

Your earthquake letter received. Remember, the Paris _Herald_ has to
live.

We see a good deal of the ambassador, and also of Dearing, clever and
courageous. When the ambassador will leave I don't know; but we do know
the greatest benefit a chief can confer on his first secretary.

Dearing is trying his hand at translating Mallarmé, and last night we
were turning the "_Frisson d'hiver_" round about, but we didn't do to
it what he did to "The Raven."

It begins: "_Cette pendule de Saxe qui retarde et sonne treize heures
parmi ses fleurs et ses dieux, à qui a-t-elle été?_"

We dine at the Austrian chargé's to-morrow. Everything always very
_soigné_. He has an Austrian cook, I believe, and a pleasant mania for
cleanliness. He will soon be leaving, as Baron Riedl from Rio Janeiro,
his cousin, is appointed minister here. You remember him and his
American wife from Rome.

I am sending a huge bundle of zarapes, dull blue and white, sewed up in
canvas--so nice for the garden, and for Elliott on his terrace.



VI

     Speculations as to the wealth of "the Greatest
       Mexican"--Fourth of July--Madero as evangelist--The German
       minister's first official dinner with the Maderos as the
       _clou_.


                                                             _July 1st._

There are great speculations as to Diaz's wealth, and millions are put
to his account with a light hand.[5] Some say he has twenty millions in
Spain, in Paris, in Wall Street. I am sure I hope he _has_ feathered
his nest--both he and Limantour. As I remarked before, the Romans
that made the roads probably did, but they made the roads. There is a
not-negligible quantity in Mexico, in abeyance for the moment, which
is very suspicious and uncertain, not of the honesty of Madero (all
parties allow that), but of his ability to handle the situation, which
demands civic talents of a high order.

President de la Barra has a pension plan which will doubtless give him
much trouble, as it will have to include all of Mexico, or those left
out will know why. As was observed by some one the other day, the more
the Mexicans try to change Mexico the more it remains the same thing.

Practically new electoral methods are to be tried out, and how Madero,
unless he has a secret _flair_ for civic matters, is to solve them is
what we are all waiting to see. The people's ears are full of promises.
The government would promise the snow of Popo--anything; but there is
a ditty being sung about town now that gives one food for thought:

  _Poco trabajo_,                     Little work,
  _Mucho dinero_,                     Much money,
  _Pulque barato_,                    Cheap pulque,
  _Viva Madero!_                      Long live Madero!

It's a bit wabbly for founding a government on, but doubtless
represents very accurately the dreams of the _pelados_ (skinned ones),
as the peons are called.

You speak of the subscriptions for the earthquake relief here. It was
not a national disaster. National disasters take other forms in this
latitude. Scarcely a ripple is left, and as for the money to repair the
city and close the splits in the streets, the municipality gives that
and the contractors jump for joy.

I do not minimize the dangers here, but, of course, I don't draw
highly colored pictures, being sure of your interest in any statement
of facts, however plain they may be. I have rarely felt safer
anywhere than in Mexico City; certainly never more comfortable and
continually interested. We often walk home after dinners or bridge. The
clean-washed air is so refreshing after being in rooms, however large,
at this altitude. The gendarmes stand at every few crossings with
their lanterns. The streets are deserted, dry, and clean. There is no
_Nachtleben_. The program is here early to bed, early to rise, and the
thrice-blessed siesta to renew the day.

I am sending off a delightful book by Flandrau, _Viva Mexico_. It has
the real sparkle and "feel" of this magnetic land. How true a word he
spoke when he said, "One does not go to Latin-America just to see what
it is like, or because one has seen it before and chosen to return, but
because circumstances in their wonderfully lucid way have combined to
send one."

I have just had a letter from the King of Denmark. You know how
promptly he always answers, _la politesse des rois_. But the old
Copenhagen days with their blues and grays and Aryan ways of thought
and habits of life are immeasurably remote from these, not only
geographically and in time, but psychologically.

The other evening at the Arbeu Theater, where Virginia Fabregas, an
old favorite here, was playing, my eye was suddenly arrested by the
profiles as I looked from the box down a row of seats. They were so
diverse, so strange, like those one comes across on the ground floor
in the corner rooms of museums--Mongol, Indian, Aryan. There did not
seem to be any one type. It was just a patchwork loosely sewn together,
the bits coming out of unknown generations from the desires of the four
corners of the earth.


                                                              _July 3d._

The rainy season _bat son plein_. Immense quantities of water are
thrown down from the heavens between three and six every day, after
which it has always cleared, with the exception of that historic
evening when the mob was "out" to destroy the creator of its present
Mexico. How quickly republics, not alone this strange Indian republic,
put away their great! It is most discouraging to one desirous of
finding all good things in that form of government.

I have finished De Solis. Also I have "read" a grammar, and, of course,
there are the servants, instillers of that rather patchworky thing
called kitchen-Spanish, and there are the newspapers. A teacher is
coming next week. I haven't yet felt like mapping out any special plan
of study, being in readiness at certain hours, but am enjoying the
"simple life" thrown against this colorful background of a colorful
race in revolution.

Only two dinners this week, at the Brazilian chargé's, and on Sunday
the German minister gives his first dinner. He has taken a large
furnished house in the Calle Liverpool, very expensive and suitable,
as far as space goes, for a Legation. It belongs to a wealthy Mexican
who was seduced, however, by _art nouveau_. Large hat-racks and high
jardinières in the form of giant pansies in natural colors furnish the
great hall and testify to his ruin.

Von H. endeavored to strike some sort of average by hanging some
beautiful rugs from the square railing of the second story. His good
furniture from Europe arrived in such a state that he said nothing was
needed, as case after case was unpacked, but brooms to sweep out the
debris.


                                                    _July 4th, evening._

Our Fourth-of-July celebration took place at the Tivoli Eliseo in the
Puente de Alvarado, which is like any picnic ground anywhere (unless
you look up at the matchless sky). There was the usual accompaniment
of pink lemonade, peanuts (called _cacahuetes_ here), and brass bands.
There was a luncheon with speeches which would have stirred my national
soul more if I weren't still in a half-dream at finding myself in this
strange and gorgeous land. As I was leaving the festive scene word was
passed round that Madero was coming and would speak.

I stood on the outer fringe of the crowd, which I did not try to
penetrate, and found it most interesting to see, even at a distance,
the evangelist "evangelizing." Madero's face, so familiar in
photographs, and which seems featureless but for the broad forehead
and black, pointed beard, becomes illuminated as he speaks, and his
gestures are continuous, the voice soft, with a smooth flow of words. I
could not catch what he said, but I knew it was his work of hypnotizing
Mexico.

A more material diversion, N. told me, was created later by a
cock-fight, forbidden by the police, but secretly adored, which took
place in a little inclosure. There is no doubt about that animal
being in every sense the cock of the Mexican walk. He is the only
beast really cherished by them. He even shares the precious hat, and
his idiosyncrasies and caprices are tenderly studied. When he fights
little knives are tied onto his legs, which is why the sport, though
brilliant, is short as far as the cock is concerned.

I keep wondering how Madero can "divide up the great estates" and
deliver them to that unknown, and here even unlabeled, quantity, "the
people." According to the Plan de San Luis Potosí, it would seem as if
Mexico were a cake one had simply to cut into and then pass around the
slices.

There is an underlying excitement in the European contingent of the
Diplomatic Corps. The sending of the _Panther_ to Morocco looks like
one of those Franco-German incidents that we were familiar with when in
Berlin, and may lead to real difficulties.


                                                             _July 8th._

To-day what started out to be a little golfing lunch, gathered together
by N. in the sunny morning hours when it seems it will never rain
again, turned into a sort of _disputa_ about many things, within four
walls. A tremendous hailstorm came up and darkened and nipped the town,
so the "foursome" sat long talking, the water pouring from the roof.
Leclerq, Koch, and Nacho Amor are all cultivated, agreeable young men.
Amor was educated at Stonyhurst, and has the soft, pleasant voice and
delightful English of Mexicans who have passed young years in England.

As I write, near and very brilliant stars, under which I was not born,
are shining into the _patio_, and in a moment I must go and walk about
the inner veranda and look up into that dazzling bit of heaven in the
square frame of the house. If it were only not so far and unsharable
with my beloved ones!


                                                            _July 10th._

Last night the German minister gave his first big dinner, at which the
Maderos, making their début in official international life, were the
_clou_. We arrived as it was striking eight, but the Belgian minister,
whom we met going in, said they had already arrived.

I found the large room rather full, with a hitherto unsampled Mexican
contingent. Von H. was standing by the door, near the Maderos, and
we were presented almost immediately. Madero, seen at close range, is
small, dark, with nose somewhat flattened, expressive, rather prominent
eyes in shallow sockets, and forehead of the impractical shape. But
all is redeemed by expression playing like lightning over the sallow,
featureless face and his pleasant, ready smile.

  [Illustration: VON HINTZE, GERMAN MINISTER TO MEXICO
   (1911 to 1914)]

He speaks French and some English, preferring the former, but lapses
continually into Spanish, his ideas coming too fast for a foreign
medium, and he uses many gestures. There is something about him of
youth, of hopefulness and personal goodness; but I couldn't help
wondering, as I looked at him during the dinner, if he were going to
begin the national feast by slicing up the family cake.

Madame Madero might be a dark type of New England woman with a hint
of banked fires in her eyes. There is a sort of determination in the
cut of her face, which is rather worn, with an expression of dignity.
She, too, is small and thin, and was dressed in an ordinary high-necked
black-and-white gown, a narrow "pin stripe," with the most modest of
gold brooches holding the plain, high collar. She gives an impression
of valiance without any hint of worldliness, or desire for any kind of
flesh-pot. I pictured her at Chapultepec, and somehow could not fit her
in as châtelaine of that high-standing palace.

Of course all the other guests were in their best "bib and tucker." I
wore that "Spitzer" white satin with the floating scarlet and black
tulle draperies. It seems very magnificent here; but in Paris, at
Madame Porgès's great dinner, and at the Russian Embassy, the train did
not seem quite so long and slinky, nor the drapery so tight around the
ankles, as the dresses of the wonderful Frenchwomen.

As we went into the dining-room I saw, a mile off, the unmistakable
name O'S. by Madero's, and naturally thought it was for me. I sat down,
then had to take my appointed place quite a good deal higher up by the
Minister of Foreign Affairs. So disappointed. It was N., however, who
was to help him fill the "suburbs" of the table. Countess Massiglia
presided; on her right was the Minister of Foreign Affairs; then I
came; then an elaborately uniformed but, as far as I was concerned,
anonymous military gentleman whose card was under his napkin--which he
did not use.

The Maderos are reputed enormously wealthy; their wealth is mostly
invested in lands, however. I understand Madero spent all the available
family cash on the revolution, though he told N. last night that no
revolution had ever been carried through so cheaply from the standpoint
both of men and of money.

Von H. does things very well. The courses were accompanied by
wines of special, rare vintages, and his dinner was lavishly and
handsomely presented. He has the same majordomo that the Towers had in
Berlin--that huge, blond man (I forget his name). I asked him how he
liked Mexico; he permitted himself the hint of a sigh, and said it was
not Berlin, adding, "_Aber es giebt nichts zu machen_."

Madame Madero was placed between the Italian minister and the Austrian
chargé, our host having the wife of the Norwegian minister on his right
and Madame Romero on his left. N. said Madero was very militaristic,
considering he was come to bring peace, and somewhat suspicious of the
United States.

On the other side of Madero was that anomaly, a Mexican _vieille
fille_, whose name I did not get. I supposed she belonged to one of
the two or three elderly military men present. N. suggested to Madero
his falling in with the views of the United States in the regulating of
claims, and he said the following in French, "You Americans always act
on the presumption that we Mexicans are always in the wrong." N. said
this was _à propos_ of his remark, "Now, Mr. Madero, you are going to
be President, and I know when your government gets in you will clear up
all matters pending between the two countries, and let us begin with a
clean slate."

There had been some discussion among us all as to how Madero should
be seated at table. He was the undoubted next President, the leader
of the _Ejército Liberatado_, but actually at the moment he was
without official status of any kind, and could not be placed above
plenipotentiaries with their definite ranking.

Von H. cut the Gordian knot, rather informally, by putting him next N.
"so that they could have a talk," which they did!

Handsome young De Weede turned up yesterday, having made the ascent of
Orizaba, a great feat. He came down in a dreadfully burned condition,
however, and spent some days in bed attended by a physician. He is the
son of our friend, the Dutch minister in Vienna.

He returns there as first secretary with his father, regretting
Washington very much.

He had seen the Hitts in Guatemala, and showed me photographs he
had taken of their house with its lovely _patio_, fountained and
flower-planted. The roughly paved street gave the outside a desolate
look which it doubtless has not really got under that sky, as blue as
this. It was so nice to see De W. again, and the "welkin rang" with
reminiscences of the _Kaiserstadt_ and the happenings of our mutual
friends.


                                                            _July 12th._

Von H. has been criticized for having had Madero at a formal
dinner, where he could not have the first place at table, being the
_Liberatador_ and more than all the others put together. However, I
imagine it is those who were not at it who felt critical. I inclose the
menu. Apart from the _huachinango_, the wonderful Mexican redsnapper,
the fish that Indian runners used to bring up on their backs from
Vera Cruz for Montezuma's delectation, it might have been a handsomely
presented dinner anywhere in the world.

This morning I took De W. to the museum to look over the treasures,
pre- and post-Cortesiana. The building forms part of the Palacio
Nacional, some of which dates back to the great captain, and it was
the celebrated Casa del Estado during the viceregal period. The old
colonnaded _patio_ is a beautiful receptacle for a flooding sun, as
well as the altars and carvings of a bygone civilization. In the middle
are the Sacrificial Stone, and the great Calendar Stone, which has
contributed more than anything else to give the Aztecs their reputation
for scientific achievements. They adjusted their festivals by the
movements of the heavenly bodies, fixed the true length of the tropical
year, etc.

For some generations after the discovery of the Calendar Stone in
the subsoil of the Plaza it was cemented onto one of the towers of
the cathedral, and only in the eighties was removed to the museum.
The Piedra de Sacrificios is appalling when one thinks of its origin
and use; but with an extremely handsome young man leaning against it,
under that warm sun, in that mellow old courtyard, it was not, for the
moment, so dreadful to contemplate. Its true home was the top of the
great temple, and there Cortés found it.

During the siege of the city the conquerors, watching from afar,
are said to have sometimes seen their own captured comrades led up
the great stairway to the stone on which they were placed, their
chests opened with a special razor-like knife made of obsidian, the
palpitating heart torn out, held for an instant toward the sun, _this_
sun, and then flung at the feet of the god of war. Huitzilopochtli, the
aforesaid god, is a huge block of basalt, half man, half woman, who
was "born" just as one sees him now, with the addition of a spear in
the right hand, a shield in the left, and on his head a crest of green
plumes, going Minerva one better. Thousands were sacrificed to him
yearly under this wondrous sky, enfolded by this softly penetrating,
vivifying sun.

Afterward we went up and saw the "Maximiliana" for "Auld Lang Syne,"
not much nor very interesting--a huge amount of cristofle silverware
and the saddle used by the unfortunate emperor when he was captured
at Querétaro (May 15, 1867). The pictures of Maximilian, one on a
dashing white charger, show him a full-lipped, blond-bearded, blue-eyed
Austrian obviously unable to cope with the Mexican political situation.
Carlota, in pale blue and pearls, hangs by him. These portraits are by
Graefle, the Viennese court painter of the period. Napoleon the Third,
the cause of all their troubles, hangs near with Eugénie--a copy of the
Winterhalter portrait of her, I think.

We took a look at the relics of Juarez, the "man in the black coat," as
the only Mexican ruler that didn't wear uniform is called. The plainest
of civilian garb of the late sixties was in the _vitrine_, and near by
was the bed in which he actually managed to die. This last, as far as I
can see, is unique among Mexican relics, Mexican public men not having
the habit of dying in bed.

Dearing has gone away, on three months' leave, and N. is at his desk.

I must stop and take my baby on my lap. He has been standing by my
side, saying, "Dy will be done." He is being taught various prayers,
and repeats them on all occasions. He is waiting with a bit of
blotting-paper to blot my letter, which I am sure he will do, and wants
to know if you got the last thousand kisses.


                                                              _Evening._

These past two days I have lunched at Coyoacan. Yesterday at the
house of some American friends of the ambassador's--the Becks--who
are charmingly situated in a huge old house surrounded by a great,
tall-treed garden, and filled with lovely old things. Mr. Potter,
who is down here to watch over large interests of his own and other
people's, is most witty and entertaining, and with his friend, Mr.
Butler, went with us. The day before Mrs. Laughton, who had met De
Weede, asked us all for lunch at the Casa de Alvarado. I was glad
to show him some more "local color," and that beautiful old house is
simply oozing with it.

After lunch we went into the garden for our coffee, while Elim played
with Mrs. Laughton's two little children; but, even with young voices
sounding, a soft sun shining upon lovely flowers, and sipping coffee
under the pleasant shade of the rose-grown arbor, the garden is eery
and melancholy-inducing.

On our way back we stopped at the Zócalo, and went to the Academia San
Carlos, the national picture-gallery, _Academia de las Nobles Artes de
Mexico_, as it was called under the viceroys. It has a huge collection
of plaster casts which cost the king several hundred thousand _pesos_.
Do you see the "Laocoön," the "Apollo Belvedere," the "Young Hercules,"
etc., being brought up on Indian backs from Vera Cruz? The _patio_ and
corridors were full of scaffolding and plaster scrapings as we passed
in.

Humboldt speaks of seeing great halls lighted with Argand lamps,
evidently then the _dernier cri_ of illumination, and the Indian, the
Mestizo, and the son of the "grand seigneur" side by side, drawing and
modeling from the antique molds. Tolsa, the celebrated artist of the
"Iron Horse," taught here.

We took a glance only at some of the boresome, well-painted academic
modern canvases, which made us feel like dashing into the street to
get some _real_ pictures. The rooms where the early Mexican painters,
the Echave brothers, Cabrera, etc., hang were closed for repairs
or cleaning. Indeed, the whole place was at sixes and sevens, each
object plastered with from two to five numbers. As we had "met" most
of the casts in European museums, it didn't matter. We walked up the
gay Avenida San Francisco and stopped in at "El Globo," a café much
frequented from this hour on. On coming out De W. took photographs
of the Jockey Club, its blue and yellow tiles particularly brilliant
against some threatening rain-clouds, and some others of the charming
entrance to the old Church of San Francisco opposite; he said they
could be hung as "Sacred and Profane Love." We got back to Calle
Humboldt as the heavens opened and deluged the town.

General Crozier, just arrived from Washington, came in the darkest
and wettest hour. Such an unexpected pleasure! There are not many
Americans to visit Mexico this summer. All the people who used to
come in their private cars and bring a note of home and gaiety are
conspicuous by their absence. There is no way of heating the houses,
and sometimes during the rainy hours there is a cold dampness which
is very penetrating. Stirring the embers of old acquaintance and
talking of "home" happenings was a very pleasant way of alleviating the
temperature this afternoon.


                                                            _July 17th._

Don't fear that I shall do anything rash about going to Tehuantepec in
the present state of things. I have even given up the trip to Puebla.
They are fighting and killing there again, and in Calle Humboldt they
are not.

Notwithstanding the press, which has its liberties and the smiles
of the government, things are not really very stable. Aunt L. writes
that San Gerónimo has been filled to overflowing with refugees from
Juchitan, the county-seat, twelve miles away. The feeling there between
the Maderistas and Porfiristas is very bitter, and has just culminated
in an uprising of the Indians against the new Federal authorities,
who had to fly for their lives from a howling mob of two thousand
Indians armed with rifles, clubs, and machetes. The Federal General
Merodia made no resistance, but came with the civil authorities of the
government to San Gerónimo, giving the mob no excuse for sacking and
robbing Juchitan. Every house in San G. is full, and furniture piled
in the street. It seems to me no one but the Mexicans will be surprised
that the overthrow of Diaz has not brought about the millennium.

De Weede,[6] who departs this evening for Vienna _via_ the Grand Cañon
and the Yellowstone Park, has just been squeezed into N.'s frock-coat
and top-hat (not carrying such _impedimenta_ himself) to call on the
President. The Dutch minister lives in Washington.

General Crozier comes for dinner on Wednesday. We have just lunched
at Stalewski's (the Russian minister's), and he served the delicious
_blinis_ with caviar that all expect when lunching there. He often
takes remote journeys into the interior, coming back with a silver
ingot and curious bits of carving. The diplomatic species always
dream dreams, and his is to tread again the streets of Berne. In the
evening Captain Sturtevant, our military attaché, gives a dinner at the
American Club for General Crozier.


                                                                _Later._

I have spent a last delightful evening with Prescott, and Humboldt is
waiting in five attractive, clearly printed old volumes, Paris, 1811,
that Mr. de S. brought me yesterday. Now, just a century after, I am to
turn the pages. I have also some volumes of Alaman, who brings things
down to 1846.

I forgot to speak about my Spanish teacher, with whom I have been
studying as well as "Castellano." Her mind is about as mobile and
receptive as a tin saucepan upside down, and she is always late.
Sometimes her watch stops, sometimes the tramcar won't stop, sometimes
she forgets her purse or her keys, and has to go back, etc.

She is still young, heavily powdered, insistently perfumed, big-busted,
tightly laced, tightly skirted, and keeps a very short foot in a tight,
high-heeled slipper in front of her. She hates the sun, as I discovered
when I tried to have the first lessons in the sunny corridor.

This morning she told me in a lackadaisical, dreamy way that the noise
of the typewriter (she has some sort of afternoon office work, for
which she is doubtless totally unfitted) was not good for her; that
she had been thinking over things, and had concluded that, if I would
arrange it, introducer of foreign ladies to the President's wife was
what she was fitted for. She said I probably did not realize what
temptations the _despacho_ office offered.

I dare say she has met a few devils in her day. She wound up by saying
that the society of ladies would be less of a strain. It was all done
quietly; she has evidently dreamed dreams. She did not streak her face
when she wept, dabbing her large black eyes carefully with a coarse
lace handkerchief drenched with cheap scent. I explained as gently as I
could that the position she was thinking of was filled by the _chef du
protocole_. Though, without doubt, her life is completely commonplace,
she gave me the feeling of really not understanding anything at all
about her, and that is one of the charms of Mexico. An illusion of
elusiveness is continually presented that keeps one on the chase for
the pleasure of the chase. You never get anything or anywhere, but your
interest is kept up--which, after all, is the great thing.


     [5] This was a time-honored calumny told to all new-comers
     in Mexico, and believed by many chiefly because it would have
     been so easy for Don Porfirio to enrich himself to any extent
     he pleased. The facts are that his ambitions lay rather in the
     direction of power for himself and peace and progress for his
     country than in that of the amassing of riches. He was a man
     of the simplest personal habits, though he always maintained
     a state dignified and befitting his high office.

     During his years of exile he and his beautiful wife lived
     in the quietest manner on an income sufficient only for the
     ordinary comforts of life. The last will and testament of "the
     Greatest Mexican" further proved that he could be called to no
     such accounting by the Final Judge.

     As for Señor Limantour, he inherited a large fortune from his
     father, principally in real estate, that increased in value
     during those years of prosperity which his long and able
     administration of the finances of Mexico did so much to bring
     about.

     [6] In the autumn of 1911 Maurice de Weede was accidentally
     killed at a shooting-party in Austria.



VII

     The old monastery of Tepozotlan--Lively times on the
       Isthmus--The Covadonga murders--The Chapultepec
       reception--Sidelights on Mexican housekeeping--Monte de
       Piedad


                                                            _July 21st._

Yesterday General Crozier, Mr. de Soto, and myself motored out to the
old church and monastery of Tepozotlan. The morning was indescribably
white, with a dash of diamond-powder on its lovely face, and from the
very door every turn of the wheel took us over historic ground.

We turned down the celebrated Puente de Alvarado, where the dashing
captain for whom it is named is supposed to have made his great leap
on July 1st, the date of the retreat of the _Noche Triste_, when the
Spaniards were fighting their way out of this same road, the Tacuba
causeway, to the hill where the Church of the Virgin of the Remedies
stands. We passed the famous _Noche Triste_ tree, which those who live
here view with composure and indifference, but which still excites the
new-comer. And what's the use of an imagination if one can't be stirred
by the picture of Cortés sitting under the great cypress and weeping
as he took note of gap after gap in the ranks of the companions of his
great adventure?

There is an old romantic verse that I picked out the other day, instead
of preparing verbs, picturing Cortés sitting under the great tree, one
hand against his cheek, the other at his side:

     _En Tacuba está Cortés
     Con su escuadron esforzado.
     Triste estaba y muy penoso,
     Triste y con grande cuidado,
     Una mano en la mejilla
     Y la otra en el costado_, etc.

     In Tacuba was Cortés
     With his most valiant squadron.
     Very sad and much distressed,
     Very sad and greatly anxious,
     One hand against his cheek
     The other at his side.

As we got out of the city a white sun, the glory of these windless
mornings of the rainy season, was shining on what seemed a world of
crystal objects set in blue and green and lilac. I was so proud of
my Mexico that the general said I acted as if I had "taken over" the
country. The little grayish, yellowish adobe huts reminded him of
Chinese vistas in color and outline; but to me it was Mexico only,
unique, endlessly beautiful.

The road was once the great highway to the north; but the deep ruts,
almost morasses, made us suspect that many a _jefe político_ has sent
his wife to Paris or gone there himself instead of repairing it. All
along were milestones bearing half-obliterated inscriptions and arms
of forgotten viceroys, who used to keep the road up for the crown or
themselves--rather a contrast to the deep ruts of the now neglected
highway. Since the railway was built even Cuautitlan, the once famous
_primera posta_ from Mexico City to the north, has been abandoned, and
our motor was the only vehicle in the broad, deserted streets, which,
however, filled with Indians, as if by magic, at the sound of our horn.

For nearly an hour we could see the delicate belfry of Tepozotlan
flattened against a gray-green background of hill, while the sun
was touching everything near us with a sort of white incandescence,
the maguey-fields seeming like rows of stacked silver spears. One
thing about the Mexican vistas--they do not lose their charm as you
approach; and as we got into the square of the little village we found
a beautiful old church, inclosed with its _patio_ by a luscious pink,
low-scalloped wall. These _patios_ are a feature of every old Spanish
church. The friars used them as school-rooms, as courts of judgment, as
medical dispensaries. Indeed, all that had to do with the temporal and
spiritual needs of the Indians was transacted in them.

The Tepozotlan _patio_ is grass-grown, shaded with pepper and palm
trees, paved with sunken grave-slabs, bits of cactus growing about
them, and there is a lovely cypress alley leading to the door of
the small _parroquía_. From this we passed into the great church,
built with the adjoining seminary by the Jesuits toward the end of
the sixteenth century, and restored nearly a hundred years ago, in
Iturbide's time. As reminder of his brief imperial career we found the
Mexican eagle painted in profile on the old wooden benches.

The church is a triumph of the Churrigueresque school (I have learned
to spell this word, but never, never, will it casually trip from my
tongue). The vault is simply a madness of gilt carving, and there
is a beautiful high altar and many side altars of the richest and
most varied designs, all the gold having a lovely reddish patine.
We investigated the organ loft, but found only a broken organ with
yellowing ivory stops and keys, and a few dusty missals with all the
engravings and title-pages gone.

The general is not ecclesiastically inclined, and the visit to the
old monastery, so bare, so stripped of all belongings, was most
cursory. We soon betook ourselves to the cypress alley and the warm
sun outside, lunching in the auto in the village square, with children
and old women clustering about and waiting for the crumbs from the
banquet. The latter was somewhat marred for us by the discovery that
the mineral-water opener had been forgotten. The motor was drawn up
near a little pink-and-blue pulque-shop called _El Recreo del Antiguo
Gato_,[7] but it contained no help for us; neither did a search at a
still smaller one rejoicing in the name of _El Templo de Venus_,[8]
on the other side of the Plaza, prove successful. However, the general
pointed out hopefully that it would soon begin to rain.

On the way back we did get caught in one of the usual infant
cloudbursts, which left the difficult roads of the morning almost
impassable, and several times we had to get squads of Indians, who rose
up apparently from the solid earth, to help pull the car out of various
huge morasses. I thought at one time we could not get back for the
dinner I was giving for General C.; but having the guest of honor with
me, I felt fairly philosophic.

The ditches in some places were thickly carpeted with a long-stemmed,
yellow, lily-like flower, and though warned that nobody would pick me
out if I slipped into the black water underneath, I gathered great,
heavy scented bunches, while the gentlemen and the Indians wrestled
with the conveyance. Mr. de S. said the unfailing remark on the part
of the Indians was, "_No quiere andar_" ("It does not wish to go")--a
favorite and sometimes final phrase here about machinery that is out of
order.


                                                                _Later._

There have been lively times on the Isthmus. The former Federals
against Maderistas. Aunt L.'s big house has been taken by the
government for a hospital. A cruel uncertainty about affairs Mexican
presses heavily everywhere.

The dinner for General C., after the long day at Tepozotlan, went off
very pleasantly. He says he is here only _en touriste_, but he has
the recording eye. The German minister returned from investigating the
horrid Covadonga murders just in time to get into his evening things.
Dearing, De Soto, Sturtevant, Mr. and Mrs. McLaren, _et al._, made
up the dinner guests. The McL.'s are strong supporters of the Madero
movement, and hope more than it seems reasonable to hope from such a
movement in such a country.

Von H. is up to his eyes in the complications of the Covadonga murders
where four Germans, one of them the wife of a manufacturer, were
literally hacked to death in their factory. They were caught in a large
room with one frightened Spaniard, the others having fought and shot
their way out. Sixty-eight in all were killed and some two hundred
wounded, nearly all Spaniards. Whether this is to be laid at the doors
of the "Liberating Army" or is simply a little independent fling of a
bandit chief called Zapata is not yet known.

Von H. has sent out a circular to his nationals, urging caution. He
intends to bring the guilty ones to justice himself if the government
does not; there was a light in his eye as he announced it, and a click
of the teeth.

  [Illustration: MEXICAN WOMEN WATER-CARRIERS
   Photograph by Ravell]

Emilio Madero, brother of Madero, is chief of the also troubled zone
of Torreon. Circulars are being distributed by his orders begging
the people to respect foreign lives and property, and explaining the
necessity of the continuance of foreign capital, intelligence, and
method in the country. They also state that any one voicing sentiments
hostile to Spaniards, or other foreigners, Americans included, will
find no place in the _Ejército Libertador_ (Liberating Army).

The servants seem such nice human beings. All their defects are small,
and they are so honest. I feel myself more and more fortunate to have
got this nice, practical arrangement with the _je ne sais quoi_ of
culture and breeding added.

The whole machinery runs comfortably, economically, and agreeably. I
never scorn the _pesos_, or even the _centavitos_ they return to me
from the kitchen when we have been out, or things were _less_ expensive
than they expected in the market. Is it not all of a touching honesty?

Some grim fatality attended my first waving back of the _centavitos_
with a grand air. Either the bells were not answered, the food was
not carefully prepared, the dinner was late, or some such thing. Now
I accept the _centavitos_ and life takes its normally smooth course.
I had been warned not to refuse these offerings of simple hearts; and
these same fatalities were foretold me by others more experienced in
Mexican domestic psychology than I.


                                                            _July 27th._

Home from another reception at Chapultepec. I always enjoy them, the
setting is so perfect and the elements so diverse. The iron circle
is not as tight as formerly, and this afternoon a sunset so gorgeous
was going on that it made us all ashamed to sit between four mere
brocade-covered walls, so there was much walking about the terraces.

There is a single great pine growing near the castle, where you look
over the terrace toward the volcanoes, like the umbrella pines of
the Borghese Gardens. It was black to-day with scallopings of bronze
against the sky, and as I stood there, looking at the beauty of it all,
talking with one of the President's handsome brothers (the one that is
shortly going on a financial mission to London), I realized, suddenly,
the obvious and persistent compensations of life.

Afterward we went down the little winding stairway leading from _la
vitrina_, the glass-inclosed balcony looking over the side toward the
city, to the large east terrace, where an elaborate and abundant tea
was served at small tables. Hohler took me down. I felt quite mellowed
by all the beauty, and he, in spite of a certain matter-of-factness, is
always appreciative. There is generally among the _Corps Diplomatique_
a note of _nil admirari_. Mostly they _have_ seen a lot, and it's in
the note not to show surprise; but no one could look without a stirring
of the soul on the marvelous vistas from the terraces.

Hohler was about to set out on one of his periodical journeys when
he uses "wheeled things," as Belloc expresses it,[9] as little as
possible, and he showed me a tiny edition of Ovid, _ars amatoria_, that
he was taking with him.

A long letter came from General Crozier this morning, from Puebla. He
had found Madero at Tehuacan, and had had an interesting hour with him.
The day before he had had an interview with the Minister of War, who
sent an officer with him to visit various military establishments, the
college at Chapultepec, the cartridge-factory at Molino del Rey, the
powder-factory at Santa Fé, etc.

What he thought of it all I know not; he is one of the discreetest of
mortals. He says he is taking a regretful departure from Mexico, where
he found so much of interest and friendly courtesy. Certainly good
wishes and regrets follow him.


                                                 _July 28th, afternoon._

The Agadir incident bids fair to become more than an incident. Asquith
has just said that England, to the last man, the last ship, the last
shilling, will stand by France. We won't talk of the little panthers
to-night at dinner.

As I was walking home from the Embassy this morning I found myself
wedged in by some motors, near the trolley line, and had to wait, while
a black funeral car, familiar but unhygienic, passed under my nose.

The plain coffins, with or without palls (this had none), are placed in
an open, sideless tramcar, sometimes with flowers, sometimes without.
They have to pass the broad Avenida de los Insurgentes to get out to
the Panteon de Dolores, the big, modern cemetery behind Chapultepec
hill. There are agitations, from time to time, to prevent the carrying
of these obviously not hermetically sealed coffins through the city,
scattering germs and odors of mortality. Foreigners generally turn
their heads and try not to breathe; but the Mexicans take off their
hats and make the sign of the cross.


                                                            _July 29th._

I have spent several afternoons with Humboldt, quite intimately and
cozily, to the sound of heavy water falling from the roof, and the room
so darkened by the deluge that I have had my lights turned on. He says
that Peñon I wrote of will, one day, destroy Mexico City. Will it be
_Anno Domini_ 1911? I envy him his beautiful gift of accurate seeing.
None of the marvels of Nature, none of her vagaries, showed themselves
to him in vain; and he is astonishingly up to date.

I have begun to prowl about for "antiques." No one escapes the fever,
and in its delirium I wandered this morning to the Monte de Piedad,[10]
which is housed in an ancient building facing the cathedral. An old
tablet over the door records that it was founded in 1775 by Terreros,
Conde de Regla, one of the most romantic figures of the eighteenth
century, as, by a lucky chance, he became the owner of the Real del
Monte mines at Pachuca.

Among the people he was the subject of as many fables as Crœsus.
When his children were baptized the procession walked upon bars of
silver, and when he was made Conde de Regla he invited the King of
Spain to visit his mine, assuring him that if he did so his feet should
never touch the earth.

The Monte de Piedad was founded for the purpose of keeping the poor
out of the clutches of the usurers. Going in on the ground floor,
directly from the street, I found myself in a crowd of elbowing people
of all classes, leaning over glass-inclosed show-cases, where jewels
and silver and small objects of value are exposed. In the large space
immediately back are samples of everything used by man except things
that need to be fed.

After having fingered the greatest number of objects that, in my right
mind, I would have no possible use for, I concentrated my energies on
a pearl pin, the pearl really visible to the naked eye, and bought it
for thirty dollars; but I expended more than thirty dollars' worth of
time and energy, even as those things go here. It's a scarf-pin and,
somehow, in its old, brilliant setting, it seemed to try to tell a
tale. Perhaps it had held some viceroy's lace? I will send it to you
for St. Augustine's Day.


     [7] Recreation-ground of the Ancient Cat.

     [8] The temple of Venus.

     [9] _The Road to Rome_, Hilaire Belloc.

     [10] National Pawn-shop.



VIII

     Elim's fourth birthday party--Haggling over the prices of old
       Mexican frames--Zapata looms up--First glimpse of General
       Huerta--Romantic mining history of Mexico.


                                                            _August 3d._

Again it is the blessed anniversary. It seems but a moment of time
since my arms received my son. He asked me, the first thing this
morning, at what time he would be four years old. When I told him
it had already happened he set up a dreadful howl. It appears he had
expected to feel himself becoming four, as he informed me when he got
his breath. I only send this line to you on this, his fourth mark on
the shores of life. Now I must be up and doing. The sun is flooding the
_patio_.


                                                                _Later._

His birthday party was sweet, but I was deathly homesick for you, when
kind and friendly strangers came, bringing their gifts and good wishes.
He had his cake, and the four candles for the years he had blessed
my life. The two little Japanese, Madame Chermont's little boy, the
two handsome children of the Casa Alvarado, the little Simon boy (too
sweet, with his dark curls and big eyes), Dearing, Arnold, and Palmer,
from the Embassy, came.

Von Hintze, who loves little children, dropped in late with a book of
fairy tales. Mrs. Laughton brought Æsop's Fables, not many pictures
in it, and as Elim opened it at a printed page he said, with shining
eyes, "_Endlich habe ich ein Lesebuch_." He has spent a good deal of
time, since, holding it upside down and asking not to be disturbed
while reading. He and Jom Chermont had a clash of arms, and Bobo, the
two-year-old little Jap, ran the whole show with singular competence.

An invading nostalgia possessed me all the afternoon, and I kept
thinking of the beautiful word the Portuguese chargé, De Lima, taught
me a few days ago at dinner--"_saudades_," meaning memory of dear
and early scenes, or of loved ones, or of all these things together.
I presented my son with two tortoises and a little green bird, a
_clarine_, which can be kept on the oleander terrace, though he had
asked for a monkey and a crocodile.

I see that Abbey is dead. The wonder of those reds of the "Parsifal"
frieze in the Boston Library has followed me for years. _Tout a une
fin_, but when an artist dies there is a double end. I have just come
across most beautiful photographs of Mexico--gum-prints and callotypes,
after some special process by an artist named Ravell, who has a
remarkable eye for this beauty and evidently a soul to receive it.


                                                           _August 8th._

To-day was my usual Tuesday at home. Elim, in spotless white, played
quietly under the tea-table most of the time with his little legs
sticking out. Torrents of rain, and only a few callers, among them the
German Consul-General, Rieloff, very musical, asking us for dinner,
and Mrs. Cummings, handsome, competent, and warm-hearted, the wife of
the head of the cable company, and a friend of Aunt Laura's since many
years.

Lately I have bought several beautiful old Mexican or Spanish frames.
Sometimes they are inlaid with mother-of-pearl, sometimes with ivory
or bone. Sometimes they are old, sometimes only so cunningly arranged
to deceive the eye and fancy that they give the same pleasure. To-day
a short, stubby, insistent Mestizo, from the Calle Amargura, brought
me a beautiful one, and I spent a most exciting hour haggling over the
price. The four evangelists are carved in mother-of-pearl at the four
corners, with a charming, simple device of diamond-shaped pieces in
between. A beautiful Ravell photograph of the stone sails of Guadalupe
just fitted into it, and it will hang above the bookcase by my sofa.
The room has many friends whom I have put in Mexican frames; Elim and
Sofka, Iswolsky, the Towers, Mr. Taft, Mr. Roosevelt. A sweet one of
Gladys S., with her first-born in her arms, has a soft, yellow wood
frame, with an old, irregular tracing in black and ivory.

I can't call Mexico a melting-pot exactly, as things don't melt here.
But it is a strange place, with strange people and peculiar situations.
Society here, blown together by the four winds of the earth, is a mixed
affair, and various people have disappeared from the rolls since our
arrival. Some come to seek, some, it would appear, because they are
being sought, others still whose life demands a change of setting.

It now appears that a certain agreeable foreign couple, received by
everybody, had never been joined in holy matrimony. It came out between
the invitation and the dinner at the ---- Legation. It was not official
enough for the minister to intimate to them that the dinner was off,
but definite enough to make him most uncomfortable. Everybody behaved
very well, however, and as he sat at the table, his eye glancing rather
anxiously about the possible field of battle, I felt quite sorry for
him; but I realized that though anybody has a right to the highways, in
the narrow compass of the drawing-room all must, alack! be alike.

Peretti de la Rocca, the clever _conseiller_ of the French Embassy
in Washington, took me out to dinner. It is he who married, when _en
poste_ here, the handsome only daughter of the Suinagás', living in
our street. It was very pleasant talking Washingtoniana, Mexicana, and
politics.

Yesterday, Sunday, I spent the day at the Del Rios' at Tlalpan, on the
first slopes of the Ajusco Mountains. Von. H., who confesses openly to
homesickness, took me out with Elim, and we dropped N. for the usual
Sunday golf at the Country Club as we passed by.

The Del Rios have a big, comfortable, modernized house, with a huge,
unmodernized garden; and it is a favorite Sunday haunt of certain of
the diplomats. In the tiny inner court there is still a gem of an old
"rosace"-shaped fountain, with calla-lilies growing about it. Small
bitter-orange trees, thickly hung with green and yellow fruit, adorn
the corners, and masses of geranium-like vines mingle with the ivy
which covers the house walls, pierced here and there with old grilled,
arched windows.

On the plateau, familiar vines and fruit-trees grow willingly among
so many things that don't flourish together in Europe. Tlalpan was
once beloved of the viceroys; I think Revillagigedo first made it
fashionable, though it was settled immediately after the Conquest, when
the picturesque old church was erected.

Madame Calderon de la Barca, in whose time Tlalpan was known after the
name of the church, San Agustin de las Cuevas,[11] gives a most amusing
account of the great annual Whitsuntide gaming festival, and Del Rio
tells me that _la Feria de Tlalpan_ still continues to be fittingly
celebrated by the exchange of temporary possessions in various forms of
gambling, and that it's not quite innocent of cock-fights.

However, we moderns repaired to the tennis-court on arriving, where we
found a dozen or so people using it to play hockey, and others sitting
about in comfortable chairs watching the proceedings. We went for
lunch and tea, but stayed for supper, all scampering to the house at
tea-time, when a single, well-timed shower deluged the scene.

Some played bridge, and some read. Del Rio is an agreeable,
intellectual, bookish man, with degrees at several continental
universities, and has a good library of new and old books. He also
possesses some rather radical ideas, though his personal life, as is so
often the case, plays itself out with conventionality on the highest of
ethical planes. His wife, partly of German origin, is very pretty in a
dark-eyed, unaffected, happy way.

When the rain passed we went out and sat in the _mirador_, a sort of
summer-house built into a corner of the high stone wall, a feature of
every Mexican garden, and watched the sun-glow slipping from the hills,
which took on a vivid blue, though the volcanoes kept their light in
their own exclusive, dazzling way for long after. A pale moon, arisen
among the sunset clouds, was waiting for its chance. By the time we
started home through a magical night in an open motor, packed with
flowers, a lot of us together, the moon was flooding the world and had
cut the whole plateau into great squares of black and white.


                                                          _August 10th._

I have just seen a list of the diplomatic shifts. Dear Mr. O'Brien goes
to Rome, the Ridgely-Carters, after their pleasant, successful years of
Europe, to the Argentine. The Jacksons have been appointed to Rumania.
It was very nice having them "near," in Havana. Each must take his turn
in the tropics, but we aren't any of us physically fitted for prolonged
sojourns, and I suppose they are delighted to return to Europe, after
their "cycle of Cathay."

Mr. Lloyd Bryce, so cultured and agreeable, has been appointed minister
to Holland. With his beautiful wife and their gifts of fortune they
will make a representation in a thousand.

Mexico seems to me the best of the Latin-American posts, the most
important to the United States, the most interesting, the most
accessible. We are lucky to have got it, though I didn't feel so on
the night of the 10th of January, when the friendly porter of the Hotel
Bristol (in Vienna), as I was coming down-stairs for one of the usual
_petits soupers_, said to me: "So Madame is going to leave us?" When
I asked, "Where?" he told me it was _Mexico_, having seen the Paris
_Herald_ before we had! It was like hearing we had been transferred to
the moon.

Penn Cresson, secretary at Lima, is passing through, _en route_ for
Washington. He says Peru is far; but he brings some very attractive
photographs of his abode there, and it all depends, anyway, on what you
take to a place yourself--the heart and brain luggage--whether you like
it or not.

Yesterday we started to call on Madame Bonilla, whom I had met at
the Del Rios', and for whom Mr. Cresson had messages from the British
consul-general and his wife in Lima, formerly in Mexico. Madame B. is
an Englishwoman, and I had heard much of her great taste and the really
good things she has picked up.

When, on going to the address I thought was hers, we got into a hall
with a life-size negro in plaster-of-Paris, draped with a pale blue
scarf, and holding out a gilt card-receiver, placed near the door, and
to whom we almost spoke, I was a bit taken aback. An Indian servant
somewhat stealthily showed us into a dull-red dadoed room with a
waving, light-blue ceiling, and many enlarged family photographs in
black frames hanging against the walls. I saw C.'s interest wane as
to the giving of the message, and when, after ten minutes, a large
magenta-robed, hastily dressed, startled-looking dark lady appeared,
we could only make our excuses. After much courtesy on her part,
murmurings of _à la disposición de usted_, and more excuses from us,
we got the address next door, where we found the kind of interior we
were expecting, drank the freshest of tea brought in immediately by an
accustomed servant, and poured by a charming lady never surprised at
five o'clock.

We fingered bits of silver, hearing just how they had been acquired,
looked at the marks on the porcelain, admired some gorgeous
seventeenth-century strips of brocade, all to the accompaniment
of questions about mutual friends and the inexhaustible "Mexican
situation." _Suum cuique._


                                                          _August 12th._

Last night, dinner at the Danish Legation, where things are well and
carefully done. I again sat next the Acting Secretary for Foreign
Affairs, Carbajal y Rosas, a huge man with a black beard, and
intellectual in our sense of the word. He talked very interestingly
about Mexico and affairs here in general. In regretting certain things,
he gave me a quotation from Taine to the effect that it is _un pauvre
patriotisme que celui qui s'imagine que l'on doit excuser les crimes de
son pays, simplement parcequ'on en est un citoyen_.

He and President de la Barra are great friends; and he thinks that
after this coming electoral term (six years) he should be President
again--himself, I suppose, as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Now De la
Barra, who is the candidate for the Vice-Presidency of the Catholic
party, which is to be reorganized with a modern and republican
program, could not be elected, even if he wished. The Madero wave
sweeps everything else before it, though De la Barra is filling a very
difficult situation with dignity and tact. He is called _el Presidente
Blanco_ (the White President), for evident and creditable reasons.

As we sat about the handsome, methodically arranged rooms after dinner
they seemed filled not alone with Scandinavian household gods, but with
the atmosphere of the north, and as entirely detached from Mexico as a
polar bear carried to southern seas on a block of ice. The portrait of
Mr. L.'s father, the author, and other portraits of distinguished men
of an unrelated race, watched us from the walls. Even the old pieces
of silver and the bric-à-brac were but remotely connected with this
present existence, and Mr. L.'s glass-doored bookcases were filled
with Scandinavian literature. He is _à cheval_ between Mexico City and
Havana, but in Havana they live in a hotel, keeping the "Saga" here.

F. Vasquez Gómez has announced himself as candidate for the coming
presidential elections, but I expect it will end with the announcement.

In toying with the Encyclopedia Britannica on a watery afternoon I
accidentally came across the name of "Elim." I expected to see some
hero of Russian history, but lo! it said, "Elim, third king of Ireland,
killed in battle." I builded better than I knew!


                                          Assumption Day, _August 15th_.

Went to the cathedral this morning, walking down the broad streets
through a glistening, dry air; this afternoon, however, hail, wind, and
sheets of water are spoiling the holiday for the people.

A dinner here last night. Beautiful, ragged, yellow chrysanthemums,
much smaller than ours, decorated the table and drawing-room. The
German and Russian ministers, Penn Cresson, the McLarens, and others
were the guests.

A letter comes from Demidoff. He is leaving Paris to join Sofka, who is
now in Russia with her people. They go together to Taguil in the Ural
Mountains, to inspect their platinum mines. He is just back from a trip
to the Spanish Pyrenees with Célestin after chamois, which latter he
says don't compare with their Transylvanian cousins. He rather loftily
asks if N. enjoys most parrot-shooting or monkey-stalking. His letter
is interlarded with little questions as to when we are going to annex
the country.

He had been in charge for a month and had the excitement of a change of
government and the Agadir incident during that time. At the Embassy, it
would seem, they are one big, jolly family. It made me quite homesick.

He winds up with a postscript, saying he had just finished _The New
Machiavelli_. He considers it a _chef d'œuvre_, but I read it only
a few months ago, and no book whose atmosphere and intrigue you forget
in as short a time is great.

I think of you and Sofka, standing in the station, as the train rolled
out from Paris, that rainy Sunday, to Cherbourg, our first _étape_ to
the tropics.


                                                          _August 17th._

All quiet in Mexico City, but we understand that to-day a battle is
taking place at Cuernavaca between Zapata, our "foremost" brigand, with
three thousand troops, and the Federals.

Those who know tell me that Zapata is atavistic in type, desirous of
Mexico for the Indians, _à la_ a celebrated Indian chief of the Sierras
de Alica. "Mexico for the Indians" really means a sponging out of
everything between us and Montezuma, and decidedly "gives to think."

A few days ago, dining at Silvain's, the French restaurant in
vogue here, we saw a General Huerta who seemed _muy hombre_, a
broad-shouldered, flat-faced, restless-eyed Indian with big glasses,
rather impressive, who was returning to Morelos to fight Zapata. I
don't know if this was his battle or not.

The Russian minister is going on leave. I gave him a little green jade
god, to take to Demidoff, sworn to me, in the name of various deities,
to be what it appears to be, authentic. He is not handsome, but he has
a delightful, smooth "feel" and something chic about him, in his own
little Aztec way.


                                                          _August 18th._

The Finance Ministry, which was just opposite when we first came, where
Limantour created and guided the infant steps of Mexican finance (_le
premier pas qui coûte_), is now converted into the Police Bureau. There
are always a lot of people--women, children, young men and old--all
in some kind of trouble, standing or sitting on the curve in the most
picturesque combinations. It makes the street very human, almost too
human, when lawbreakers are brought to justice in the night hours.


                                                          _August 20th._

Two days ago N. met a man who knows all about your Avino mines, but
nothing consoling. It is a splendid property, but had the misfortune to
be exploited by one of the canniest of men. One, however, who didn't
lie awake nights worrying about the investors, and who ruined it, as
far as the investors are concerned, by always getting in new machinery,
he taking the commissions on the machinery, which was easier and
quicker than getting the ore out.

The mining history of Mexico is romantic in the way Eastern tales
of gleaming treasure are--a simple rubbing of Aladdin's lamp in many
cases--and certainly her national destinies have been molded by the
precious stores that her mountains hold. Some of the historic mines
were so rich that the veins could be worked by bars with a point at
one end and a chisel at the other, simply prying out the silver, _sans
autre forme de procès_! The famous Bueno Suceso Mine in Sonora was
discovered by an Indian who swam across the river after a great flood
and found the crest of an immense lode laid bare by the action of the
water--a pure, massive hump sparkling in the rays of the sun.

I told you of the Conde de Regla's mine, the celebrated Real del Monte
at Pachuca and the wealth beyond the dreams of avarice that it brought
in. He began life as a _muletier_ by the name of Terreros, and ended by
being able to lend the King of Spain a million _pesos_.

The mines of Catorce were discovered by a negro fiddler, who, caught
out by the darkness on his way home over the mountain, built a fire
on what happened to be a bare vein. The morning sun showed molten bits
of pure silver glistening among the embers. It's all rather upsetting,
collectively and individually.

Padre Flores, a poor priest in a little town in this same San Luis
Potosí, bought, for a small sum, from some one still poorer, a
mining claim. When exploring it he came upon a small cavern which he
straightway named "the purse of God," for in it he found great heaps of
ore in a state of decomposition!

The Morelos Mine was discovered by two Indians, brothers, so poor that
the night before they could not even buy a little corn for tortillas.
Any Indian could dream this dream going over any mountain.

There is the story of Almada, the owner of the celebrated Quintera
Mine, who, on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter, lined the
bridal chamber with silver and paved with silver the way which led
from the house to the church. In fact, there is a vast bibliography
of mining romance. Many of the lovely old churches in out-of-the-way
places were built by the friars of the seventeenth century, who worked
the mines solely to build churches and missions. Humboldt estimates
that from its discovery up to his time (1803) Spanish America had sent
nearly thirty milliards of piastres to Europe, an almost uncountable
sum.

It's difficult to expect normal government from a people who, in some
parts of their country, are nourished by the labor-saving banana and in
other parts by tales of about one in every fifteen millions becoming,
overnight, rich beyond imaginings. In the end it all must have some
influence on the psychology of the inhabitants. Needless to add that
_your_ mine doesn't seem to be one in fifteen millions! 'Twill be well
to dream some other dream!


                                                          _August 27th._

Last night a large crowd, or rather mob, assembled at the station to
meet Madero on his return to town. He did not come on the announced
train and the multitude then marched through the town, a squad of
mounted soldiers behind, to keep them in mind that the whole earth does
not yet belong to them. We were sitting in the library, about 10.30,
as they passed through Calle Humboldt, making all kinds of unearthly
noises. Suddenly a little night-robed figure rushed in, saying, "_Ich
will nicht getötet sein_." Elim had awakened and jumped out of bed at
the noise, thinking the revolutionary fate he hears so much about was
upon him.

The German minister gave a large dinner last night, and afterward I
played bridge with Otto Scherer, the big _científico_ Jewish banker,
a friend of the Speyers, the Schwalbachs, _et al._ He didn't draw his
trumps out, and so lost the rubber. I didn't mind. It was so amusing to
see a large financial light on his way to join the ten thousand English
who are at Boulogne for the same reason.

I am going to take Elim out to lunch at Mrs. Kilvert's at Coyoacan, and
must now get ready. They have an old house, trimmed with Bougainvillea
outside and lined with books inside. To-night we dine at the
McLarens'--a dinner for James Garfield, who is their guest.


                                     St. Augustine's Day, _August 28th_.

Have been thinking of you to-day, as you will know. The once famous
Church of San Agustin is now the National Library, so I went to San
Hipólito near by, equally interesting, and one of the oldest in Mexico,
dating from 1525. It was built on the spot where hundreds of Spaniards
lost their lives during the retreat of the "Melancholy Night." But I
was thinking of the Nauheim days, and all the preparations for your
feast, and so much that has slipped "into the vast river flowing." I
hope you got the pearl pin.

Spent yesterday at the Bonillas'. They have a tumble-down, picturesque
old country house, unoccupied for a generation, that they are beginning
to put in order, with a jewel of an unkempt old garden, where all the
growing things have just done as they beautifully pleased. It is a
favorite spot for picnics for our little circle--not too far out of
town, just beyond Tacubaya. After luncheon, partaken of under an arbor
of _mosquete_ and honeysuckle at the end of a lovely white-pillared
walk, we wandered over the maguey-planted hills stretching back of the
garden.

Von H. does not care about it all. As we sat on the hillside, talking
of Iswolsky, Demidoff, and Petersburg, where he was for seven and a
half years naval aide, _ad latere_, to the Czar from the Kaiser, I
thought how little, after all, he was fitted for a background of _agave
Americana_.

Such a sweet letter from Miton S., from Copenhagen, with a photograph
of their charming Legation drawing-room--with Miton's portrait and
that of Janos by Tini Rupprecht hanging on the wall. She tells me
she returns to Horpács, where Laszlo is to do her portrait and her
sister's. They are occupied with the familiar Copenhagen round,
golfing every day at beautiful Klampenborg, and are going to the
Fryjs' magnificent place for a visit, and later to Norway _chez les_
Löwenskiold.


                                                          _August 31st._

Mr. Garfield came to lunch to-day with the McLarens. He is most
agreeable, and is trying to pursue the political game along altruistic
lines. I certainly wish him success. He, too, hopes all things from
Madero. So few Americans have come this way that to have any of the
really nice ones here is a great treat. It made me think of all those
far-away tales of my childhood, when you knew his father as President.
The luncheon was the vehicle for one of those informal, intimate
exchanges from like standpoints, always so particularly agreeable
against an exotic background.

Yesterday, the 30th, Madero was nominated for President by the Mexican
Progressive party in convention in the city. As it was a case of "birds
of a feather," all went off smoothly as far as that special assemblage
was concerned, though any kind of peace is apt to be rather noisy, I
have discovered, this side of the Rio Grande. The elections, primary
and secondary, are set for October 1st and 15th.


     [11] St. Augustine of the Caves.



IX

     The Vírgen de los Remedios--General Bernardo Reyes--A
       description of the famous ceremony of the "Grito de Dolores"
       at the palace


                                               _September 1st, evening._

To-day was the feast of the Vírgen de los Remedios, once so important
in "New Spain," and, as I had planned, Mr. de Soto and I made the
pilgrimage there.

It was the first church Cortés built in Mexico, on the site of the
Aztec temple, where he and his battered remnant halted to bind up their
wounds after the retreat from Mexico City in the "Melancholy Night."
We started out at eight o'clock, on a dazzling morning, rather weakly
and apologetically within ourselves and to each other, in a carriage,
which took us through the Paseo to Popotla and Tacuba and Azcapotzalco,
where we descended and crossed some maguey-fields fringed by squat,
half-ruined adobe huts.

We jumped endless ditches, made after the antique pattern, until
we finally reached an uncovered horse-tramway, crowded with such
specimens of the _plebs_ as had the superfluous _centavos_ for wheeled
conveyances. We were finally deposited at San Bartolo Naucalpam,
and then did the rest of the way, several kilometers, decently
and fittingly on foot, climbing over the white, shining, pathless
_tepetate_, which, with the pink _tezontle_, has been from all time
the building material for Mexico City. We were in the foot-hills of the
Sierra de las Cruces, covered with a scant vegetation, various kinds of
cactus, or an occasional _árbol de Perú_.

The Indians seem to partake of this thinness of the soil, this strange,
vanishing quality of light, this dissolving of horizons, this pulsing
of colors. A generative, effective something is underneath all the
unrest and disorder of the miserable political systems they seem
to produce, and if a race is constantly being born into a world of
wondrous light and color, it can persist in spite of everything else
being impossible.

Indians were rapidly and silently approaching from all sides as we
neared the church, which I had only seen pressed against the purple
hills, wonderfully transfigured at sunset or catching the light in the
morning hours. Mexico can hold the fancy quite independent of the work
of man. But when one adds the activities of that creative, potent,
Spanish race, infinitely inspired by the background already perfect,
with the building materials, _tepetate_ and _tezontle_, white and
pink, giving them what they wanted to place against green and blue,
the beauty of the result, wrapped in the strange transparence of the
plateau, is not to be wondered at.

Everywhere we looked we found something that needed only to be framed
to make a perfect picture, a dome (_media naranja_, half orange, they
call the form), with its attendant belfry of reddish-gray lace against
a hill, a group of Indians resting, with notes of red zarape, white
trousers, peaked hat. Any spot can become a shop; there is just a
spreading out of their wares, and though the _jefe político_ of their
special pueblo sees that they don't vend without a license, at least
there is no rent.

  [Illustration: A TYPICAL GROUP OF CORN-SELLERS
   Photograph by Ravell]

The basket-venders, the sandal-venders, the pottery-venders, the
water-carriers, the carriers of glass jars of precious pulque, were
out in force, and the candle-trade was going strong, as we ascended the
crooked, crowded way to the _patio_. The buildings about were crumbling
and neglected, and the smell of the pungent messes the Indians put into
their tortillas was mingled with faint whiffs of incense.

Everywhere the tortilleras were busy patting up their tortillas,
sitting squatted on their heels, occasionally on a _petate_ made
from _tules_ (reeds), but they seem to prefer Mother Earth with their
children tumbling about. We got through the crowd to the door of the
church where clouds of incense, smoke from numberless candles held in
pious hands, and a persistent, almost visible, odor of Aztec, _la race
cuivrée_, further thickened the air.

No one noticed us. When you may have come fifty kilometers on foot to
worship a _Dios Todopoderoso_ a stranger or two doesn't count. They
were kneeling thickly pressed around the high altar, bending, with
their sombreros or their burdens laid in front of them, with their arms
extended, heads raised, a grave, strange-eyed race, at the oldest of
all occupations, communion with its Maker.

Peons almost never sing, but a wheezy organ was playing, and the
priest, whom I could just see, was giving the blessing after Mass.
The _Ite missa est_ did not, however, empty the church as it does the
temples of more sophisticated races, and it remained tightly packed.
There are some old pictures, De Soto told me, of authentic date of the
first period after the Conquest, but the church was somber, and they
were so darkened by time that one couldn't tell.

As for the Vírgen de los Remedios herself I could only dimly perceive
her over the heads of Indians kneeling before the little chapel of the
shrine, where a few bunches of red-berried branches mingled with the
paper and tinsel flowers. It is a small, wooden figure rudely carved,
holding an Infant Jesus. Tradition has it that on the several occasions
when it was decided to render it more artistic the artist appointed
straightway sickened and died. The figure is supposed to have belonged
to one of Cortés's captains, who brought it from Spain and who clung to
it through all the horrors and dangers of the "Melancholy Night." He
afterward placed it for safe-keeping in a huge maguey plant, where it
was found a generation later by a baptized Indian.

For centuries a great silver maguey, which Madame C. de la B. (also
that unflagging but amusing rejecter of all things Romish, R. A.
Wilson) spoke of seeing, was inclosed in her shrine.

At the time of the struggle for independence startling anecdotes
were recorded in connection with her. She was the patroness of the
Spaniards, who had her dressed in the full regimentals of a general,
in competition with the celebrated Virgin of Guadalupe, the great
patroness of independent Mexico and the Indians. The Mexicans defeated
the Spaniards at the battle of Las Cruces, 1810, and then the Virgin
was summarily stripped of her general's uniform, her sash and various
insignia being torn from her and her _passports_ given her--a touch of
the party spirit which continues to be the curse of Mexico.

The Virgin of the Remedies was, among other things, the great
rain-maker, and in the viceregal days was often carried in gorgeous
processions through the city (of course the naturally rainy months were
_tout indiqués_ for the procession). De Soto tells me there is still an
old proverb, _Hasta el agua nos debe venir de la Gachupina_.[12]

After the Laws of Reform were adopted the silver railing which
inclosed the altar, the great silver maguey, and all the treasures of
jewels and votive offerings, went into the national exchequer, with
the unfortunate result that now there is nothing in the church and
nothing in the treasury. The aforesaid Mr. Wilson, who demolishes every
Aztec dream of Prescott and almost routs Humboldt from the scene, was
particularly wrathy at the idea of the three petticoats she wore, one
embroidered in pearls, one in rubies, and one in diamonds.

Perhaps it was because he only found what he calls a "brand-new Paris
doll" when he was there in 1859, after the Laws of Reform.

I wanted to linger, but pangs of hunger, as well as great banks of
clouds, every possible shade of gray, rolling up high, with here
and there a patchwork of dazzling blue, reminded us that there are
various ways of getting rain. By the time we reached Calle Humboldt it
was nearly three o'clock, and as we lunched great cracks of thunder
sounded, the heavens opened, and then came the rattling of hail. I
thought with pity of the shelterless Indians on the hill, whose whole
life is some simple yet mysterious pilgrimage from the cradle to the
grave, and stupidly wished them all sorts of things they can't have.


                                                         _September 3d._

---- writes that everything on the Isthmus is a chaos or a drifting.
The government is so uncertain that nobody dares make any move _except_
the brigands and revolutionaries; and they, it would appear, are always
lively. Revolution comes easily in Mexico; it's done with a light
spontaneity, north, east, west, and south, that "gives to think." It
just bubbles up, now the "lid is off," inherent and artless, like any
other disquieting natural phenomenon.

The great thing to read is Madero's _Presidential Succession_. I have
been looking at it, expecting to be more interested than I am, but the
subject-matter, it seems to me, is only interesting because it applies
to Mexico. Otherwise it is a bit platitudinous--the kind of thing
that in all ages sincere demagogues have preached to the people. It
has, however, served to bring a sort of democratic party, a so-called
government by the people, into being, but any kind of liberal bird,
methinks, is apt to lose a few tail-feathers here.


                                                        _September 5th._

Waiting for Tuesday visitors. I tried the first and third Tuesdays,
but it was a bore remembering which, so I am at home every Tuesday.
Sometimes they are interesting, sometimes not, as is the way of "days."


                                                                _Later._

Mrs. Martin's English friend from Japan presented his letter this
afternoon. As De Soto and the newly appointed Mexican minister to
Vienna, Covarrubias, were here, and this latter was anxious to get a
lot of Vienna details, the elements were somewhat diverse.

A letter from Cal O'Laughlin tells us that Arthur Willert, of the
London _Times_, is on his way to Mexico to write up the situation
for his paper. He adds that people are beginning to regard affairs in
Mexico as little less serious than the Boxer outrages, and that a good
deal of apprehension is felt. He himself is off for a trip through
Canada to write up reciprocity as the Canadians look at it.

I am sending you a photograph of the "Man of the Hour." As you will
see, being photographed is not his "forte"; he sits wooden-faced in
a huge, carved armchair, with a copy of the Constitution in his hands
and the date 1857 picked out in shining white on the covers. He is now
in Yucatan, making one of his accustomed political _tournées_. He is
developing into a sort of "Reise-Kaiser." It is rumored that from the
state of sisal and henequen he will pick his running-mate.

Gen. Bernardo Reyes was stoned and robbed and mobbed when he attempted
to make a speech the other day, and things are pretty noisy. He
was rescued by the police from the infuriated mob with the greatest
difficulty. He had just resigned his commission in the army in order to
be ready to serve an evidently unwilling country as Chief Executive.


                                              _September 12th, evening._

I sent you a rather hasty line this morning in commemoration of ----'s
birthday, the best and most faithful of friends for this life and the
next. I went to early Mass to San Lorenzo, in the old part of the town,
one of the ways of seeing Mexico City.

Indians were sweeping the Alameda as I passed through, with brooms
of dry bushes tied on to long sticks. A thin, pinky-white sun was
filtering through the lovely trees, and watering-carts were in
evidence, making rather scant tracings on the dusty, untrodden streets
of the night.

A little boy was drinking from a gutter, like some puppy--his morning
meal, I suppose. I do hope he took the pennies I gave him to some place
where he could fill his little "tummy." The population, Indian and
Mestizo only, up and about their tasks, were shivering a little in the
chilly morning. Long lines of _arrieros_, bringing their heavily laden
donkeys into town with the day's provision for _le ventre de Mexico_,
were prodding and exhorting their burros none too gently.

Priests introduced the donkey here in the sixteenth century, to relieve
the Indian of his burdens, and the poor beasts have had an awful time
ever since. The only live stock for whose comfort the Indians are
really solicitous is the fighting-cock. _He_ is fed, _he_ is housed,
and his vagaries and exigencies are tenderly followed.

Elim has just asked me, with a hopeful gleam in his young eye, what
"raining cats and dogs" means, a side-light on the afternoon weather.

The government would love to defer the elections for a while, but the
authorities don't dare not carry out the promised program.

To-day Arthur Willert, the very agreeable London _Times_ correspondent,
just arrived, lunched with us, and we got a view of Mexico from another
angle, and a lot of outside news. Evidently they are pessimistic in
Washington. He comes to tea to-morrow to meet the McLarens and Von
H., to whom he also has a letter. As Von H. is busy hunting down the
perpetrators of the Puebla outrage, with his own strength and time and
money, he does not see anything _couleur de rose_, and Willert will get
nothing cheerful from him.

Saturday we dined at the new British Legation, the first dinner Hohler
has given there. It is really quite lovely. A dado of Puebla tiles has
just been completed around the hall and stairway, and the large rooms
are sparingly and very decoratively arranged with H.'s good things,
pending the arrival from England of the government furnishings.

The new houses here are generally horrors; they don't even build them
with _patios_, and it seems criminal to shut out of daily life this
beauty of light and sky. Many of the new buildings are almost like
miniature New York tenements, with light-shafts only for some of the
rooms. My _patio_, with its square of heaven, is an abiding joy.

A cable came from Prince Festetics, whom we had congratulated on the
occasion of his new title. But it all seems a far dream of a far past.

Luncheon here yesterday--to the Horigutchis, the Norwegians, Mr.
Wilson, of course, and Mr. Bird from New York. Mr. Bird brought a
letter to us, and is down here in connection with a mining claim that
has been on the Embassy files for nearly twenty years to one of the
richest mines in Mexico. He is accompanied by a white-bearded, magnetic
old gentleman of some ninety years.


                                                       _September 13th._

Last night a huge banquet in honor of the ambassador given by the
leading male American citizens. The consuls all over Mexico sent
telegrams of congratulation, and Mr. Wilson made one of his accustomed
polished and trenchant speeches. Mr. Hudson's toast (he is the clever
editor of the _Mexican Herald_, that no breakfast is complete without)
was to "Mexico present and future." It was not more optimistic than
the occasion required, but certainly more so than the actual situation
warrants. He did touch on the most vital question, as to whether the
results of the election will be peaceably accepted by the people, and
hoped they would recognize the necessity of abiding by the result of
the polls next month. All sorts of political shades are appearing. It
isn't just one solid Madero color, as it was four months ago.


                                              _September 15th, morning._

This is Independence Day here, and Heaven alone knows how Mexico
will celebrate it. To-night at the palace, which I have not yet seen
officially, is held the famous ceremony of the "Grito de Dolores."


                                                       _September 16th._

Everything quiet in Calle Humboldt. N. has gone to the Embassy for late
work, servants are invisible, the infant is in the "first sweet dreams
of night," and I can have an hour with you about the celebration last
night, which was most interesting.

I went rather _contre gré_. The heavens had been more than usually
lavish with their water-gifts during the afternoon, and the house was
damp and chilly. But I got into the black velvet with the gray and jet
design, so easy to don, as any black dress should be, and we were ready
when the ambassador came for us.

We passed through the brilliantly lighted and beflagged Avenida San
Francisco to the Zócalo, where an immense crowd was already assembling.
Mounted police were dashing to and fro as we passed under the "Puerta
de Honor," through which the _Corps Diplomatique_ enters on official
occasions. The huge bronze statue of Benito Juarez, still and shining,
caught the _patio_ lights. I suppose the real Benito was watching the
proceedings also from some angle, _up_ or _down_, I can't say.

We went up the broad stairway with the handsomest and reddest of
carpets, which Allart said had been bought for the _Centenario_
celebration. We entered the Sala de Espera at the top, where our
wraps were disposed of, under a huge allegorical picture of "La
Constitución." We then went through a series of really handsome
rooms in the sumptuous style; with their great proportions and high
ceilings they are most impressive. Everywhere are hung pictures of
their illustrious men, who mostly did not die in their beds--Hidalgo,
Morelos, Iturbide, Juarez, Diaz.

At one time I found myself in a huge room, and looking down upon me
was the delicate, ascetic face of Hidalgo--"other-worldliness" stamped
all over it. The scroll in his hand, proclaiming independence to
Mexico, the same kind, unfortunately, I should judge, that we were
there to celebrate, testified to the fires consuming him from the
earthly furnace of liberty and regeneration, in which he dreamed of
purifying his nation and his race. The pictures, however, are mostly
more remarkable for their size and the value of their frames than for
their artistic work.

We were received with dignity and ceremony by President de la Barra and
the members of his Cabinet. But Madero was the center of attraction as
he moved about with a dreamy, pleased expression, not unduly elated,
however. A sort of simplicity stamps all that he does. The women were
mostly in hats. Their afternoon costumes are apt to be the dressiest.
But the _Corps Diplomatique_ was _en grande toilette_. We had been
wondering, in absence of notification from the Foreign Office, what we
were to wear, but accepted Hohler's verdict that "after seven o'clock
you can't go wrong in evening togs."

As we strolled about the handsome rooms a life-size painting of the
German Emperor, given on I don't know what occasion, was the only
European sovereign we met. There are many fine Chinese vases. In the
red room, they told me, those supporting the candelabra had belonged
to Maximilian, but during viceregal days much very beautiful Chinese
porcelain found its way to Mexico from the East to the port of
Acapulco, and was brought up to the capital on the backs of Indian
runners.

Señor Calero, the very clever Minister of Justice, took me out to
supper. The table was high, and as we stood instead of sitting at our
destined places we were not too far from our plates.

Calero speaks unmistakable American-English extremely well, with
a slight Middle-West twang. He knows almost all the things we
Anglo-Saxons know, and some that we don't. Though still in deep
mourning, black studs, cuff-buttons, vest, etc., for his first wife,
he was accompanied by a pretty, shy bride of two weeks, who seemed
to be very pleased at finding herself standing just across the table
from him. I suppose there is some rule here about wearing black which
does not take into consideration possible early reblossomings. He
is extremely clever, and I fancy very ambitious. However, as honors,
wealth, and power are the natural objects of human life, why not?

The table was decorated with three splendid silver _épergnes_, and some
very large, fine fruit-dishes, all bearing the tragic and imperial
crest; though I understood from Allart that the plate used for the
service of the supper dated from Diaz's time, and was first used when
the famous Pan-American Congress met in Mexico City.

A blaze of light came from the great crystal chandeliers, and the walls
and windows were hung with crimson brocade. We went through a long
menu, with many courses and appropriate wines. I think no expense was
spared. De la B. is used to functions, anyway.

Of course, the great moment of the evening was the ringing of the
Independence Bell. The President stepped out on the little balcony
overlooking the Plaza, a few minutes before midnight, followed by
Madero, and voiced the celebrated cry, "_Libertad é Independencia_,"
while just above the balcony sounded the _Campana de la Independencia_,
which Hidalgo rang to call the patriots together in Dolores on the
night of September 15, 1810.

Then the great bells of the cathedral rang out, and cheers and cries
came from a crowd of about a hundred thousand people.

The President asked me to go out on the balcony; I was the only lady
of the American Embassy present, and I stood there for a few minutes
between him and Madero and looked down upon those thousands of upturned
faces. I felt the thrill of the crowd. Nameless emanations of their
strange psychology reached me. But also I was sad, thinking of the
impossible which has been promised them.

Madero was very silent, but his hands twitched nervously as he gazed
out over that human mass he had come to save. I felt how diverse our
thoughts as we stood looking down on the faces, on that forest of
peaked hats, on police riding down the little avenues which traced
themselves between the crowd. Everything was orderly. I think Gustave
Le Bon could have added another chapter to _La Psychologie des Foules_.


     [12] We must get even the water from the Spanish woman.



X

     The uncertainty of Spanish adverbs--Planchette and the destiny
       of the state--Madame Bonilla's watery garden-party--De la
       Barra's "moderation committee"--Madero's "reform platform"


                                                       _September 21st._

To-day we go for a farewell lunch at the Austrian chargé's, who is
leaving almost immediately. His cousin, the new Austrian minister,
Riedl von Riedenau, and his American wife, have arrived and are to have
his house.

I have been out very little lately--only to a dinner at Hohler's and
a luncheon at the Embassy. This is not a climate where foreigners can
put screws on themselves with impunity. The mornings are indescribably
clear-washed, brilliant, radiant, but the trouble about all this beauty
is that it is too high. Very few resist it _à la longue_.

I have been reading C. F. Lummis's _Spanish Pioneers_--a noble picture
of their romantic achievements. I am sending it. Please keep it with my
other Mexicana. I am also sending _Howard's End_, this last a history
of a life, to fill a dark afternoon.

I hear Elim, who is picking up a lot of Spanish, remonstrating with
Elena, saying, "_No mañana, orita!_"[13] His infant soul has perceived
the full significance of the fatal word _mañana_. _Orita_, I have
discovered, is also apt to be followed by a maddening wait; and, in
general, Spanish adverbs of time awaken uneasiness.


                                                        _September 23d._

Last night there was a big dinner at Von H.'s, at which I did the
_maîtresse de maison_. I wore the pastel-blue satin with the silver
embroidery and the dull-pink bows. I thought I had ruined it forever in
Vienna, at the French Embassy, when the French ambassador had his ball
of twenty couples only, for the Princesse de Parme, and I gaily swept
the floor with it during some hours. Gabrielle, however, who realizes
that the source of gowns is far, has resurrected it.

There was much talk of the great reliance Madero places on the spirits.
It is said that Madame M. goes into spiritualistic trances, and when in
that condition answers doubtful questions, and that the planchette is
fated to play a rôle in the destiny of the state.

However that may be, there is a most authentic story of Madero's having
consulted the spirits through the medium of the planchette some years
ago. When he asked what the future had in store for him he was told
that he would one day be President of Mexico. He is supposed to have
arranged his life in conformity to this prophecy, which put him in a
condition of mind where everything that happened of happy or unhappy
augury bore on the fulfilment of this destiny. It is certainly one way
of coercing fate.

There was an amusing but watery garden-party at Madame Bonilla's. We
found ourselves at one time sitting under a dripping arbor of white
musk-roses in a rain resembling a cloudburst. A large lizard fell from
the arbor on to the ambassador's head, and thence into my lap, and
various other zoölogical specimens were washed down from time to time.
The ambassador, immaculately garbed in newly arrived London clothes,
suggested, but rather feebly, the impossible feat of going home. After
everybody's clothes were spoiled, we made a two-hundred-yard dash to
the uninhabited, picturesque house, where it speedily got dark. There
were no means of lighting, of course, as the house had not been lived
in since the dear old candle days. The French minister, so handsome
and most carefully dressed in gray, was also perfectly miserable under
the arbor, with the elements at work, though he repeated at intervals,
"_Faisons bonne mine à mauvais temps_," and recklessly took what had
once been my black tulle hat, now turned into a formless thing of gummy
consistency, under his immaculate gray "wing."

The Latins in general, and the French in particular, don't care about
unsuccessful _al fresco_ entertainments. The volcanoes, as I stood
at one of the wide windows, showed themselves from time to time, in
strange rendings of the heavens by narrow threads of lightning, with
something frightening and portentous in the aspect of their red-brown
peaks. Above them were great, shifting masses of blue-black clouds.

Finally the violence of the storm passed and a chastened group of
picnickers groped their way down the broad old stairway into the little
_patio_, where the autos were waiting, and we were infolded in some of
those strange shadows that seem to creep up from the earth rather than
descend from the heavens.

I have a lovely photograph of the volcanoes, with a pine-tree in the
foreground, taken from the Bonillas' place. I am sending it.[14]

I have just come back from looking up at my starry square. Unknown
constellations are near, but you are far. Good night.


                                                       _September 25th._

We notice there is a coldness in Maderista quarters at any praise of
President de la B. He is too popular. He could unite in his person
too many factions, old and new. Even that invisible "smart set" might
re-emerge from Paris or the country. Up to now I have not laid eyes on
a member of what would be known in Vienna as the _erste Gesellschaft_,
with the exception of young Manuel Martínez del Campo, who began
his diplomatic career under Diaz and is now Third Introducer of
Ambassadors.

De la B. has appointed a "moderation committee." Its real use, when all
is boiled down, is, if possible, to prevent the various factions from
calling one another names, or even taking one another's lives. I say,
"God bless our home."

General Reyes is very strong in certain quarters. I liked his eyes,
shrewd yet kindly, and his firm hand-clasp, when I met him that time at
the British coronation housewarming. For some reason, outside the army
he is not popular. The "common people" (I don't know just what that
expression means here) don't like him. With postponement either he or
De la B. _might_ be elected, though De la B. reiterates that he does
not want it. Now the Madero tide is high, and will without doubt wash
him into the presidency.


                                                       _September 27th._

Elections in the land of revolution and maguey are to be held on
Sunday. Everybody is wondering how the people will stand the change
from the iron hand to _sufragio efectivo_.

Just back from lunch at the French Legation. Mr. Lefaivre is never so
happy as when he is offering hospitality. Their beautiful old silver is
out, the dining-room glistening with it, priceless dishes and platters
from Madame Lefaivre's family.

The Legation seemed very pleasant when De Vaux had it, but, of course,
many valuable things then packed away have made their appearance since
the minister's return. Madame Lefaivre returns next month. The luncheon
was for Baron and Baroness Riedl, just arrived from Rio de Janeiro,
_via_ Paris. They will be a great addition to the "Cuerpo."

Baroness R. had on a dark-blue and white foulard, smacking of _La Ville
Lumière_, and a trim, black hat put on at the right angle. We had a
very pleasant lunch. It is always amusing to put new-comers wise to
the actual situation. Of course, the Simons and ourselves are almost
too bright for daily use. Rio is a place with many Austro-Hungarian
interests, but since the days of Maximilian there has been little
enthusiasm about Mexico in the Austro-Hungarian political breast. After
all these years, nearly half a century, there are under a thousand of
Riedl's nationals in the whole of Mexico.

To-morrow night, dinner at the Brazilian chargé's for the Riedls, and
as the other colleagues follow with affairs it will all mean quite a
little round of gaiety.

I must go to the station to meet dear Mrs. Wilson, who arrives on the
eight-o'clock train from Indianapolis, accompanied by her sister.


                                                       _September 30th._

Just returned from the Requiem Mass for the five hundred sailors
and officers of _La Liberté_. It was most impressive, with a great
Tricolore unfurled across the high altar. Nearly all the lost were
Bretons, and over a thousand widows and orphans are weeping. The Mass
was held in the Church of El Colegio de Niños, on one of the busiest
down-town corners, and which has survived many different tides of life.
It is now the "French" church, served by French clergy, and is clean
and orderly, but dismantled of beauty or treasures.

It dates from Fray Pedro de Gante, one of the greatest of the friars,
and I dare say was once full of beautiful things, now possessed or
scattered by tourists, or by various breeds of revolutionaries. Mexico
has been such a bottomless, inexhaustible source of treasures fashioned
by the genius of Spain.

The political outlook is still very uncertain. Madero, of course, for
President. The vice-presidency between de la Barra, who does not want
it, another man, Vasquez Gómez, who does want it, and Pino Suarez,
the obscure and evidently not over-popular Maderista candidate from
Yucatan. Personally I shall be most sorry to see the De la B.s go.
They are people of the world. De la B. is a trained diplomat, and these
months of his "Interinato"[15] have been a "finishing-school" indeed.
His father and mother were Chilians, afterward naturalized in Mexico.

Crowds parade the streets crying "_Pino-no-no-no!_" Why Madero
insists on that running-mate we don't understand. Pino Suarez was an
unknown editor of a Yucatan newspaper before fate beckoned to him,
making him first governor of Yucatan, and now pointing him on to the
vice-presidency.

Madero's party, with its banner cry, "_No reelección y sufragio
efectivo_," is called "Progressive Constitutional" (we couldn't do
better at home). His platform, if it will hold under the weight of
virtue and happiness it bears, is quite wonderful.

To begin with, it re-establishes the "dignity of the Constitution,"
and there is to be no re-election. The press is to have its antique
shackles struck off, pensions and indemnities for working-men are to be
introduced, and the railways are to be "Mexicanized," which will make
travel a bit uncertain for a while. Even the _jefes_ must go.

I couldn't explain, if I would, the real uses of the _jefe_. You have
to live in Mexico to understand even dimly his attributes. Madero, whom
no difficulties daunt, even tackles the vexed question of the Indians,
saying that he intends to show the same interest in their affairs as
in those pertaining to other shades of Mexicans, especially in those
of the Mayas and the Yaquis, whose tragic deportations in great groups
from hot climates to cold climates, and _vice versa_, have long been
a blot on the Mexican 'scutcheon. In fact, everything is to be made
over--the judiciary, the army. Foreign relations are to be founded on
brotherly love instead of interest; a fight is to be waged against
alcoholism and gambling; and there are many other reforms I don't
remember now. _Ojalá_, but it makes me sad!


     [13] Not to-morrow, immediately.

     [14] _Vide A Diplomat's Wife in Mexico._

     [15] Interinato, _ad interim_ presidency.



XI

     Election of Madero--The strange similarity between a Mexican
       election and a Mexican revolution--The penetrating cold
       in Mexican houses--Madame de la Barra's reception--The
       _Volador_.


                                          _Sunday evening, October 1st._

This morning we started out in good season for a Sabbath run, shaking
the election dust from our feet, or rather wheels, skimming out through
the shining city, which yesterday afternoon had had what may be its
last good bath till next June.

We went out the broad Tlalpan road, black with motors full of golfers,
and when we got to a place called Tepepa began the magic ascent of the
Ajusco hills between us and Cuernavaca, with a continual looking back.
For at our feet was spread the lovely "vale of Anahuac," like some
kingdom laid out in a great chart of emerald, turquoise, and jasper.

An unexpected rain-cloud was threatening from over the western hills,
and across the valley columns of light and shade continually passed
and repassed. Every dome and spire of the city shone, but the hill of
Chapultepec was black, distinct, and solitary, only the castle a white
point. At one moment we found ourselves hanging over the lovely lake of
Xochimilco, with its green, lush, sweet-water shores, and the verdant
band of the lake of Chalco showed itself separated from the barren
white _tequesquite_ shores of Lake Texcoco only by a narrow strip of
roadway.

The two Peñones and the hill of Guadalupe were sometimes dark and
sometimes shining, and a far-off fringe of sapphire hills marked the
valley's end. It was "Jerusalem the Golden," well worth sighing for.

At a place called Topilejo we found a church on a hillock by the side
of the road, its large atrium up a row of grassy steps, entered by
an old carved archway. Looking through it, we saw a strange sort of
festival going on, having a decided Moorish touch.

What seemed to be kings were seated in a row of rush-bottomed stools.
Gaudy crowns of gilded cardboard, or something stiff and glittering,
crowned them, and about them were flung twisted capes, like the Arab
burnoose, with the hood falling back. The play was proceeding _con
mucha calma_ except for a large Indian, evidently "stage manager," who
was trying to bring about some sort of dénouement. Behind was the open
church door. It was about twelve o'clock, and the last Mass had been
said. A melancholy chanting proceeded from some Indians, their hands
tied together, who stood in front of the "kings." It was all strange
and unexpected on those heights.

The village on the other side of the road was in the sneezing and
coughing throes of one of the bronchial epidemics so common in cold or
damp weather in the hills. The children were scarcely covered; I can't
bear to think of all the little brown backs and thighs in these cold
waves. A dreadful, unrestrained-appearing person, in a battered hat
and warm red zarape, looking as if he might have been the "father" of
the village, towered above them all, everything about him bespeaking
pulque. We decided that "song" was what he had given up.

Silent Indians, _carboneros_, inhabit these parts, and their fires
could be seen high up on the wooded mountainsides. They were coming
and going, bent, and almost hidden under great sacks of charcoal.
We sped on till we got to a place called La Cima, the highest point,
whence I wanted to make a dash for Cuernavaca, in spite of brigands,
but the gentlemen and the chauffeur decided against it. Here was a huge
stone cross, _La Cruz del Marqués_; solitary and moss-grown, it still
stands, marking the boundary of lands once granted to Cortés by the
crown, where he passed on the venturesome march to Mexico City from
Cuernavaca.

I indulged my passion for Cortés by walking around the historic cross
and picking an unfamiliar scarlet flower, while the men worried about
Zapata and his brigand host, to whom these hills belong in 1911.

After some parleying we turned back. But beyond the hills lay the Hot
Country, full to the south, its mysterious valleys filled with gorgeous
blossoms, where vanilla, myrtle, jalap, cocoa, and smilax grow. Four
hours down would have brought us into the fullness of its beauty, to
lovely Cuernavaca, once the haunt of kings and emperors, where Cortés
pondered on the insecurity of princely favor and planned his expedition
to the Mar del Sur.[16] Now it is the capital of Zapata, and shunned
since a few months by anybody with anything on his person or anything
negotiable in the shape of worldly station. A great bore. My sentiments
were all for pressing on with the added thrill of danger.

The roads here, with the history of Spain cut into them, and Indian
life flowing ceaselessly over them from sea to sea, from north to
south, are inexpressibly appealing. They are like a string, holding
the beads of Mexican life together, and what "a rosary of the road"
the glories and sorrows of their history would make! I don't feel the
literary call, however. My life is run in another mold. But I have
undergone a violent and probably permanent impression of this race,
this country--its past, its present, its uncertain future, and oh, its
beauty!


                                                           _October 3d._

You can't tell an election from a revolution here. It's all lively to
a degree. I have now seen both.

Madero has been duly elected, and the streets rang all night to
_vivas_ for him. Groups were passing continually up and down the
Paseo, spilling into Calle Humboldt. Many students were among them and
Latin-American youth seemed at its noisiest. There were some decided
expressions of other political opinions, voiced largely in the now
accustomed sound of _Pino-no-no-no_, but the Madero tide will doubtless
wash him into the vice-presidency. It's quite irresistible.

Madame de la B. was among my callers to-day, smiling and handsomely
gowned in a new French dress. Of course, she gave no hint of what
she thinks about the situation. She and her husband go abroad after
Madero's inauguration, now set for November 20th. The President is
finally to take the thanks of the Mexican government to the King of
Italy for the special mission sent to represent him at the _Centenario_
of 1910--which seems as remote as the landing of Cortés.

There is no provision for heating in any of the houses here. They tell
me that in December and January, if a _norte_ is blowing at Vera Cruz,
one is almost congealed in Mexico City.

Even now the late afternoons and evenings are cold, but there is a
glorious warm sun every day till the afternoon rains begin, and all
the Indians in the city, come out from _quién sabe_ where, are warming
and drying themselves on curb and bench and against sunny walls all
over town. I suppose it is the only moment of comfort they have. Often
now, instead of rain, there is the most gorgeous banking of heavy, dark
clouds, with hints of orange, red, and purple linings.


                                                          _October 5th._

Just returned from Madame de la B.'s reception. She does the "first
lady in the land" very well. The President came in later, to the sound
of the national anthem. He is of infinite tact in these strange days.
He was clad, as usual, in an immaculate gray frock-coat, and showed
no trace of the Procrustean bed he sleeps in. All his Cabinet were
there and the _Corps Diplomatique_, and several well-set-up competent
brothers, who, doubtless, will get some sort of foreign post. After
all, I am rather a believer in nepotism, not too exaggerated. But if
one does not do for one's own, who will?

De la Barra has been a sort of suspension-bridge between Diaz and
Madero, and that he and the republic are still "suspended" is testimony
indeed. The disbanding of the famous Liberating Army, financially and
morally, continues to be the great difficulty, as from it have sprung
all these flowers of banditry whose roots lie too deep, apparently, for
plucking.

I met, at the reception, Don Alberto García Granados, an elderly
man of long political experience, with a clever, perspicacious look,
accentuated by deep lines above the prominent brows, showing that his
eyes had often been raised in surprise or remonstrance. He is a great
friend of De la Barra, and resembles statesmen I have met in other
climes. He is now Minister of Gobernación (Interior).[17]

I had a luncheon to-day for Mrs. Wilson and her sister, Mrs. Collins,
who look very well together--handsome, slim-figured, small-footed,
carefully dressed women. The table was really charming, with heaps of
yellow chrysanthemums. The dining-room is sun-flooded, flower-vistaed
whichever way you look, and its pale-yellow walls, and good old pieces
of porcelain in handsome old cabinets, and fine old engravings on the
wall, all picked up as occasion offered by the Seegers during their
long Mexican years, take the light most charmingly.

Baroness Riedl, Madame Lie, Madame Chermont, and some American friends,
Mrs. McLaren, Mrs. Kilvert, and Mrs. Harwood made up the guests. There
are several menus that the cook produces very well, and Elena and
Cecilia serve quietly and quickly, in neat black dresses, white aprons,
cuffs, and collars.

Some vigilance is needed as to their collars. They loathe them in their
souls, being of the casual, rebozo race, after all, and though they bow
to this especial inevitable, I imagine it comes hard.

I don't often penetrate to the kitchen regions; I couldn't change
anything if I wanted to, and I am not endowed with culinary talents.
But I did see, as I passed through not long ago, fish being broiled
on the beloved _brasero_, which the cook was fanning with the beloved
turkey wing.

One can't change the washing processes, either. Some time ago Gabrielle
noted holes appearing in all our new linen. I told her to investigate
and let me know the result, which she did. I then ascended to the roof
from which all creation, lovely Mexican creation, is stretched out to
view, and the linen floats in the purest, bluest ether.

I found the two washerwomen sitting on their haunches, pounding and
rubbing the linen between stones. I let them know I thought washboards
were what the situation required, but no signs of enthusiasm were
visible. They told me, with an air of complete finality, _es el sol_
(it is the sun), when I pointed out various and obvious signs of
damage.

Just sent off an _Atlantic Monthly_ with a most interesting
contribution, "Within the Pale," by a young Russian Jewess, Mary Antin.
I haven't been seeing the _Atlantic_ for some years and I am glad they
keep their good old historic cover instead of allowing themselves to be
seduced by _art nouveau_, with the usual dreadful consequences.

Elim is climbing all over me as I write. He has been promised a cat
by the drug-store clerk, but, fortunately, there has been some hitch
in the proceedings. You know my feelings toward the felines. Elim can
fling the _quién sabes_ and the _mañanas_ with the best of them, and
evidently takes in Spanish through the pores; he is very little or not
at all with the Mexican servants.

He told me the other day that he could count better in Spanish than in
English, and when I asked him to show me he did very well up to four,
which he replaced by the word "pulque," getting quite argumentative.
I thought it worth while to investigate the intricacies of the infant
mind. I find four is simply the magic hour when the cook leans over
the railing and sings out "pulque" to call the expectant _concierge_
contingent upstairs, for its afternoon refreshment, as fixed as the
laws that govern the hours.


                                                        _Saturday noon._

Just home from the _volador_ (thieves' market), with "goods" upon me.
Toward the end of the week it gets increasingly aromatic, as it is
only swept and garnished Saturday afternoon, and it is traditional and
expedient for the foreigner to patronize it on the Sabbath rather than
other days. But having been to "La Joya," a very nice and expensive
antique-shop in the Avenida San Francisco, where I got a frame of
dark wood with ivory inlay, just the size for my Ravell photograph
of the Church at Guanajuato, also a love of a little tortoise-shell
_petaca_ (miniature valise) with silver clampings, I thought to strike
an average in prices at the _volador_, where the sun was shining
brilliantly on purely Indian commercial life.

The "commerce" consisted more than usual, it seemed to me, of the
refuse of ages, collected under irregular rows of booths, canvas- or
board-covered, or simply piled on spaces marked out on the uncomfortable,
hot cobblestones. It all covers what once was the site of the new
Palace of Montezuma, and is named _volador_ after a sort of Aztec
gymnastic game. For a long time it belonged to the heirs of Cortés,
from whom the city finally bought it, and it is close behind the
Palacio.

As I entered the gate there was the usual collection of Indians of
all sizes and colors, but with the same destinies. Many were passing
by with their _huacales_ (crates) filled with bananas and oranges and
various green things, for near by is the great fruit-market of the
city. Some women were selling long plaited strings of onions, and by
the gate was standing a superior-looking individual with a stick twice
as high as himself, on which were stuck white, pink, and blue toy
birds.

Instead of abandoning hope as one goes through these portals, one finds
oneself immensely expectant, one's eyes darting hither and thither in
search of treasure, the eternal something for nothing!

Mexico is called the land of the _sombrero_ (hat), but when I go to
the _volador_ I feel it should be called the land of the candlestick.
There are so many candlesticks in every variety of shape and kind, and
occasionally of great beauty.

  [Illustration: ELIM O'SHAUGHNESSY, MEXICO, JUNE, 1911]

  [Illustration: MADAME LEFAIVRE, WIFE OF THE FRENCH MINISTER TO MEXICO,
   1911]

I was made "perfectly" happy by the discovery of two tiny bronze
_braseros_, somewhat in the form of Roman lamps--such as were filled
with coals and placed on tables to light cigarettes from in the
old days. I also got a large engraved pulque-glass, most lovely for
flowers.

At one booth an experienced _vendeuse_ pulled from her rebozoed bosom
a small velvet case, containing a brooch of flat, uncut diamonds;
but as, at the same time, I distinctly saw spring from that abode of
treasure a very large specimen of the flea family, I came home without
investigating further.

I have some beautiful books on Mexico which have been given me by
various people--mostly large, heavy books,--Lumholz's _Unknown Mexico_,
and Starr's _Indian Mexico_ are the last,--or I would send them, that
you might share more completely my Mexican _étape_. It has been a
strange summer, taking it all in all.

Madero probably comes in on the 10th of November. It makes one's head
swim to think of the mighty changes that are taking place all over the
world. Haughty old China a republic!--and Mexico to be governed solely
by brotherly love! And a free press and nobody to desire to continue in
office! In other words, _all_ to resign and many to die.

In church to-day the beautiful blue bag you gave me was stolen. I
remember two women in deep mourning, black rebozos twisted about their
heads, kneeling devoutly in the pew just behind me. The theft must have
occurred at the moment of the "elevation," because when I rose from my
knees both the bag and the black-robed devotees had disappeared. I had,
fortunately, just left the Louis XV. watch at the jewelers', or that,
too, would have gone.

Madame Lefaivre returned several days ago after a _mouvementé_ trip, as
the _Espagne_ went on the rocks at Santander. Mr. Seeger gave a little
_déjeuner_ for her at the Auto Club. The day was heavenly, and the sky
as clean as if it had been pounded between the stones the washerwomen
use on my roof. Everything was at its greenest.

After the season of rains the flowers, the grass, the trees, emerge
as if new-born. I felt, sitting on the terrace of the club, on the
border of the little artificial lake, as if I were in a loge at the
theater, as if the scene might at any moment be shifted, the black
and white swans be removed, the water turned off, ourselves go off the
stage, leaving only the changeless background of beautiful hills and
diamond-powdered volcanoes.

I like Madame Lefaivre so much, _très dame du monde_. The usual
banalities of the _carrière_ having gone through with, I feel sure
we'll soon begin the regular business of friendship. She had on
a pale-gray dress, which toned in with her gray hair and fresh
complexion. She and Mr. Lefaivre were engaged for nearly fifteen years
before life cleared itself sufficiently of obstacles, of one kind or
another, for them to marry.

De la Barra sails the 23d of next month for Italy. I think it
illustrative of his tact and good will to subtract himself completely
from the very complicated situation, and to let his intention be known
beforehand and reckoned with. Madame de la B. receives for the last
time on Thursday next. In the evening there is a dinner at the Embassy,
and on Saturday the German minister gives one of his big dinners.
This seems all very simple, even banal, but few things are simple and
nothing banal when played out against a Mexican background.


                                                         _October 29th._

The political mills here are grinding fast, and not particularly fine.
The Minister of War has been impeached, and President de la B. is
resigning, not even waiting till the legal term of office (November
30th) expires.

Nightly, crowds continue to parade the streets, singing,
"Pino-no-no-no," though "Pino" has been duly elected Vice-President
according to the "angelical returns from that temple of liberty and
love, the polling-box," as one of the unconvinced deputies called the
process.

Zapata has been at the gates of the city and, with eight hundred men,
allowed to pillage near-by towns.

Indeed, there has been a public outcry against the suspicious vitality
of the Zapata movement. There are those who say that the "Attila of
the South" and the President-elect are _muy amigo_, and that if that
General Huerta I wrote of had a really free hand he would, with his
energetic methods, have long since solved that special problem.

The Minister of War, Gonzalez Salas, has stirred up a hornet's nest
by saying that in three days after becoming President Madero would
strangle the Zapata movement. Of course the clever deputies--and there
are many of them--are clamoring to know what is the divine word, the
_sesamo supremo_, that he can pronounce to suddenly put an end to
the horrors of banditry, and if there is such a word, why it wasn't
pronounced earlier.

The inauguration is now set for the 6th. It has been whispered that it
wouldn't be wise to wait. One of the deputies, in his harangue against
Zapata and the possible high protection he enjoys, winds up a decidedly
disenchanted speech, as far as Madero is concerned, by crying,
"Robespierre" (meaning the "Apostle"), "remember that Danton also was
popular!" Maderistas and Pinistas, Reyistas, Vazquistas, Zapatistas say
what they like about one another, and it certainly gives the foreigner
an idea of the riches of Spanish epithet.

Those two children of democracy, "freedom of the press" and "no
re-election," have seen the light of day with infinite difficulty in
various parts of South America. To be present at their first struggling
breaths in Mexico is most instructing. I must say they seem to be
babies of the noisy, wakeful sort, and don't care who or what they
disturb.

A diplomatic dinner is announced at the Foreign Office for Sunday, the
fifth of November.

Elim is waiting to blot _bonne maman's_ letter, so I must close. He
is clasping the famous cow Mrs. Townsend gave him two years ago. It
has resisted all assaults, all displacements, and is still the best
beloved. Three hoofs, a horn, and all its trappings are gone, but it is
still a "fine animal." He has just said, "I am so glad on my mama," so
you see his English is progressing. We have come from a morning walk in
beautiful Chapultepec park with Baroness R. He loves to pick the wild
flowers or run over the grass with his butterfly-net. The whole park is
a garden of children as well as green things.

Yesterday a considerable portion of the festive _Corps Diplomatique_,
in its European branches, was poisoned with mushrooms at the ----
Legation. Reports began to come in, disquieting at first; but it became
a screaming farce when it was discovered that no one was going to die,
except probably the _galopina_ at the aforesaid Legation.

I am sending a post-card to-day of the Hotel del Jardin. As you will
see, it is a place for a lot of "local color." Unfortunately they are
building over half the old garden with newfangled high constructions.
Sir Fairfax Cartwright[18] stopped there ten years ago. With its big
rooms opening on the veranda facing the garden, it was, in the old
days, the favorite resting-spot of travelers and arriving diplomats,
and a vast improvement on the colorless, uncomfortable, "modern"
hotels which spring up like mushrooms, and are about as permanent.
At the Hotel del Jardin the cozy fashion still prevails of having the
partitions between the bedrooms reach up only half-way.

But the old order is certainly changing. In what was once the vast
area of the Franciscan church and monastery, built by Fray Pedro de
Gante, where schools flourished, and councils took place during several
hundred years, now arise great, steel-framed office-buildings on the
"American plan."

In the old days the Church of San Francisco was entered from the
street of San Juan de Letran, in which the Hotel del Jardin is. The
monastery, seminaries, etc., were suppressed, in 1856, by Comonfort.
Since then the ground has been steadily cut up into streets and for
city buildings, until only the Church of San Francisco itself remains,
with its perfectly charming façade, entered immediately from the busy
Avenida San Francisco, through a little palm-planted garden with
a broad, flagstoned walk. It was once the most important church in
Mexico, but now its large spaces are empty of treasures and worshipers,
and the strong light coming through the lantern of the dome shines in
on bare walls. The tide of worship of our day sets to San Felipe next
door. Cortés heard mass in San Francisco, it is said, and there his
bones were laid in 1629, the date of the splendid interment of his last
descendant, Don Pedro Cortés.

This was the occasion of a gorgeous military and religious procession
headed by the Archbishop of Mexico. The coffin containing the
Conqueror's body was enveloped in a great black-velvet pall, borne by
the judges of the royal tribunal. On either side was a man in a suit
of mail. One bore a banner of sable velvet, on which was blazoned the
escutcheon of Cortés. The other carried a standard of shining white,
with the arms of Castile in gold. The viceroy and the members of his
court followed, in splendid array, with an escort of soldiers, their
arms reversed and banners trailing, all moving to the beat of muffled
drums.

In 1794, the body of Cortés was removed to the hospital of Jesus
Nazareno, one of his foundations, in a crystal case with crossbars and
rivetings of silver, also in solemn state, under the greatest of the
viceroys, Revillagigedo.

In Cortés's most interesting and very human will he had ordered that
wherever he might die, his body was to be laid to final rest in the
convent at his beloved Coyoacan. His bare bones, however, seem as
restless as when clothed with living flesh, and after his death in
Spain, when his remains were brought back to Mexico, the authorities
placed them first in the Church of San Francisco at Texcoco, where his
mother and one of his daughters lay. Now there is no certain record of
their resting-place. Does not romance and tragedy hang about it all?

A long letter comes from Marget Oberndorff. Her husband has just been
appointed to Norway, and they are thankful to be in Europe for their
first ministry.


     [16] Gulf of California.

     [17] The final fate of Don Alberto García Granados, also
     Minister of Gobernación in Madero's Cabinet, was to be taken
     by Carranzistas to the Escuela de Tir and there shot. He was
     ill in bed when the summons came, and it is recorded that
     he was given salt injections and tied to a post to make it
     possible for him to stand before the firing-squad, which
     achieved the death of the aged statesman only after _several_
     volleys.

     [18] British ambassador to Vienna at the time of writing.



XII

     Dia de Muertos--Indian booths--President de la Barra
       relinquishes his high office--Dinner at the Foreign
       Office--Historic Mexican streets--Madero takes the oath


                                          Dia de Muertos, _November 2d_.

The black-hung churches and the streets are full of those mindful of
their dead. I, too, of my "dead in life" as well, thinking how of such
are the Kingdom of Heaven.

I went to the little Church of Corpus Cristi, opposite the Alameda,
walking through the booths the Indians have spread there since
generations, during three days at this season. It's all as picturesque
and busy as possible, and of an informality as regards family life.

I bought some really lovely baskets, and a bright-eyed little Indian
boy, belonging to some dull-eyed parents, took home for me a lot of
the fragile pottery. Some of it is very decorative--soft grays with
red and black designs, polished greens with flowers in two tints, and
a black-lustered ware with ornamentations of scrolls and figures. I
selected quite a menagerie of tiny animals, very perfectly modeled in
clay and brittle to a degree, as passing as the hands that made them.

There were "toys" in the shape of small coffins, black or white,
skeletons, devils of various frightfulness, even funeral cars in
miniature. At one corner, as a last touch of _memento mori_, an Indian
was offering candy coffins, which seemed to have quite a run.

I am writing at the Country Club, which is a most lovely spot at all
times, but now is wrapped in a continual, superlative Indian summer.
Elim said to me the first thing this morning, "Oh, I do love dat gontry
clove," so here I am with him. He met me with Gabrielle, outside of the
Church of Corpus Cristi, on the Alameda.

That church has a curious history. Though now shrunken and tawdry,
it was one of the most important and gorgeous in the viceregal days,
and had a convent attached to it for Indian maidens of patrician
birth. There is an old memorial over the door recording that it was
inaugurated under the 36th viceroy, Don Baltazar de Zuñiga, for
the daughters of Christian caciques alone. For the ceremonial of
the taking of the veil the most gorgeous of Indian costumes were
worn--feather-work mantles, aigrettes sewn with pearls and emeralds,
and underneath-wrappings of fine cotton.

Now the treasures of the convent are dissipated to the four winds, and
as for the patrician maidens, _oú sont les roses d'Antan?_ The only
thing of interest remaining in the church is an old copy of a picture
of Nuestra Señora del Sagrario, from the Toledo Cathedral, supposed to
have been taken to the Rio Grande by the venturesome _hidalgo_, Juan
de Oñate, being brought back to Mexico City only after a couple of
centuries of travel and vicissitude.

The veranda of the club-house looks toward the shining volcanoes and
the blue, blue hills, their beauty indescribably enhanced, seen through
the brilliant glass-like air. The house itself, in the Spanish-mission
style, is very fine, and the links the most beautiful of many I have
watched and waited on. There are eighteen holes, with a favorite
"nineteenth" in the _cantina_. Some of the mounds over which the
golfers play are the graves of those who fell in 1847. General Scott
approached the capital from Vera Cruz by way of Puebla, and there was
a big battle on what is now the golf links, then the Hacienda de la
Natividad, and the near-by church and monastery of Churubusco. There
is, facing the very colorful and interesting old monastery, built by
the Franciscans in the seventeenth century, a colorless, uninteresting
monument, put up by President Comonfort in memory of the Mexicans
who lost their lives here, and there are occasional ceremonies "in
memoriam" by a grateful country.


                                                          _November 3d._

Yesterday I ended by staying at the club all day and having dinner
there. Elim was taken home, and N. came out after chancery hours. It
was a beautiful and peaceful day, and we drove back about nine o'clock,
under a young moon. As we got into town, there seemed more than the
usual number of little booths, dimly lighted by small hanging lanterns,
the owners and their progeny sitting about.

How large families can live on the proceeds of these small stands is a
mystery. Everything is dust-covered, handled and rehandled, cut into
small bits and then into still smaller ones. I always marvel at the
self-restraint that prevents the Indians from falling on their own
goods and devouring them.

One drives over what was once an Aztec causeway, through a squalid
suburb, San Antonio de Abad, to get back into town, where the day
of the dead was celebrated by an unusually lively attendance at the
pulque-shops. That _licor divino_ had so incapacitated an Indian lying
on the road that we nearly lost our lives in the sudden swerve the
chauffeur made to avoid running over him.

There are numberless accidents to Indians, falling on the third rail
of the tramways running out the Tlalpan road, though it is wired off.
When you look into the awful pink and blue dens, and smell the still
more awful smell of the _licor divino_, and see the Indians saddened
and melancholy, or suddenly wild and completely irresponsible, coming
out of _La Encantadora_, _Las Emociones_, or _El Hombre Perdido_,[19]
you realize that the maguey is, indeed, bound up with the destiny of
the Mexican nation.

As we passed through the Calle de Flamencos, the celebrated palace
of the Conde de Santiago seemed once more splendid, rising above
the squalor of the pulque-shops. It was built by a cousin of Cortés,
immediately after the Conquest, in what was then a noble quarter of
the town. Later, when the Conde de Santiago bought it, he surrounded
it by a beautiful park, known as the Parque del Conde. Now in the great
courtyard, alas! only merchandise of a tenth-rate quality is stored and
old trucks encumber and disfigure it. There is a majestic stairway,
seen through a wide, carved entrance still possessing its antique
wooden doors of some wonderful resisting wood from the Hot Country.
The roof-line is just as good as the rest, for great stone gargoyles,
representing half-cannon, show themselves against the sky. There is a
huge Aztec corner-stone of a single piece, representing a tiger, which
tradition says was placed there by Cortés himself. It is the sort
of house the government ought to buy; in this dry climate, properly
preserved, it would be good for a thousand years.[20]


                                                         _November 5th._

Yesterday an event unique in the troubled political history of Mexico
took place. President de la Barra calmly read the report of his
incumbency before the Chamber of Deputies and as calmly relinquished
his high office.

About five o'clock I drove down the Avenida San Francisco, already
brilliantly illuminated, though great bands of red still hung in the
sky behind Chapultepec. The crowd was immense, the streets flagged,
and there were squads of mounted police keeping order, and sounds
of drum and clarion. Shouts of, "_Viva de la Barra_," "_Viva el
Presidente Blanco_," mingled with various expressions of satisfaction,
not unmixed, I imagine, with surprise, that the high power could be
relinquished in so orderly a manner, and that a President could or
would give accounting of his office. A hint of the millennium.


                                                  _November 5th, 10.30._

We are just home from the big dinner offered to-night by Carbajal y
Rosas to the members of the _Corps Diplomatique_ and contiguous Mexican
officials. The Foreign Office is, as you know, in the Plaza at the head
of our street, and it was a blaze of light as we approached.

The music of a magnificent military band in gala uniform--the Mexican
brass is most inspiring--was echoing through the _patio_ and halls as
we went up the broad stairs, flower- and palm-banked and covered with
a thick, red carpet, into the big rooms on the first floor overlooking
the Plaza.

Here the various officials, according to their rank, have their
offices--handsome rooms, with large pieces of Louis XV. furniture done
up in blue and gold, and some paintings of Juarez, Diaz, and others. It
was almost too brilliantly illuminated, with great festoons of green
and white and red electric bulbs, in addition to the usual lighting.
All were out in their bravest. Mrs. Wilson had on a white-and-gold
satin gown, that she had worn at court in Brussels, and I wore the
pink-velvet brocade I had for the Buda-Pesth court ball.

This sounds very magnificent, but when the time came to move into the
banqueting-room and a personage much more richly gowned than any of
us dream of being approached to give me his arm, a grin overspread the
faces of the _chers collègues_ near by. It was the Chinese minister, in
the most beautiful lavender-and-gold costume I have ever seen. Useless
to compete with the Celestials, when they are really in form. On his
gorgeous arm, feeling decidedly diminished, I went to the great front
hall where a long, narrow banquet-table was spread. Some official, a
small, dark, youngish man, who did not speak English, or French, or
German, or anything in which I could lightly communicate, was on the
other side.

I had a chance to "choose" between Spanish or Chinese, and, being
under the necessity of saying something, began with my Mexican friend
about the weather, which you get through with quickly here at this
season when it is always fine. Then the conversation got onto the usual
subject of _niños_ (children). He said, with the air of one not having
yet abandoned hope, that he had _only_ nine. I asked, thoughtlessly,
what was the distance between their ages, and he answered, quite
simply: "_El tiempo regular_"--ten months.

After the repast, which began with _bouchées Romanoff_ and
finished with _coupés à la Brésilienne_, touching delicately
at other international points, there was more or less
talking, with presentations to various persons of the incoming
régime--surprised-looking ladies in high-necked gowns, and
eager-looking men. We disbanded about ten o'clock to the sound of more
really gorgeous martial music echoing through the big _patio_, stepping
across the plaza to our house in a great flood of moonlight. The "Iron
Horse," the bronze equestrian statue of Charles IV., giving the note
of other times and other rulers, was shining with a dim radiance.
Humboldt found it in the Plaza Mayor in 1803, _vis-à-vis_ the cathedral
and the palace of the viceroys, set in a large space paved in squares
of porphyry, inclosed by a richly ornamented, bronze-gilt railing and
placed on a pedestal of Mexican marble. Thirty-five years afterward
Madame Calderon de la Barca, in 1838, found it in the courtyard of the
university. Now I find it in the Plaza de la Reforma, and an excellent
spot it is, if they will only leave it there, instead of trotting it
about the town. It is placed where one can see Chapultepec Castle
at the end of the Paseo, where one can look down the broad Calle
Bucareli--still named after that enlightened viceroy (they periodically
change the names of the streets here), and which in its day was one of
the most beautiful avenues in the city, having a large fountain, with
a gilt statue, where now we have a very ugly clock-tower on artificial
stucco stones. The whole street was planted with beautiful trees, which
modern claptrappy houses have crowded out. It now ends in the dusty,
trolley-laid, modern avenue of Chapultepec.

The Calle de Rosales, a short street of handsome dwellings mostly of
the epoch of Calle Humboldt, gives another vista looking toward San
Fernando and San Hipólito; down still another one can see the iron
frame of the new Palacio Legislativo, planned to cost ten million
pesos. Work has lagged on it since the Diaz government was overthrown,
and experts are beginning to say that the great iron frame, so long
exposed to rain and air, is corroding.

Now I must put out my light, a poor thing, anyway. There is a shaft of
moonlight on the wall, a "purest ray serene," that shames it.


                                       _November 6th, Inauguration Day._

Just home from the Cámara, where Madero took his oath of office.
Immense crowds were thickly formed about the building, and among
the _vivas_ for Madero were growls, here and there, of "_Abajo los
gringos_."[21] A few mounted _rurales_ only were out, the "Messiah of
the peons" having put the crowd on its honor.

I went with Mrs. Wilson in the Embassy motor, which came back for us
after having deposited the ambassador and his staff at the Palace in
evening clothes, where the gentlemen of the _Corps Diplomatique_ were
assembled to take leave of President de la Barra before coming on for
the inaugural ceremonies at the Chamber.

We arrived on the scene to find the little plaza in front of the
Chamber solidly packed, and the steps leading to the doors presenting
a conglomeration of peaked hats and zarapes, interposed with black
coats and "derbys." We finally got out of the motor at a side door,
to the sound of more "_abajos_," and once within, it really seemed
very comfortable to be sheltered from the noise and the various
potentialities of the crowd.

A big, solemn-faced Indian growled, "_abajo_," as I tripped from the
motor, but when I answered him, "_Viva Mexico_," his face lighted up
in a most friendly way. They need so little to change their moods, and
that is one of the dangers here. The wife of the Japanese minister
said she had to fight her way in. Her sleeve was torn and her hair
dishevelled, and she looked as if she had given battle.

A door, wide open, led from the room where the _Corps Diplomatique_
laid off their wraps, into a very large one, the office of the
Protocol, where there were great sealed bundles of ballots bearing
the postmarks of the towns whence they had been shipped--unopened,
uncounted, intact.

It appears the "counters" got discouraged early in the game; there were
so many ballots having no connection with 1911, such as that of Hidalgo
(executed in 1811), Benito Juarez (dead in his bed in 1872), and
unknown names of various _jefes políticos_ in various remote places,
with an occasional bit of unexpected color appearing in the way of
remembrances of favorite bull-fighters.

Well, Madero, the man of promises, is President of Mexico, and what
difficulties lie before him! After taking his oath, in a firm voice, he
ended the speech which followed, rather suddenly, by saying if he did
not keep his promises they could send him away.

The extreme pallor of his face was accented by his pointed, black
beard, already the delight of the caricaturists, but his mien was grave
and his gestures were unusually few. Across his breast was the red,
white, and green sash, the visible sign of the dream come true.

I could not but ask myself, as I looked about the vast assemblage
and heard the roar of the Indian throngs outside, what have they
had to prepare themselves for political liberty after our pattern?
But then, you know, I have always had a natural inclination for the
strong hand and one head. _L'appétit vient en mangeant_, and a taste
for revolutions may be like a taste for anything else. Many of these
millions have nothing to lose, and hope, mixed with desire, is rampant
during the periods of upheavals.

Some sort of a new day is rising in Mexico, but Madero would seem to
be President, not because he is a good and honest man and a well-wisher
to all, but simply because he is a successful revolutionary leader, and
what has been can be. There was, however, a general effect of everybody
patting himself on the back. Were they not seeing, for the first time
in their history, the high power relinquished without bloodshed? I
fancy they felt quite like "folks" as the "Presidente Blanco" gave it
over to the _Apóstol_ with nothing redder and warmer than a handshake.

The town was brilliant under the perfect sky, and the
green-and-white-and-red flag of the _Tres Garantías_ (Three Guarantees)
waved from every building. It bears within its folds the history of
Mexico since its adoption in 1823. The white represents religious
purity, red symbolizes the union of Mexicans and Spaniards in the bonds
of brotherly love, and green is for independence.

Iturbide's army was called "the army of the _Tres Garantías_," the
colors then running horizontally from the staff. After Iturbide was
shot they changed the stripes to the present vertical arrangement.
From my rather cursory glance at Mexican history it would seem that
governments have always come into power here through revolutions. It
seems the normal thing, the inevitable, preordained way for men to come
into power, but, that being the case, they ought to take it a little
more quietly. Of course, for a pure Aryan like myself it's startling,
it's disconcerting to a degree![22]


                                                         _November 7th._

Late yesterday afternoon ex-President de la Barra, accompanied by
his family and the staff of his mission, left for Vera Cruz to take
_La Champagne_ for France, _en route_ to Rome. There was a great
demonstration at his departure. The _Corps Diplomatique_ was out in
full force, and all Mexico besides, it seemed, as we got down to the
station, around which mounted soldiery with difficulty kept a free
space, pressing the crowd back to let in the carriages and motors, one
by one.

The most interesting thing about it all, to me, was the group
that at one time formed itself on the rear platform of the special
train--President Madero, ex-President de la Barra, and Orozco, the
military genius of the moment, the type of the trio so distinct as
they stood there. Orozco is a very tall man, head and shoulders over
the other two, the northern Mexico ranchero type--prominent nose, high
cheek bones, with a dark mustache that doesn't at all conceal a cruel,
determined mouth.

De la Barra, international, immaculately dressed, suave, smiling, was
entirely the diplomat departing on a special mission, showing no trace
of the difficult and anxious months of office.

Between these two stood the President of but a few hours, with his
broad, high, speculative forehead, his dreamy, impractical eyes and
kindly smile--"one man with a dream at pleasure."

Madero is naturally generous toward his enemies, of which the crops,
however, hourly increase. He is averse to shedding blood, but I sigh
for the difficulties of his position, between various upper and nether
mill-stones, with the destinies of fifteen millions of people like to
be ground between.

All the _revolucionarios_ who came in with him seem to have dreamed
some of his vague dreams, to which they add, however, very determined
desires to settle in comfortable nests built by others on the
extraordinarily simple plan of "see a home, take it." The upper
classes, what little one sees of them, shake their heads, cast up their
eyes, and throw out their hands. It's all very uncertain, but most
interesting to a lady from the temperate zone.

We would all have liked to see De la B. Vice-President instead of
"Pino-no-no-no." It might have steadied things, especially abroad, but
"might have been" should be the Mexican device. For some reason I felt
saddened as the train moved out in the twilight, leaving the Indian
world to darkness and Madero.


     [19] The Enchantress. The Emotions. The Lost Man.

     [20] The Casa de Manrique in the Calle Donceles is another
     example of old seigniorial houses. It belonged to the Conde
     de Heras, and was built late in the seventeenth century. Now,
     alas, it is the office of the Wells Fargo Express Co., but
     there is a note of protesting splendor about it.

     [21] Down with the gringos.

     [22] Every government, since the days of the viceroys,
     appointed inexorably but quietly from Spain, has come into
     power like the government of Huerta or Madero or Diaz, through
     a revolution by a military _coup_. No foreign ruler till our
     day thought it a reason for bringing the whole nation to ruin.



XIII

     Uprising in Juchitan--Madero receives his first
       delegation--The American arrest of Reyes--Chapultepec
       Park--Side lights on Juchitan troubles--Zapata's Plan de
       Ayala


                                                         _November 8th._

I was planning to start for Tehuantepec to-morrow, when a letter came
from Aunt L. saying that the general in charge of the Federal troops
was giving orders to his army from her porch, the Pan-American Railway
was damaged, bridges were destroyed, and cannon were being dragged into
town by oxen and placed in front of her garden.

Everybody has been going to bed dressed, with papers and valuables
close by, ready for flight at a moment's notice.

I was disappointed, and would still have carried out the program,
my heart was ready for her, and things were cut off here, but I
was obliged to take the advice of the ambassador, to whom N. showed
the letter, as the risk might not be simply personal. There seems a
fatality about my getting down there. A telegram also came from her
through Mr. Cummings, always so kind, saying for me not to leave till
things had quieted down.

The trouble is in the form of an uprising in the district of Juchitan
against the state government (Oaxaca). The Governor, Don Benito Juarez
(a son of the great Juarez, I think), had tried to separate the _jefe
político_, Che Gómez, from his office, a thing not lightly done. The
result was that the Juchitecos, who dearly love a fight, gladly rose
with "Che" against the Federals, who have been bottled up in the
Juchitan church and barracks for days with no rest and no food; there
must have been heavy losses. The firing can be heard from San Gerónimo.
A few soldiers have arrived, but not enough for their relief.

The mother of the army surgeon with the troops is staying with Aunt
L., and is in the greatest anxiety about her son, a fine young man, a
typical Spanish _hidalgo_. As long as he could he sent messages, but
they have had nothing from him for several days, and, of course, at any
moment the Federals may be wiped out. There are at least three thousand
Indians against a couple of hundred "regulars."

The government has sent down more troops. Two brigades went this
morning, the Foreign Office announces, and "order is expected shortly
in Oaxaca and on the Isthmus." There is already a general undertone of
pessimism about Mexico in general and the new régime in particular.

The first delegation Madero received yesterday was the Society for
Occult Sciences, followed by something even more tangibly intangible,
the spiritualistic society. It makes one gasp. He will need all the
help he can get to grapple with the situation here, but one has one's
doubts about the spirits being consecutively and exclusively occupied
with the destinies of Mexico, which seem to need the iron hand of
flesh--and not in any glove, either.

  [Illustration: XOCHIMILCO
   Photograph by Ravell]

Last night we dined at the new Chilian minister's, Hevia de Riquelme.
Mr. Wilson was seven years in Chili as minister at the time Señor
Riquelme held a Cabinet position, and has a great affection for him.
They have just come from Japan. The dinner was very elaborate and
expensive, and afterward we danced in the large hall and in and out of
the big salons. Mrs. Wilson looked lovely in a white-lace dress with
pale-blue touches, and seemed to reappear again as she might have been
when she was the mother of babes in Chili, rather than of these grown
sons in Mexico.


                                                        _November 11th._

News this morning from the Isthmus is still more disquieting. Many
buildings were dynamited in Juchitan, and many people were killed that
way as well as by bullets and machetes. The wounded are being brought
into San G. for treatment, as when some doctors of the White Cross
arrived on the scene from Salina Cruz the Juchitecos refused to allow
them to enter the town.

The splendid young Doctor Arguello was assassinated by the rebels while
going the rounds of a hospital in Juchitan, where he was treating
_their_ wounded. His mother has lain moaning, "_Mi hijo! mi hijo!_"
for twenty-four hours, and refusing all comfort. The new _jefe_, the
tax-collector, and other "instruments of the law" were killed. This
is how the inauguration of Madero was celebrated on the Isthmus of
Tehuantepec. Fortunately San G. is loyal and could be a refuge for the
peaceful inhabitants of other towns. General Merodia is there with four
thousand troops.


                                                        _November 14th._

Yesterday a large afternoon reception was held at the Foreign Office
by Calero, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, and who has, incidentally,
a great understanding of the United States. He presented his pretty
wife formally to the _Corps Diplomatique_. She is delicate-looking, and
life with Calero, with his ambitions and rather American strenuosity,
will keep her going at quite a pace. The handsome rooms are having
an unwonted vogue--the second time they are thrown open in a month!
Professor Castillo, at the grand piano in the big room, vied with the
police band stationed in the _patio_. Large American Beauty roses were
everywhere (a delicate tribute, _quién sabe?_), and we stood at small
buffet tables.

I was between Riedl and Lie, and though less gorgeous to the outward
eye, I was more _en pays de connaissance_ than when last I refreshed
myself in company with the Flowery Kingdom. The nice woman reporter
from the _Mexican Herald_ minutely inspected the women's clothes, as
you will see by the clipping I send.

I must get ready for my luncheon to-day. I love to do the flowers
myself, and a great solid bunch of forget-me-nots, a foot and a
half across, in the big blue bowl, has been lifted onto the table
by Elena and Cecilia. Bouquets of deepest purple pansies are at each
place. The sun is flooding the _patio_, the flowers are blooming and
shining--_enfin_ all the delights of the tropics! It is not without
reason that they have a lure. The luncheon is for the Riedls. The
Lefaivres, von Hintze, Leclerq, and others are coming.

We tried the theater again last night. I had expected to go for the
Spanish whenever N. had a free evening; but, really, I have not the
physical strength, and last night we were thankful to get out of
the boredom of the interminable _entr'actes_ and the unbreathable
devitalized air, which at this altitude has an exhausting effect
unknown at sea level.

The _apuntador_ read all the parts so loudly, now sometimes ahead, now
sometimes behind the actors, that one couldn't decide which to follow,
him or the artists, and we gave a sigh of relief as we sped out of the
city toward Tlalpan, beloved of the viceroys.

An immense white moon, that seemed to lose its shape in its own
flooding light, was rising over the valley. Not only the heavens,
but the earth irradiated light, and we seemed to be motoring through
a dully brilliant blue-whiteness. The night was dry, with no hint
of mist, but still a milky ambience that gave an effect of gleaming
wetness was over all.

Out of the earth came what seemed to me the psychic miasms of nameless
but potent and persistent races. The Ajusco hills, for reasons known
to themselves, were dead-black masses as they jetted into the sky,
but their outlines were scalloped with an indescribable embroidery of
the same fluid whiteness. I felt a chill sort of magic envelop me,
penetrating through the thickness of that long Viennese motor coat;
I was even a little afraid with that nameless fear one sometimes has
here. I think it is the unknown quantities. Everything seems to equal
X.


                                                        _November 20th._

Reyes has been arrested at San Antonio by a United States marshal,
charged with violating the neutrality laws. He was doing only what
Madero did, but what is sauce for the gander isn't sauce for the goose.
Diaz had his Madero, Madero his Reyes. How easy it would have been to
have made a friend of Reyes, who was the idol of the army!

Madero now talks about crushing all revolutionary movements with an
iron hand; but his hand, alas! has no likeness to iron or anything that
can crush. It appears that Madero and Reyes made a pact according to
which each was to have a free hand at the presidential nomination. But
the Maderistas either got nervous or impatient, or did not want to take
chances, and Reyes was persecuted and threatened until he resigned his
commission in the army and left the country. The military element might
have been conciliated with Reyes as Minister of War or in some other
capacity after being defeated at the polls; but that would have been by
far too reasonable a _modus operandi_ for these climes.

Reyes found himself obliged to withdraw his candidature a few days
before the election of Madero, and left the country as speedily as
he could, among other things giving the New York _Sun_ a chance for
a gorgeous alliterative sentence, "Rebellion, riot, and Reyes mar the
calm of Madero's Mexico."

The Simons are very handsomely installed in a house on the Paseo,
and have sent out cards for a series of dinners. We dined there
last night. Simon, it appears, is a banking genius of incorruptible
probity--a second Limantour. They have what few here possess, a French
chef, imported specially. Besides several diplomats, there were some
Frenchmen whom I had not met, Armand Delille,[23] a banker, and an
agreeable man, Parmentier.[24] In the drawing-room are many photographs
relating to the Simons' Belgrade _étape_, an interesting one of
Pasitch's clever old face, the Serbian Crown Prince, the old King,
Countess Forgasch, and others, who struck the Balkan note.

The first reception at Chapultepec, where the Maderos have taken up
permanent habitation, is to be held on Friday.


                                                        _November 24th._

Last night there was a brilliant dinner at the Embassy in honor
of Calero, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and his wife. I inclose a
clipping. Mrs. W. looked very handsome in a white-lace gown with
gold-wheat embroideries.

Madame Lefaivre had on a gray gown with her nice diamonds, and a
beautiful old lace scarf about her shoulders. Baroness Riedl wore a
clinging yellow dress with pearl fringe, and all her war-paint in the
shape of her pearls and diamonds. After dinner we sat around the big,
glass-inclosed _patio_ which forms the center of the house.

I had a little talk with Calero. He is astonishingly clever. His mind
reflects a perfectly clear mental image of the facts that come before
it, and in any argument he is straight to the point. For the rest,
it is _terra incognita_ to me, though doubtless the land is perfectly
charted with the roads so necessary for arriving at Latin-American ends
(and not unnecessary to successful politicians anywhere).

Side-lights on the Juchitan troubles continue most interesting
and instructive. Che Gómez, the man who stirred up the apparently
quite-ready inhabitants, is part Indian, part negro ("zambo" as this
special _mélange_ is called), and had set his heart on remaining _jefe
político_ of the turbulent town. When he began a similar agitation
some years ago, Diaz wisely kicked him "up-stairs" by sending him in
that capacity to some small place in Lower California. Now he is back,
making things lively.

What remains of the Federal authorities, notaries, banking agents,
industrials, _et al._, are still cooped up in the barracks there, or
hiding in the woods and distant ranches. The situation was tragic
till the long-looked-for Maderista troops arrived--a motley crowd,
boys strapped to guns larger than themselves predominating over the
_rurales_ mounted on scrawny little crow-baits, looking like bandits
in comic opera. They were accompanied by their womenkind, of course,
and wandered aimlessly about. It was such a farce that even the natives
laughed.

Che Gómez is said to be supported by some sort of powerful influence,
and his forces directed by some one having knowledge of military
tactics. The dove of Madero's new peace is evidently not hovering over
that portion of Mexico. The unrest is like an epidemic.

I must now get into the black-velvet dress to go to the first reception
of the new régime at Chapultepec.


                                               _November 24th, evening._

Madero's expression this afternoon was extraordinary. There was a
kind of illumination of the plain, indefinite features, and he seemed
scarcely to be walking with the sons of men. He had a smile which,
without being fixed, was always there, and he talked a great deal, and
quite freely, to various receptive plenipotentiaries.

Madame Madero was simple and dignified, but under it all I fancy
something passionate and resolute. The diplomats were out in force, but
there was very little else to the reception. A few unlabeled outlying
Mexican nondescripts came, and some of the Cabinet ministers. Carmona,
_chef du protocole_, and Nervo, the Second Introducer of Ambassadors,
did what they could; but it was only too apparent that various
essential elements of the national body-politic were lacking.

Madame Madero had on some sort of somber brocade with a hint of jewel
sparkling in her lace jabot, and received in the big _Sala de los
Embajadores_. After greeting her, however, we went out to the terrace,
where such wonders were going on in the heavens that man for the moment
seemed indeed dust. Great bodies of clouds in the form of a vast
rose-colored throng, which Madero ought properly to have been with,
were taking their way across the western sky, and purple shadows began
to come up from the valley, enveloping the city as we watched what
I can only call the "orb of day" disappear behind the hills. Madero
strikes me as being rather a type apart, not specially Mexican, but
such a type as appears in strange moments of the history of the nation
to which it belongs.


                                                        _November 25th._

Waiting for lunch after a most delightful morning in the park with
Baroness R. and the French and Belgian ministers. I don't know if it
was Marina's[25] spirit, which, according to the Indian tradition,
still slips among the cypresses, or other unrecorded ghosts; but as
we walked through the Calzada de los Poetas and los Filósofos, the
matchless sun filtering through the branches of the old _ahuehuetes_,
their bronzy hue the only sign of winter one can note here, we all
succumbed to some enchantment.

There is a moss-hung cypress near one of the little lakes, called the
_Arbol de Moctezuma_. It, with the _Noche Triste_ tree, witnessed the
fall of the Aztec Empire. There still remains an old inscription on
a walled-in spring, marking the terminus of the Aztec aqueduct which
brought drinking-water to Montezuma's capital from Chapultepec. The
inscription, which I have sometimes dallied by, says the aqueduct
was renovated in 1571 by the fourth viceroy. It faces the dustiest of
tramway lines now, but one is thankful for any writing on any wall that
gives a clue to the past.

Near the great tree is "Montezuma's Bath," where the water still
bubbles up, only now the sprucest and most modern of flower-beds
encircle it. This is the special haunt of Marina, but it is said that
when an Indian has seen her at the _ahuehuete_ pond he himself is seen
no more.

We sauntered about for a while listening to the music, and then the
gentlemen proposed rowing Baroness R. and myself about in the tiny
boats that are for hire. Once out from under the trees, one became
modern and completely objective, and Mr. Lefaivre and I discussed
European diplomatic appointments of his and my governments as we rowed
about on the shallow, artificial lakes under the hottest of suns,
between the made lands of the new section of the park.

But every time we passed under the little bridge into the dimness of
the narrow, tree-and-vine-grown banks of the little stream leading from
two sides of the duck-pond, even though the band played a waltz from
"The Balkan Princess," and a selection of "Lohengrin," and children
were shouting and motors coming and going, that magic fell upon us.
I didn't know if it were Aztec or Spanish ghosts, or spirits of the
heroes of 1847, who assailed me.

One thing is sure. Those old _ahuehuetes_ keep everything that was ever
confided to them and trap the unwary with it. At this season, too, one
begins to see familiar migratory birds come to pass the cold season
in Mexico, recalling with a note of homesickness the distant land of
one's birth. A "ruby-crowned kinglet" was perched on a low branch by
the water--and some kind of a "warbler" was warbling New England lays
all over the ancient park.


                                                        _November 30th._

Zapata has just given some more building material to the new republic,
in the shape of what he calls _El Plan de Ayala_, of the date of
November 25th, written for him by one of the Vasquez Gómez brothers.
To our surprise, the brilliant editor of _La Prensa_ has spoken not
unfavorably of it.

I don't know if it is bowing to the inevitable, or expediency, that
makes him advocate the use of the aforesaid material, which provides
for the division of the lands of the state of Morelos, the only state
in which, for climatic reasons (not political), the distribution
of land could be undertaken without installing gigantic irrigation
processes impossible for the Indians.

All through Mexican history revolutionary leaders have launched these
Plans.

Iturbide published the _Plan de Iguala_, February 24, 1823, known as
_Las Tres Garantías_, Porfirio Diaz the _Plan de Noria_, 1869; Madero's
_Plan de San Luis Potosí_ is what we are now living and breathing (and
sometimes panting) by.[26]


     [23] Armand Delille distinguished himself; at the battle
     of the Yser and on the bridge of Steenstraete was decorated
     with the Légion d'Honneur. He was sent to hold it with three
     hundred men, and it _was_ held; but when he was relieved, of
     the three hundred men only thirty remained.

     [24] Maurice Parmentier fell at Dieuze, November 28, 1914.

     [25] Marina, the daughter of a _cacique_ of Painalla, had been
     sold into slavery, and after the famous battle of Ceutla,
     when Santiago appeared in the heavens above the Spanish
     hosts (the chronicler of the event says that he, miserable
     sinner, was not worthy to see the apparition), she fell
     into the hands of the Spaniards. She was first allotted to
     Puertocarrero, but her abilities speedily raised her to the
     tent of Cortés. She became his interpreter, his Egeria, his
     love, the instrument of fate, holding Indian and Spanish
     destinies alike in her hands. All historians of the epoch
     extol her virtues, and Bernal Diaz says they held her to be
     like no other woman on earth, because of her intelligence and
     her devotion to the Spanish cause. By the Indians she is held
     eternally restless--malign--for having leagued herself with
     the Spaniards.

     [26] Carranza's _Plan de Guadalupe_, March 19, 1913, contains,
     among other oddities, the statement of this "Everlasting Idol
     of Free Peoples," that "as our Constitution forbids us to
     confiscate, we have decided to do without our Constitution for
     a while."



XIV

     The feast of Guadalupe--Peace reigns on the
       Isthmus--Earthquakes--Madero in a dream--The French colony
       ball--Studies in Mexican democracy--Christmas preparations


                                                         _December 1st._

A pinching, cold snap, the result of a _norte_ of long duration blowing
from Vera Cruz. The heat quickly goes out of the body, and at this
altitude is not easily made up again. I have been penetrated to my soul
as if by a thin knife. The air is so attenuated that there is nothing
to it except cold, no exhilaration. The oil-stoves, I have discovered,
are not lighted with impunity. They have a way of suddenly emitting a
long, high column of black smoke, after which something detonates, and
the room and the people in it are covered by a fine, black soot. One
rings, the source of trouble is removed, and one stays cold.

Very pleasant lunch here yesterday; the only way to get warm is to eat,
drink, and be merry, especially this last. The luncheon was for the
Belgian minister, who had been appointed to Copenhagen. Can't you hear
us telling him about the Rabens and the Frijs, Klampenborg, and the
Hôtel d'Angleterre? The Lefaivres brought a friend who is staying with
them--Vicomte de Kargaroué, a Breton of the _vieille noblesse_, who is
that anomaly, a French globe-trotter.

I am sending you in the form of Christmas cards some samples of
present-day feather-work; a pale relic of the _plumaje_ the Aztecs used
to be so famous for, persisting through the ages. It doesn't at all
resemble the beautiful feather-work mantle, said to have belonged to
Montezuma, that I saw among the treasures in the Hofburg at Vienna.


                                                         _December 4th._

Society is agog here; it is the first appearance on any scene, since
my arrival, of the _erste Gesellschaft_. A young man shot and killed
another at a famous club, and then died as the result of an accidental
wound to himself. He was married on his death-bed to the mother of his
children; the whole is a story for the pen of Ibañez or Echegaray. For
hours the streets were filled with carriages and autos taking floral
tributes to the stricken mother. Oh, the hearts of mothers! So many
crimes, social, civil, and national are being committed all over the
world, but everywhere some souls are yearning for perfection--to keep
it all going!


                                                         _December 6th._

My little luncheon for American women went off very well. The dishes
Teresa knows--the classic _huachinango_, cold and "well presented,"
with a good mayonnaise sauce, the small, fat-breasted ducks with peas,
that every one is serving at this season here, were the "chief of our
diet."

Mrs. Kilvert, Mrs. C. R. Hudson, Mrs. Paul Hudson, the wife of the
editor of the _Mexican Herald_, Mrs. McLaren, Mrs. Beck, Mrs. Bassett
and the ambassadress and her sister came.

This is just a word while waiting for Mrs. Wilson to come back for me
to go on a calling bout with her. She goes home to spend the holidays
with her boys, so I shall have to do what Christmas honors are done--a
tree and incidental tea.

I inclose a little verse by Joaquin Miller that I cut out of the
_Herald_ this morning. Though outrageously bad, the line "glorious gory
Mexico," is unforgetable.

MEXICO

     Thou Italy of the Occident,
     Land of flowers and summer climes,
     Of holy priests and horrid crimes;
     Land of the cactus and sweet cocoa;
     Richer, than all the Orient
     In gold and glory, in want and woe,
     In self-denial, in days misspent,
     In truth and treason, in good and guilt,
     In ivied ruins and altars low,
     In battered walls and blood misspilt;
     Glorious gory Mexico.


                                                              _Evening._

Among our visits to-day was one on Madame Creel. They have a very large
and handsome house in the Calle de Londres, not yet quite finished.
Everything French. In the drawing-room where Madame C. received were
two splendid Sèvres vases, and great French-plate mirrors and French
brocades cover the walls. Mr. Creel, fresh-complexioned, white-haired,
speaking English very well, and liking to recall ambassadorial days
in Washington, took us over the uncompleted part of the house. The
large ball-room is awaiting special bronze electric-light _appliques_,
door and window fastenings, now on their way from Paris, where all the
woodwork of the house was executed.[27]


                                               _December 11th, evening._

This afternoon Madame Lefaivre and Mr. de Soto and I went out to
Guadalupe to see the preparations for to-morrow's feast, the greatest
in Mexico.

Indians were arriving from all directions, bivouacking close up against
the church. They seemed to have brought not only all their children,
but all their furniture in the shape of _petates_ and earthen bowls,
and any incidental live-stock they possessed in the shape of goat or
dog. It was quite cold, and in the dusk they seemed like their own
ancestors coming over the hills for the worship of dreaded and dreadful
gods.

Nothing except the Deity and the temple has changed since the old days;
they themselves are unmodified, and seemingly unmodifiable. I dare say
one would give a gasp if one could really see what they thought about
the Virgin of Guadalupe, or the "Cause of Causes."

They come in from hidden mountain towns, where images of other gods
are still graven, and where charms and incantations are used, which
doesn't at all affect their devotion to "Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe."
Often they are many days en route, and all night until dawn they will
be arriving at the great shrine.

We crossed the plaza to a near-by house, where a painter-friend of
Mr. de S.'s lived, going up some winding stone steps in a house built
at the end of the sixteenth century, giving into irregular-shaped
rooms with strange windows apparently not designed to give light.
The paintings portrayed little or nothing of the charm of Mexico,
but Madame Lefaivre found one of some place near Cordoba, which she
thought for a moment that she wanted. I would much rather have closed
my eyes and looked in on my inner Mexican gallery, or been out with the
mysterious Indians in the mysterious twilight which was enveloping the
crowded plaza.

When we finally came out lanterns were being hung on the little booths,
_tortilleras_ were slapping up their cakes, and everywhere there was a
smell of the pungent peppers and all sorts of nameless things they put
into them. Children were rolled up asleep or playing about half-clad
in the cold dusk, and zarape-enveloped men bent over dimly lighted
squares of cloth laid out on the ground, engrossed in games of chance.
I was suddenly sad, as one might be at seeing rolled out the inexorable
scroll of a subject people.


                                                        _December 12th._

Beautiful weather, soft, shining, clear--but that cold snap was a
terror. Many little brown Indian babies returned to their Maker by way
of bronchitis, pneumonia, and kindred ills. It is good to think of them
warm, safe with the Lord, so many children with none or insufficient
clothing in that cruel, lifeless cold!

It has been rather a day of contrasts, for in the morning I mingled
again with the Indian world at Guadalupe,[28] and in the afternoon I
went to the benefit held for a new charity hospital by a committee of
American women. The affair crystallized about the art exhibit of Miss
Helen Hyde, who has a collection of the most lovely Japanese things
done on her recent visit to Nippon. She calls them chromozylographs,
and they are charmingly framed in plain black strips. I bought several
after harrowing indecisions.

Madame Madero came and had tea with us at a table over which Mrs.
Wilson presided. Madame Madero was almost extinguished by a huge
bronze-green and purple hat matching her velvet dress. Madame Calero
and Madame Lie made up the party, with Mrs. Stronge, the newly married
wife of the British minister, who has just arrived. She had on some
interesting emeralds, picked up in Bogotá, their last post.

Mrs. Wilson goes to-morrow. I always miss her kindness and her
consideration.

Christmas is in the air. We dine with the ambassador at the Kilverts'
at Coyoacan on that day. My thoughts will be with my dear ones, and the
seas, the mountains, and the valleys between will hurt.

Just now the following was handed in to me through Mr. Cummings:
"Governor Juarez left for Oaxaca last night. General Hernandez and
troops left for Juchitan this morning. Peace reigns on the Isthmus."

It looks as if it soon might be time for a lone exotic niece to betake
her to those regions.


                                                        _December 15th._

A very interesting letter from San Gerónimo of the 12th came this
morning. The governor, with his party, had just left the house for
Tehuantepec and Salina Cruz. He had come most unostentatiously, with
only his secretaries and a few officials--no guard, no private car,
no banquets--as he said he had come to restore peace, and not for
feasting.

The celebrated Che Gómez, an hour or so before, had been sitting,
uninvited and unafraid, on the front porch. When he learned that the
governor was expected he betook himself off, with followers and guard,
to another station. The governor subsequently wired the police at
Rincon Antonio to arrest him on the arrival of the train before he got
out of the state (Oaxaca). He was taken to jail, and that night was
shot with his men.

No word of regret anywhere for his fate, and I dare say he gave up
his own life as easily as he had taken that of others. Governor Juarez
was warmly welcomed by all the towns, even by poor, ruined Juchitan,
Che Gómez's _own_ town, with open arms and flowers. The law-abiding
citizens are returning to their dismantled homes, after living in the
bush, from hand to mouth, for weeks.


                                                        _December 16th._

This morning at 11.30 a "good" earthquake. It suddenly got very dark,
and I went to the window, my infant clutching at my dress, to see what
was happening, when the roofs of the houses opposite began to undulate,
and I had to catch hold of the window, or we would have been thrown to
the floor.

The horses stopped short with perfectly stiff legs, and people began
running out of the doors and kneeling in the street and shrieking,
"_Misericordia! Misericordia!_" most uncomfortably. Nothing was broken
in the house, but every picture was left hanging askew, and pale
servants served a luncheon which showed the effects on _them_!

Elena appeared collarless, with damp, thick hair floating down her
back, and Cecilia had a blue rebozo twisted about her, no hint of
white anywhere on her person. They passed the dishes at an angle of
forty-five degrees.


                                                                _Later._

At three o'clock a dimness again fell upon the city, and there was
the faint, uncanny sound of sliding objects and slipping pictures and
swaying doors and curtains. In a second of time it had passed, but the
hint of cosmic forces leaves a decided trace on mere flesh and blood.

We went to the reception at Chapultepec on Thursday, "_par charité,
pas par snobisme_," as somebody unkindly said. The Mexican families of
repute boycott the Madero receptions. The few Mexicans who do go don't
figure in the real national accounting. The diplomats feel that they at
least ought to go, so last Thursday the inclosed clipping was produced.

Madame Madero, though small and worn-looking, is always dignified and
courteous, and receives with simplicity and cordiality. Madero seems in
a continual ecstasy; one would think he found Chapultepec the seventh
heaven. He is full of confidence in himself and in the country. A happy
man, one involuntarily says in looking at him. To-night is the ball the
French colony gives for him.


                                                        _December 17th._

The reception at the "Cercle Français," in their fine quarters in the
Calle de Motolinia, was a great success. The President with Madame
Lefaivre, in a handsome black-and-white gown, and Mr. Lefaivre with
Madame Madero in a dark, rich _evening_ dress, headed the procession
to an elaborate supper, all following according to the protocol, Mr.
Madero and Mr. Lefaivre sitting facing each other. Allart took me in.

Everything was decorated with the tricolor, and red and blue and white
lights, and masses of natural flowers, and very good music played
continuously; the affair was got up by the wealthy French _commerçants_
in honor of the President and his wife.

Madame Lefaivre said the President talked to her the whole time in
a most sanguine manner about the reforms he intends to introduce,
especially in the matter of public instruction, and was wrapped about
with illusions and dreams as to his rôle of apostle charged with the
regeneration of Mexico.

Afterward, when he made his speech in answer to the toast, he recalled
happy souvenirs of his youth in the Lycée de Versailles. When they
subsequently made the tour of the _salon_, Madame Lefaivre, in passing
me, whispered that she was _toute confuse_ at feeling herself so big
on the arm of the little President. He saluted right and left with a
smile which, without being fixed, was always there. I think he was very
pleased with the occasion and its international setting.

It is always interesting to see any colony turn out in distant posts,
and here the French colony, representing very large interests--banking,
industrial, mercantile--is numerous and important, comparable only to
that in Moscow.

The large department shops, _à la Bon Marché_, like the "Palacio
de Hierro" and the "Puerto de Vera Cruz," are in French hands. From
the days of their intervention, the French have invested largely in
Mexico, and now I hear there is much uneasiness in Gallic quarters, so
many interests are to be protected, and the protection is an unknown
quantity. Mr. Lefaivre is untiring in his efforts--but order can only
come through the government itself.

Previous to the famous elections, or rather "selections," as I prefer
to call them (the word elections could be dropped from use and not
missed in Mexico), the Partido Católico, among other parties of
conservative tendencies, was not efficiently formed. Iglesias Calderon
represented the old anti-clerical party, and De la Barra, in spite of
his determination to retire from public life, was made the candidate of
the National Catholic party, and of the Liberal party as well, for the
Vice-Presidency.

It was "generally understood" that he would be defeated. N. said last
night, informally, to Madero: "It is a pity; Mr. de la Barra has such a
good standing abroad." Madero replied: "I will see that he is _elected_
from somewhere else." And he was, later, from Querétaro, his native
town, as senator, I think.

They haven't got the "hang" of democracy here, nor any suspicion of
political parties having rights and dignities, and it is discouraging
to see them trying to work out their questions without any such
suspicions. It is war to the knife or the _adjective_ when one man
differs from another.

Bulnes had one of his flashing, witty articles in _El Imparcial_ not
long ago, _à propos_ of the candidature of Pino Suarez, in which he
says that as in classic days the language of intellectuals was Latin,
now in Latin-America that of the politicians is any kind of vile
language, and to be in conformity with electoral urbanity, when meeting
an acquaintance, one should salute him by saying, "I forestall any
remark you may make, by telling you that if you hold opinions differing
from mine you are a scoundrel!"


                                                        _December 18th._

I am inviting for my Xmas festivity those with children, _and_ the
childless, the colleagues, the Bedfords, the Bonillas, Kilverts, Judge
W., the ambassador's great friend, and members of the embassy. Mr.
Wilson has gone for a few days to the hot country to try to get rid of
his cold, and N. is looking after things in his absence. I have sent
off seventy post-cards, quite a document of this strange land.

Very pleasant dinner at the French Legation last night. Bridge
afterward till an unduly late hour for Mexico. The Lefaivres have
been here three years already, and would take a European post without
urging. You would like them--cultivated, sincere, and kind, and
Lefaivre shows his long training, his Latin-American experience in his
full appreciation of the situation. They came here from Havana, and
keep open house, constantly entertaining their colony, as well as doing
more than their share of "nourishing" their colleagues.

Have just been with Madame Lefaivre to the tea given by ---- for his
extraordinary-looking daughter, a huge, dark-eyed, fresh-complexioned
creature, _à la belle Fatima_, innocent, ignorant, and wanting a
husband; a not unusual type here, but not in our Anglo-Saxon category
at all.


                                               _December 19th, Tuesday._

Hohler dropped in late for a few minutes. He is going off on one of his
long trips into the heart of the country. When I asked him which one of
his antique comrades would accompany him, he pulled out a fine little
edition of Virgil, diamond-printed on matchless paper. He is endlessly
strong and keen about things in general, and now that the minister has
arrived, can leave for a few days' outing.

Some of the long-expected furniture from London has come, and the
Stronges are busy installing themselves. The "lion and the unicorn" are
always most generous to those who represent them abroad.

Two interesting young women with letters from New York, from Mr.
Choate, also called--Miss Hague and Miss Brownell. They are painting
and collecting folk-songs. I am thankful for any one coming here to
record the fading glories of Mexico with intelligence and love. They
will come for the Christmas tree, also.


                                                        _December 21st._

Monsignore Vay de Vaya appeared yesterday en route for Panama. You know
space scarcely exists for him. He found a warm welcome, and I have a
luncheon for him on Saturday. He sends many regards, and hopes to meet
you at Nauheim again next summer. I am asking the Lefaivres, Riedls,
Carmona, _chef du protocole_, De Soto, the Belgian minister, _et al._

I enclose letter of the 17th from Aunt L., who has just been to
Juchitan, saying that the town looked very battered. The _jefe_ not yet
back. Among domestic items she says a large packet of cranberries has
arrived; after thirty years of Mexico, it is not quite so commonplace
as it sounds, but rather as if a denizen of a Vermont village had
received a crate of mangoes.


                                                 _December 22d, Friday._

N. and I went to call on Monsignore this morning. He is stopping at
the Hotel Iturbide. He was out, but I took a look about the imposing
_patio_, three-storied, colonnaded, and pierced with large, beautifully
carved doorways and windows. It was started on a magnificent scale for
the Emperor Iturbide, who paid the usual Mexican penalty for power at
the hands of the usual Mexican patriots before it was finished. 'Tis
known that as a hotel it leaves to be desired; the dust of revolutions
and ages covers the spacious corridors. There are strange silences when
you call for hot water, or any kind of water, for that matter. And you
eat somewhere else.

Yesterday another reception at Chapultepec. Madame Madero is much
changed from the simple-appearing woman of the Von Hintze dinner. I see
she naturally inclines to a somber richness of dress--dark velvets,
dull brocades--which I think fit her passionate, ambitious, resolute
temperament, though sometimes overpowering to her small physique.

Yesterday she had on a deep-blue brocaded velvet, with some sort of
heavy, lusterless fringe, and there was a decided though still discreet
gleam of jewels. That air of coming from the provinces, but nice
provinces, is somewhat gone.

The President slipped in quietly, later, without the playing of the
national hymn. There was quite a musical program. Madame Esmeralda
de Grossmann played beautifully on the harp. It appears she has an
international reputation. The daughter of ----, attired in a very
tight-skirted, lemon-colored satin dress, trimmed with swan's-down, one
of her pupils, started to play, broke down, was further discomfited
and finally routed by irate paternal glances. Angela Madero
sings charmingly with natural style, and gave Massenet's "Elégie"
delightfully. One is continually interested in the composition of
the presidential receptions, which means so much more than appears.
Madero's father and mother were there, with various daughters and sons
and sons' wives.

The Vice-President, young, tall, dark-skinned, black-eyed,
black-mustached, regular of features, without, however, any perceptible
color of personality, was accompanied by his wife and a contingent
of satellites, moving wherever he moved with the regularity of the
heavenly bodies--no intention of revolving alone in the unknown social
orbit. The _Corps Diplomatique_ was out in force, and the Protocole,
Carmona, Nervo, Pulido, etc., also Don Felix Romero, chief of the
Supreme Court, and his wife, Judge and Mrs. Sepulveda of California,
naturalized Americans, with a handsome daughter. But beyond these
I did not see any of what might be called "pillars of society," or,
indeed, anything remotely resembling props to uphold the new order. We
presented Monsignor Vay de Vaya, who struck the international note in
the pink-and-white-and-gold _salon des ambassadeurs_, whose spaces were
known to those princes of his monarchy, Maximilian and Carlota.


                                                _December 23d, evening._

The Christmas tide is flowing full about the Alameda, where the Indians
have again stocked their _puestos_ with reminders of the season. We
have just come from a little _tournée_ between the rows of booths hung
with lanterns of every size and color, the odor of _la race cuivrée_
mingling with the more familiar scent of freshly cut pine-trees. Tiny
plaster and terra-cotta groups of the "Three Kings" abound--a white
man, a negro, a Mongolian in various fanciful garbings--shone on by
the largest of stars, and all sorts of "Holy Families," especially the
"Flight into Egypt," where the burro seems to have come into his own.

On all sides were great piles of peanuts, fruits known and unknown,
highly colored sweets, heaps upon heaps of fragile potteries, and
charming, pliable baskets, brought to the city from mountain fastnesses
or distant plains by Indian families afoot.

Soft, shining-bodied children were sleeping in the most fortuitous
of positions, uncovered, in the chill night air. I could but think
of blue-eyed, white-skinned children in warm nurseries. They lay
beside grotesque _naguales_--figures with hideous human faces on
woolly four-footed bodies, whose _raison d'être_ is to frighten.
The population inclines to the grotesque, anyway, on the slightest
provocation, and side by side with the _naguales_ are other hideous
clown-like figures--_piñatas_--which are the high-lights of certain
time-hallowed post-Christmas festivities. They are of all sizes
and prices--from little paper dolls hanging from bamboo rods that
will decorate adobe huts to the more expensive figures, bulky about
the waist, whose tinsel and tissue-paper garments conceal a great
earthenware jar filled with toys and candies.

The _cohetes_ are sounding as I write--a sort of
fire-cracker--announcing the advent of the Child to this Indian world.

As for the Posadas, we are evidently not to be initiated into their
mysteries. The Mexican families of note continue to sport their oaks
since the coming in of the Madero administration, and the Diplomatic
Corps this year is left out in the cold on these intimate occasions,
which are family parties held during nine days before Christmas,
symbolic of the efforts of Mary and Joseph to find a resting-place in
crowded Bethlehem.


                                                        _December 24th._

We see the list of diplomatic shifts; among them are a few real
Christmas presents. Dearing, who returned a short time ago, is made
assistant chief of the Latin-American division of the State Department.
He has made and will continue to make _une bonne carrière_. Schuyler,
whom I have not seen since he passed through Copenhagen _en route_ for
Petersburg, takes his place here. Cresson goes to London, which will
please him; the Blisses get Paris, quite the handsomest of all the
presents. Weitzel, who was here when we arrived, goes to Nicaragua,
and so on through a long list. I felt, when I saw the changes, a
sort of hankering for the Aryan flesh-pots, a sudden feeling of my
unrelatedness to Latin America. I was, so to speak, for the moment "fed
up" on the tropics with a thick sauce of world pain. Any light-colored
diplomat will know just what I mean, and I dare say the dark ones feel
it in higher latitudes.

Diplomacy, as offered by the United States Government, is a most
unsettling thing, anyway. The basic uncertainties of the _carrière_, to
begin with, and then, if you are in a place you like, the feeling that
at any time the trump may sound, and if you don't like it, hoping to
be changed. However, it all goes up like smoke along with other human
things.


     [27] During the first Carrancista occupation of Mexico City
     this house was sacked and stripped of all belongings. Not an
     electric-light fixture, not a door-knob was left; even the
     costly floorings were torn up. Street-cars run through the
     Calles de Londres and ---- told me that for days the traffic
     was interrupted by cars filled with the Creels' furniture and
     works of art, which were left standing in front of the house.
     One rather sighs for the fate of the Sèvres vases, and one
     thinks involuntarily of the new verb in the Spanish language,
     "_carranciar_," to steal like a Carrancista.

     [28] _Diplomat's Wife in Mexico_, Feast of the Virgin of
     Guadalupe.



XV

     The first Christmas in Mexico City--Hearts sad and
       gay--Piñatas--Statue to Christopher Columbus.


                                                  _Christmas Day, 1911._

My first thought was of my precious mother, _l'absence est le plus
grand des maux_. I went to midnight mass at the French church with
Madame Lefaivre. The _Adeste Fideles_ was beautifully sung, and I
thought of the millions of throats, all over the glad, sad earth,
singing the peace-bringing air.

I was so happy that of the people assembled around the tree three knew
you and spoke of you--Monsignore Vay de Vaya, and Mrs. Bedford and her
daughter. It was sad to have Aunt L. so near and yet so far.

The little party went off very well--tiny souvenirs for each. Elim
was overwhelmed with toys of the most elaborate kind, and I was
almost embarrassed at one time, as they came piling in. The only
children present, alas, were Jim Chermont, Mrs. C. R. Hudson's pretty
blond-haired little girl, the Japanese children, and little Harold
Hotchkiss. They played near the tree, mostly lying on their little
tummies, with their heels in the air, as near the lights as possible.

Allart sent the dearest miniature _charro_ costume as a present to
Elim, with a line that he was too sad to come; his beloved little
daughter is in Belgium.

In the morning I drove down to the San Juan Letran market and brought
back a great bundle of the gorgeous _flor de Noche Buena_ (Poinsettia),
most difficult to arrange on account of the thick, angular stems, and
not too trustworthy about keeping fresh, even here on its native heath.
But the red made lovely splashes of color in the rooms, which were
packed. It ended by my inviting every Anglo-Saxon in town, as well as
the diplomats, but I have noted that on festive occasions people like
being packed.

The punch, after an excellent receipt given me by Madame Bonilla,
was good and heady, as a punch should be, and the ambassador sent his
Belgian _maître d'hôtel_ to superintend the serving of the _refrescos_.
I know, however, that many a thought was far, and many a heart sad,
because of separations and vanishings.

At four o'clock to-day I light up the tree for the servants, and give
them their presents. They have _carte blanche_ to bring any of their
related young, so I imagine we will be fairly numerous. I then take
Elim to the Chermonts' tree, and we dine at the Kilverts' at Coyoacan,
driving out with the ambassador and Mr. Potter and Mr. Butler.

To-morrow Elim goes to a _piñata_ given by Madame Bonilla, childless
herself, but always so eager to make children happy. Wednesday to
another at Madame Clara Scherer's. I don't know how he will stand so
much "going out." He and Jim Chermont had quite a little "shindy"
toward the end of the afternoon yesterday, at which the tiny Jap
assisted with joy.

The _piñata_ is hung from the ceiling of the zaguan (vestibule entrance
into the _patio_). Each child in turn is blindfolded, presented with a
long stick, turned around, and then told to proceed. When a lucky hit
breaks the _piñata_, there is a stampede for the scattered treasure.

On Wednesday Madame Lefaivre has Monsignore to dinner; they had met
before in Paris at the Princesse de Polignac's.

Elim went to bed with a goat with sharp horns, from Madame Lie, a
whip, and nearly a brigade of soldiers, which I removed from him in the
"first sweet dreams of night."


                                                        _December 28th._

The _piñatas_ continue, one this afternoon at Mrs. C. R. Hudson's. They
appear to be quite exciting, for little darlings dream and moan about
them in their sleep.

Yesterday Elim was taking the papers out of the waste-paper basket
in the library and loading them onto one of the Christmas wagons.
He was clad in pale blue, looking inexpressibly fair and remote from
earthiness, when he raised those blue, blue eyes to me and said: "Mama,
_ich bin der Mistmann_" (I am the garbage-man). Talking of contrasts!

Now I must dress for the dinner at the French Legation for Monsignore.
He is looking very worn. These long world-journeys that he makes
for his emigration work take it out of him. From the founding of an
orphanage in Corea to the visiting of Hungarian dock laborers on the
Isthmus of Panama _is_ rather a stretch of nerves as well as space.

We have the news that General Reyes' Christmas gift was his surrender
to the Federal troops--quite a pleasant surprise for Mr. Madero's
"stocking." He is eliminated; but all seem ready to fight over the
bones of peace that Diaz left--though not one of them is worthy to
tie his shoe-strings from the point of civic government and keeping of
order, which last I now see is the first requisite for any state.

There is a cartoon in the _Chicago Inter-Ocean_ of Madero trying to
hold his hat on, with Diaz watching from Europe. That Parthian shot of
his, that in the end the Government would have to use his methods, is
going home.


                                                        _December 29th._

The "angel boy" has lost a front tooth--one of those that _you_ watched
come. It fell out at Madame ----'s _piñata_, in her big, too-handsome
house, where the entertainment was most elaborate, and the toys
that were scrambled for when the _olla_ was broken were of the most
expensive kind. Afterward all imaginable rich things were served in the
big dining-room. The hottest, pepperiest tamales were passed around
to about forty little Mexican darlings, who ate them, not only with
relish, but composure; my taste brought tears to my eyes and a call for
water.

Elim left his seat to bring his tooth triumphantly to me and tell me
I must have it set in gold. He is so little that he will be around
for years with a hole in his mouth. I felt much the way I would have
felt had I discovered him growing a mustache. Madame ----'s house, in
good taste outside, architecturally, is like her pictures inside, the
frames too rich for what they inclose. There are agate-topped tables
and malachite bric-à-brac in heavy gilt vitrines, and "hand-painted"
screens. It is beautifully situated in the Glorieta Colon, the
_rond-point_ where the statue of Christopher Columbus, by a French
artist, was raised in 1877. It shows him surrounded by the two monks
who helped him in the great adventure, and Fray Pedro de la Gante and
Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, lovers and protectors of the Indians.

The monks are Padre Juan Perez de Marchena, prior of the convent of
Santa Maria Rabada, who had the wit to understand and the power to
further Columbus's project. The other, Fray Diego Dehasa, was the
confessor and adviser of King Ferdinand. It's too bad Humboldt could
not have seen it, for he says: "_On peut traverser l'Amérique Espagnole
depuis Buenos Aires jusqu'à Monterrey, depuis la Trinité et Porto Rico
jusqu'à Panama et Veragua, et nulle part on ne rencontrera un monument
national que la reconnaissance publique ait élevé à la gloire de
Christophe Colomb et de Hernan Cortés._"


                                                        _December 29th._

Two sportsmen of note, Count Sala and Mr. Williams, came for
lunch to-day, also Riedl. They are here en route to Tampico for
tarpon-fishing, the only really fine sport Mexico offers to foreigners.
They were at the delightful dinner at the French Legation the other
night for Monsignore.


                                                    _December 30, 1911._

One of Aunt Louise's exquisite letters came this morning--I will
forward it another time. She begins by saying, "Where are you,
wandering star?" and wishes me, wherever the end of the earthly year
finds me, "joys that reside in little things, as well as fortune's
greater gifts."

Outside night and snow were falling. Within lamps were lighted and
fire glowing. Genevieve was playing "Robin Adair," and her "heart was
suddenly sad to plumbless depths," because of separations. She closes
with a verse (I don't remember from whom):

     When windflowers blossom on the sea,
       And fishes skim along the plain,
     Then we who part this weary day,
       Then you and I will meet again.



XVI

     Off for Tehuantepec--A journey through the jungles--The
       blazing tropics--Through Chivela Pass in the lemon-colored
       dawn--Ravages of the revolution--A race of queens


                                                      _January 1, 1912._

My first thought flies to you this morning. I have sorrowed, smiled, in
other years, perhaps learned to pray, so mayhap my heart is ready for
1912.

N. has gone to the Palace, where the President receives the gentlemen
of the Diplomatic Corps; this afternoon Madame Madero receives both
_messieurs et dames_. Last night a pleasant dinner at the Embassy, at
which I presided. Americans only, the ambassador's special friends,
and home in reasonable time. I was "hung solitary in the universe" when
twelve o'clock struck and kindly healths were drunk. I thought of the
light already beginning to break over the wintry Zürich hills, and of
you, and Elliott and his Calvary, and that other dear one of our blood,
lost to men but not to God. Was he sleeping quietly?


                                                           _January 2d._

N. came in a while ago with arrangements complete for the trip to
Tehuantepec. A telegram from Aunt Laura last night says: "All quiet
here again; so glad you are at last coming."

It seems like a fairy-tale that I am off to San Gerónimo, that exotic
memory of my childhood. I remember we called it San Ger_onímo_ instead
of pronouncing it San Her_ó_nimo. How the letters used to come dropping
in--and the presents! The red-leather-covered sandalwood box, with
its brass nails; the strange, square, old Spanish silver coins, just
chopped off, as one would a bit of dough, and stamped hot; the painted
gourds, the idols and the bright bits of embroidery.

N. has just been delegated to go to get an American out of jail, the
third one this week. They are taken up for nothing; we are not popular
here just now.

Madame Madero's New-Year's reception for the _Corps Diplomatique_
was poorly attended and there was no enlivening touch in the way of
refreshments and nothing in which to drink healths. The wife of the
---- minister asked the President for a _verre d'eau_ toward the end.
He was very apologetic, pleasant, and modest, and said: "Oh, we don't
know how to do these things." He seemed full of good intentions and
hope for 1912--but alack! alack! never has it been seen that nobility
alone is able to maintain its possessor!

Elim is begging me to bring him a monkey when I come back. I hate to
disappoint him--but do you see me traveling with anything belonging to
that species? The trip is said to be magnificent--two nights and one
day. I wish it were two days and one night.

Aunt L. is thinking of me and preparing for me; I know what it means
for some one of her own to penetrate to her fastness, or rather her
jungle. Mr. Cummings has put the telegraph at N.'s and my disposal
while I am away. I have not been outside the Federal district since I
arrived, so content with the treasures of this matchless valley; but of
course one easily gets the _Reisefieber_.

I will write _en route_ to the "blazing tropics." Now, farewell.


                                       _January 4th_, Córdoba, _10 a.m._

We have just descended into a dew-drenched world. It is supposed to
be the "dry season," _estación de secas_. A warm, wet, glistening air
comes in at the window, and my furs are in the rack.

I have been watching endless coffee-plantations with red berries
shining among the foliage, and great tobacco-fields of broad, shiny
leaves. Banana-trees grow close to the tracks, and everywhere are the
most perishable of homes, built of what looks like nothing more solid
than corn-stalks and dried leaves.

Cordoba was founded early in the seventeenth century by a viceroy, who
modestly called it after himself.


                                                                  Later.

A series of the most gorgeous mountain vistas, tunnel after tunnel,
and in between each darkness a world of beauty. Lovely palms abound,
delicate yet definite in their flowery symmetry. The Pico de Orizaba
has made various farewell appearances, one more enchanting and
regretful than the other. Now a great plain is rolling away, of
seemingly incredible fertility, with shadows of clouds on its shining
stretches.

The faithful banana, which was first brought to this continent
by a Dominican monk, _via_ Haiti, about the time of the Conquest
certainly came into its own in this hot, moist land. One of the early
ecclesiastical writers in Mexico was so impressed that he hazards
the statement that it was the forbidden fruit that tempted Eve. It
certainly continues to tempt both sexes and all ages to idleness.


                                                                _Later._
                               Presidio, in the cañon of the Rio Blanco.

I have been absorbed in watching the tropical jungles, where form is
eliminated. Every tree is choked or cloaked by some sort of enveloping
_convolvuli_; every wall has its formless abundant covering. No
silhouettes anywhere, no "cut" to anything--which is why all this
richness could, I imagine, get monotonous.

                                                  Tierra Blanca, _3.30_.

In the "blazing tropics"! A heavy, hot atmosphere comes in at the
window. All along there has been much sitting of a dark race under
banana-trees, where not even a change of position seems necessary in
order to be fed.

We have had a long wait here at Tierra Blanca, which is the junction
of a branch line to Vera Cruz, and I have been watching station life.
It's very highly colored. Here and there appears an unmistakably
American face--the "exploiters" some would call them; but it seems to
me they gather up all this vague splendor, this endless abundance, into
something definite, with benefits to the greater number, though some
get "left," of course.

There is a decided note of _carpe diem_ transposed into orange,
scarlet, and black, which all the coming and going of men, women, and
children with baskets of coffee-beans doesn't do away with. In the
tropics the white man is king, be he Yankee, Spaniard, or Northman,
and it is part of the lure. The abundances of Mother Earth are for his
harvesting; a strange, native race seems there to do him honor, render
him service, asking only in return enough of the abundance to keep soul
in body for the allotted span.

We have just passed the broad Rio Mariposa (Butterfly River), and are
at a place called "Obispo." Indian women are holding up baskets of
the most gorgeous fruits, babes on their backs, cigarettes in their
mouths. We are near the celebrated Valle Nacional. I remember some
terrible articles in one of the magazines about the human miseries in
the working of the tobacco-factories, herds of men, women, and children
locked together into great sheds at night during tropical storms,
enslavements, separations. It's easy to hope it is not so, but I dare
say it is.

We are zigzagging through dense jungle with the gaudiest splashes of
color. Flashy birds are flying about. Sometimes one wonders if it is
bird or flower. All the green is studded with bright spots. There are
great, flat, meadow-like spaces, the soil looking rich enough to bear
food for all the hungry millions of the earth, and numberless cattle
are grazing over it. But oh! the inexpressible slipshodness of the
human abodes! Anything perishable, nearest at hand, sugar-cane stalks,
palm leaves, continue to compose the dwellings; and oh! the crowds of
children, of human beings, just as slipshod, just as perishable!

The sun is setting. Great pink brushes of cirrus are covering the sky,
against a blue that hates to give way, but in a moment I know it will
be dark.

                                                                _Later._

A wonderful day, but somehow I am glad I was born in the temperate
zone. I suppose it's the New England blood protesting against all this,
as something wasteful and unrelated. Since we passed the heavy-flowing
Rio Mariposa I have been having more than a touch of "world-pain." The
light is so poor in my state-room that I can't read, but I arrive at
San Gerónimo at 5.30, which means a 4.30 rising, so good night.

                                                _January 5th, 5.30 a.m._

Chivela Pass in the lemon-colored dawn! I don't know what I went
through in the night, but now I am descending to the Pacific. Sharp
outlines of treeless, pinkish hills are everywhere showing themselves,
with here and there patches of the classic and beautiful organos
cactus. It is almost chilly. My heart and I are ready for the meeting.
The porter tells me there are only two more stations.

                                   _San Gerónimo, January 6th, evening._

As the train got in to San G. I saw a very pale, very blue-eyed, slim,
white-clad figure. New England, though a thousand cycles had been
passed in the tropics. We met in silence, two full hearts, and in
silence we went over to the house....

                                                 _January 8th, evening._

We have been walking up and down the garden under the big fig-tree,
where a huge and very beautiful _huacamaia_, a sort of parrot, with a
yellow-and-red head and a long blue tail makes his home. We have been
thinking and talking in a way so foreign to the thick tropical darkness
enveloping us.

The sun went down on a world of ashes of roses and then this soft,
very black night fell. At sunset we took a turn about the sandy,
desolate-looking town.

Women, scriptural women, were washing and bathing in the broad,
high-banked stream. It reminded me of Tissot's pictures of the Holy
Land--the barren banks of the pebbly river, the fig-trees, the little
groups. The women wear most lovely garments as to outline. A wide skirt
with a deep flounce is tucked up in front, for more ease in moving, and
the falling flounce gives quite a Tanagra line.

Little girls are always dressed, from their tenderest age, in skirts
too long; but little boys go naked till they are eleven or twelve, and
the clad and the unclad play about together.

When Don Porfirio took things in hand the boys were made to dress to
go to school, and as a last touch of fashion made to tuck their shirts
inside their trousers. It appears, however, they only tuck them in as
they enter the school door, pulling them out when they are released.

... But Aunt L. says she is tired of it all--the naked children, the
barren stretches, the _carpe diem_, the ultimate unrelatedness of her
life to its frame, though I kept thinking of Henley's line, "and in her
heart some late lark singing." ...

... Each life, it seems to me, short or long, is wonderful when it
becomes a perfected story, if we could only get it in perspective,
against its own destined background; not blurred and mixed with other
unrelated lives, but by itself, in relief, as the great artists show
their masterpieces. I can't feel the ordinariness of any human life.
Some are dreadful, some beautiful, some undeveloped; but each in its
way could be an infinitely perfect story were the artist there to
record it.


                                                _January 10th, evening._

To-day we drove over to Juchitan, the "county-seat"--Aunt L. to get
some papers witnessed and signed at the _jefatura_, and to show me the
ravages of the revolution of November.

The country, as we drove along, was scorching, dry, light-colored,
with only an occasional tree and the irrepressible mesquite growing
everywhere out of the sandy soil. We passed dreadful, screaming, wooden
carts, with their solid wooden wheels, drawn by thin oxen, trying to
nibble the withered grass; and there were herds of skeleton-like cattle
dotted over the thorny cactus-covered fields.

There is a great hill, Istlaltepec, which separates San Gerónimo
(fortunately, I should say) from lively Juchitan; and on the side of it
away from San Gerónimo are prehistoric tracings and remains, studied,
at various times, by various savants. It's a country with sandy, flat
stretches and blue hills bounding them, and the river of Juchitan
flowing to the near Pacific. The village of Istlaltepec was a blaze
of color, white-washed or pink- or blue-washed dwellings, fig- and
palm-trees, and over all the brilliant, blinding light.

At Juchitan we stopped a moment at a hotel, but it was so dilapidated
and shot with bullet marks, and so desolate and mournful-looking
inside, that we went to a small, native place of refreshment, kept
by a one-time servant of Aunt L.'s. She was old, but welcoming. Her
daughter, a fine, tall woman of thirty or thereabouts, was coming down
the street, with one of the great, painted gourds on her head filled
with a variety of highly colored things, and with the walk of a queen,
a majestic, gentle, swaying movement.

They spread a spotless cloth, in a dim, sandy, red-tiled room with
a glimpse of a palm in the old _patio_ behind, that would have been
a back yard, and a hideous one, if it had been "at home." The old
woman told her ailments, and the daughter, aided by the granddaughter,
served us a _sopa de frijoles_ (bean soup), a perfect omelet, with a
hard-crusted, pleasant-tasting bread, but no butter, and black coffee.

Goat's milk was offered; the goat was in the _patio_--but "goat _me_ no
goats."

The inhabitants of the street gathered around as we got into the
carriage, among them an Indian woman with a coal-black baby--a _salto
atras_, a "jump back," as they are cheerfully called, when the baby
is blacker than the mother. We proceeded to hunt the _jefe_ again,
but when we got to the _jefatura_ we were informed that he was still
taking his siesta, so in spite of the sun we decided to look about the
apparently deserted town.

We stopped at another inn, where there were more signs of recent
"regeneration"--blood-stained walls, mirrors broken, a billiard-table
partly chopped up, and a piano of the "cottage" variety with its
strings pulled out. The _propietario_ showed us around sadly, but with
a note of pride. His house was, for the moment, the "show-place" of the
town. He pointed out a large, carefully preserved blood-spot on the
floor, and kept repeating _muy triste_--but all the same there was a
light in his eye.

The barracks, with a large detachment of Federal troops, and the
near-by church have great pieces chipped off by guns, and are
embroidered by pepperings of rifle-fire.

Don Porfirio nearly lost his life on his way to Don Alejandro de
Gyvès' (Aunt L.'s French friend, when she first came down here; he was
consul, you remember, and they were the _civilisés_ of the place). The
Juchitecos tried to kill Diaz and his priest-friend, Fray Mauricio,
near his house, and it was the village leader of that epoch who put
his brother Felix to death. They seem to be consistent and persistent
fighters, these Juchitecos, given over to libations, always fighting
with somebody, but best enjoying it in their own bailiwick.

The damages caused by the ambitions of the late Che Gómez were amply
testified to. A French merchant, Señor Rome, whom Aunt L. saw about
some business, had had his home in the environs sacked, and his bride
had escaped with difficulty into the hills, her beloved trousseau and
household linen, brought from Paris, of course, being destroyed or
stolen.


                                                  _January 12th, 9 a.m._

We were up with the dawn, expecting to start for Tehuantepec and Salina
Cruz at six o'clock, taking the train that I had arrived on at 5.30.
But this is one of the mornings when it won't get here till after nine
o'clock.

A hot, fierce, sandy gale is blowing, and every door and window in the
house is rattling. We are just going to have a second breakfast, before
starting out. The Chinese cook does very well, but when he was talking
with his assistant this morning under my window, it sounded like the
chopping of hash, literally, a conversation of short sounds and shorter
stops.

Some fresh cocoanuts were brought in, and we have each had a glassful
of the milky beverage. I can imagine how delicious it would be, come
upon suddenly in the desert; but sitting at a table with a servant to
pour it out, I was a little disappointed. I innocently came down in a
hat for the journey, but it was impossible to keep it on, even sitting
on the veranda. These winds, it appears, blow whenever they feel like
it, from October till May.

Now we are waiting, Aunt L. in white, with a long blue chiffon
veil, and I in blue, with a white veil. I fancy we would present a
picturesque sight to the proper eyes.


                                               _January 13th, 7.30 a.m._

At last, yesterday, the train came, and, clutching at our veils, we
were blown into it, and after another unexplained delay started off in
an American-built car like our ordinary ones. Its name was "Quincy"!
In the old days, Aunt L. went everywhere on horseback. We passed
various little wind-swept villages. Jordan was the name of one of
them, seeming, in the sandy, New-Testament-looking spot, just the right
name. Two beautiful Tehuantepec women got into the train there, kindly
sitting near us. I was fascinated by their clothes, and much more
interested in them than they were in us.

The unfamiliar cadence of the Zapoteca gave them a complete touch
of foreignness. One of them wore a beautiful, strange, complicated
head-dress of stiff pleated and ruffled lace, which, I later
discovered, does not at all interfere with the carrying on their heads
of the large, shallow, brightly painted gourds. Her skirts were long
and deeply flounced, but looped up at the waist, just a tucking in of
the lower hem of the flounce, with the rest of the stuff flowing away
in a most lovely line. The other woman had on a beautiful necklace
of irregular-shaped gold coins, and with her flashing teeth and dark
eyes, and a brilliant, low-cut, full jacket, with a yellow handkerchief
twisted turbanwise around her head, made a picture I could not take
my eyes from. I felt as colorless as a shadow, and I told Aunt L. she
looked like a blue-and-gray Copenhagen vase strayed into a Moorish
room.

Just before getting into Tehuantepec we came upon a beautiful grove of
cocoanut-palms, high and graceful, above the rest of the vegetation,
and the little nestling huts and houses. All about are jungles
containing strange creeping things, and strange fevers and kindred
creeping ills.

As the train passed slowly down the principal street, it seemed to me
I looked out on a race of queens, tall, stately, with their lovely
costumes. The men seemed undersized and sort of "incidental" in the
landscape, but those beautiful women walking up and down their sandy
streets were a revelation. Aunt L. says they possess not only the
beauty, but the brains of the race. Former generations of Tehuantepec
men, fitter mates for these queens than the specimens I saw, were
mostly killed off in the various wars of "independence," and I
understand the population is kept up by fortuitous but willing males
from other places.

Everything was color; gorgeous splashes of yellow and black, and red
and orange and blue against the shifting, sandy streets. A picturesque,
creamy _Palacio Municipal_ faces the plaza, and there were many
churches--mostly showing earthquake vicissitudes. An old fortress, once
the headquarters of Diaz, gives a last suggestive note to the whole.

Glorious memories of Don Porfirio hang all over this part of the
world, where he is adored and mourned. I must say Madero's face looked
positively childish in the _jefatura_ at Juchitan, as it confronted
the stern, clever visage of the great Indian. Even the cheap, highly
colored lithograph could not do away with his look of distinction and
power. He was, in his young days, military governor of Tehuantepec,
and at one time _jefe político_. A French savant and traveler, l'Abbé
Brasseur de Bourbourg, remembering him then, said he was the most
perfect type he had ever seen, and what he imagined the kingly hero
Cuauhtemoc to have been.

When we got out of the train at Salina Cruz, a whirl-wind caught us and
blew us down the platform. I saw very little of the town on the way to
the British Consulate, where we were to lunch, as I was bent double by
the wind and blinded by the sand.

Mr. Buchanan and his wife were waiting to receive us. Mr. B.'s kind
but shrewd blue eyes, altruistic brow, and welcoming hand-clasp show
him at first sight to be what Aunt L. says he is, "pure gold." She has
found him through years the best of friends and wisest of advisers.
The consulate is on one of the sandy ridges that the town seems largely
composed of, and Mrs. Buchanan has arranged it with taste and comfort
after our ideas, with books and flowers and easy-chairs. But one look
from the high bow window and you know at once where you are, with
irrepressible cacti and palm-trees peeking in at you.

I tried sitting on the sheltered side of the veranda for a few minutes
while waiting for lunch, that my eyes might "receive" the Pacific, but
I was glad to go in-doors again. Mr. B. says the wind blows that way
six or seven months in the year. Yesterday was one of its "best."

Our consul, Mr. Haskell, and his wife came in later to tea. Their
house is on another sand-ridge. After a last pleasant chat about our
affairs, their affairs, and Mexican affairs we departed for our train
in a great darkness that the stars made no impression on, the wind
still tearing down the sandy streets. I was sorry not to visit the
breakwaters--_rompeolas_, they call them--but would probably have been
blown overboard.

From the veranda I could see ships that had come from Morning Lands,
riding at anchor, and later the sun went down in quiet majesty over
the great, flat waters of the Pacific. I was so near the Atlantic that
I thought of Humboldt's expression of "tearing the Isthmus apart, as
the pillars of Hercules had been torn in some great act of nature,"
and Revillagigedo's[29] dream of a canal joining the Atlantic to the
Pacific.

Mr. Buchanan said the first authentic mention of the Isthmus was in
a conversation between Montezuma and Cortés, as to the source of the
quantities of gold the Spaniards saw. Cortés, who was of an inquiring
turn of mind at any mention of the shining stuff, sent Pizarro, and
then Diego de Ordaz (he who tried to ascend Popocatepetl, and got a
volcano added to his crest), to investigate, coming here himself after
the rebuilding of Mexico City, _en route_ to Honduras. He received
a grant of the whole territory round about--"Las Marquesadas," as
they are still called, after his title, _Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca_
(Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca).

This morning there is still a great rattling of the windows and the
doors, but not a sign of gnat or mosquito. I must arise and further
investigate isthmian life. The _huacamaia_ in the fig-tree has been
making himself heard since dawn. I knew that if I did not tell you of
Tehuantepec and Salina Cruz now, you would never hear, and I think what
those names have meant to you during the years. It's all a memory of
drifting sands, women as straight as their own palm-trees, slim, naked
boys, fierce wind, and, in the harbor, the great port works, built by
foreign energy and capital.


                                                         _January 14th._

Going up, up, with a ringing in my ears out of the "blazing tropics"
into the Tierra Templada. I am traveling with a parrot in a cage, and
a nondescript little animal called, I think, a _tajon_, in a box with
slats! After a very cursory survey last night, it seemed to belong to
the 'coon family. I (who wish all animals well, but not too near) dimly
apprehend the Mérida family on the "Ward Line" traveling with their
parrot, when I consider that I was put onto the Pullman last night in a
thick, inky, tropical darkness, with a parrot in a cage, and a _tajon_
in a box with slats. The amiable colored porter is looking after them
in the baggage-car, and the back veranda with the oleanders, beyond
the dining-room, is their ultimate destination. I say nothing of the
parting; Aunt L. has promised to come soon.

The glorious Pico de Orizaba has just shown its lovely white head
between two dissolving blue ridges. Last night I reread _Le Journal
d'Amiel_, which, with _Monsieur Le Coq_, I picked up as I was leaving
the house. As up-to-date in the jungle as anything would be.


     [29] Fifty-second viceroy.



XVII

     Gathering clouds--"Tajada" the common disease of
       republics--Reception at Chapultepec--Madero in optimistic
       mood--His views of Mexico's liabilities to America


                                                         _January 17th._

I have not written since my word in the train. Too busy taking up daily
threads, and there have been various dinings and lunchings out. On my
return I found yours saying that another yellow-stamped instalment of
the _Arabian Nights Entertainment_ had come in on your breakfast-tray.
Just put Mexicans instead of Persians, or whatever they were, intrigues
for power in a Latin-American republic, instead of the intricacies of
Haroun-al-Raschid and his _califat_, change your longitude, and you are
"Orientée" as exactly as the pyramids!


                                                         _January 19th._
                                                (My brother's birthday).

To-night I am thinking of Elliott,[30] and, as so often, _before_ his
days of physical and spiritual anguish, of the beautiful brow with its
lines of thought, and the straight limbs as he moved freely among the
other sons of men. But however dear in his activities, where pride
was a factor, he is infinitely dearer to me now, stretched, broken,
while others divide his garments. I ask myself to-night at this seventh
turning of the years of pain, what I have not asked him. Has he drunk
the chalice, or is he still putting it away?

His mind is naturally occupied with intellectual equations. He as
naturally rejects the mystical; there is nothing "vicarious" to him.
Life is only what rationally and definitely is to be discovered by each
one, no possible doing of another's work. I remember quoting to him
once, _à propos_ of destinies and the end of the ends: "_Ego sum alpha
et omega, principium et finis_," and he answered, "Each one is his own
alpha and omega."

I know little, after all, of his spiritual life. His intellectual
life I can read like any fine book, the technicalities of a trained
mind superior to mine, inspiringly surmised, but not understood. He
is not _anima naturaliter christiana_, but all the same, he must hang
in his body on the cross of Christ crucified, and his only hope is in
acceptance of it, along the lines of redemption, cut off as he is from
the exercise of his splendid natural gifts. Results for him mean the
hunting out of definite, secret combinations, in definite, scientific
areas, and his mind is speculative only in an intellectual sense.

I shall, perhaps, never know how far the "Crucified" has convinced
him, but to-night, in thinking of him, _sitio_ comes again and again
to me. He has been so thirsty for the employment of his gifts, whose
value he knows, in a clear, common-sense way, as he also knows what has
not been given him, and the suppression of that gift of industry seems
sometimes to me the most painful nail that holds him. Don't let what I
have written make you unhappy. Mother-wounds bleed and burn so easily.

In this quiet, beauteous night, with the _patio_ holding a thick,
silver moonlight spilling over the square, dark roof, this gorgeous
Indian world in strange unrest about me, and I myself far enough
away to see, I can speak. Show him this some time when he is healed.
What an adoring sister thought cannot hurt. I unite myself with the
millions who have had their loved ones hanging on the cross, who have
heard their _sitio_. But as the emotions of each are measured by their
personal experience, this, my brother's thirst, moves me more deeply
than even that of sacramental martyrs, who gave willingly, where he
gives resistingly. "And everywhere I see a cross where sons of men give
up their lives." ...


                                                         _January 20th._

Things are bubbling up, boiling, geyser-like, and the public in a
fair way to get scalded. Yesterday a bill was passed through Congress
suspending the constitutional guarantees in various of the near-by
states, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Vera Cruz, and others.

It would seem that all of Mr. Madero's chickens are coming home to
roost, and demands for the cutting up of the Mexican cake sound from
all sides. But what was easy for Madero to promise in the first passion
for the regeneration of "his" people is proving not only impractical,
but impossible. What's the use, anyway, of giving waterless lands to
Indians without farming implements, whose only way of irrigating would
be prayers for moisture to pre- or post-Cortésian gods? Let those who
have been divested of their illusions by hard facts govern the state,
_I_ say.

  [Illustration: BOATS ON THE VIGA CANAL
   Photograph by Ravell]

Outside of a few political agitators, who cares for politics here
except as a means of livelihood? What each one is a-fevered for is
the disease commonly attacking republics. Above the Rio Grande they
call it graft. _Tajada_ it is called here, but the name doesn't
matter. Republics are notoriously susceptible, and here it grows
with a lushness comparable only to the jungle. Now when the reins
of government are in many regions given over to those completely
unversed in statecraft or even in the rudiments of "mine and thine"--a
lower-class contingent, naturally destructive, unimaginative, and
completely ignorant--what can one expect?


                                                          _January 23d._

Aldebert de Chambrun[31] called yesterday afternoon and came back for
dinner. He is just down from Washington, being _à cheval_ between the
two posts. It brought back old childhood days. Now he is in the full
tide of a brilliant career, and scintillating with the celebrated De
C. wit. They all have it--delightful, _fin_, glancing from subject
to subject, illuminating and refreshing, giving a "lift" to any
conversation they partake of, sometimes unsparing, but oftener kind.
It's completely unlike the Spanish-American satire, which I am now
beginning to understand, and which has its own value, though it is
mostly cruel and demolishing, and seems to suffer with difficulty the
neighbor's good fortune.


                                                         _January 26th._

Yesterday was the first reception at Chapultepec since several weeks.
We drove up during a chill dropping of the sun, to find quite a
grouping of foreign and domestic powers. The _Corps Diplomatique_ was
almost complete, De Chambrun going with the Lefaivres. I talked with
Calero, and Vasquez Tagle, Minister of Justice, a scholar of note, they
tell me, deeply versed in law and of the highest probity. Though he had
a serious face, there was a twinkle in his eyes.

N. walked up and down the terrace with the President for a long time.
He said he had a very interesting conversation, accidentally turning
on the claims of Americans who had been killed or wounded during the
revolution, in El Paso and Douglas. N., thinking it well to improve
the shining hour, pointed out to the President the special character
of these claims; that during a revolution by which he had established
himself as President of Mexico his soldiers, in taking positions held
by President Diaz's troops, had killed and wounded, on American soil,
several peaceful American citizens. This constituted a claim that
could not be denied by any international tribunal, to say nothing of
the violation of American territory. N., finding Madero in optimistic
mood (not that this is unusual), advised him strongly to settle these
claims, which were not large, and were leading to much criticism of his
government, when things might go so pleasantly. He even quoted to him,
"_Qui cito dat bis dat_."

Madero replied: "All that will be settled in due time," but he did not
seem to feel that it was as important as N. thought it was, saying,
"They should have got out of harm's way." He also said the amounts
claimed were exorbitant (that "madonna of the wash-tub" wanted one
hundred thousand dollars) and he did not see how, without bringing
the matters before a court of arbitration, he could come to a decision
as to proper compensation. N. said that, as the question of Mexico's
liability was certain, he need not be afraid to admit the validity
of the claims in principle--to get a good railroad lawyer in Texas to
find out for him how much such injuries would be paid for by a railroad
company in event of such injuries occurring on a United States line,
and then quadruple the amount. This seemed to make an impression on
him, but in the shifting sands of Mexican liabilities will probably
lead nowhere.

I found myself standing by ---- on the terrace, after we had taken
leave of Madame Madero, and as I said good-by, I added, "Perhaps some
day we will be paying our respects to _you_ here."

Even in the sudden dusk that had fallen I saw flash across his
face in answer, as if written in words, the look that men of
ambitious temperament, gifted with will and intelligence necessary
to achievement, have had in all ages when the object of desire is
mentioned. I imagine he has little hope and no illusions about the
present situation. I am struck all the time by the exceeding cleverness
of the clever men here. What, then, _is_ the matter?

In the evening a very pleasant dinner at the French Legation,
illuminated by several European stars, or rather comets, as they
quickly disappear from these heavens.

The Duc de R. took me out. He is small, with clever, unhappy eyes and
the world-manner, with a hint of introversion, most interesting. I
found, when I came to talk with him, that he was possessed of immense
knowledge, rendered living and _actuel_ by his personality, and his
mentality is of that crystal type equally lucid in the discussion of
facts or ideas.

He has just returned from a trip through Oaxaca, where he has large
mining and railway interests, and is _en route_ for Paris, _via_ New
York. He walked home with us afterward, telling us about that southern
country, which he knows as only one knows a country gone through on
horseback, and, of course, he was turning the international flashlight
on it all.

Mr. de Gheest sat on my other side. He has come on a brief business
visit with his handsome very _jeunesse dorée_ son, Henri.[32] I had
never met them before, but his charming wife and I have listened to
Wagner cycles together in Munich. They were married strangely enough,
in Mexico, and lived here for a while afterward.

M. de G. is trained and brilliant in discussion of international
affairs, witty, _risqué_, and unsparing. They come for lunch to-morrow.
I must say I was what one would call extremely well placed at table!


                                                         _January 27th._

Most amusing lunch here to-day, the Gallic sparks flying in all
directions! The De Gheests, De Chambrun, the Lefaivres, Allart--and our
Anglo-Saxon selves as listeners.

De G. was very amusing about some business rendezvous with Mexican
banking associates. One important meeting fell through because the
banker's little granddaughter was having a birthday. The second came
to grief because another luminary's wife's aunt's sister-in-law, or
some sort of remote relation, had died, and, of course, it's a rather
far journey from Paris to Mexico to find oneself tripping over family
occurrences....

Then we got on to the eternal land question. There's a lot said
about the 80 per cent. speaking out and asking for land, but _vox
populi_ here bears very little resemblance to _vox dei_, and it's only
confusing when a few (generally oppressors, not oppressed) do begin to
mutter.

Madero walked to the presidency on the plank of the distribution of
land, which he promptly and inevitably kicked from under him--it
didn't, couldn't hold. It appears that he bought from one of the
computed two hundred and thirty-two members of the family a large tract
of land in Tamaulipas, but when it was parceled out it came so high
that no Indian could buy it, and wouldn't have known what to do with it
had he bought it.

What he loves is his adobe hut running over with children and
surrounded by just enough land, planted with corn, beans, and peppers,
not to starve on, when worked intermittently, as fancy or the rainfall
indicate. The Indians certainly seem, under these conditions, a
thousand times happier than our submerged tenth, but it's never any
use comparing especially dissimilar matters. Anybody who has been to
Mexico, however, knows that the Indian of the adobe hut has little
or no qualification to permit of his being changed into a scientific
farmer by the touch of any wand. And as for slogans! They're all right
to get into office with, but try tilling the soil with them!


                                                _January 31st, evening._

... And so the anniversaries come. I feel but a stitch between your
destiny and Elim's, holding the generations together in my turn. I am
distant from you, but I embrace you all--the dear ones of my blood.
I realize the fortuitousness of mine and all other human experiences.
I have never had the things I worked for, prayed for, hoped for, but
always something unexpected, which showed itself as inevitable only
after it had happened, though at the time it seemed to come as a blow
or a gift, accidentally, unrelatedly. The path has always lain where I
never had an intimation of the tiniest trail. "Strange dooms past hope
or fear" of which we all partake....


     [30] Elliott Baird Coues, + Zürich, January 2, 1913.

     [31] (1917) Le Colonel de Chambrun, croix de guerre, grande
     croix de la Légion d'Honneur, cité many times à l'ordre de
     l'armée for deeds of bravery, and once, in the autumn of
     1915, "pour sa gaité communicative dans les tranchées"--so
     indicative of his special talents and great heart.

     [32] Henri de G. (Lieutenant 4th Zouaves), wounded at Verdun,
     June 9, 1916. Croix de guerre in Belgium, 1915, Légion
     d'Honneur, Verdun, 1916.



XVIII

     Washington warns Madero--Mobilization orders--A visit to the
       Escuela Preparatoria--A race of old and young--The watchword
       of the early fathers


                                                         _February 1st._

To-day a military lunch--De Chambrun, Captain Sturtevant, just leaving,
and our new military attaché, Burnside, just arrived. Speculations as
to the potentialities of the situation put a bit of powder into the
menu, and the appearance of small fat ducks awakened a few hunting
reminiscences, but mostly it was martial.

In the afternoon I made some calls with De C. First to Mrs. Harold
W.'s, where we actually found an open fire in the big, book-lined
living-room. Some exotic-looking logs of a wood priceless in other
climes were making a sweet and long-unheard, comfortable, sputtering
sound. She kept us waiting, though pleasantly, while she donned a most
becoming, diaphanous, fur-trimmed, white chiffon tea-gown (the fair sex
are apt to dress for De C.), coming down about twenty minutes later,
looking extremely pretty.

Mr. W., who is associated with one of the large oil companies, came
in just as we were leaving. There are few combinations he does not
understand about the modern Mexican mentality; but he views its varied
facets in a most enlightened way, and flings a kindly, inexhaustible
humor about it all.

After that De C. paid his respects to Mrs. Wilson, who has just
returned. She was looking very handsome in her mourning garments, and
De C. pronounced her decidedly ambassadorial. We then wound up at the
French Legation, sitting for an hour in Mr. Lefaivre's book-filled
study, warmed by a well-behaved little oil-stove, fingering volumes of
past poets, and talking present politics.


                                               _February 2d, Candlemas._

This is the day of the signing of the Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty
terminating the war of 1847, which one can only hope will continue to
bear fruit. Its motto is, "Peace, Friendship, Limits, Settlement," and
there is a street named for the auspicious document.


                                                _February 5th, evening._

Quite a flutter in town because of orders from Washington yesterday
for mobilization, or what amounts to it; the military forces being
commanded by the War Department to be ready for immediate concentration
on the border. Head-lines of the newspapers are almost American in size
and sensation.

The United States warns Madero that he must protect Americans and
American interests from injury by rebels, and Mexican ears are to the
ground, listening for the possible tramp of American feet this side of
the Rio Grande. The government is distinctly discomfited. They need to
know exactly where they are "at" with the United States, _On ne fonde
pas sur un sol qui tremble_.

Poor Madero! Uneasy lies the head that wears the Mexican crown, except
in the case of Don Porfirio, who had a genius for meeting emergencies,
increased by his vast knowledge of men and conditions, acquired during
the hazards of his career before he became President, and doubtless
by the responsibilities afterward. Anyway, the Mexicans are stepping
lively, with their weather eyes out. The old adage that the only thing
they hate more than an American is two Americans seems to be to the
fore. From the viewpoint of Mexican history, we do rather appear as
their predestined natural enemies and not to be trusted along any line.

This morning I went with Mr. de Soto to visit the Escuela Preparatoria.
It is long since I had taken a _tournée_ with him, and it is just as
well to improve the shining hours. No one knows when the trump will
sound. All is quiet in the house; N. is at the Embassy, and won't be
back till the small, wee hours.

The Escuela Preparatoria, most interesting, was formerly the Colegio
de San Ildefonso, which the Jesuits completed in the middle of the
eighteenth century, after the order to consolidate their various
schools and seminaries into one. It covers an entire city block, and is
so massive that, though it is somewhat out of plumb, as are most of the
great edifices built on this soft soil, it will long stay in place.

It is built of tezontle with a wine-colored staining, and has noble,
broad doors and rows of mediæval-looking windows piercing the façade,
and altogether is most imposing. As we passed in under the majestic
old doors, wide enough to admit a couple of coaches and four abreast,
students were being drilled in the beautiful colonnaded _patio_, said
to be a remnant of the immediate post-Cortés period.

We went first to the Sala de Actas to see the famous
seventeenth-century choir-stalls, once the glory of the San Agustin
church. Everything one sees in Mexico has been most provokingly ripped
from where it belonged and put somewhere else. I got quite sad at the
thought of the continual transfers. Something beautiful always gets
lost in the changes.

As I sat in one of the fine old seats, I discovered that it had bits
of "local color" in the shape of a monkey and a parrot, cunningly but
charmingly introduced among more austere religious symbols; and when
I folded up the next seat I found a quite lovely carving, on the under
side, so that it looked equally well in use or disuse.

As we went up the broad stairway there was a scuffle of young feet
along one of the beautiful old arched corridors, and a hurrying from
one class-room to another, just as so many generations before this had
scuffled and hurried, pushing on and being replaced. The foundation of
the school as it now is dates from Juarez's time, and was founded by
a man called Gabino Barreda, a disciple of Comte. Many of the Mexican
élite who did not or would not send their sons abroad were educated
here. Men like Justo Sierra and Limantour passed through it, too.

When we got up on to one of the great flat roofs, by way of various
interesting bits of stairs, the most glorious sight was spread out.
The volcanoes had such long mantles of snow that they seemed encircled
and united by the same band of white. About us lay the city with its
sun-bathed domes and roofs, and Mr. de S. quoted me the old lines, "_Si
a morar en Indias fueras que sea donde los volcanes vieres_."[33]

I was horrified by the appearance of the Church of Nuestra Señora
de Loreto, built in the last century, which was as _désorientée_ and
uncertain-looking as Mexican politics. Mr. de S. said the sinking was
not caused by any disturbance of nature, but rather of man. There was a
difference of opinion among high ecclesiastical authorities as to the
materials to be used, so they decided the issue by constructing one
of the walls of hard stone, and the other of a more porous kind, with
the result that one side began straightway to sink. Now the dome seems
to be pulled down over it, the whole looking as if it might collapse
entirely at any minute; so we decided to visit it immediately, though
it's always a wrench to tear oneself from the enchantment of the view
in Mexico.

Journeying up from Tehuantepec, I came across a passage in Amiel where
he calls a _paysage un état d'âme_ not an _état d'atmosphère_. Here
it is both, for the landscape is always wrapped in a wonder-working,
almost tangible air, which is able to induce something mystical in the
most practical or commercial soul. When we descended into the streets
on our way to Nuestra Señora de Loreto they seemed particularly human
and detailed, coming from that height, where everything had been a
splendid _ensemble_. The dip in the long, little plaza is so apparent
that you feel you may get the whole structure on your head. It was full
of beggars hovering near venders of unhealthy, dusty, highly colored
sweets, or hawking hard green fruits about. A green lime or orange
can be a repast here. At the church doors the beggars were lying or
sitting about, just living in their own particularly unconscious way,
descendants of those _sin derechos y hechos_ of the old days, and not
a bit better off now, in spite of all the "Libertad" and "Fraternidad"
and decrying of Spanish and ecclesiastical government.

A beautiful little boy, covered partially with the remains of a
scarlet zarape and tattered white drawers which revealed rather than
concealed his brown hips, carried, slung over his shoulders, two
lively, coal-black hens that he had evidently been sent out to vend.
Accompanying him was an old blind woman clutching at a corner of the
zarape. It tugs at one's heart so, all this beauty and all this misery.
We gave them "centavitos," and the little boy's flashing smile and
the droning voice of the old woman--"_Dios te lo pague, niña_"--as she
heard the sound of the money, were equally pathetic and mysterious.

So often it seems a race of very old and very young here, nothing
of the long maturity we know. An Indian with gray hair, however, is
a rarity; some atavism when one sees it; and as they preserve their
muscular activity till a great age, it's impossible to say how old, but
the race gives a continual impression of just old and young.


                                                         _February 6th._

Another agreeable dinner at the French Legation last night. Maurice
Raoul Duval[34] and his English-American wife recently arrived, struck
a charming note of the great and far world. He is a very tall, very
good-looking Frenchman, a polo-player and sportsman of note, hoping to
remake, with interests here, a lost fortune.

An atmosphere of recent married happiness hung about them, with the
romantic adventure of Mexico as background.

His wife was handsome and sparkling in a white-throated way, wearing
a very good black dress and wedding jewels. It was quite a treat to
see something new, we are all sick of one another's things. I am sure
if she had worn the waistband outside one would have seen the word
"Worth." They are to be here some time, and will contribute to the
gaiety of the nations assembled in the vale of Anahuac.

Count du Boisrouvray[35] took me out. He is here to look after the
large estates of his wife, who is now in France, and whose mother, née
De la Torre, is Mexican. Madame Lefaivre tells me she is very beautiful
and gifted, the mother of many little children. Monsieur du B. is
musical--plays the violoncello like an artist. A day or two ago, when
I dropped into Madame Simon's late in the afternoon, they were playing
Mozart beautifully. The clever Frenchman's clever eye is on the Mexican
situation, and finds nothing encouraging, "_plutôt le commencement de
la fin_." Though the French may line every subject, conversationally,
with the agreeable color of some theory, their minds are so constructed
that they can't reject facts.


                                                         _February 7th._

Until the small, wee hours last night I was reading a relation of the
foundation of the bishoprics of Tlaxcala, Michoacan, and Oaxaca in the
sixteenth century, printed from the manuscripts in the collection of
Don Joaquin García Icazbalceta, and published a few years ago by his
son, Don Luis García Pimentel, possessed of the finest Hispano-American
library in Mexico.

The story of difficulties surmounted, the dangers overcome, the
founding and building of the various churches and schools and
hospitals, is enthralling, and made me think a little of the _Livre
des Fondations_ of Saint Theresa, that we read at Wörishofen with
so much pleasure. The account of the baptism of the four chiefs of
Tlaxcala, who had such distinguished godfathers as Cortés, Pedro de
Alvarado, Gonzalo de Sandoval, and Cristóbal de Olid, make a page of
the realistic school of to-day seem like a record of tawdry dreams.

The faces of these early bishops and priests of Mexico are
extraordinary. The life is concentrated in and between the eyes,
the foreheads are those of thinkers, the lines about the mouths,
compassionate, yet unflinching, are those of workers, and, however
different the actual structure of the faces, the expression is the
same. I found a couple of old engravings the other day, one of Las
Casas, and one of Ripalda, yellowed, stained, evidently torn out of
some old book. The tale of labors and difficulties overcome is stamped
upon their faces. Their watchword was "_Al rey infinitas tierras, y a
Dios infinitas almas_,"[36] and I can't but think that our political
slogans seem a bit shabby in comparison. Our Monroe doctrine, which
controls their destinies, our dollar diplomacy, and all the rest, make
but a poor figure.


                                                              _Evening._

Under the impression of the foundations of the Bishops of Tlaxcala,
etc., I strayed into the Biblioteca Nacional on my way home after some
errands. It is what once was one of the most beautiful churches in
Mexico, San Agustin, built at the end of the seventeenth century.

What remains of the old atrium is rather spoiled by being inclosed with
a high iron railing; but in it stands a statue of my friend Humboldt,
whose soul perceived the "splendors of this Indian world." It is a most
charming building to come upon in those busy, modern streets, where
bankers raise and lower the exchange, and the "interests" have their
visible habitats. One is thankful for every good old stone that has
been left upon another good old stone in Mexico, and the old building
has a beautiful tiled dome in the Mudejar style (Moorish-Christian),
with arabesque designs and a charming façade. The modern iron railing
is decorated with busts of the Mexican great, in early-Victorian style,
from the days of Nezahualcoyotl down to Alaman. But the beautiful
old _basso rilievo_ of San Agustin over the main door tells you
unmistakably that the ages of faith were also the ages of art.

I wrestled with the catalogues, and found they always referred me to
others of various dates, like 1872 and 1881. I spoke with several
very vague and exceedingly polite officials. I dare say my Spanish
contributed to the vagueness. The library is very rich in books
relating to the labors of the Church in New Spain, and in general of
the history of the post-Conquest period. The huge reading-room was once
the great central nave of the church, and a flood of white light pours
in through high octagonal windows. Any time any one moved or walked
there was the sound as of an army. It was the wooden floor acting in
unison with the unsurpassed acoustic qualities of the nave.

Over all was a still, deathly cold that froze the gray matter stiff.
Some students, looking a lead color under their rich, natural tone,
were noisily turning over the pages of their books, and an old man
with a green shade and a magnifying glass was looking at a manuscript.
Otherwise empty space. The reading Mexicans are, I fancy, mostly
engaged in trying to sustain or destroy Madero.

In 1867 Benito Juarez issued the decree which established the
Biblioteca Nacional, and they got the books from the university, and
various monasteries and colleges were also emptied of their treasures.
The night library was formerly a chapel of the third order of San
Agustin, and I was told by some sort of attendant only remotely
interested in the world of books that there was once a celebrated old
walnut choir, with the richest carvings, which I could now find in
the Escuela Preparatoria. It reminded me of the catalogues and _he_
looked like what in "The Isles" Humboldt says they call _un monsieur
passable_. He thinks he's white--you know he isn't; but one leaves it
at that.

Life is short, even here, and art is long, and I think I will send to
New York for anything they have in it that I might want.


                                                         _February 7th._

Orozco denies any disloyalty to Madero, or that Chihuahua is about
to secede, but he does say in Spanish, probably still less elegant,
something to the effect that Madero can't do the "Mexican trick."

When Madame Madero called yesterday her rather halting remark that
_Orozco es muy leal_ (Orozco is very loyal) was unconvincing, but of
course they _must_ hope. She was in dark, rich garments, somewhat
too heavy in cut and texture for her size, with a very imposing
plume-loaded hat over her pale, tired face. She now wears a beautiful
string of pearls. All the life is in her vigilant eyes, and if there
is an iron hand in the family, it is hers. Madame Ernesto Madero, very
pretty in the dark, flashing-eyed, color-coming-and-going-way, also
called and said, as a charming girl might have said it, that she was
_muy paseadora_.

Vasquez Gómez, a day or two since, proclaimed himself provisional
President, and has quite a tidy following, with the "seat" of
government in Juarez. It would seem the presidential bee buzzes under
any hat! More and more I ask myself, Why try government according to
our pattern? I can't see that ours is just the cut for them.

There is another cold wave, or _onda fria_, as they call the dreadful
things. This one timed itself for a little dinner I was giving for Mr.
Potter and Mr. Butler. The dining-room, into which I cast a glance
before going to the drawing-room, looked very conducive with its
flowers and shaded lights. The stove appeared a model of heat-giving.
Well, we had just got to the fish when it not only emitted a column of
smoke, but it blew up!

It was removed, and after a disturbed interval the dinner proceeded to
the accompaniment of polite suggestions as to the removal of "blacks"
that descended, from time to time, on the faces and shoulders of the
diners. As we were leaving the dining-room somebody remarked that
there was a smell of burning, and in the drawing-room the oil-stove's
mate was found to be doing the most awful things in the line of
Popocatepetl, when Cortés passed by the first time. It was also
removed.

Madame Lefaivre suggested at this point that we had better frankly
accept _le temps comme le bon Dieu l'avait envoyé_, so scarfs and
shawls were brought, with suggestions of overcoats. Everybody began to
smoke and we got out the bridge-tables. They refused to play bridge,
however, with my nice Vienna packs of cards, which are innocent of
numbers at the corners. After a while, with the smoking, the process of
digestion, the jokes, the companionship in misery, things got better,
and the little party broke up at only one o'clock, very late for
Mexico. They said they were too cold to go home. It was a fine sample
of the "tropics."

At Von H.'s dinner for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the other
night, it was even worse. His large drawing-rooms are to the north,
though _his_ stoves were working _auf commando_. After the long
and elaborate dinner, during which the fair sex were visibly "all
goose-flesh," we had our wraps brought and turned up our fur collars,
which put a different complexion on events and ladies.


     [33] "If thou goest to dwell in the Indies let it be where
     thou seest the volcanoes."

     [34] Maurice Raoul Duval, + fallen on the field of honor,
     Verdun, May 5, 1916.

     [35] Count du Boisrouvray, 14th Hussards, promu chef de
     bataillon pour faits de guerre. Chevalier de la Légion
     d'Honneur, croix de guerre, many citations; the first to enter
     Thiaumont when it was retaken.

     [36] "For the king infinite lands, and for God infinite
     souls."



XIX

     A tragic dance in the moonlight--Unveiling George Washington's
       statue--The _Corps Diplomatique_ visits the Pyramids of San
       Juan Teotihuacan--Orozco in full revolt


                                                        _February 10th._

We were all awakened last night by a terrible, inhuman, mewing sound
coming from the _patio_. It reminded us of "The White Leper" of
Kipling. The moon was chiseling every stone and plant in the courtyard;
a small light was in the porter's room, where a struggle seemed to
be going on. All of a sudden a tall, stark-naked Indian, with his
arms held stiff above his head, burst out and began to dance about in
the moonlight, making strange passes and dippings of the body before
something imaginary; there was a sort of sacrificial gesturing to his
madness.

N. got his revolver and started down-stairs, fearing homicidal mania,
when suddenly he threw himself in a corner, huddled up, and became
unconscious. After a long delay the men came from the _manicomio_
(mad-house) and his body was picked up like a loose bundle; but I felt
as if I never needed to read about prehistoric, sacrificial rites--I
had seen them in the moonlight, in the person of that poor Indian, gone
insane.

I went down to see Magdalena, his mother, later on. She was sitting
with her head in her hands in the little porter's lodge, surrounded
by two or three of his children. _He_ is a "widower." When she saw me
she suddenly cried out, "_Señora, mi hijo! mi hijo!_" and her old eyes
looked at me with the mother-look of helpless compassion for suffering
sons through the ages--tearless, personal, tortured. I was troubled and
saddened as I came up the stairway into the sunny veranda. But at the
potent hour of pulque I heard sounds which, though not of mirth, seemed
consoling.


                                                        _February 13th._

Pleasant luncheon here today--the Raoul Duvals, and De Chambrun, who
is returning to Washington to-morrow, after which we all predict a
total eclipse of the sun. The more I see of him the more I appreciate
that French imaginative, speculative, analytical, yet constructive
type of mind, with its flashing play of wit, its easy intellectuality,
always ready to look at the most personal thing impersonally; this
last so precious in the interchange of thought; and it's all very much
in relief against this Latin-American background, where everything is
always passionately personal.

De C. told us of his visit to the prison of San Juan Ulua, when he was
last in Mexico. Evidently it is a horror. Madero had sworn that one
of his first acts would be to do away with it, but there it is still.
Nobody really trusts the situation here. Some one remarked that the
quiet before something dreadful is going to happen is what is known as
peace in Mexico. De C. had been off for a few days with the army, in
the adjacent scenes of action. A general showed him his school medals
by the camp-fire. One was for French, of which he did not know a word;
the other was for geography, and he seemed to hear of Morocco for the
first time by that same firelight. However, all he really needs to know
is where the Zapatistas are.

The R. D.'s have taken a furnished house in Calle Dinamarca. Everybody
flies, as soon as possible, from the evident evils of the hotels to
any kind of unknown. They came in, looking so smart, she in a dark-blue
tailor and a chic, flower-covered purple hat.

The plateau is thawed out again, and we will have no more cold this
year. They tell me March and April are the warmest months here, before
the rains begin to announce themselves.


                                                        _February 19th._

This morning, in a flood of sun, but with a "tang" in the early air, we
went to meet Aunt L., and now she is comfortably resting with a book,
_not_ about Mexico.


                                                         _February 22d._

This auspicious day was celebrated here by the unveiling of the
large monument in white marble of George Washington in the Glorieta
Dinamarca. The official Mexican world was out in force, also the
diplomats. All the Americans in town, in whose hearts he was, indeed,
first that day, watched the falling of the cloth from the face and form
of the immortal George. Platforms had been built around the circle,
the police kept beautiful order, and it might have been an "unveiling"
anywhere, except for the outer fringe of peaked-hatted _pelados_
(skinned ones), who gather wherever any are gathered in any name.

I was deeply thrilled as the well-known features showed themselves,
and our national air, beautifully played, rose to the shining heavens.
The figure is standing, clad in a long cloak, and can be seen from the
four streets leading into the circle.[37] The President gave a short
address, and Mr. Wilson made one of his finished speeches--a happy
combination of Stars and Stripes and Eagle and Cactus. I saw Aunt L.'s
eyes fill as our looks met. They do stir one, these commemorations in
foreign lands, where one feels to its fullest the privilege and pride
of participation in a great citizenship.


                                                        _February 25th._

Yesterday I had a luncheon for Aunt L. Baroness Riedl, Madame Chermont,
Mrs. Cummings and Mrs. Chemidlin (these latter friends of many years),
Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Kilvert, and Mrs. Hudson came. In the evening we dined
at the Embassy. I thought it warm and spring-like, but Aunt L., though
piled with furs, nearly froze. It evidently isn't with impunity that
one comes up from the tropics to visit a niece on the plateau.


                                                        _February 28th._

I am feeling a bit fagged this morning after the interesting, but quite
exhausting, official "picnic" yesterday, to the celebrated pyramids
of San Juan Teotihuacan, offered to the _Corps Diplomatique_ by the
_Gobierno_.

We met at the Buena Vista station for an 8.30 special train--a rather
motley assemblage of some fifty or sixty persons, those who had the
habit of jaunts in their blood, and those who had not.

The weather was the usual lustrous thing, only to be matched in beauty
by what we had had the day before, and what we will have to-morrow. I
looked about the various groups of señoras and wondered would they hold
out, their garbs not being for such occasions.

One of the ladies asked me and Baroness Riedl if we were sisters.
We look more unlike than Thorwaldsen's "Night and Morning," but we
decided afterward that, as we had on tailored suits, white blouses with
lace-trimmed jabots, small hats, neat veils, tan shoes, and parasols,
we must have presented a certain superficial likeness of origin and
atmosphere.

The Mexican women were mostly dressed in semi-evening gowns, spangles,
paillettes, passementerie, presenting all sorts of touches, as they
caught the light, not connected in the Anglo-Saxon mind with picnics.
They also wore small, high-heeled, patent-leather slippers, and were
accompanied by _niños_ of various ages.

You go out of the city by the hill of Tepeyac, where the Church of
the Virgin of Guadalupe is. All along the road are still to be seen
dilapidated "Stations of the Cross," relics of the viceregal days,
among the shunting tracks and railway-supply buildings.

There was a settling down of the elements of the party, foreign and
domestic naturally gravitating to their kind, as we rolled out. The
President and his wife, his mother and father, his two sisters, Madame
Gustavo Madero, and various other members of the family were with us.
Also the Vice-President and his family. After about an hour we got to
the little village of San Juan Teotihuacan, where all sorts of venders
of all sorts of antiquities, little clay pots, masks, bits of obsidian,
charms of bloodstone, were ready for us. We climbed down the steep
embankment and got into various "buckboards," I suppose they would
call themselves, without any "buck," however, which were waiting to
take us across a sandy stretch to the pyramids, which had seemed only
insignificant mounds as we steamed over the glittering plain.

Our first destination was the Pyramid of the Sun, gigantic, impressive,
as we neared it, and one of the few things giving a feeling of
stability that I have seen in Mexico. The Minister of Public
Instruction and Fine Arts, as we started out over the Path of the Dead,
(Micoatl), was the cock of that special walk, almost putting Madero in
the shade, figuratively, however, as there was not a tree within miles.
The two principal pyramids, dwellings of the gods, were dedicated to
Tonatiuh, the sun, and Miztli, the moon, but there are many smaller
pyramids, supposed to be dedicated to various stars, and which once
served as burial-places for remote, illustrious dead.

As we climbed up the great hewn steps, grass-grown, with all sorts of
cacti making unexpected appearances, I could but think of the small
mark the generations make in passing, and "Why so hot, my little man?"

When N. started up with Baroness R., one of the ladies said to
her: "Why are you going up, and what will you do when you get up?"
Baroness R. said, "We are going to take a look about, and come down."
She glanced rather desperately at the pyramid and then at her tiny,
patent-leather-slippered feet, which must have been in a condition fit
for sacrifice in that broiling sun. She finished by sitting down on the
first step with some other high-heeled ladies, with the same feelings
and the same clothes.

It was a magnificent sight, once up there; the solitary eminence on
which we stood put every thing in a wonderful perspective. Formerly on
the apex of the pyramid there had been a splendid temple, containing
a gigantic statue of the sun, made of a single block of porphyry, and
ornamented with a heavy breastplate of gold. But I was more interested
in Madero, once, at least, a _demi_-god, viewing from this great height
kingdoms and principalities given into his keeping.

His expression was soft and speculative as he gazed about him, not of
one who is tempted to gather things _to_ himself, _for_ himself; and
I must say that, as I looked, I entirely acquitted him of personal
ambitions. He seemed strangely removed from the difficulties of his
situation, as materially and spiritually lifted above them as he was
above the shining plain; but in the city, glistening in the distance,
intrigues and dissolving forces of all kinds were at work against him.
The far and splendid hills to which he perhaps may some day flee showed
horizons of cobalt and verde antique, and they, as well as we, were
folded in a dazzling ambience.

However, you have little time for dreams on official picnics--for just
as I was, so to speak, _partie_--polite yet firm-willed photographers
began to shove the living units into their proper places, with a
special rounding up of the high-lights of the assembly, domestic and
foreign, after which we descended.

I had my usual horrid sensation of falling as I looked from that
great height down those huge steps between me and the not less solid
earth. Mr. Madero gave me his arm and, somehow, I got down. A fierce
sun was shining on us and reverberating from the dry plain as we made
our way to the newly opened museum, where a very complete collection
of objects, found around the pyramids, was carefully arranged in
handsome glass cases; for some years, so _el Señor Ministro_ told me,
the government had been excavating, and countless terra-cotta masks,
similar to those which abounded on the Isla de las Mugeres, off the
coast of Yucatan, had been unearthed. There was also a beautiful
collection of jade objects, effigies, and masks of dead rulers; on the
brow of one of the finest specimens was a diadem, or _copilla_, as the
ancient Mexican crown was called.

If I hadn't been simply done up by the heat I would have been most
interested in going over the collection, for the endless terra-cotta
heads and masks, with entirely different features, mark the different
races who have inhabited the plateau. My friend Humboldt, with whom
I spent the evening, also the early night hours, and who had done the
same thing just a hundred years ago, says the teocalli were _orientés_
as exactly as the Egyptian and Asiatic pyramids, and that the race
the Spaniards found there attributed them to a still more ancient
race, which would place them in the eighth or ninth century. They
are composed of clay mixed with gravel, and covered with a wall of
amygdaloid. What seems to be a system of pyramids is disposed in very
large streets, following exactly the meridians, and which end at the
four faces of the two great pyramids.

After an hour in the museum, which seemed _quite_ an hour, I must say,
there was a welcome announcement of lunch, and we walked along a path
called "Camino de Muertos,"[38] "walk of the _half_-dead," one of the
exhausted foreigners called it, and descended into the cool dimness of
a great and beautiful grotto, where long tables, flower-decorated and
elaborately spread, awaited us.

The _Corps Diplomatique_ sat at the President's table; Von Hintze
was between Baroness Riedl and myself, and an unidentified Mexican
official or member of the dynasty was on my other side. The lunch was
sent out from town by Sylvain and was most excellent. We could look out
at a great patch of blue sky, and fringing the brilliant edges of the
grotto were various cacti and rows of peaked hats and a single graceful
pepper-tree. The Indians always spring up, as if by magic, from any
place where there is a gathering.

N. and Riedl, instead of taking seats at the President's table, sat at
a small table back of us, and we knew from their unseemly mirth that
they weren't talking about the antiquities or improving their minds in
any way.

After luncheon we all repaired to the Pyramid of the Moon, which nobody
had the energy to ascend, going over a sidewalk made of ancient cement
still bearing traces of red color. One of the smaller mounds had been
opened by Señor Batres a few years before, and he found around and over
it a building now called the "House of the Priests."

At this special place even the most enterprising of the foreigners
began to wilt, and some polychrome frescoes are the last definite
impression I received before we started back to the buckboards. The
---- minister, sitting too near the wheel, to politely make room,
got jolted out, but we picked him up and soothed him by singing his
national anthem as we went toward the train.

It was a long day, but one to be kept in memory with its background
of obsidian, red clay masks, idols of jade, and works of a past race
against which Mexican history continues to unfold itself.


                                                        _February 29th._

It is not leap-year which is occupying our thoughts down here. Orozco
is openly in full revolt. With him are some thousands of troops and the
whole state of Chihuahua.


     [37] This statue was thrown down and dragged through the city
     the night of the breaking off of relations between the United
     States and Mexico (April 23, 1914).

     [38] Pathway of the dead.



XX

     Madero shows indications of nervous tension--Why one guest
       of Mexico's President did not sit down--A novena with
       Madame Madero--Picture-writing on maguey--Picnic at El
       Desierto--San Fernando


                                                             _March 3d._

Yesterday Mr. Taft issued a wise proclamation directing citizens of the
United States to comply strictly with the neutrality laws between our
country and Mexico till there is a change in conditions, which gave
rise to various expressions of satisfaction at a large luncheon at
Madame Simon's.

I sat by Mr. Chevrillon, a French mining expert since many years in
Mexico, and also having a wide experience of our own southwest. He
told strange mining stories; one about an ancient whip he once found
in a remote chamber in an old mine, with a lash so long that it was
a mystery how it could have been used in the small spaces. A detail,
but it gave me a sudden, shivering glimpse into the sufferings of
subject peoples. However, it's no use throwing stones at Spain for not
having practised political liberty in those centuries. As we know it
to-day, it was nowhere existent. It had not even begun to glimmer on
any horizon, and certainly Mexico has lived through a terrible century
since its light dawned on _her_.


                                                            _March 7th._

At the Chapultepec reception to-day one felt the tension.

Madero was walking up and down the terrace with his new private
secretary, Gonzales Garza, clad in some sort of a dark suit, with
a conspicuous peacock-blue vest, doubtless a family offering.
His glance was more than usually visionary and introverted, his
unacquisitive hands were behind his back; but can Mexico be governed
by a well-disposed President from Chapultepec terrace? He has a way
of avoiding facts, which, in the end, are sure to hit somebody as the
national destinies take their course. One can only hope his sterling
honesty will see him safely through the snares that are spread
everywhere.

As I talked with him on the sun-flooded terrace above the gorgeous
valley, with all Mexican creation at our feet, though he had his
usual smile, I noted many wrinkles, as he stood bareheaded, and it was
difficult to fix his eye, an honest eye.

The new Minister of the Interior, Flores Magon, took me out to tea.
He is a huge, square-faced Zapotec Indian, rather portly--which they
rarely are--with straight, black hair, a strong jaw, and observant
eyes. The foreigner on the other side of me--whether his tale be true
or apocryphal I know not--related that on his last visit to Madero, as
he was about to sink into an inviting armchair he was hastily asked not
to take it, for at that moment it was occupied by George Washington!
As his surprised person was suspended over another and was half-way
down, he was waved to still a third, for in the second was sitting Jean
Jacques Rousseau! After which, fearful of incommoding other illustrious
dead, he remained standing. _Si non e Verdi e bene Trovatore._

Madero has a certain natural inclination toward the French, fostered
by those years at the Versailles Lycée, without, however, any of
their logic or genius for facts, and he often converses vaguely, but
admiringly, about the French Revolution. They say he sleeps with _Le
Contrat Social_ under his pillow. He has not a single suspicion of the
Anglo-Saxon mind, nor of that composite and extremely personal affair
we call the national conscience; and still he is supposed to govern his
country after our pattern. The whole seemed unrelated to the situation.


In fact, I told Aunt L., as we came away, that I didn't think the
loggias and terraces are good for his psychology. You have no need
for the firm hand when you are looking out upon a valley swimming in a
strange transparency, where the hills seem of purest mother-of-pearl,
inevitably leading to golden streets, not black heaps of earth peopled
by passionate, starving human beings.

Am now off to the Red Cross. It is temporarily stationed in a beautiful
old Spanish house, with a garden, and a large _patio_ and fountain
in the middle, and doors opening on to it, in the Calle Alamo, a once
fashionable part of town. Mexico was almost the last country to join
the Red Cross organization.


                                                  _March 11th, evening._

At the reception at Chapultepec I found I had, by a curious chance,
arranged with Madame Madero to make a novena with her to the Guadalupe
shrine. Whatever reliance she may have had on accidental spirits in the
past, I now see her having recourse to the one Great Spirit, the Cause
of Causes. I don't feel unassailable by the chances of life myself.

She has been coming for me the past three mornings in the big
presidential auto. N. and Aunt L. are thankful to see me return; they
think a bomb, aimed at the conveyance full of piety, would not be
beyond the bounds of possibility. I am sure Madame M. would do the
distance gladly on her knees, instead of in the big car; her passionate
solicitude for her husband's welfare has no limits, and she means
to compel whatever powers there be to take the kingdom of heaven
by violence, if need be. Like all people who are playing with great
chances, she is, I fancy, superstitious. She arises very early, attends
Mass, begins her day's work, and is at our house from the castle at
9.30, apparently going the rest of the day at the same high pressure.

I gather they prefer De la Barra not to return; indeed, the faces
of any darken at the mention of other possible candidates for public
favor. Jealousies and struggles of individual ambition are more evident
than struggles for principles in this most personal of all games,
Mexican politics.

There was not a hint of any political happening on her part, nor on
mine, as I got into the motor this morning. She told me about the six
children they have adopted at one time or another, according to various
exigencies; all the children too small to make an appearance, however,
on the presidential stage.

An Indian boy ran across our path and was knocked down by the auto,
just as we were going through the teeming suburb of Peralvillo. In a
moment a crowd gathered about us, giving vent to growls. We stopped
and got out of the motor. The boy, fortunately, was not injured,
and he was wearing few garments to dust. We gave him money, and the
mollified parents, pulque-eyed and battered, received him tenderly,
plus money and minus hurt, so we were able to drive on through the
soft, shimmering morning, out the broad Calzadato to Our Lady of
Guadalupe....

We came back through the old Plaza of Tlaltelolco, where the Church of
Santiago still exists, though now the yards of the National Railways
surround it, and it is used to store cotton and grain, the customs,
too, having offices there. It was formerly connected with Mexico City
by canals instead of these dusty streets, getting dustier every year,
as the volume of water decreases in the valley.

Here Cortés found the great market he described in his letter to
Charles V., and here Fray Gante taught the Indians for fifty years.
Here, too, the first Bishop of Mexico is said to have carried into
effect his unfortunate idea of gathering a pile of Aztec hieroglyphics,
on cotton, maguey, or deerskin; and piling them mountain high;
according to the historian, Ixtlilxochitl, he had them set afire. Now
there are only squalid remnants of that civilization, here and there
ancient corner-stones on which dilapidated _mesones_, lodging-houses
for men and beasts, show themselves.

But, somehow, when one peeps in at the little courtyards the life
itself doesn't seem so squalid. Any _patio_ you look into has a bit of
color in the way of a child or a flower or a bright bit of garment.
I thought of the three patrician women who, during the siege of
Mexico, stood for several days up to their necks in water with only a
handful of corn for nourishment, and of the last and noble Aztec king,
Cuauhtemoc,[39] who, at the hour of Vespers, fell into the Spaniards'
hands, and was brought to Cortés as he was standing on the terrace of
a house in Tlaltelolco, watching the operations.

Cortés asked him to be seated, but the young king put his hand on a
poignard that Cortés carried in his belt and asked him to kill him,
because, having done what he could to save his kingdom and his people,
it only remained for him to die. He was the son-in-law of Montezuma,
and was escaping in a canoe with his young wife, just emerging into
womanhood, when he was captured. History is so _evident_ here and so
in relief--I have never lived in a place where the past follows and
arrests one as here, though I doubt if Madame Madero, trying to pierce
the heavy curtain of the future, gave it a thought this morning.


                                                           _March 12th._

The Blair Flandraus are here now, visiting Madame Bonilla. He is the
"brother" in that delightful book, _Viva Mexico_, that I sent you,
and meeting him made me remember a line where one brother says to the
other brother, "What very agreeable people one runs across in queer,
out-of-the-way places," meaning themselves, and quite warranted, as I
have discovered.

I had a luncheon to-day for Mrs. Flandrau, and Madame Bonilla, Madame
del Rio, Madame Simon, and Madame Scherer came. In the afternoon bridge
at Madame Bonilla's, at which husbands and also the unattached and
solitary appeared. In Mexico, when you have spent one part of the day
with people, it isn't, as in more conventional climes, a reason for
avoiding them the other hours.

We are all rather amused by the visible romance of a young _querido_
(lover) who stands for hours leaning against the garden rail of a big,
handsome house in the Calle Liverpool, wherein his _inamorata_ dwells.
The irate father has just built a trellis above the wall, gardeners are
busy, and the quickly growing vines will soon make it a rather bootless
pastime for the young man to _pelar la pava_. The girl is watched every
moment, quite in the way of old dramas concerning unwelcome lovers,
determined _Dulcineas_, and vigilant _duennas_.


                                                           _March 14th._

Went to the French Legation this afternoon, where one of Madame
Lefaivre's pleasant "days" was in full swing. I met there the Marquis
de Guadalupe (Rincon Gallardo), very polished and agreeable, and we
looked at a most interesting old book of picture-writing on maguey,
which shut up like a folding screen, with a piece of wood at each end
to hold it fast. We opened it out on Mr. Lefaivre's long study table.
It was of silky, papery fiber, as smooth to the touch as to the eye.
Across strong, blue-black grounds were pictures of hunting scenes,
or scenes of vengeance--hounds let loose from the leash, springing at
Indians whose eyes bulged with terror. Forests were depicted and dark
men entering them, and footmarks; a babe was being held to the heavens,
and groups of Indians were selling and buying, bending over mats on
which their wares were laid out, as to-day.

The Marquis thought it wasn't Aztec, but must have belonged to the
period immediately succeeding the Conquest, as there was a Moorish
touch to head-dress and garments. Mr. Lefaivre thought it was perhaps
one of the cunningly wrought impostures of the sixteenth century. It
was for sale for some thousands of pesos and in excellent condition.
Life sometimes seems like it here.

Secretary Stimson has poured oil on the troubled waters by saying there
is no thought of intervention in Mexico for pacification and otherwise,
but it's all a playing with fire--and a good many American and Mexican
fingers are like to be burnt. It would seem 'twere better to let the
Mexican revolutions quietly simmer till they boil dry--_we_ can't do a
little; all or nothing.

I must say I have some sympathy with Madero, for, having allowed him to
"use" the border for equipping and organizing his revolution, he now
naturally wonders at our coldness. It's all a puzzle, whichever way
one looks. I keep thinking of Don Porfirio's watch on Mexico; what he
knew would happen _is_ happening. Prophets may not only be stoned, but
justified, in their own country.

The Senate has wisely adopted a resolution authorizing the President to
prohibit shipments of war materials into Mexico--at least _we_ won't be
feeding fuel to the Mexican fires.


                                                           _March 16th._

This afternoon I went out late with Madame Lefaivre; she had come to
inquire for Elim, who has had some mysterious ailment which has kept
me hanging over his bed in terror for two days. We drove up the Paseo
in her victoria, and by the statue of the "Independencia" got out and
walked about the broad space surrounding it.

Night was near, though not yet fallen, and the sun had disappeared
behind Chapultepec. In the changing light the stars shone in the
heavens with a brilliancy I have scarcely ever seen in deepest night.
They illuminated a pale-blue dome which had a sort of faded sunset
lining. I looked up and saw the Southern Cross, the glory of these
skies, hanging just above the horizon, and came home touched and
quieted by the beauty of it all, to find my babe awake, in a gentle
moisture, the fever gone. So often in Mexico the natural changes bring
personal help.


                                                  _March 17th, evening._

To-day a delightful picnic at the famous "Desierto," the old Carmelite
monastery, deep in one of the splendid forests of the Ajusco hills off
the Toluca road.

We met, about fifteen merrymakers, in front of Mr. Potter's house, in
the Calle Durango, one of the newest of streets in the newest of the
"colonias." All were loudly congratulatory when we appeared, about "St.
Patrick's Day in the morning." After a careful packing in of baskets,
bottles, and other paraphernalia which always flow most lavishly from
Mr. Potter's house, we started out in a long line--where, however, the
disadvantages of companionship were soon apparent, as the dust got the
hindmost with a vengeance.

It being more necessary to keep the ambassador dusted than lesser
objects, he led off, arriving with his luster undimmed. As we passed
through Tacubaya, the Sunday market was going its usual picturesque
pace, and the trail of equality and fraternity we left behind dimmed
many eyes and wares. Once on the high Toluca road we could spread out
more, distance lending a decided enchantment.

At Santa Fé, in the great ravine where there has been a powder-factory
for a hundred years or so, were unwonted signs of activity. After
a stiff bit of steep, broken road, we left the motors in a blessed,
grassy, dustless spot, and began a long and lovely walk, through a
forest of magnificent oaks and pines. The loveliest of ferns grew
beneath them, and there were thick carpets of green and gray mosses,
patterned with bright, flowery patches. There was the sweet sound of
rushing waters, so rare on the plateau, and occasionally there was a
sudden rustle to show that we had surprised some wild living thing, and
twice we saw some deer.

  [Illustration: AT EL DESIERTO, APRIL 29, 1912
   (Mrs. O'Shaughnessy and Elim in the foreground)]

  [Illustration: LUNCHEON AT THE VILLA DES ROSES
   In front row (left to right) Mr. de Vilaine, Mlle. de Tréville,
   Ambassador Wilson, Madame Lefaivre, Mr. J. B. Potter, Mr. Rieloff
   (German Consul-general), Mrs. Nelson O'Shaughnessy, Von Hintze, Mr.
   Kilvert, Mr. Seger]

One scarcely ever hears of the Mexicans hunting their game, though
there are occasional shooting parties toward the lakes where the
wild duck abound. Some one remarked they would seem to be too busy
stalking one another. The Riedls, the Bonillas, Von Hintze (who is not
much given to picnicking on Sunday, generally spending the holy day
hunting the perpetrators of the Covadonga outrage of last July), Mr.
Potter, Mr. Butler, their English friend Mr. Leveson, Mr. Seeger, the
ambassador and ourselves, made rather an imposing array as we proceeded
through the wilderness, which, however, was "paradise enow."

As you know, when picnickers get hold of a joke nothing but separation
or annihilation causes them to let it go, and Mr. Potter started a
gentle but persistent one as we walked along, about not fearing snakes,
as the presence of the O'Shaughnessys in a forest on St. Patrick's Day
could not do less than rid the paths of them or analogous reptiles. I
was sorry we didn't meet a boa-constrictor, so that he might have said
his neglected Sunday prayers. It was so delightful, under the shade of
the great trees, the sun filtering through with such a fresh warmth,
and the birds singing so sweetly upon what seemed, indeed, a snakeless
paradise that we were positively sorry to come upon the deep, flat
space that holds the old monastery, near whose walls a long table,
evidently known to generations of picnickers, was waiting to groan with
our twentieth-century edibles.

After we had bestirred ourselves with the unpacking, festivities
proceeded as if on a stage. We were almost immediately surrounded
by dozens of Indians, men, women, and children, who furtively and
fortuitously inhabit various parts of the old cloister. During and
afterward they received the overflow from "Dives's table." Several
little tots found pieces of ice, which they carried off in the greatest
excitement--doubtless never seen before, and overrated as to nutritive
qualities.

We refreshed ourselves to the usual accompaniment of quips about
life in general, and in particular what each would do, especially
the fair sex, if surprised by Zapatistas--who give a spice of danger
to festivities in these parts--as "Emiliano's" capital is only over
the near-by blue hills. There was an exceedingly knotty and delicate
question hovering in the air, as to whether, in the event of the
Zapatistas performing their usual rites of removing garments, "would it
be better to be with friends or strangers."

Suppositions about Mexico's future bind every assemblage together, and
Riedl insisted on conversing only in a strange and ingenious language
of his invention, composed of Portuguese, picked up in Rio, Italian in
Rome, and Spanish in Madrid and here--too amusing and clever for words,
and something new to the echoes of that spot.

As he said, "What's the use of traveling if you don't learn something?"
And he insisted on sitting near part of his own contribution to the
picnic, a long and very special kind of _salami_ (sausage) from his
native land, to be taken with some equally celebrated schnapps, called
_Slimbowitz_, also from his native land, and contributing to cordial
relations.

After lunch we walked about the old ruined monastery, inexpressibly
lovely in that solitary spot. Trees grow from what once were cloisters
and cells; the mother-church in its midst is crumbling, pink,
vine-grown, delicious. Thomas Gage, an English monk who visited Mexico
in 1625, found it then in full blast. The old retreat is a mass of
lovely, unexpected details, long galleries, carved lintels, bits of
sculptured vaulting, romantic inclosures, and everywhere some natural
growth to fling a living charm about it all.

The pink belfry still has its old bell, but now when it rings it warns
Zapatistas of the approach of gendarmes instead of calling monks to
prayer. Supporting it and the church behind, roofless and overgrown,
are low, very broad flying buttresses, and several small chapels are
still domed and cupolaed. Fine trees grow everywhere, and the whole is
inclosed by pink, flower-grown, old walls.

The large _patio_, filled with bits of columns, stone beams, and
crumbled mortar, was made lovelier still by some young and beautiful
cherry-trees in full blossom, that rose gently but persistently against
the background of decay.

About five o'clock the sun began to come slanting through the trees,
bringing a warning of night with it, so we regretfully had the things
packed to leave the snakeless paradise, the day done instead of before
us--and there is always a difference. We found ourselves going rather
quietly through a blackly purple forest, though overhead the sky was
still pale blue.

When we got out into the Toluca highway we saw that a great dust-storm
was blowing over the valley. There was no sight of the city; Lake
Texcoco and the hills were veiled. We and the motors were shortly
all of a light, yellowish-gray tinge. The fine earth of the road has
not had a drop of moisture since last September, so you can imagine.
We didn't even try to wave farewells when we got into town, but each
rolled off in the direction of his own roof, to remove the marks of
pleasure. Certainly the six or eight motors must have been a scourge to
the dusty villages through which we passed.

I do enjoy the evenings so, after these long outings, in a tea-gown,
with writing-pad or book on my comfortable sofa, knitting the little
thread to cast across the waters....


                                                           _March 18th._

De la Barra is now in Paris and preparing to return. I notice a further
darkening of faces at the imminent prospect.

A Latin-American said to me, _à propos_ of this, "It is a sign of
degeneracy when nations arrive at a point where they are willing
to rend their country into a thousand bits rather than tolerate the
personal success of another." Our beloved maxim, "There's always room
at the top," could be changed here into "there's never room at the
top."

However, everything is interesting, and even the pamphlet I have just
looked over concerning the celebrated Tlahualilo case has the usual
color to it. The river Nazas flows down through the lands of the
Tlahualilo claim, the _aguas baldías_ overflow the banks at certain
seasons and are used for the irrigation of the Laguna district.
The T. Co. had contracted with the Mexican government regarding
its development, including irrigation-works, placing of colonists,
buildings, etc. The Mexican proprietors round about wanted the water,
too, and the T. Co. found itself in the impossibility of fulfilling its
contracts, because it could not get the water necessary to the cotton
crops.

Lack of water is a terrible question in Mexico, cursed with irregular
rainfalls, and rivers few and far between. The Madero family own much
territory in this part of Mexico, and wanted water for themselves.
This is an example of the complications arising when the interests of
a family are the same as the interests of the government over against
foreign capital, without which, however, Mexico cannot exist. The case
was pending during the Diaz régime, and now apparently it is _frito_
since the Madero incumbency, with the inevitable judgment that they had
had sufficient water to fulfil their contract, but had failed to do so.

Humboldt, with his usual up-to-dateness, said, "_Tout devient procès
dans les colonies espagnoles_." There is certainly no change between
his time and mine.... One has an impression that Cortés knew what he
was about when he asked the king not to send him lawyers, but monks
and priests, and of these latter he did not want _les chanoines_. The
separation of Church and State is certainly a blessing to the Church.

So few have loved Mexico for her beauty; they mostly only want her for
what they can get out of her. I wonder even her geographical position
is left.

The last two nights, for a change of air and scene. I have been reading
_Vanity Fair_, and it _has_ changed things. I found it with all the
"bead" on it, as if it had just been poured from the master's brain. I
remember when I read it first, in my early teens, asking you why Rawdon
Crawley threw the jewel at Lord Steyne. Looking back on things, I am
still of the opinion that one should do one's classics very young; the
flavor never leaves one and no harm is done.


                                                           _March 24th._

This afternoon I went to call on Madame Madero. She has been ill, and,
of course, very anxious. I went out of the glare of the hot terrace
into the comparative dimness of the room, where she was lying with a
handsome satin spread covering her, a rosary in her hands, and some
newspapers on the bed. Her eyes were bright with fever, and a pink spot
was on each cheek, but it seemed something besides fever was burning
there. She is clever enough to know when to worry, and my heart went
out to her; the political mills are waiting to grind her and the man
whose destiny she shares and whom she loves.

The newspapers were announcing in large head-lines the operation of
the Federal commanders around Rellano--Trucy Aubert, Blanquet, and
Gonzalez Salas, who was once Minister of War and among the "232,"
being Madero's cousin. Orozco is headed apparently full to the south
toward Torreon, and, say the timid and doubtful, to Mexico City. From
where I sat I could see through the slit in the half-drawn curtains
the glittering volcanoes and the blue, translucent hills; the deathless
beauty of it all gave me a pang. Any human destiny, even clothed in the
supreme office, seemed insignificant, and only the "last four things"
of account....


                                                           _March 25th._

Last night Gonzalez Salas, in a fit of despair, finding himself cut off
from his army, which had been scattered and demoralized by the main
army of Orozco, committed suicide in the train that was carrying him
from defeat.

All day long the city has been flooded with rumors, and a not
infrequent "_Viva Orozco!_" has been heard.

Squads of _rurales_ had been patrolling the streets, picturesque, but
giving an additional note of unrest.

A Cabinet meeting was hurriedly held in the Palace. Can the disaster
be retrieved? is what foreigner and native alike have been asking
themselves all day. I dare say a large proportion of the population
are ready to turn "Orozquista" at the slightest further indication of
fate. There's always a "military genius" here ready and generally able
to upset whatever existing apple-cart there be.

Zapata looms large on the horizon, as he has chosen this auspicious
moment to declare that he would descend upon the fold with his cohorts,
not, however, gleaming in purple and gold. The beauteous morning sun
revealed various notices to this effect pasted up during the night in
the heart of the city by daring Zapatistas.

I haven't seen them, but a rumor is as good as a fact for unsettling
the public. However, I did see that _La Perla_ and _La Esmeralda_ had
their iron windows drawn down upon their glittering treasures, when I
took a turn down the Avenida San Francisco a little while ago--and many
other shops had done the same.

I have no doubt the population of the submerged-tenth quarter, through
which Zapata would have to pass, coming in _via_ the Tlalpan and
Country Club road, would enjoy rallying to his call. Our street seemed
at one time already in the hands of _revolucionarios_ in the shape of
hundreds of newspaper boys--babes who could scarcely hold their papers,
but whose bright little eyes can distinguish the national currency at
any distance, and big boys and old women.

They scented large editions from the offices of _La Prensa_, and there
was much begging for centavitos right under my windows to buy copies
with. Shrieks and howls mingled with cries of "_La Prensa!_" and "_Viva
Orozco!_" The trolley-cars were blocked, and we seemed the focus of
the Orozco victory as far as the capital was concerned. It was late
when an adequate police force appeared on the scene and formed a cordon
about the lower part of the street. Even as I write they are calling
an extra, which I am sending down for. It has been an exciting day, and
all exciting days in Mexico are blood-colored.


                                                           _March 31st._
                                                    Palm Sunday evening.

This morning I went to the Church of San Fernando. The sun was shining
softly as I passed down the street of the Hombres Ilustres in through
the little palm- and eucalyptus-planted plaza, in the middle of which,
surrounded by the most peaceful of flower-beds, is the statue of
Guerrero (shot in Oaxaca in 1831). His body lies in the old cemetery
near by.

A soft, shining peace was over everything, and I felt inexpressibly
happy and in accord with it. No hint came to me, as I walked along,
of any bloody sacrifice of God or man. Little groups of Indians were
waving their palms, kneeling at the door of the church, or walking
about, and a few were selling elaborately plaited branches.

Though San Fernando is in a populous quarter, the tide has set to other
shrines. Once it was the center of great activities, for from this
church and the monastery and seminary adjoining were fitted out all
the missions to the Californias. Padre Junipero Sierra and Padre Magin
Catalá, and many other holy youths, burning with a zeal we don't even
dimly comprehend, came from Spain to be trained here before starting
out into unknown wildernesses, "for souls and for Spain." It's all so
mysteriously suggestive.

The church has a pinkish-brown baroque façade, beautifully _patinée_,
and the old doors are carved in a noble, conventional design. As I went
in it seemed rather empty, a few Indians and a few _gente decente_
only, praying before the purple-draped altars. Dreary, immense,
uninteresting paintings decorate the walls now; but its interior was
once hallowed, dim, gleaming with the gold of Churrigueresque altars
and retablos, carvings, embroideries, and beautiful silver and gilt
candelabra and vases.

Afterward I went to the cemetery adjoining the church, known as that
of the Hombres Ilustres, where a somnolent custodian let me in. The
most prominent tomb is that of Juarez, dating from somewhere in the
eighties. He is represented with his head lying in the lap of a weeping
woman, symbolic of the sorrows of the nation (and tears enough to make
a river have been shed by women here, since then). I asked myself, by
his tomb, what has it availed to scatter the treasures of the church?
All are poorer and none, alas, the wiser.

Guerrero, of the little flower-planted plaza, Comonfort, Zaragoza,
lie near, all executed by the hand of some one momentarily stronger.
Generals Mejía and Miramon, the companions in death of Maximilian[40]
on the fatal morning of June 19, 1867, repose here too.

In Mexico it is difficult to live for your country without the certain
prospect of dying for it, but I must confess that to me the readiness
with which the men of Mexico give up their lives is impressive and
affecting. It is at least removed from the conventionalities of
other types of political men, where mostly each one intends to live
comfortably by as well as for his country, until he dies of disease, or
_Anno Domini_.

Inspired by the wonted passion for moving things, a huge new panthéon
is being constructed near by, and some day all these tired bones must
make another journey. I think the cemetery as it is would make a good
school-room for the study of the history of Mexico since she began her
struggle for "independence."

Later we went out to the Country Club, where there was a luncheon
of the usual contingent, and spent the afternoon following various
friendly golfing squads over the beauteous links, beginning with the
ambassador, Mr. Parry, Mr. McCarthy, and N. The volcanoes, now in
one aspect, now in another of their beauty, were as gracious to the
foreigner as to the _indigène_. The short, wiry grass, something like
the tough grass of Scotland, made the most luxurious of carpets as we
strolled along, though now it is dried to the palest yellow--the greens
kept green only by exhaustive efforts--a lot of Yankee push behind the
hand that wields the hose. At sunset we drove home through a world of
sifted gold. Such are the days of Mexico.


     [39] This is the prince who was taken by Cortés on his
     Honduras expedition with the kings of Texcoco and Tacuba.
     As punishment for plotting to escape they were hanged head
     downward from a tree in the wilderness. Humboldt saw this
     represented in a hieroglyphic painting in the convent of San
     Felipe Neri, and even Bernal Diaz relates that the companions
     in arms of Cortés were "much shocked" at the occurrence.

     Now Cuauhtemoc stands in gold and bronze in one of the
     _glorietas_ of the beautiful Paseo, high on a marble column,
     with Aztec devices on base and plinth, where he can keep watch
     on his hills and volcanoes and lakes. He sustained the siege
     of Mexico for seventy-nine days, and the inscription says,
     "to the memory of Cuauhtemoc and those warriors who fought
     heroically in defense of their country MDXXI." Diaz and his
     then Minister of Public Works, Riva Palacio, MDCCCLXXVII,
     ordered it to be erected, and later it was finished under
     Manuel Gonzalez and his Minister of Public Works, MDCCCLXXXII.

     [40] The body of Maximilian lies with his kin in the imperial
     vault of the Capuchin church in Vienna.



XXI

     Mexico's three civilizing, constructive processes--A typical
       Mexican family group--Holy Week--"La Catedral" on a "canvas"
       of white flowers--Reply of the Mexican government


                                                             _April 3d._

Yesterday Aunt L. received a telegram necessitating her immediate
presence in San G. Things are getting lively there again. I saw her
off in the hurrying, crowded station with a pang, and the house seemed
quite empty when I got back....

I have begun a very interesting edition of the letters of Cortés
by Archbishop Lorenzano, from the latter part of the eighteenth
century. When all is said and done there have been three civilizing,
constructive processes in Mexico. The Spanish conquerors, the Church,
through the marvelous energies of friars and priests, _and_ invested
foreign capital.

Every visible sign of civilization comes under one of those three
heads, and is not to be blinked. Each has evolved inevitably out of
the elements of the previous condition. Diaz, when he formally invited
foreign capital and gave guarantees, was the expression of this last
very concretely. He kept pace with events, or else ran ahead. I have
discovered, however, that it is permitted to be malicious, stupid,
selfish, a bore, vain, vicious, dull, hard-hearted, the oppressor of
the poor; but it is an unpardonable sin to be ahead of one's time. To
be behind it is an unassailable patent of respectability.

It seems to me, however, that he who looks forward to a change in the
affairs of the world, rather than he who looks on them as changeless,
is less likely to be mistaken; and great rulers have always sensed
evolutions.


                                                            _April 4th_,
                                                 Holy Thursday, evening.

The whole of Mexico seemed afield to-day, with a hint of Sunday
best as they made the rounds of various churches for the visits to
the Repository--the _gente decente_, as well as those _sin hechos y
derechos_.[41]

I went through the shining Alameda, where again Indian life was beating
its full around the little booths--preparing for the Resurrection morn.
There is something simple and affecting about the way they regulate
their commerce by these festivals of the year, this peaceful, almost
rhythmic flooding in and out of the city. Now the booths are full of
toy wagons, with screaming, harsh-sounding wheels, rattles of every
description--in fact, any harsh combination of sounds which represents
the breaking of the bones of Judas.

The Indian must have gods--and it is better to have him worshiping the
image of one God, the God of gods, and His attributes, than sacrificing
to Huitzilopochtli, Quetzalcoatl, and their like, in blood and terror,
or wandering in the colorless and empty places of unbelief.

At San Juan de Dios I came upon a family group so charming and so
artless that I could scarcely take my eyes from them. The mother,
a straight-haired Indian woman, with the usual small, loose upper
garment and the straight piece of cloth wrapped about her hips, had the
sweetest little baby peeping out from the rebozo which bound it across
her back. An old oil-can, filled with what I know not what, was by her
side. The father carried a platter of dusty pink sweets, and a tribe of
soft, bright-eyed, smiling children accompanied them. The next youngest
to the baby was on the father's shoulder, who laid his hat before him
with his platter, on the altar steps. His eyes were uplifted. All were
silent and immobile, even the baby looking intently at the altar of
the Repository, banked with flowers, ablaze with candle-light, and
decorated with a few cages wherein were some small, bright-plumaged
birds.

The church is part of an old chapel erected in the sixteenth century
to Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Forsaken Ones);
but somehow that group fulfilling its destiny did not seem forsaken,
but a part of the mysterious human fabric of which I myself was just
as mysterious a bit. Before the beautiful recessed portal in the rich
baroque façade, whose adjacent wall is ornamented in a Mauresque
design, a remnant of the earliest colonial period, was a varied
assortment of beggars--also not disinherited, it seemed to me--but
called to partake of the sorrows of the _Madre de Dios_ whom they so
loudly invoked as I passed in.

The feature of the church is the statue of St. Anthony of Padua,
which once was among the group of _santos_ in the façade, but had
been cast down during the anti-church riots of 1857. For many years it
lay covered with mud and dust in a ditch by the Alameda. Now it is a
mass of votive offerings--_milagros_ they are called--in the shape of
hearts, limbs, etc., whatever organ had been damaged by the casualties
of earthly existence. I espied an ingenious presentment of a liver
in copper hanging in its proper anatomical place on the person of the
_santo_. The Indians have the strange habit of making their offerings
to this shrine in groupings of thirteen--thirteen candles, bouquets
containing thirteen flowers etc.--commemorative of the death of San
Antonio on the 13th of June (1531).

I can't see how the Indian is benefited by the suppression of religious
ceremonies. Gods he _must_ have. And when one comes out into the
Alameda, the sun shining on the belfries and domes of the many churches
surrounding it, filtering through the lovely foliage of the park about
which the Indian tides sweep, fixed as the laws that govern other
tides, one feels the bounteousness of the natural world, and a desire
to render thanks to _something_.

The long, narrow, flower-planted atrium of San Diego, from the early
part of the sixteenth century, flanks the charming old house where the
presses of the _Mexican Herald_ turn out world news on the site of the
Aztec market-place, or _tinquiz_. But though the outer seeming of life
is changed, I could but think me of the changelessness of the human
heart.


                                                  _Good Friday Evening._

A sickening heat was in the air all day, with a something withering
and nerve-disturbing about it, though, as the thermometer goes, the
temperature was not high.

I went early to the little near-by church of Corpus Christi. The
singing of "Dulce lignum" made me think of the great ceremonies at
St. John Lateran, and much that is no more. I returned at 2.30, when
a strange-faced priest with an "inner" look and a something burning in
his voice, a Spaniard by his accent, was finishing the "Three Hours."
Afterward, in company with Indians and black-rebozoed women, I followed
the Stations of the Cross....


                                                        _Holy Saturday._

Mexico City is one vast "rattle," the most dreadful sounds everywhere
to commemorate the holy, still day, and as for Judas, he is a legion in
himself.

The Calle de Tacuba presented a strange sight. Stretched on wires
or strings from one house to the other were bright-colored, hideous
figures, representing the _maldito_[42] dangling in grotesque attitudes
against the blue sky. On various street corners he is being burned in
effigy. Firecrackers are exploding as I write, bells are ringing from
every belfry. Grief is noisy in the tropics, even for the laying in the
tomb of the Son of Man.

When I came out of the cathedral I stopped at the flower-market near
by. It is a modern, ugly, round, iron-roofed affair, but the flowers,
the bright birds in their bamboo cages, and, above all, the dazzling
air, fling a charm about it. Every modern, ugly thing in Mexico seems
easily transmuted. In the old days the Indians brought their flowers
straight to the Plaza in canoes by the Viga Canal.

An Indian, with what I can only call a "canvas" of white flowers, on
moss and wire, about two feet square, was putting in an outline of red
and purple stocks. When I asked him what he was going to represent he
answered, quite simply, with a look at the church, "_La catedral_." A
very young Indian carrying a tiny white coffin on his head passed us,
as I spoke to him, and he stopped his work and made the sign of the
cross.

In the arcades several "Evangelistas," scribes, were surrounded by the
unlettered and unwashed--and I found some tattered children, so easily
made happy, looking at stands stocked with pink, syrupy drinks and
cornucopias filled with ices. But mostly the attention of the crowd
was concentrated on a huge magenta and blue Judas who was going up in
a blaze of infamy on the corner.

A domestic tragedy awaited me when I returned home. One of the
servants, while praying before the image of Nuestra Señora del Sagrario
in the Church of Corpus Christi, had her pocket-book removed. In it
were some coral ear-rings, a lottery ticket, and the remains of her
month's wages, just received.

She seemed more disturbed by the loss of the lottery ticket than the
other articles, and kept saying, "_Quién sabe, Señora?_" and that she
had chosen the number 313, after a very precise dream of three white
rabbits, one black cat (this latter the same, I fancy, that disturbs
the slumbers of Calle Humboldt), followed up by the three children of
her aunt, dressed in unaccustomed white. It was _almost_ convincing.
As the door of the pantry opened when supper was being served the words
"_Tres conejos_" (three rabbits) floated into the dining-room, with an
accompanying "_Quién sabe?_"


                                             Dia de Pascua, _April 7th_.

Happy Easter to my precious mother on this loveliest of Resurrection
morns! San Felipe was crowded to suffocation--quite beautiful music
in the rolling, gorgeous style, and everybody, even the beggars at the
doors, with what they call here a _cara de Pascua_ (Easter face). This
is only a word while waiting to motor out to Tlalpan to the Del Rios'
for a _dia de campo_.


                                                           _April 10th._

To-day, luncheon here for Mlle. de Tréville, the singer, and her
mother, who are the guests of the ambassador. We all miss dear Mrs.
Wilson, who has returned suddenly to the States on account of the
illness of her son, Warden, at Cornell. Rieloff was among the guests
and we are to dine there on Saturday and have a musical evening
afterward. He was consul-general in Hong-Kong when Von Hintze was out
there as lieutenant on Prince Henry's staff. Now, what the Mexicans
would call their _categoría_ is reversed.


                                                           _April 11th._

I do hope, though probably vainly, that Madame Madero doesn't see _all_
the dreadful caricatures appearing about her husband. _El Mañana_,
edited by an extremely clever Porfirista, has apparently set out to
grind him to powder, and there is one, _El Multicolor_, edited by a
Spaniard, sometimes quite ribald, which I should say is preparing to
bury the remains with scant ceremony.

There was a cartoon the other day, which I am sending, representing
Madero being kicked down a long, broad flight of stairs in the palace
on to a transatlantic liner bearing the fateful name _Ypiranga_,[43]
the historic ship that bore Diaz across the bitter waters. The
Latin-American mind is at its best in satire, and with the dart well
poisoned they kill off their public men by the dozens.


                                                           _April 14th._

The Mexican government is decidedly upset to-day at the receipt of
a notification from Washington to the effect that the United States
will hold Mexico and the Mexican people responsible for illegal
acts sacrificing or endangering American life or property. It is a
simultaneous warning to both Madero and Orozco, and the _bon mot_ of
the situation here is, "Is necessity the mother of in_ter_vention?"


                                                           _April 16th._

I am still numbed and dazed by the reading of the _Titanic_ catastrophe.


                                                           _April 17th._

The Mexican government replies to our notification of the 14th, first
cousin to an ultimatum, in which we call categoric attention to the
enormous destruction of American property, ever on the increase in
Mexico, and the taking of American life, contrary to the usages of
civilized nations.

The United States expects and demands that American life and property
within the Republic of Mexico be justly and adequately protected,
and will hold Mexico and the Mexicans responsible for all wanton and
illegal acts sacrificing or endangering them.

We further insist that the rules and principles accepted by civilized
nations as controlling their actions in time of war shall be observed.
Any deviation from such a course, any maltreatment of any American
citizen, will be deeply resented by the American government and people,
and must be fully answered for by the Mexican people. The shooting of
the unfortunate, misguided Thomas Fountain by Orozco (said T. F. was
having a little fling seeing life, and death, too, with the Federal
forces) is deplored. Orozco "answers back" that naturally he executed
Fountain, who was "fighting in the enemy's army." Several Americans,
employed on the Mexican railways, have also been murdered by the
revolutionists.

The Mexican reply, drawn up by the long-headed, very prudent Don
Pedro Lascurain, the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, says Mexico
finds itself in the painful position of not recognizing the right of
our government to make the various admonitions which are contained in
the note, since these are not based on any incident chargeable to the
Mexican government, or which could signify that it had departed from an
observance of the principles and practices of international law.

The _Imparcial_ was very fierce this morning, considering us both rough
and inconsiderate, and saying that Mexico has merited better treatment
at our hands.

Mostly they seem to think that we ought to take things as we find them
or depart. I don't think much can be done in Latin America by threats
or menaces. It is either definite force or tactful coaxing; and,
anyway, the Monroe Doctrine can never be anything but a sort of wolf in
sheep's clothing to the Latin-American peoples.

_El País_, which is the official Catholic organ, says the note is
"the first flash of lightning," and, without doubt, some gorgeous
storm-clouds _are_ rolling up.

Don Porfirio is more completely vindicated than he could ever have
hoped, or even wished.


     [41] Without civil rights.

     [42] Accursed one.

     [43] This ship has played a rôle in the destinies of two of
     Mexico's rulers, for it not only bore Diaz into exile, but it
     was the ship containing the ammunition for Huerta, to prevent
     the delivery of which we thought we were obliged to seize Vera
     Cruz, April 21, 1914.



XXII

     The home of President Madero's parents--Señor de la Barra
       returns from Europe--Zapatistas move on Cuernavaca--Strange
       disappearances in Mexico--Oil--The President and the
       railways


                                                            _April 23d._

Have been busy to-day looking over things and getting boxes and trunks
off to be repaired. A feeling of migration is in the air. A lot of
damage was done getting to Mexico. A locksmith asked fifteen francs
to open that small trunk where I keep my papers and give me a new key.
He took the fifteen francs, but brought no key until pressure was put
on him, when he sent back a key that fitted, having, however, a large,
ornamental wrought-iron handle from the viceregal period. I should say
that takes up more room than all our other keys together. It would look
better in a _vitrine_.

If the end comes suddenly, which I don't believe, we can get out
comfortably and with the philosophy engendered by the fact that, after
all, these are not our Lares and Penates.

We dine at the British Legation to-night. The Stronges are very
comfortably and handsomely installed, though the drawing-room, with
its pale-blue hangings, endless modern chairs and cabinets and small
tables, sent out from England, make it less artistic, to my mind, than
in its former spare furnishing with Hohler's lovely old things.

Just home from the Country Club, where I left N. starting out on
a "foursome" with Susana Garcia Pimentel,[44] Señor Bernal, her
brother-in-law, and an unknown fourth. On those beautiful links she
seemed more beautiful than ever, with a tall slenderness, an exceeding
and arresting straightness of feature, long, idealized "Hapsburg chin,"
and what we call a "complexion" not often seen here. She was Diana-like
as she started off in a thin, extremely expensive, white, unmistakably
French dress and an equally French flopping Leghorn hat, the little
Indian caddy following with the _arrow-case_.

I called on Madame Madero, senior, yesterday, and found more than a
hint of the patriarchal--sons and daughters and grandchildren coming
and going. They seem quiet, dignified people. The father came in as I
was sitting there with various other visitors, and the two daughters
rose and kissed his hand and called him _papacito_. The devotion of
families and the permanence of ties here is quite remarkable, a decided
contrast to the more airy conjugal relations in the United States.

After tea had been served we went into the big drawing-room, where
I sat with some anonymous, silent, big-hatted, small-footed Mexican
women, while Angela Madero sang charmingly and easily, without the
tiresome urging so often necessary. She speaks of going abroad or
to New York to study, when political affairs are quite settled.
The house,[45] recently built in the handsome Colonia Juarez, Calle
Berlin, is comfortable but banal, without the good things of the "old"
families. Few books--in fact, like most of the modern Mexican houses.

As I came out the air was darkened by one of the great dust-storms that
sometimes come up toward twilight at this time of the year. The strains
of "The Rosary," which Angela twice sang with real feeling, followed
me, together with thoughts of a family who, once rich, obscure, and
happy, now find themselves perched on the dizzy, uncertain peak of
Mexican politics. I wonder if the elder members don't sometimes sigh
for the good old days.


                                                           _April 24th._

Yesterday the ambassador gave a large musical in honor of Mlle.
Tréville, who is leaving soon, at which Mrs. Schuyler and I presided.
The rooms were filled with Easter lilies. Miss de T. sang really
beautifully the aria of "La Folie," from "Ophélie," "Super vorreste,"
some songs of Mr. McDowell's, and, as her last encore, gave the
ever-popular Mexican song of home and homesickness, "La Golondrina."
Her voice has a beautiful, bird-like quality and her _école_ of the
best; she studied in Paris and Brussels.

Madame Madero came, looking a little thin, in a nice, black lace dress,
over some shining white, with a sister resembling her, though without
any suggestion of Madame Madero's banked fires; her two sisters-in-law,
Angela and Mercedes, also accompanied her. Madame Ernesto Madero,
always very pretty, with a bright, fresh look, in spite of her many
children, was in black lace, with a large picture-hat. Indeed, I
was fearful at one time that the unusually large assortment of black
picture-hats, in conjunction with the Easter lilies, would make the
room somewhat funereal in spots.

The whole _Corps Diplomatique_, which had not been out in force for
some time, was there. The governor of the Federal District, Don Ignacio
Rivero, now a great friend of N.'s and most useful in many ways, came
with his wife, whom I hadn't met. The Guatemalan minister presented his
handsome bride, the Cuban minister, General de Riba, who, it appears,
is breaking hearts galore with his tenor voice and handsome face, was
there; and Madame Simon, as always, sparkling and interested, surveyed
the scene with her long lorgnette.

The _clou_ of the occasion was the appearance of Mr. de la Barra,
just back from Europe. He was amiable, tactful, and inscrutable, but I
wonder what he really thinks of the slopes of Avernus, down which the
government seems to be sliding, and not gently, either. He has taken a
big house, quite ex-presidential-looking, in the Calle Hamburgo, and
the largest of packing-boxes are being emptied in front of it. The
Embassy staff were out in full force, of course--D'Antin, interpreter
and legal adviser since many years; Palmer, now diplomatic secretary to
the ambassador and very capable; Parker, first clerk; and others.

Mr. Potter and Mr. Butler came in late and stayed late, and we spoiled
our dinners sitting around the dining-table, eating sandwiches and
sweets and talking about the party. We screamed with laughter at Mr.
Potter's cutting from one of the big New York dailies, which quite
solemnly states that Zapata is a natural product of the Diaz rule,
and is merely avenging the innocent and oppressed ones. We all had a
conviction that they had rather be unavenged. What twaddle the people
have to read, anyway. As for me, school begins with my first waking
moment and continues without a recess till I pass from this land of the
unexpected and unsuspected to that of dreams.


                                                           _April 25th._

The newspapers have been having large head-lines the past two days
regarding the Zapatistas, for "the Attila of the South" is moving on
Cuernavaca from the north, and it seems but a question of time before
the lovely town falls into his hands. The Federal garrison is estimated
at only a few hundreds, while the Zapatistas have between four and five
thousand men.

The inhabitants are anxious to be allowed to surrender, as Zapata
has declared that if there is resistance he will sack and burn the
town, "piously" leaving nothing standing but the cathedral, according
to his solemn promise to the bishop. There was quite a tidy bit of
warning at Huitzilac, when that town was stormed, as to what might
happen to Cuernavaca, which is full of refugees from Guerrero and the
southern part of Morelos. This most fertile and lovely state, wherein
may be seen "all the vegetable kingdoms of the world in a moment of
time," is practically in the hands of the Zapatistas, shading off into
"Salgadistas" and endless other "istas," coloring the country-side
independently. In all this the women and children seem the pity of it.
At home or afield, they are continually being caught up into mysterious
traps of destiny. Even here in my house there are, from time to time,
curious disappearances.

Josefina, the silent, consumptive seamstress who comes to sew and mend,
has one of those vanishing sorts of lives. She has wonderful hands, and
can copy with her slender, tapering fingers the most complicated French
clothes. In fact, if one were able to get the stuffs here, one couldn't
tell the copy from the original, cut and all. She has just been copying
that rather intricate Jeanne Hallé purple-and-black blouse. Except for
the inside waistband, whose origin is nameless, like Josefina, you can
scarcely tell them apart, not a sixteenth of a centimeter's difference
in length, breadth, or width.

She sits in the sun by an open window, and has egg and sherry at eleven
and before she goes home, but the sands of her life are slipping fast.
She lives in a room with three other consumptive sisters. The eldest
went out one night to get some oil for their lamp. It is now ten
days, and she has not returned. Is she working in the powder-mills, or
what? Who will care, and who could if he would inform himself of her
fate--just gone out into the night.

Madame Bonilla, from whom I got Josefina, has been an angel of mercy
to her and her sisters, and tried unsuccessfully to rearrange their
housing, inviting Josefina to live at her country place and supply her
with work. But one can only battle so far with Indian situations. After
a certain point everything seems to slip away into mystery, racial and
individual.

Does not constitutional democracy seem a snare and a delusion if
two-thirds of the population are composed of such? It brings a smile,
but of despair, to the face. My very good Indian washer-woman, not long
ago, left me. The usual excuse of an aunt or a grandmother, or some one
being ill or dead, was not used. She just stood there with her three
children, clutching the ends of her rebozo, that the last, fat little
baby was rolled up in, and repeated that she must return at once to her
pueblo whose Indian name I didn't catch. She had a sort of an antique,
troubled look. I asked Cecilia if she knew what the matter was. She
answered the usual "_Pués quién sabe, Señora?_"

We got some things together for the children, and I gave her a few
_pesos_, and she went off, out of my life, out of the security of food
and lodging that was hers, to melt into the endless generations of
Indians; I felt uncomfortable for long after.

Talking about housework, I wish some of the airy stipendiaries of other
climes, or even the women of those sections of my native land where
they don't have "help," could really know what it is here, where half
the female energies of the nation are engaged in the grinding of corn.
They don't do it occasionally, but every day, and hour after hour, or
the nation would starve.

It's one of the most appalling things in Mexico, this grinding of the
mother literally between the upper and nether stones. How can a nation
advance when the greater part of the women pass their lives grinding
corn, making tortillas, and bearing children? There is no time or
strength left to sketch in the merest outline of home-making, let alone
a personal life, or any of the rudiments of citizenship.


                                                           _April 26th._

Yours about the catastrophe in the Bay of Tangier is received. My heart
aches. To think of parents being brought back out of the darkness of
death by drowning, to call for _three_ children and find nothing! It
is Greek, terrible. You remember them from Berlin days and those lovely
little ones.

Last night we dined at Mr. Walker's with our military attaché and Mr.
Knoblauch; they are all keeping bachelor quarters in Mr. W.'s handsome
house next door to the British Legation, in his wife's absence. The
talk turned on oil. Though the Aztecs used it for their temple floors,
the Spaniards left it in the rich breast of Mother Earth. Now it looks
as if it were going to be the center of foreign interests in Mexico,
replacing in the inevitable evolution of things its romantic mining
history.

Mr. Doheny, the pioneer of the industry, has had one of those careers
only possible to the man of genius. He appeared on the scene of the
future oil-drama (the state of Vera Cruz),[46] looked about him,
installed a plant of many millions, and when _he_ was ready, the oil
gushed up--a sort of twentieth century striking of the rock--to say
nothing of Moses.

Lord Cowdray's enterprise was not less spectacular nor less profitable.
Nature did not, however, wait on _his_ preparedness, for suddenly from
his lands the greatest oil-well in the world, Las Dos Bocas, gushed
out, and for months burned upward in a great column of smoke and fire,
and flowed out to the sea, a burning waste of light and heat, before it
could be capped.

Now that modern-sounding thing, an oleoduct, carries a vast stream from
one of the other great wells (Potrero del Llano) to Tampico, to the
sea, where navies and merchant-ships await it, and we have begun a new
era in the mechanical activity of the world.

Mr. Walker enlivened it all with amusing tales of Indian laborers
and their ways when driven by Anglo-Saxons who suffer not the word
_mañana_. Underneath it is the beat of world-passions and world-needs,
and Mexico, lovely and uncertain, finds herself at once the stage of
mighty interests--and their battle-ground.

After dinner we betook ourselves to the big living-room, where the
phonograph was turned on, giving forth such national lyrics as "You
Have Another Papa on the Salt Lake Line," and "My Wife's Gone to the
Country, Hurray, Hurray!" The nearest we got to the classics was the
air from "Martha."

Burnside drove us home, after a turn in the dim, mysterious park.
The immense and splendid "Ship" was stretching low across the starry
heavens, and there were great spaces of intensest black between the
groupings of the constellations. These stars, under which I was not
born, have a strange and quieting influence on me. One cannot look
other than with stillness and awe on their luminous rhythm, compared to
the restless and confused "who knows whence, whither, or what" of the
Indian destinies they shine on. All that "vast and wondering dream of
night" which "rolls on above our tears."

Mr. J. B. P. gives a big luncheon at the Villa des Roses to-day, and
has sent me the list to seat. You see that we do move about, though
somewhat warily, in these regions of political quicksands.

The ambassador has always had the gravest doubts as to Madero's
competency. Nothing any of us have seen, up to now, has been
encouraging. It is one thing to inflame a country by promises of
everything to everybody; it's another thing to rebuild a state, as he
set out to do, from ruins, or even to sustain law and order, as he knew
it, and benefited by it, in his youth. That dreamy face of his makes me
think of the school-boy's definition of an abstract noun, "something
you can't see," and those hands, with their soft and kindly gestures,
are so unfitted for grappling with this special Leviathan--and
consequences are pitiless. Alas for the _peu de politique et beaucoup
d'administration_ of Diaz!

  [Illustration: A BEAUTIFUL OLD MEXICAN CHURCH
   Photograph by Ravell]

I discovered a decided hint of original sin in Elim yesterday. When I
told him to kneel in church he said his leg hurt him; when I told him
to make the sign of the cross he said his arms hurt him, and his neck
was like a ramrod when I told him to bow his head.


                                                           _April 27th._

A year ago to-day we set out on our tropical adventure, and the end
is not yet. I said to the ambassador yesterday, _à propos_ of picnics,
"What shall we do next Sunday?" He answered: "You may be on a war-ship
next Sunday."

However, the climax may not come for months, and it may not come that
way when we do leave, but it would be a fine finale!


                                                                _Later._

Your letter from Mentone of April 15th has just been handed in--twelve
days only; did it fly through space? I ask myself.

I have been reading an account of the death of the great viceroy,
Bucareli, which tells of the famous courier who was sent to announce
the nomination to his successor, Mayorga, then in Guatemala, building a
new capitol near the old, destroyed by earthquake. He did the distance,
over pathless mountains and deep valleys, in seven days, spurred on
by the motto of "the king is dead, long live the king"--in this case
translated into an old Mexican saying of "_No es lo mismo virrey que
viene que virrey que se va_" ("A viceroy that comes is not the same as
a viceroy that goes").

The Mexican post, in the old days, was auctioned off to the highest
bidder by the state, not a confidence-inspiring way of communication,
and it ended by wealthy people having their own runners. Now, in twelve
days, a letter takes its flight from the shores of the Mediterranean to
the Mexican heights! _Autre temps, autres mœurs._

There is from the time of the wars of independence the picturesque tale
of the "Courrier Anglais"; nothing English about it, except that an
Indian horseman by the name of Verazo would leave Mexico City in time
to reach Vera Cruz for the arrival of the packet from Southampton,
and in his saddle-bags would be the whole diplomatic and mercantile
correspondence of the capital.

He never stopped, except to jump from one horse to the other at the
relay stations, and was allowed privileges of safe-conduct by all
shades of combatants, regular and irregular. Once arrived at Vera Cruz,
he would eat copiously, sleep for a couple of days, and then return
with the mails to Mexico City, ready to repeat his exploits the next
month.

Do you remember that poem of Bret Harte's, "The Lost Galleon"? I came
across it the other day, fingering a volume of American poetry. It,
too, evokes pictures of runners bringing mails and valuables from the
Orient up from Acapulco, and begins:

     In sixteen hundred and forty-one
     The regular yearly galleon,
     Laden with odorous gums and spice,
     India cotton and India rice,
     And the richest silks of far Cathay,
     Was due at Acapulco Bay.

The luncheon at the Villa des Roses was very pleasant. The place is
kept by a Frenchwoman with a fine touch and an excellent cellar. She
has some wonderful _pâté de foie gras_ in a great _terrine_, just
out from France, and her _macédoine de fruits_ was _arrosée_ with an
ancient and mellow maraschino. The table was spread in a long glass
veranda, with thickly blossoming rose-vines, crimson rambler, trailing
over it. The Lefaivres, the Riedls, Von Hintze, the ambassador,
Rieloff, De Vilaine, Kilvert, Seeger, the Schuylers, and ourselves made
up the party.

Mr. Potter's lavishness as to menu made us feel somewhat
"boa-constrictory" as we rose from table, but we were able to get into
the garden and have our photographs taken by Baroness R., which I send
you.


                                                           _April 29th._

Burnside goes to the "front," which now means Huerta's army against
Orozco's; changes of front are among the natural phenomena here. It
appears General Huerta is full of resource and has contrived to enlist
and equip a large force in this short month.

I did not tell you of the dinner at the German Legation the other night
for the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Don Pedro Lascurain. Mrs.
Stronge presided, with him on her right, and I sat on his other side.

He is a tall, spectacled, near-sighted-appearing man with a pleasant
expression, but I understand he can see farther than most down
financial and political vistas. He has a natural _flair_ for business,
having made a large fortune by real-estate purchases in the new section
of the town, is moderate in the political sense, honorable and very
pious.

He told me about the _Sagrado Corazón_, the church he is building
almost entirely out of his own pocket for the Jesuits in the Calle de
Orizaba near his house. It had been so badly cracked in what is now
simply known as the "Madero" earthquake (June 7, 1911), not as a "sign
from heaven," that work had to be suspended on it while the foundations
were strengthened. N. said he remarked quite simply to him, in the
course of a conversation, "Why do you Americans talk of intervening in
Mexico? You own it already."

He has replaced Calero, sent as ambassador to Washington. I predict
that Calero will know a good deal more about us than we do about him
before he is done.

After much hesitation, Aunt L. has rented the big house near the
station to General Garcia Hernandez of the "military zone." They
would have taken it if she hadn't. It's certainly ideal for strategic
purposes; it commands a view of the whole country and the railway
is comfortingly near at hand. The large fly in the ointment is that
quantities of dynamite have been stored in it. She has been waiting
for days to go to Juchitan, where things are lively again. She does
not dare to drive over, and the train has not been going for some time,
a commentary on the regeneration of Mexico. If the taxes are not paid
there are fines, and they have to get to Juchitan to pay the taxes or
the usual devil gets the hindmost. Batches of wounded from there have
been brought in to San G.

Yesterday we went a-picnicking again to El Desierto--three motors
full--Mr. Potter, Mr. Butler, Mademoiselle de Tréville and her mother,
Burnside, Seeger, the ambassador, and ourselves. We all met at the
Embassy, where there was an immense amount of telephoning between
N. and the governor, Rivero, as to whether the first detachment of
soldiers, supposed to have gone early in the morning to prepare the
scene for festivities by clearing the brush of Zapatistas, really had
departed.

After circling round and round the Embassy, the sun so broiling we
could not sit still in it, we finally started off, the gentlemen
bulging with pistols, the motors heavy with cartridges. We were
preceded by a military auto containing two officers and eight men.
They nearly choked us with their dust, and only when we got off the
highway into the lovely forest stretch did we begin to "take notice"
again. Then the glinting of uniforms through the great trees, Miss de
Tréville boldly trilling some lovely variations on "The Star-spangled
Banner," the general feeling of adventure, not unmixed with pride as to
our boldness, made us once more "rejoice in the green springtime of our
youth," according to Nezahualcoyotl.

By the time we reached the luncheon site we felt ourselves perfect
daredevils and ready for anything. The only risk we did run (I hate
to relate it) was when a pair of excited mules, driven by a wild-eyed
Indian, coming from _quién sabe_ where, dashed upon us as we were
sitting innocently at lunch in the idyllic spot I wrote you of. They
were prevented by a big tree, only some four yards off, from completely
demolishing us. The wagon was smashed, and the picnickers fled in all
directions. The first thought of each was that it was the prelude to a
Zapatista play, and we _were_ on their stage. However, all's well that
ends well: and here I am on my sofa again.

The political mess thickens. So much might have been done, if all the
efforts of the government had not been expended on keeping in office.
War-ships are announced, some of ours, and the English and French and
Germans will take a look, too.

A curious complication about the railways has come to a head, involving
not alone money, but life. Shortly after Madero came in he endeavored
to get rid of the American railroad servants, who tried to get the
matter taken up in Washington, and there was a lot of unofficial talk
besides. Madero had ordered that, after a certain date, all orders
must be written in Spanish; the trainmen, while speaking Spanish, in
the majority of cases, could not write it sufficiently well for prompt
and efficient service. Mr. W. has been so convinced from the beginning
that Madero could not fill the position that he has lost interest
in personal communications. So he sent N. up to Chapultepec to see
Madero and explain to him the bad effect this would have. There were
even threats of boycott on the northern frontier by union trainmen,
who considered it would be an unjust act, as many of the men had
been in Mexico since childhood, and there were many of them over age
who couldn't get jobs in the United States. N. told him it was very
impolitic, etc., etc.

Madero thought it over and said in French: "You can tell the ambassador
that the order very probably will not go into force, though it is
impossible for me to revoke it." N. reported this to the ambassador.
Several days afterward, on April 17th, he met Mr. Brown on the links.
Mr. Brown said, with a smile, "That order went into force to-day" (Mr.
B. had to sign it as president). N. hurried off to the ambassador, who
was naturally very annoyed, and said N. must have misunderstood Mr.
Madero. N. thought his goose was cooked; that Madero would go back on
him and throw the interview in with a lot of other Mexican apocrypha.

But Madero was most decent about it all and said: "Yes, I did tell
Mr. O' S. so, but I was unable to prevent the order from going into
force." The result has been that a large body of trained men who
couldn't negotiate _la lengua castellana_ have been obliged to leave
the country, to their own and Mexico's detriment.

Madero's idea was to "democratize" the national railways--_i.e._, to
load the system with as many employees as possible. At the end of the
Diaz régime there were a few dozen competent inspectors; under the
Madero régime they had been increased tenfold.

The green parrot I brought from San G. is chirping in the next
room--quite a member of the family, but dreadfully backward as to
languages.


     [44] Died in New York, August 23, 1916, of a _maladie de
     langueur_. How could she resist a winter exiled in Harlem,
     after the flight from Mexico in 1915--the world, her world,
     in ruins? As well put an orchid in a cellar in the autumn and
     expect to find it blooming in the spring.

     [45] This house was burned and sacked during the _Decena
     Trágica_, February, 1913, by what the newspapers called _la
     furia popular_, and remains to this day a mass of crumbling
     and charred walls, roofless and windowless, _sic transit_.

     [46] The American interests are chiefly situated in the
     district of El Ebano, on the frontier of the states of Vera
     Cruz and San Luis Potosí. The English are in the district
     of Tuxpam in the state of Vera Cruz, and the total of the
     interests represented is about a hundred million dollars
     for the American, seventy-five millions for the English, and
     between two and three millions for the Mexican. The figures
     do rather sustain the adage that "Mexico is the mother of
     foreigners, but the stepmother of Mexicans."



XXIII

     The "Apostle" begins to feel the need of armed forces--A
       statesman "who is always revealing something to
       somebody"--Nursing the wounded at Red Cross headquarters


                                                              _May 4th._

As you will see from the inclosed clipping, posters all over town
containing the same, Madero is in a bad condition. Reports from
Huerta's army are that disease, typhus, and black smallpox are rife.
Burnside is up there now watching operations.

Huerta states that he will not lead his three thousand troops to
certain death against Orozco's myriads, strongly intrenched, until his
preparations are complete. Some kind of end is perhaps in sight. The
only diplomat at Madame Madero's reception Thursday was the Belgian
wife of the Japanese chargé. I intended to go, but was trying to mend
a broken night with a siesta, and it slipped my mind till too late.


                                            Battle of Puebla, _May 5th_.
                             (A year ago to-day we landed in Vera Cruz.)

The town is flagged and there has been a big military parade, with the
beautiful Mexican brass echoing through the streets. It is the most
popular of the lay festivals, commemorating the victory of General Diaz
and General Zaragoza over the French at Puebla (1862).[47]

There is a hint of "Prætorian Guard" creeping into the presidential
surroundings, and other signs that the "Apostle" is beginning to feel
the need of armed forces at his back. Appeals to virtue are not proving
any more sufficient for government here than they would be elsewhere.
It's the uselessness of governments trying to change the formulas
of the human heart that strikes me most; and the Mexican heart,
undisciplined, passionate, multiform, illustrates it so completely.


                                                              _May 7th._

Your letter with the _Impressions d'Italie_ program has come. I, too,
long for the beautiful land. So much reminds me of it here, and yet
there is really not the remotest likeness between Mexican and Italian
atmosphere.

They are expecting a battle, a big one, within twenty-four hours. Every
one and everything is hanging on the turn of that event.

Madero is as simple as a child in many ways, and as impulsive, but
simplicity isn't the first requirement for manipulating government in
the land of the cactus. A Spanish proverb took my attention the other
day to the effect that "an official who cannot lie may as well be out
of the world," and Madero is as honest as the day. If language is given
to conceal our thoughts, he makes little use of the covering. It is
complained of him that he is always revealing something to somebody.

Of course all business enterprises are deadlocked, and many dark,
as well as light, complexioned ones, having "things to put through,"
doubtless long for intervention.


                                                             _May 10th._

Things social have "slumped" since some weeks. Nobody in the face of
all the uncertainties feels convivial or has any courage about planning
for something that may not materialize in the very precarious future.

Our bucolic and innocent picnic at the Desierto, where the only harm
took the shape of mules, has been turned into a sort of orgy by some
of the San Antonio and El Paso papers, in which champagne, Spanish
dancers, frisky foreign diplomats, cold-eyed and depraved American
"interests," are in the foreground, while the background is occupied
by a faithful but scandalized Mexican guard. Of such is the kingdom of
history.

The dinner that the governor of the Federal District gave last night
for the ambassador is the only official thing for some time. It was
the usual conventional Mexican _dîner de cérémonie_ with its French
menu, many courses, and appropriate wines for each. It does not give
the effect of having the least resemblance to what they do when _en
famille_, but presents rather a set, very expensive, restaurant effect.
I sat between the governor and De la Barra, who took me out.

To his refreshment, I think, the talk revolved about the Eternal City
rather than the eternal Mexican situation. As ex-President of the
republic he received many honors in Italy, decorations from the king
and the Holy Father, and is _plus catholique que jamais_. Any one like
De la B., who has practical experience of government, however, knows
that all is not quiet on the plateau, let alone the situation in the
north. Madame de la B., looking very pretty but pale, wore a handsome
blue _pailletée_ dress, so good that it was doubtless got in Paris, _en
route_ to Rome.

Ernesto Madero and his wife were also there. She loves going out, and
always has a pleased, not at all _blasé_ look on her handsome face,
which is most attractive. I imagine Don Ernesto is _très-fin_ with
real gifts. We always say the Madero government reminds us of the
Medici, with the fine arts and the strong hand cut out. One of them
is President, one of them almost more than President, Don Ernesto is
Minister of the Treasury, Rafaél Hernandez, his cousin, Minister of
Fomento. Another brother, Emilio, is with the army, etc., etc., etc.,
down through the generally computed two hundred and thirty-two members.
It's the most complete system of nepotism since the aforementioned
Florentine days.

Huerta is reported to be making good progress driving Orozco back north
of Bermejillo, where Captain Burnside now is.


                                                             _May 14th._

To-night deep nostalgia possesses my heart; the seasons have swung
round again. At four o'clock the first rain drenched the city.

This morning to the Red Cross, where a solid three hours' work awaited
Madame Lefaivre and myself, looking neither to the right nor to the
left. A larger number than usual waiting to be attended to, the wounded
coming in, not only from the real seat of battle, but as the results of
skirmishes all round, and, of course, the usual casualties of the city.

We will have a lot in next week from the battle of Tuesday; it takes
about six days for the wounded to get in from the north.

The doctors are very gentle, and the patients so very patient--scarcely
a whimper or a groan. Sometimes only a contraction of the features
when suffering agony. True Indian stoicism. The Spanish flows, and my
"medical" Spanish is now in competition with my "kitchen" Spanish.

Madame Lefaivre and I are the only ones who keep to our schedule days.
The Mexican ladies can't; either the rooms are filled to overflowing
with them, picture-hats coming and going, darkening the horizon, or
they don't appear at all.

Aliotti, the new Italian minister, has arrived, and was among my
callers this afternoon. His beautiful wife is not with him, as she
could not stand the altitude. He is just from Rome, from the Foreign
Office, and is extremely clever. He finds Mexico somewhat far from his
special "madding crowd."

A letter from Aunt L. says a man from Istlaltepec had come dashing in
a few minutes before to tell the general that the rebels were sacking
the hacienda of Don Panfilo Ruiz near Istlaltepec, the banker I met
at Juchitan. Various inhabitants of a town beyond had been killed, and
people were arriving at San Gerónimo on foot or on horseback, fleeing
for their lives under a broiling sun.

The mounted troops and the infantry were got out and departed for
the scene of trouble, and the band played as usual at four o'clock on
Sunday, the music tending to calm the people, though all were wondering
what was going on on the other side of the Istlaltepec hill. Five
miles, it seems to me, is a little too near for comfort. Aunt L.'s
house was surrounded by soldiers ready to surrender _or_ attack. "_Viva
Mexico!_"

Several days ago a pastoral letter from the Archbishop of Morelia was
published. In it he gives his flock the salutary advice to keep out
of politics altogether. I think every one realizes that Diaz enforced
protection for all and everybody, and it will take years for things to
settle down.

There is a fair amount of politics in these letters, but if one
happens to be so inclined one finds oneself taking politics in with
the air. They are everywhere, yet it seems to me, of the threads of
destiny that are being spun, I get only a few loose ends. Great foreign
interests, oil, ore, and transport, play themselves out with many a
shift and twist, against the Mexican political film, shaking, unstable,
distorted, now too big, now too small, out of proportion as they come
down the stage or go off. But always of breathless interest.


                                                             _May 20th._

The King of Denmark is called into another kingdom, where he is not
king. How suddenly the summons came, when he was strolling about
Hamburg in the evening, unattended! The end of mortality, kingly or
otherwise; but I have lost an irreplaceable friend.... Peace to his
soul! I am so sorry you did not see him on the Riviera. Do you know
that ---- too has gone? I remember that luncheon she gave for him
in ---- and didn't ask me, and how surprised and displeased he was
when he came in for a moment in the morning and said, "I will see you
at lunch," and I answered, "Not asked." We had to laugh, it was so
ridiculous.

How tragic, too, the death of the young Cumberland prince with Von
Grote, his aide-de-camp![48] We used to see them both so often in
Vienna.

The Mexican episode may be drawing to a close, but _quién sabe?_
All life down here assumes a mysteriousness, even in its simplest
manifestation. The natural phenomena, the things we consider quite
impersonal in New York or Paris or Berlin, seem to perform their
operations here in an astoundingly intimate way. A sunset is a more
than daily occurrence, due to the cold fact that the earth revolves
on its axis just so often; that moonlight experience of last autumn
remains in memory, and a consciousness is always with one of an
intimacy with natural decrees.

The faultfinding Americans who come here, and really love it, though
they talk loudly about the national failings and sigh for "honest
Americans," are under the spell of this intimacy with the natural
world, though they don't often analyze it; this delicious, satisfying
sensation of being included in the operations of destiny, not being
hung solitarily between birth and death.

I never look up at the Southern Cross without my heart, too, leaping
up--and thinking, with Humboldt, of the lines he quotes from Dante,
"_Io mi volsi a man destra e posi mente all' altro polo, e vidi quattro
stelle_."[49]

The rainy season is full upon us, for which all are thankful. There
has been a great deal of illness in the town, the dust-storms were
unusually severe, and the collection of microbes carried hither and
thither would break a microscope. The mornings seem made in heaven,
and, after weeks of being dust-veiled, the volcanoes are out again in
all their splendor.


                                                         _Tuesday, 22d._

Many people calling to-day; among others charming Manuelito del Campo,
just married to the handsome niece of Madame Escandon, of the Puente de
Alvarado. They are making bridal visits. She wore a regardless beige
gown, with Paris written all over it, and beautifully put on over a
lovely, small-hipped figure. I wish them well.

Mr. de S. stayed after all had gone. He is very sad at the
disintegration of government, and in fact why should any Mexican be
cheerful? The past is destroyed, the present tottering, and the future
hidden. He is always most understanding and _simpático_.

A short, terrific thunder-storm came on as we sat talking and afterward
everything was drenched and dripping in the corridor and _patio_. As
I stood at the door with him we were led to talk of destinies. I said
that, for my part, I had no hunger, all glories and all miseries were
known to me, and I was learning to feed upon myself. But he remained
silent, stroked Elim's hair, called him _buen mozo_, and went out. As
always, it is each one to his own path, and one is lucky to meet, even
for a second of time, some one going the same way.

To-day I closed forever the covers of Strindborg's hideous, haunting
_Froken Julie_, that horrid conflict of souls in a kitchen. But once
read, can I ever wipe it out of memory?


                                                              _May 23d._

The ambassador says we will all go home on a war-ship if "the break,"
as the possible event is colloquially known, does come. Can't you see
us all stowed away, according to the protocol, on one of the war-ships,
and various dissatisfactions, however carefully things are arranged, as
to rank and previous condition of servitude?


                                                             _May 25th._

Orozco acknowledges defeat in the north, laying it at the doors of the
United States. The neutrality laws prevented him from getting in the
required arms and munitions.

The government is very cheerful, full of smiles at the progress of the
Federal troops under General Huerta, who have wiped out, in much blood,
the blot on the Federal escutcheon; for Rellano, lost by Gonzalez
Sala, is now retaken by Huerta. Orozco, in his retreat, is destroying
railways and bridges, and there will be big bills for some one to foot.
Huerta, it appears, has shown generalship of a high order.

But I have been under gray skies, following the great procession that
carried Frederick the Seventh to his last resting-place. The three
Scandinavian kings, Gustavus of Sweden, Haakon of Norway, and the
new ruler and son, all so tall, like vikings of old, walked side by
side, heading the procession, the first meeting of the three since the
dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905.

Queen Alexandra, the Dowager Empress of Russia, and King George of
Greece,[50] always so agreeable, were there to mourn their brother,
and many another of the familiar figures on the Copenhagen screen of
memory. It was a breaking up of family ties to them--to the world, only
a new king of Denmark.

You remember that cold, bright December day, with its sparkling snow,
and frosty, glistening trees, when we went to Roskilde to see the
ancient church where the kings of Denmark sleep their last sleep? And
now, on a May morning, to the strains of the great organ, that captain
and that king departs whose friendship I had. Again, peace to his
soul!...

Several days ago I discovered at an old bookshop at the Calle del
Reloj, off the Zócalo, a first edition of Madame Calderón de la Barca's
book, 1843, Boston, decidedly worn as to its leather binding, but in
excellent condition otherwise--unfaded print on unyellowed paper. I
wish she could cast that pleasant objective eye of hers on my Mexico;
I believe she would recognize the political housekeeping!

Around about the Zócalo are many second-hand shops; also in the
Volador old books are to be found. But they are mostly yellowed
manuscript--copies of the accounts of the _administradores_ on the
old Spanish estates, books on medicines and herbs, records of lawyers'
fees, and the like. Generally the title-pages are missing, and always
all the engravings.

I have a copy of _Periquillo Sarniento_, the "Gil Blas" of Mexico, but
it is difficult reading for a foreigner, full of satiric allusions to
political events of the period and to purely local conditions. It was
published in Havana in 1816, when the author, De Lizardi, _El Pensador
Mexicano_, was there to escape the consequences of his satiric jibes.
He wrote, curiously enough, another book (_La Quijotita_) dealing with
the higher education of women, which, in Mexico, has scarcely been
repeated in the hundred years.


                                                             _May 28th._

I wonder, as I write, if you are walking the green fields of Rankweil;
my heart accompanies you.

Things are going on very pleasantly from day to day, as far as we,
personally, are concerned, but the national machine seems clogged and
creaking, in spite of the victories in the north.

Oaxaca is in a state of complete revolution. Six thousand Indians have
risen, and the whole country is seething with brigandage, flourishing
greenly under the weak central rule. It will take years for things to
settle down.

On Sunday another picnic is being got up. The ambassador, of course,
J. B. P., Mr. Butler, the Bonillas, Professor Baldwin, who is giving a
course at the university here, Aliotti and Mr. Brown, president of the
National Railways. I always take Elim for the _dias de campo_. He is
quite a feature of the gatherings and good as gold, playing by himself.


     [47] In the palace in the Salón Rojo is a large picture of
     the battle of Puebla, with Diaz prominently figured. The
     picturesque dress of the Puebla mountain Indians gives it a
     familiar note. There is nothing wanting to show the prowess
     of Mexicans, and it portrays the French retreating down-hill
     in terrible disorder--chasseurs d'Afrique and chasseurs de
     Vincennes giving it a European touch not in keeping with the
     bits of maguey in the landscape.

     [48] The heir to the Hanoverian throne killed in a motor
     accident.

     [49]
         _Io mi volsi a man destra e posi mente
             All' altro polo, e vidi quattro stelle,
         Non viste mai fuor ch'alla prima gente.
             Goder pareva il ciel di lor fiammelle;
         O settentrional vedovo sito
             Poi che privato se' di mirar quelle!_

            "PURGATORIO" I

     This is the passage that commentators take to mean the
     Southern Cross, the knowledge of which Dante got from Marco
     Polo.

     [50] Assassinated at Salonica, 1913.



XXIV

     One Indian's view of voting--Celebrating the King's birthday
       at the British Legation--A single occasion when Mexican
       "pillars of society" appear--Reception at Don Pedro
       Lascurain's


                                              _Sunday evening, June 2d._

We had a very lively picnic to-day at the Peña Pobre, all gathering at
Calle Humboldt, where we waited vainly for Professor Baldwin. At last,
after fruitless telephoning, we started through the shining city, out
the Tlalpan road, past the Country Club, where the links were black
with golfers, through the _très-coquet_ Tlalpan, to the Peña Pobre
hacienda.

I drove out with the ambassador, the Italian minister, Mr. Brown,
Mr. Potter, and Mr. Butler. We got the necessary permission from the
obliging administrator at the door of the hacienda, and then passed
on through the lovely rose-garden to a wilder, gorge-like spot,
where a long, weather-stained table was built under the shade of some
eucalyptus-trees.

The ambassadorial butler took charge of things at this special,
strategic point, and we wandered about the lovely spot. The paper-mills
are so discreetly hidden that one wouldn't know they existed. The
Peña Pobre is near the celebrated Pedregal, or Malpais, a prehistoric
lava-stream, which the crater of Ajusco is supposed to have contributed
to the landscape, and which has been for centuries, with its caves
and retreats, the beloved of bandits and all shades of delinquents.
Montezuma is supposed to have hidden there his gold and silver
treasure, and Cortés is said to have found it and shipped it to Spain.

As all the picnickers were in good form, we had a particularly cheerful
lunch, enlivened by the usual discussion of the perfectly patent
truth that self-government is not native to the Mexicans. There were
those who knew what they were talking about in the assemblage.... Don
Benjamin Butler gave his touching story of one of his peons coming to
him with a piece of paper and asking what it said. "It says you have a
right to vote." The peon thereupon put the artless question, "For whom
shall I vote?" Don Benjamin further explained that Estebán Fernandez
was the only candidate in their state (Durango). "I'll vote for him if
you want me to, but I'd rather vote for you," was the answer.

It's Indian, charming, but it bears little relation to the simon-pure
Anglo-Saxon democracy that they are trying to _try_ down here.

The party was further enlivened by the curious case I discovered in
a home newspaper of the old gentleman, found dead, whose body was
identified by two sons, of around about fifty years of age, who had
never met until the inauspicious occasion. For half a century he had
had families in adjoining towns. I thought he must have been a bright
old gentleman. Mr. Potter thought he must have had some money, too.

We got as far on the return trip as the Country Club, when it began
to pour, the golfers dashing in from all points to take refuge in the
celebrated "nineteenth hole," not dry, either. The sun showed itself
for a moment before setting, and flung a few lovely flame-covered
scarfs about the dazzling heads of the volcanoes; but the world we were
in remained damp and dark, and we turned home quite willingly.[51]

I found an invitation, on returning, from the _chef du Protocole_, in
the name of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Señora de Lascurain,
for a reception at their house on Friday afternoon _en obsequio del
Honorable Cuerpo Diplomático_.


                                                             _June 4th._

Yesterday a large reception at the British Legation in honor of the
King's birthday. The Union Jack was flying high over the entrance as
we went in, the house was filled with beautiful flowers, and there was
much health-drinking and good wishes. The official world, Mexican and
foreign, of course out in full force, and the colony--altogether a very
pleasant occasion, with that special English feeling of "empire" behind
it all.

Mrs. Stronge has been ill, but she was seeing a few friends up-stairs
in the charming corner room, with its view of the volcanoes. The old
quotation came, as so often, to my mind, _Si á morar en Indias fueras,
que sea donde los volcanes vieres_.

The pet of the Legation, a bright green parrot, or, to be more precise,
a green, _bright_ parrot, brought from Bogotá, was helping her receive.
I came home with the ambassador, who goes to Washington for two weeks
over the northern route, and Schuyler is to "enjoy" his absence. Now I
must close; Tuesday visitors are beginning to arrive.


                                                    _June 5th, evening._

This morning at 8.30 I heard dear Aunt L.'s voice outside my door.
She had arrived from Orizaba with Laurita, who has masses of beautiful
red-gold hair. She is now sitting in a big armchair, doing nothing, I
am thankful to say, though _The House of Mirth_ is within reach when
she feels like reading. So glad to have her here.


                                                             _June 7th._

The reception at the Casasuses last night was a most gorgeous affair.
He is one of the few _científicos_ still visible in Mexico City, a man
of much cultivation and erudition. He has preserved his relations with
the Madero family, also his money, but there is that in his eye which
makes one feel that he has not preserved his illusions.

The reception was to open his splendid new house in the Calle de
los Heroes, which has been building since some years, and also for
the _contrat de mariage_ of his eldest daughter. A fine band was
sounding as we went in through the _zaguán_. The great _patio_ was
covered with a sort of light-blue velum, and behind it were myriads of
star-like lights. The great fountain was ablaze, too, and everything
was decorated with wreaths of marguerites, recalling the name of the
fiancée, who is to marry a son of the famous Justo Sierra, Minister of
Public Instruction under Diaz.

Madame C., large and impressive and a blaze of diamonds, was flanked
by her two pretty, slim daughters, very _jeune fille_ as to dress, but
rather sophisticated as to expression. The _novia_ was in white, and
the younger girl in a similar costume of blue.

All strata of society were there, even the "pillars," holding up things
for this single occasion; charming-looking and beautifully dressed
women I had not seen before--some of that invisible _chicheria_ I
suppose; the official set, the military, etc., etc. There were some
fine jewels--great plaques of emeralds much in evidence--and one lady
wore a strange necklace of very large, very lustrous, almost square
pearls.

The rooms are elaborately furnished in the modern French style. The
brocade-covered walls hung with expensive modern French paintings.
Portraits of Monsieur and Madame Casasus, by one of the great French
artists, I forget which, were in the large pink-and-gold salon. The
magnificent library, with thousands of volumes, the collection of
a lifetime, was furnished from London by Waring and had long tables
bearing atlases and big in-quarto volumes, deep leather chairs, and
reading lamps, most inviting.

The supper was lavish to a degree; it was whispered about that the
cost of the entertainment was fifty thousand dollars. Madame C.
presided over the huge square table of the diplomats, loaded with great
candelabra, beautiful imported fruits in massive silver dishes and rare
flowers in tall silver vases. I was taken down by a general whose name
I didn't get, in the fullest of regimentals, who had lost an arm in
some one of the interior campaigns--I think Madero's.

The champagne flowed; French _pâtés_, asparagus, all sorts of things
which had come from long distances, were passed by liveried servants.
Don Sebastian Camacho, sighting his ninetieth year, was the beau of
the occasion, carrying his years lightly and gallantly, _entouré de
dames_. We came away at one o'clock, leaving things in full swing, the
music and the pounding of the dancing feet echoing through the great
_patio_.[52] Now I am off to the Red Cross.


                                                             _June 8th._

Yesterday Red Cross all the morning, and the reception at the
Lascurains' in the afternoon. The heavens opened punctually at five,
and an unusually bountiful supply of water fell upon the sons and
daughters of the nations _en route_ to the function. We descended with
the Chermonts at the door during a baby cloudburst.

The house is a big, handsome dwelling consisting of one very
high-ceilinged floor of rooms, with a charming urned railing, lifted
up against the sky, and hung with Bougainvillea, wistaria, and
honeysuckle, blooming in their turn. Inside it reminded me of the
Carlton Hotel in London, but must be most comfortable to live in,
though the _Honorable Cuerpo_ seemed to spread out rather thin over its
large spaces.

Its great feature is the wonderful aviary, on the side away from
the street, where dozens of the rarest and most gorgeous birds live
together in peace and apparent happiness. Don Pedro, whose special
hobby they are, showed them to me, but I only remember the names
of a few, and a mass of flying, singing color. "Mexican caciques,"
the lovely yellow-and-black oriole of the tropics, most beautiful
bluejays, much more gorgeous than ours, for to their brilliant coat of
blue-and-white are added crests and plume-like tails--and _huacamaias_
and parrokeets, who made their part of the inclosure look like carnival
time.

Mr. Lefaivre took me out to the very elaborate tea, spread in an
immense dining-room. The baby cloudburst, which in his victoria he got
the full advantage of, and the continual destruction of French property
in one part or another of the republic made him rather pessimistic.
He says they always give him the fullest promises, when he lodges his
complaints, and then nothing further happens any more than if he had
lodged them _outre tombe_.

Don Pedro has a bright-eyed, agreeable, clever daughter who helped her
mother receive. She brought out a fine linen square on which we wrote
our names to be embroidered by her nimble fingers later on.

I feel about Lascurain a note of sincerity and a lack of personal aims
and ambitions. Certainly nothing save patriotism could have led him
to accept a place in the Cabinet. He has wealth and position, and only
fatigues and uncertainties, storms and dangers, await him in the ship
of state.


                                            Legation d'Autriche-Hongrie,
                                                     _Sunday, June 9th_.

Am writing this, as you see by the letter-head, at the Riedls', waiting
for the picnic party to assemble. I am, unfortunately, always on time,
a bad habit, and not cured by over a year of _mañana_.

The R.s have a sun-flooded house on the corner of Havre and Marsella
in the new part of town, and I am scribbling this at the desk in the
drawing-room, done up in yellow brocade, flower-filled and comfortable,
and with its reminiscences of other posts in the way of signed
photographs and bric-à-brac.

The chiffon scarfs arrived yesterday, having survived the temptations
of the customs, the pink, blue, purple, and petunia, just as you had
done them up. This is the land of scarfs. No lady is complete without
one or many and I will baptize the "pink 'un" at Mr. Potter's to-morrow
night at dinner. I never go anywhere Sunday evening, as after the
all-day bouts in the country my sofa and my books are my best friends.
We are to go out to Xochimilco and the clans are now approaching to the
sound of motor-horns, etc. There will be a repacking in of merrymakers
and baskets when all are assembled.


                                                            _June 10th._

I have just come from taking Aunt L. up to Chapultepec. The view from
the castle was entrancing, the volcanoes touched with rose and all
the other mountains swimming, blue and purple, in the sunset light. I
stopped at the British Legation on the way back to see Mrs. Stronge,
who is much better. Now I must dress to go to Mr. Potter's for dinner.


                                                            _June 11th._

I wore the petunia-colored scarf last night at dinner. Mr. Potter
was in great form and quite outdid the champagne in sparkle, and we
quipped and quirked till a late hour. My last sight was Don Benjamin
Butler giving a few steps of the _jota_ in the hallway. Am now sending
Elim and Laurita with Gabrielle up to Chapultepec Park. A beautiful,
cloudless, dustless morning. Josefina, a little paler, a little
thinner, and, if possible, more deft, is here concocting me a tea-gown
out of a pink satin evening dress and a white lace one. Nothing can be
cleaned here. There is a place calling itself _Teinturerie Française et
Belge_--but I bade an immediate and regretless farewell to the things
that returned.


                                                            _June 18th._

Am waiting for my Tuesday callers in a really lovely tea-gown,
constructed of the two evening dresses. Josefina may soon, however, be
making robes for angels instead of mere mortals.

There has been a little political upheaval. One of our best friends,
the governor of the Federal District--_i.e._, Mexico City and
suburbs--had a tilt with the Minister of Gobernación, Flores Magon,
with the result that he is no longer governor. During all the troubles
Mexico City has been as peaceful under Rivero's régime as Zürich, all
due to his sagacity and energy, and now the usual earthly reward of
virtue, somewhat Mexicanized, is his. He was a rich _hacendádo_ before
coming into the political arena, and his friendship for N. has been
most useful to all.


                                                            _June 19th._

One of the loveliest of morns--a true "bridal of the earth and sky,"
and it is the date on which, nearly fifty years ago, Maximilian,
Miramon, and Mejía were led out to be shot.

History records that as the guard opened the heavy door of the prison,
saying, "_Ya es hora_" ("The hour has come"), the three men stepped out
into a world of surpassing loveliness; no cloud was in the faultless
sky, no wind disturbed the shining air.

They embraced, taking a last look at the blue and lovely dome above.
At the foot of the Hill of the Bells the firing-squad awaited them.
They fell dead at the first volley. Maximilian had begged to be shot
in the body, that his mother, in cruel suspense in far Vienna, might
look again upon his face. His last words were, "_Viva Mexico!_" Mejía
was silent. What Miramon said I know not, but their hearts were open to
God.

Mr. S. and his daughter, a beautiful girl, arrived early this morning.
As we are probably soon to leave Mexico, they are good enough to let us
stay on in our present quarters for the remaining time, and will occupy
the small apartment down-stairs. I had a great bunch of pale sweet-peas
put in her room.

Going to Chapultepec this afternoon with Aunt L., also taking Miss S.
and Mrs. Parraga, a Mexican friend of Aunt L.'s, to be presented, after
which we go to Madame Lefaivre's.


                                                            _June 20th._

Administration faces were wreathed in smiles at the reception; the
Orozco revolution is not only dying the usual unnatural death, but
it seems likely to be interred. General Huerta knows the value of a
few well-placed blows, but nothing seems to stay "put" here. Nearly
every shade of Mexican has fitted himself out with one or more
grievances, and underlying it all is that quite peculiar organization
of Latin-American society whereby one set of opinions may be uniformly
expressed in public, while the intellectual classes, in secret, hold
entirely opposing ones.

A terrible downpour during the reception. From the windows of _la
vitrina_, as the long, glass-inclosed balcony leading out of the "Salon
of the Ambassadors" is called, Mexico City was a damp, dull thing,
buildings and streets showing as great dark scratchings. There was no
light in the sky and the hills were obscured by curtain-like, formless
clouds with coppery linings.

When we got home it was still raining in torrents, and we descended in
the adjacent garage. In doing so I caught my skirts, hung in air, and
finally fell to the ground, my dress torn to bits and myself shaken to
the same. When I looked at my hands to see if they were still hanging
to my wrists, I saw that my big emerald was missing from its setting.

It was not simply raining. The sky was opening and letting the water
out, and it was quite dark in the garage. About a dozen Indians and
several employees stood about. I cried, "_Mi esmeralda!_" and we all
proceeded to look. I was passing my hand over the floor near various
Indian hands when suddenly _I_ felt the smoothness of the stone. An
Indian said to me, "_Dios es con usted_" ("God is with you"). Well, it
was not fated to be lost that time. I have just left it at _La Perla_
to be well reclamped into the setting, thankful that that companion of
my wanderings is still with me.

The sweet, full letter from Rankweil is received. I long to smell the
sunset meadows with you.


                                                    _June 23d, evening._

After a day of skimming over the valley with Aunt L., the Seegers, Mr.
Butler, and Mr. de Soto.

I had long wanted to go out to Huehuetoca to see the famous _tajo de
Nochistongo_, the great cut in the mountains, the most interesting
point of the wonderful system of draining the lakes of the Valley of
Mexico. It was a problem to Aztec rulers, viceroys, and presidents,
finally solved, like a good many other things, in the Diaz epoch--and
always bound up with the joys and sorrows of the valley. The Lake of
Texcoco, the largest of the six lakes, hospitably receives the waters
of the other lakes to such an extent that once it was considered to
have a "leaky bottom," draining down to the Gulf of Mexico.

There were immense floodings of the city in old days, and in 1607 one
so great that for several years the streets were traversed in canoes,
and the saintly Archbishop of Mexico used to be poled and rowed about,
distributing food to the starving.

The Huehuetoca road runs out through Azcapotzalco, once a teeming
Toltec and Aztec center, now only the haunt of Indians and an
infrequent archæologist. Any and every turn of the soil there reveals
traces of lost races. At the next town, Tlalnepantla, though we
were all feeling more in the mood for general effects than detailed
inspections, we did our duty and went into the interesting old church,
finding it full not only of sacred relics, but of profane, in the shape
of carved Indian stones and various sorts of monoliths. In the cold,
ancient baptistry is a strange prehistoric cylindrical vase.

There are still traces of the earthquake of several years ago, whose
rendings revealed a wealth of buried objects. Several Indians, gathered
about the motor as we came out, furtively drew from their knotted
shirts some objects which properly belonged to the government--obsidian
knives and a few masks, like those in the museum at San Juan
Teotihuacan. We bought them out, and proceeded to Cuautitlan, the old
posting-town I have written you about.

Mr. de Soto says that tradition has it that here was born Juan Diego,
the Indian to whom the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared. You see how
interesting it is along these roads. Each step is always historic or
legendary, as well as beautiful. The next village is Teoloyucan, where
one branches off to go to Tepozotlan.

Since leaving the posting-town we could see the belfry of the church
looking pink and lovely against especially blue and lovely hills.
The foreground was of maguey and maize fields stretching away to the
mountains. Hedges of nopal, graceful willows and pepper-trees, and
Indian life, mysterious, yet simple, living itself out on road and
field. We were held up for quite a while by a dozen burros laden with
fresh, shining skins bulging with pulque. A great deal of unnecessary
prodding of the unfortunate animals went on, the usual audience
appearing from the hedges at the noise.

The hacienda of the former governor of the Federal District, Landa y
Escandon, now in Europe, is out here. It contains most beautiful works
of art, Spanish and viceregal, and many priceless Chinese and French
porcelains, these last presentations when various ancestors were at
various French courts.[53]

We thought for a moment of asking the administrator to show us over
it, but succumbed instead to the invading magic of the road and the
pleasant inertia of the automobile. As you will see, it wasn't a day to
improve one's mind, but rather to bathe one's soul. As we got into the
mountains near the famous "cut of Nochistongo," we spoke the name of
the grand old Indian now a-wandering in exile, and talked of the solemn
dedication ceremonies when the engineering marvel was completed in 1900
under his auspices.

In connection with the making of the "cut" and the canals winding
through and between the lakes are ancient, sad tales of forced Indian
labor, drivings, exposures, and deaths; a sort of _mita_ where each
had to lend not only a hand, but often give a life. In the old days
the viceroys made annual visits to Huehuetoca, lasting several days,
conducted with regal splendor.

Nature seemed inconceivably gentle and beautiful there, with its
vistas of translucent hills, all gradations of green and gray and blue
softly rolling, meeting the eye and falling away. The volcanoes were
of clearest white in the pure air, and the shining valley was a gem set
within it all. We stopped by a delightful old bridge with its battered
viceregal coat of arms, a relic of the ancient post-road to Zacatecas,
over which a silver stream flowed into the Casa de Moneda (Mint) in
Mexico City, to flow again in shining piastres across the ocean to
Spain.

I suppose I will be sorry I didn't examine the "cut" a little more
carefully, but the day was such a flood of soft light that details were
quite swept away, so _tant pis_ for Huehuetoca. As it was, we didn't
get back to town till nearly three o'clock, when we repaired to the
Automobile Club where "Martinis," sandwiches and fruits, partaken of on
the veranda, restored us, and we started out again to San Angel.

A perfect afternoon, no sign of rain, and anything as opaque as a house
seemed unspeakably repugnant to our souls. At San Angel we wandered
about in a deserted garden-like orchard. Roses, heliotrope, and lilies
mingled with fig, quince, apricot, peach, apple, and pear trees,
and soft crumbling pink walls inclosed them all. Beyond were more
beautiful blue hills linked to those of the morning, and now swimming
in the afternoon haze the volcanoes towering above in a splendor of
mother-of-pearl.

These old Mexican gardens are beautiful beyond words, but I think one
must feel the magic of them in the flesh--not out of it--to know the
full enchantment. Later we went into the inn, once a great monastery,
now transformed into a "hotel with all modern conveniences," as the
prospectus says, and where, for a moment, I thought of going when we
first arrived.

Some of its ancient beauty is left; old chests and ecclesiastical
chairs, and long, carved refectory tables fill the corridors, and
pictures of saints and priors hang on the thick walls. There is a
charming _patio_ surrounded by cloisters, where monks once walked,
saying their breviaries and their beads, and where now tables are
placed from which tourists renew and strengthen the flesh.

Above is a terrace bounded by a lacy, intertwining design of
grayish-pink balcony. In the center of the court is an oval
double-basined fountain, with a little palm planted in the middle
of the top one, and water-lilies in the lower one. Masses of crimson
rambler were in their last luxuriance, and shining lemon and orange
trees, with fruit thick upon them, grew in the little flower-beds.
There is a large, new, glass-inclosed room where the proprietor,
quite a character, likes to have his patrons go. A corner of the old
refectory was sacrificed to do this modernizing, but we had the tea
served at a table in the _patio_, and watched the patch of blue sky
get pink and the colors of the flowers darken. When we finally turned
homeward in an indigo-colored world it was to find the volcanoes like
two great flaming torches, casting strange lights upon the dark-blue
earth over which we sped. Nothing but night could have induced us to
leave the beauty of it all for brick-and-plaster man-made dwellings.


                                                            _June 27th._

Professor Mark Baldwin and Mr. Butler came for lunch--and very
pleasant. The application of the American mentality to the elusive
Mexican equation is always a more or less stimulating process, and one
generally feels comfortably, somewhat smugly, superior in spite of the
fact that one never gets beyond the X. Professor Baldwin sent me his
book, _The Individual and Society_, made up of lectures given at the
university here, and dedicated to Ezechiel Chavez, Sub-Secretary of
Public Instruction. It is most interesting and I am posting it with
this.


                                                            _June 29th._

     Peter and Paul's Day. After which our beloved friend used to
       leave Rome.

A sweet letter from Aunt Louise inclosing one of dear Mr. Stedman's
poems, "The Undiscovered Country." I have tucked it into my mirror,
where I can look at it while having my hair done. It begins:

               Could we but know
     The land that ends our dark, uncertain travel,
       Where lie those happier hills and meadows low--
     Ah, if beyond the spirit's inmost cavil,
       Aught of that country could we surely know,
               Who would not go?

Aunt Louise was just back from church, and the text made a sacrilegious
smile overspread my face, "Look to the hills whence thy help cometh."

_Trouble_ is what comes from the hills here. However, I will blight
no illusions when I answer. She had picked a single, beautiful Carl
Bruschi rose in its perfection from her rose-corner, to put upon the
Sunday dinner-table, with a bit of feathery green. I can see her doing
it and "rescuing seedlings from the clutch of weeds," and dusting the
peach-tree, and straightening the hollyhocks, and "feeding much upon
her thoughts."

With her letter came a long letter from Senator Smith, and his
_Titanic_ speech in full.


     [51] Peña Pobre has been occupied and evacuated countless
     times by Zapatistas, and is now completely laid waste--the
     great paper-mills, the gardens, the hacienda buildings. Since
     writing these words a vast and blood-stained scroll has been
     unfolded, and I think many a one has modified his political
     creed.--E. O'S., 1917.

     [52] Of the Casasus house nothing but the walls remain.
     Everything has been pillaged and scattered. People have
     happened on an occasional old volume of the great library, and
     an occasional piece of the gilt-and-brocade furniture has been
     seen in the second-hand shops. ---- told me that a matter of
     importance took him to the house when used as a barracks by
     Carrancistas. In the great _patio_ were only a filthy cot and
     an old _brasero_ near which a poor _soldadera_ was sitting.
     The fountain was dry and full of refuse, and some soldiers
     were standing about waiting for their officer, who came in
     violently disputing with a woman of the town. From under
     the cot, after a few moments, the woman drew out a small,
     beautiful old chest clamped with silver and inset with coral,
     with which she departed, "the living symbol of the aspirations
     of the downtrodden masses," as one of his followers calls Don
     Venustiano.--E. O'S., 1917.

     [53] These treasures were scattered and destroyed during the
     first Carrancista occupation.



XXV

     Orozco and his troops flee toward the American border--A
       typical conversation with President Madero--Huerta's
       brilliant campaign in the north--The French fêtes--San
       Joaquin


                                                      _July 4th, 4 p.m._

Home from a motor trip and luncheon with Aunt L. at the Country
Club, and now getting ready for a rather inexplicable reception
at Chapultepec. In the evening there is to be a big theatrical
representation to celebrate the glorious Fourth.


                                                             _July 5th._

Orozco[54] and his troops are fleeing to the north toward the American
border. When we got up to Chapultepec yesterday we found out that the
fact that it was our "Fourth" had been overlooked in the governmental
rejoicings. Finally, however, the situation cleared, and there were
congratulations all around, everybody free and equal, we congratulating
them because of the defeat of Orozco, they congratulating us on general
and special principles. Bulletins had been coming in all day about
Orozco's flight from the battle-field of Bachimba, with General Huerta
in full pursuit. Madero appears still untroubled, but he has grown
visibly older. "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown," even if it
is in the clouds.

Refreshments were served at small tables on the great terrace, but the
strangest wind came up, and everything was blown about, table-cloths
flapping, vases overturned, and an uncanny, transient darkness falling.
The immensely tall man, Adolfo Basso, _Intendente del Palacio_--"_beber
Toluca ó no beber_" we call him, looms high at every reception.

I was glad to see Madame de Palomo there. She is of the "other set,"
which appears sometimes for charity, but not for Maderista social
happenings. She is the head of the Mexican Red Cross, and I have
seen her in that way. She has an old house in the Colonia de San
Rafael, Calle Icazbalceta, once fashionable, and some interesting old
furniture and bric-à-brac. One very elaborate and beautifully carved
confessional, in her family for generations, illustrates the history of
St. John Nepomuk. In an artistic flight of fancy on the part of him who
designed it, the head of the king is represented peeping in through a
convenient aperture at the back, trying to hear what the queen confides
while at confession. It's not very theological, but it's human and,
from the point of view of the collector, quite unique.

Mrs. Wilson and I had rather a typical Mexican conversation with the
President. It was _à propos_ of Cuernavaca, which the Zapatista scares
have always prevented me from visiting. To-day, as we stood talking
with Mr. Madero, he said, "Order is now complete," and added that the
Zapatistas were well in hand. We then said we were immensely relieved,
as we wanted very much to motor to Cuernavaca. He assured us it was
perfectly safe and wished us a pleasant journey.

I had barely got home when Carmona came over from the Foreign Office
to say that the President begged the ladies of the American Embassy
to postpone their trip, as it would be better not to run the risks of
travel on unfrequented roads just now.[55]

To-day the soft-voiced Zambo that brings me _objetos antiguos_ appeared
with several handsome old coins, and an embroidered shawl, a _manta_,
white on pale saffron. This last is now hanging out on the little
oleander terrace to be sunned and aired, and the three coins have been
scrubbed. One was of him of the "Iron Horse," _Carolus IV 1792 Dei
gratia Hispan et Ind., Rex_, showing his receding forehead, aquiline
nose, and pleased, voluptuous Bourbon mouth; his ear is deeply stamped
with a counter-mark.

It appears these coins are still to be found throughout the Orient;
each banker through whose hands they passed would stamp his own little
mark on it. The other was more ancient and bore the date 1741 with the
device "_Utraque Unum_," showing the pillars of Hercules surmounted
each by a crown, and two hemispheres in between, joined by another
crown. This was Philip V.'s modest device. There was also a little
medal of the Virgin of Guadalupe, so defaced (I suppose it had been
worn around generations of necks) that I could scarcely see the date,
which appeared to be 1710.

All this seems very simple, but any foreigner living in Mexico would
know that I had had a "good" morning. How the objects came into the
possession of the _comerciante en objetos antiguos_ would be quite
another story.

Mexican numismatic history is as romantic as its mining history, and
bound up with it. Effigies of various rulers of the nation appear and
disappear with a dramatic but disconcerting rapidity. The Iturbide
coins are extremely rare, but I saw one the other day, and it is
on them that the eagle and the cactus first appear. On the other
side, around Iturbide's bold profile with projecting jaw, is graven
_Augustinus I Dei Providencia, 1822_. Now we have simply the eagle
and the cactus, and the redoubtable word "_Libertad_" stamped in the
Phrygian bonnet.


                                                             _July 7th._

To-day we picnicked at the Casa Blanca, out beyond San Angel. It belongs
to an Englishman, Mr. Morkill, now engaged in business in South America.
When we got there, in spite of explicit telephonings, there was no key
to be had. One person went to fetch the caretaker, who lived _quién
sabe_ where, and some one went to fetch _him_ and so on, an endless
chain. We must have been outside for nearly an hour, looking up at the
loveliest and pinkest of walls, above which showed tops of palm- and
fruit-trees and delicious known and unknown vines.

Finally, a very old woman and a very young boy appeared with the key
to the door of that especial paradise, and we went in, with a loud
sound of locking after us, and a "_Pués quién sabe?_" in a belated,
breathless masculine voice. The garden, as all unfrequented gardens in
Mexico are, was a riot of loveliness. We spent an hour wandering about
its enchantment, and some one quoted that lovely poem--

     A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!
     Rose plot,
     Fringed pool,
     Fern'd grot--
     The veriest school of peace--

interrupted at this line by appropriate and all too ready jibes about
peace in Mexico.

Within the larger garden was a sort of inner tabernacle, a sun-bathed,
inclosed fruit-garden--peach and quince growing with orange and
lemon and fig, and the little pathway was fringed with lilies. The
house showed the unmistakable quick results of inoccupancy here; the
doors sagged, the windows stuck, and it was dismantled of most of its
furniture.

We got out some tables and spread our luncheon in a little _mosquete_
and jasmine-blossoming porch, even with the ground, opening from one
of the salons. Continual whiffs of perfume came from the garden, and
the air was now damp with threatening rain or indescribably brilliant
as the clouds passed. Mrs. Wilson brought some especially good things
in the way of jellied chicken and one of the large cocoanut cakes for
which the Embassy is famed. Mr. Potter's motor we called "the cantina,"
for obvious and refreshing reasons.

Afterward, while we waited for the rain to pass, we went to the
_mirador_, built in a corner of the high wall of the bigger garden,
overlooking the maguey-fields, which stretched away to the lovely
hills, on which great, black shadows were lying between sunlit spaces.
When we came down we picked armfuls of flowers, and there were some
particularly beautiful trailing blackberry sprays with which we
innocently decorated ourselves, but which I have discovered left
indelible marks on our raiment. As we filled the motors with wet,
sweet, shiny flowers and leaves, we sighed that the owners of anything
so lovely should be so distant.


                                                            _July 15th._

The Schuylers have gone--a week ago--and N. is at the Embassy bright
and early these mornings. The ambassador is more and more pessimistic,
and there is a huge amount of work to be turned over every day.

The situation is heavy with responsibility for him, and the road thorny
and full of the unexpected. Am now waiting for Madame Lefaivre, to go
to the Red Cross.

Burnside has returned from the north, where he has been with General
Huerta's army. He says Huerta conducted a really brilliant campaign
against Orozco, in spite of illness among the troops, smallpox, typhus,
etc., and the difficulties of communication. The amiable _soldadera_
deputed to look after his morning coffee, with her nursing baby in her
arms, asked him, with unmistakable intent, the first day, if he would
have it with or without milk. Needless to record, he took it black.


                                                            _July 15th._

The French fêtes are beating their full at the Tivoli Eliseo. They seem
to celebrate the 14th of July from the 6th to the 20th. The Lefaivres
invisible, except to their colony. For the sake of _la nation amie_,
I put my head inside yesterday--and was met with a cloud of confetti
and swarms of _vendeuses_. Bands were playing, and there was dancing
at one end, and everywhere a lively selling of objects for the French
_œuvres de bienfaisance_ in Mexico. The celebrated Buen Tono
cigarette-manufactory had outdone itself in generosity, its booth being
the _clou_.

Last night there was a patriotic performance at the Teatro Colon.
Kilometers of tricolor and a very demonstrative colony filled the huge
place to overflowing.

We got there just as the Mexican national hymn was sounding, and the
President and his wife, with the Vice-President, were being ushered
into the great central loge, where Monsieur and Madame Lefaivre were
waiting to receive them bowered in red and white and blue flowers and
lights, with a great tricolor floating beneath.

After the last singing of the "Marseillaise" we went in to speak to
them and found the President saying to the minister: "_C'est Liberté,
Egalité, Fraternité que je voudrais voir dirigeant les destinées du
Mexique_," while a look as remote as the poles came into his eyes.
Monsieur Lefaivre, for the sake of the vast French interests to be
safeguarded, has always cultivated the friendliest relations with
Madero--hoping against hope that the situation may develop elements of
stability. Madero is obsessed by French political maxims, but without
any understanding of that very practical genius which enables the _doux
pays de France_ to turn ideas into actualities. The Encyclopedists,
however, are having quite a revival in "glorious gory Mexico." We came
home unconvinced, yet vaguely hopeful, under a blaze of constellations
set in wondrous relief against great black spaces.


                                                            _July 17th._

I have just closed George Moore's _Ave Atque Vale_. A new book by him
continues to be a delicious intellectual repast. I read it in rather
a miserly manner, knowing there cannot be many more, not tearing its
heart out as I so often do with books. He is nearing the inevitable
departure on that last journey--and he will not return to write
epigrams about it.


                                                            _July 19th._

I am scribbling this in the lovely old _patio_ of San Joaquin, out
beyond the hacienda of Morales, sitting on a comfortably slanted
grave--slab, on which I can just distinguish a bishop's miter and
a faint tracing of the date--17 something and _requiescat in pace_.
Delicate mosses, bits of cactus, and a tiny, vine-like, yellow flower
make it a thing of beauty.

Madame Lefaivre and Elsie S. are sketching; all is peaceful,
sun-flooded, with much singing of birds, and the trees are dropping
solid bits of gold through their dark branches. There is a fine old
five-belled belfry that pierces the perfect sky; the top bell and one
of the next lower pair are missing (in what vagary of Mexican history
they disappeared I know not).

This was once a Carmelite monastery, and still has a wonderful garden
and a celebrated peach and pear and chabacano orchard. The wall
inclosing the orchard is so high that scarcely anything green grows
tall enough to show above it, though the mirador has a few vines
twisting about it. The wall, however, is beautiful in itself--pink,
crumbling, sun-baked, with moss and flowers and bits of cactus clinging
to it, and a fruity odor was wafted over to us as we passed on the
broken, ditch-like road with the motor at an angle of forty-five
degrees.

There is a large space, planted with live-oaks, outside the _patio_
of the church with _its_ lovely, broadly scalloped pink wall. Once
through the carved door, one is as if in a bath of sun and beauty.
Before another time-worn, carved door leading into the church stand two
straight, black, immemorial cypresses. The inside wall of the _patio_
has, here and there, an old carved coat of arms cemented into it, and
colored growing things abound. The live-oaks outside bend above the
scalloping of the walls, on which are ancient numbers above flat-carved
symbols for the "Way of the Cross."

Elsie chose a corner inside, and Madame Lefaivre is sketching outside,
so I got the guardian, who is also the administrator of the orchard
and hacienda, to unlock the church. Several gilded _Churrigueresque_
altars still remain--intricately designed, time-softened, lovely, and
on the altar steps were some charming old candlesticks, five or six
feet high, in the same lovely style of gilding and twisting. How they
have remained there during a century of suburban vicissitudes I know
not. Various saints in ecstasy, San Joaquin in special, were portrayed,
almost life-size, their garments floating, falling, blowing about,
with the special unquiet but lovely _Churrigueresque_ touch. Winged,
open-mouthed cherubim and seraphim hold up the vaulting with its wealth
of lovely, conventional motifs; throughout Mexico, in churches where
everything else is gone, one finds the out-of-reach vaultings intact.

There is a school of a sort, held in what was once the seminary behind
the church; and some barefooted, bareheaded, and otherwise scantily
clad wrestlers with the "three R's" came out from one end of the church
and passed through, followed by their teacher, a shabby, bored-looking
young Mestizo of doubtful cleanliness and dubious competency.


                                                Calle Humboldt, _Later_.

I left you in the _patio_ of San Joaquin. When I went to see how the
artists were progressing, I found them both looking miserable and
discouraged. No "fine frenzy" to the roll of their eyes, though they
_were_ "glancing from heaven to earth." The beauty here isn't one to
record on canvas, rather on memory and soul, which, having remarked to
them as gently as I could, they began to clean their palettes.

We took a last, regretful look at all the pinky loveliness, the tiled
dome, the silent belfry, the slender heads of the two straight,
coal-black cypresses, and the inexpressibly lovely wall, wrapped
ourselves about with the shining air, and bumped homewards. "Quick, thy
tablets, memory."


                                                            _July 20th._

We dined last night at the Ernesto Maderos' in their handsome house in
the Paseo, large enough to lose the six children in. Madame M. has been
in mourning (something that seems to happen to women oftener in Mexico
than in other places) and now is "out" again.

The official Mexicans spare no expense on the occasions when they open
their houses, but it is always with ceremony, without individuality;
_enfin_ Mexicans receiving foreigners. The Riedls were there, and the
Simons; I have an idea Mr. S. finds his task a big one. He rarely goes
out, but this, to the Secretary of the Treasury, was strictly within
his orbit. Madame Simon wore a beautiful black _pailletté_ gown, with
subtle touches of "point de Venise," recently out from Paris.

She has driven us all nearly crazy, anyway, with the ravishing
_croquis_ and _échantillons_ Drecoll and Doeuillet have been sending
her, and which lie, temptingly, among the latest French reviews and
newest books on her table.

I sat by Lascurain, talking pleasantly of things not political; that
ground is volcanic and no place for foreigners, even well-disposed. The
new Belgian chargé, Letellier, was on my other side.

A letter to-day from Madame de la G. from Châlons-sur-Marne, where
the Marquis is in command of the garrison. She will always be, to
me, typical of the _grandes dames de France_ as they have appeared
throughout the centuries--those highly born, highly placed, highly
cultured women with many natural gifts, whose wit and beauty are the
common heritage of us all.

I bear that picture of her in her armchair, so beautifully dressed,
especially in that white chiffon gown we liked so much, with a single
dusky rose at her slender waist, her dark hair so perfectly _coiffé_,
her charming welcoming smile, with its hint of suffering borne, remote
from miseries, yet knowing pain. I can see the background of bookcases;
near by her shining tea-table, and the little low table with its vase
of flowers and bibelots, and the latest book with a paper-cutter in it,
or some consoling volume whose pages were cut by other generations.[56]

  [Illustration: MEXICAN NUNS GOING TO MASS
   Photograph by Ravell]

With a change of costume, change of hours of visits and dinner, she
pictures to my imagination Madame de Sévigné writing to Madame de
Grignan, Madame de la Fayette talking to La Rochefoucauld--all that
flowering of an elegance of mind with its roots of culture, not alone
in books, but in the heart. Her mind is receptive, yet so giving,
her conversations so sparkling, with its _fond_ of philosophies and
politics, its richness of _nuance_, its elastic impersonality, yet
French, though dipped in a thousand dyes and run in a thousand molds.

Her three boys go into the army, and of Marguerite she says: "_Gretl
est vraiment mon ange gardien, ne me quittant jamais, et me soignant,
toujours gaie, toujours dévouée._"

"_Châlons étant à deux heures de Paris, les amis viennent facilement._"
She gave me news of the Paul Festetics, who had recently been
there--"_Fanny toujours l'esprit aussi alerte et aussi charmant_"; of
the De B.'s, to whom my heart goes out, "_Très-courageux, mais vous
pensez si c'est dur de continuer une route ainsi ravagée_"; and for
me "_Nos chemins se Croiseront-ils jamais à nouveau?_ It does not look
like it, _hélas_."


                                                            _July 21st._

This evening, from the hill of Tepeyac, I watched the sun go down
into a world of purple shadows rising from the mysterious plain of
Anahuac. The valley had been stretched out before us like a chart, the
hills in light and shadow. We could name each glistening road leading
from the great city, and yet, little by little, one succumbed to the
mysteriousness of it all--until the whole spectacle became an inner
rather than an outer thing.

No rain except for some silver clouds with strange, fugitive effects,
just before sunset, that sifted a diamond-like rain for a few minutes
over the face of the plain. No wind, but something like a great, cool
breathing was about us.

We passed by the richly tiled _Capilla del Pocito_ (Chapel of the
Well), of which he who drinks returns, and went up the romantic
old stone stairway leading to another chapel. Half-way up are the
celebrated "stone sails of Guadalupe," their origin dateless, the hands
that put them up unrecorded. They can be seen for miles about, and
near by they have a _belle patine_, and mosses and bits of cactus and
a flower or two grow from them. They commemorate the escape from sea
perils of Mexican mariners who had prayed the Virgin of Guadalupe to
bring them safely into port. When this had come about, tradition has it
that, continuing to believe _after_ they were safe in Vera Cruz, they
fulfilled their vow by bringing up on their shoulders the rigging of
their ship, afterward encasing it in a covering of stone.

There are hooded, shrine-like resting-places as one goes up the broad,
flat steps between the beautiful, high-scalloped wall, often a _Via
Dolorosa_, for a cemetery is on the very top behind the chapel that
was built on the spot where Juan Diego gathered the flowers, suddenly
springing up to be given as testimony to the unconvinced bishop.

A great wooden cross is in the little atrium, and we found an Indian
family sitting about it, eating their supper, wrapped in their colored
blankets, doubtless preparing to spend the night "at the foot of the
cross." There was once a temple to the Aztec Ceres, "Tonantzin, our
Mother," on this same spot.

In the cemetery lies buried the body of Santa Anna, he who led his
troops against ours.

There is a continual operative magic, some peculiar proportioning of
the subjective and the objective here, with correspondences between the
seen and the unseen forever making themselves felt.

The domes and spires of the city shone in the afternoon light.
Where one once saw the great aqueducts, and the still more ancient
canals, now rise the slender steel frames bearing the wires of the
light-and-power company, charged in Necaxa, a hundred miles away,
down in the Hot Country. The lakes were yellowish-silver mirrors, the
eternal hills swam in their strange translucence, the great volcanoes
pierced a lovely sky; all quite relatable, except just what it is that
pulls your soul out of you as you look upon the deathless beauty and
think of the dark, restless, passionate races whose heritage it is.

As we turned to descend the old stone way, the shining city afar was
as if suddenly dipped in purple, but the sky above was of such pure
and delicate tints--lemon, saffron, and pale pink--that we wondered
whence the "Tyrian" purple could have come. We drove silently home in
a many-colored twilight.


                                                             _July 23d._

Yesterday I found a curious book, "_par un citoyen de l'Amérique
méridionale_" ("by a citizen of South America") (vague enough not to
get him into trouble), called _Esquisse de la Révolution de l'Amérique
Espagnole_, Paris, 1817.

It is a saddening, mighty spectacle, the presentation of that immense
area in the throes of revolution. A few enlightened viceroys at Mexico,
Bogotá, Buenos Aires, might have saved the day. They were not ready
for self-government, but for Spain the hour had sounded when she was to
lose her great colonies; and Mexico, the dearest, the richest, the most
accessible, the most beautiful, was to enter on her century of horrors,
heroisms, sacrifices--and the end is not yet.

I feel at times as if I were behind the scenes of a mighty drama. I
have read so much that I know many of the _répliques_; have sorted some
of the red threads of the century-old plot, and, if I am not behind the
scenes really, I _am_ in a sort of _avant-scène_, where some of what
goes on behind the curtain can be surmised.

This is the second summer of books read to the pouring of
tropical rains. Mr. S. has brought me several volumes of Jean
Christophe--_l'Aube_, _La Révolte_--unread before and deeply relished.
With all his other gifts, Romain Rolland[57] has the international mind
and keeps his seat extremely well, _à cheval_ as he is, between France
and Germany. To-day I finished _Le Buisson Ardent_. During two strange,
restless afternoons, I followed Anna's story in the darkness of the
tropical downpour, an earthy freshness coming up from the flowers in
the _patio_, and a sound of heavy water falling from rain-spout and
roof.


                                                            _July 27th._

A lovely morning on the roof with E., drying our hair in matchless sun,
looking at the volcanoes and talking.

She said I reminded her of the _art nouveau_ inkstand, that for my
sins I won at bridge the other day, which has the hair drawn down
to the feet of the figure for the pen to rest on. _She_ looked as if
she had stepped out of some lovely old Persian tile with her masses
of dark hair standing out about her handsome head. There is a poet
brother, whose portrait of some years ago hangs in one of the rooms,
a large-eyed, straight-featured boy, with a speculative forehead and
remote eyes.

From what I gather, he is evidently a genius, not meant for harness,
feeling the world owes him a living (which it probably does), that he
may toss off a sonnet, when so impelled, or feel free to read Euripides
in some choice edition bought with his last dollar, in the completest
insouciance as to the date and amount of the next remittance. He used
to take long, lonely, timeless walks about these hills and valleys,
reappearing after hours or days, with a poem that he wouldn't show, or
a thought not convenient in family life.[58]


     [54] Orozco was arrested with General Huerta by the United
     States authorities on June 27, 1915. A few days later he
     escaped his guard at El Paso, and shortly afterward was killed
     during a raid on the border.

     [55] A young mining engineer lately come out of Mexico on one
     of the intermittent trains, over the once favorite northern
     route, tells me that everywhere the stations are destroyed.
     Overturned rolling-stock lies rotting in the ditches; at
     one point where the fuel gave out the trainmen got down and
     chopped up the seats remaining on what once had been a station
     platform, and at another a Pullman car was smashed and fed to
     the engine. What intending travelers and the stockholders in
     the company think of Carranza's passion for reconstruction is
     said to be too fierce for expression!--E. O'S., January, 1917.

     [56] Marquis de la G., then military attaché at the French
     Embassy in Berlin.

     [57] _Et comment fera celui qui a reçu du sort le don superbe
     et fatal de voir la vérité, et de ne pouvoir pas ne pas la
     voir?_--ROMAIN ROLLAND, _Vie de Tolstoi_. (January, 1917.)

     [58] Killed in battle at Belloy-en-Santerre, July, 1916.

     A friend and companion of Alan Seeger's Harvard days, Pierre
     Abreu, himself extraordinarily fitted for the understanding
     of the "humanities" in every sense, told me of him one windy
     twilight crossing to France on the _Espagne_ that autumn after
     his death. I had just seen, in my _North American Review_,
     that most charming of all his poems, "I Have a Rendezvous with
     Death."

     He was evidently a free, romantic being, Latinized in
     temperament and mentality, receptive and creative. Abreu met
     him first at a Sophocles course--he was a brilliant, original
     classical scholar, with an elasticity of culture that made him
     also able to translate a gem of Clément Marot, or Ronsard,
     into perfect form at sight. For the impressionable years of
     gifted adolescence, what more suggestive setting than that
     magnetic valley of Mexico?

     Now he lies in France. His high, adventurous spirit was meant
     for wars and chances, doubtless in the old, romantic sense of
     battle.

     "Heroes battling with heroes and above them the wrathful
     gods."

     For this type there could be but one consummation. But it
     seems to me all can be fulfilled as well at twenty-eight as at
     threescore and ten, and the completion of no man's destiny is
     dependent on his years.--E. O'S., January, 1917.



XXVI

     Balls at the German Legation and at Madame Simon's--Necaxa--A
       strange, gorge-like world of heat and light--Mexican
       time-tables--The French trail


                                                          _August 17th._

Unwonted festivities here. For two nights running we have "tripped the
light fantastic." Night before last Madame Simon gave a big ball, and
last night there was one at the German Legation. The dancing world was
out in full swing, bumping into a varied assortment of wall-flowers,
tropical and temperate.

Handsome favors and elaborate suppers at both these _bailes de
confianza_, and the later it got, the wilder and more spirited became
the music. I gave the _coup de grâce_ to the pink velvet Buda-Pesth
court dress at von H.'s.

The Benoist d'Azy are here from Washington. It always adds to the
gaiety of nations to have _étrangers de distinction_ make their
appearance. They have all the interest of events. It isn't often the
capital sees two smart balls, one after the other.

A long-expected box of suits and things from Peter Robinson's for Elim
has just arrived. He didn't fancy trying on, and in the struggle asked
me suddenly "Who was Jesus Christ's tailor?" I was a bit taken aback.
I must say I had never put those words or ideas together.

When I recovered my mental activity, I told him that Jesus' Mother
made his clothes for him, whereupon he answered: "These only came
from London," and wouldn't lift his feet from the floor when I wanted
him to try on some little trousers. He doubtless needed a spanking
which he didn't get. Mama was feeling decidedly slack after two nights
of dissipation at an altitude of nearly eight thousand feet. Madame
Montessori says a psychological change comes over children at the age
of six. I look forward to it.


                                              Necaxa, State of Vera Cruz
                                                           _August 23d._
                                 Station of the Light and Power Company.

I have only time for a word. We arrived here at five-thirty, after a
twelve-hour journey through indescribable beauty. We left the house
in a clear dawn--Rieloff, the Seegers, Burnside, and myself--and all
day have been winding through mountain passes, deep barrancas, with a
sound of rushing waters, and great forests of pine-trees, red and white
cedars, and delicate ferns almost as high, through which our little
geared-locomotive would have seemed a pioneer had it not been for the
sight of the delicate steel towers that support the wires of the Light
and Power Company.

In the afternoon great masses of shifting light flooded broad valleys
or stamped the heights with shining patches as the rain-clouds passed
and repassed between brilliant bits of sunny heaven. We came as the
guests of the Light and Power Company, and the manager and chief
engineer, an Englishman, Mr. Cooper, met us and brought us to the
club-house, very comfortable, according to Anglo-Saxon ideas, with
easy-chairs, verandas, etc. After a bountiful repast, according to the
same ideas, we walked about the little plateau, in an enchantment of
changing lights, till night suddenly fell and everything was blotted
out, and we bethought ourselves that _beata solitudine_ was the only
fitting finale to it all. We have planned a full morrow, which is near,
so good night.


                                                         _Sunday, 25th._

I did not write yesterday. In the morning Mr. Cooper took us down
to the dynamos, reached by a cog-railway, through a great, dark
tunnel-like incline with a bright speck of light at the far end.
We issued out of the cool dimness to find ourselves in a strange
gorge-like world of heat and light, with a great mass of falling
water, the distant edge of the waterfall outlined against a high,
shining heaven; against it, again, thousands of small, brilliant blue
butterflies, and on all sides the most gorgeous plants and trees. There
was an effect of some circle of Paradise, and something mysterious and
magic in the very practicality of it all, when one thinks that these
falls, nearly six hundred feet high--and a hundred kilometers from
Mexico City--supply the light and motor power of the town.

Doctor Pearson is the genius who controls it all, and his name is
breathed with awe at Necaxa.[59] As we stood looking up at the falling
waters, bright birds and heavy scents about us, "the white man is lord
and king of it all," I kept saying to myself.

To-day has been still fuller. In the afternoon we visited the great
dam that is just being finished to provide an immense storage reservoir
against the dry season. Water is as precious as gold in Mexico, and in
many places scarcer.

Some one remarked that there seemed to be little or no _mañana_ about
it, and Mr. C. told the story of one of his first experiences in
Mexico, when he was still under the spell of the time-table.

He was waiting at a station where the only passenger-train was
scheduled to pass every day at 9 A.M. He arrived at the station a few
minutes before nine, to see the train just disappearing. On complaining
to the _jefe de estación_ about this running ahead of time, he received
the bland response that it was _yesterday's_ train that had just passed
out and there was every reason to suppose that the train of to-day
would be delayed, perhaps as long! He cooled his heels till the next
dawn. But Necaxa wasn't built at a cost of a hundred million pesos on
that principle, he added.

We had started out after breakfast to explore the "French trail"--a
son of Gaul was once owner of Necaxa--plunging perpendicularly over the
side of the little plateau, to find ourselves on the most romantic of
footpaths, formerly the only road through the gorgeous wilderness.

It got hotter and hotter as we descended, and though Rieloff kept
insisting that, technically, we were not yet in Tierra Caliente, all
its abundancies seemed to surround us: giant ferns, ebony and rosewood
trees, lovely orchids hanging from high branches, convolvuli of all
colors; and under our feet mosses, by the yard, of rare and lovely
fabric, each patch holding a world of tiny forms and tints. I started
to follow one bit of morning-glory vine, but was obliged to give it up.
I could nor bear to break it, and it would have led me, like an endless
thread, through a labyrinth of sarsaparilla, myrtle, and fern.

The brightest of birds and butterflies were flying about--the sort of
things one finds under glass in northern museums--and a huge, scarlet
flower of the hibiscus type was everywhere splashed over the green.

Here and there an Indian appeared from _quién sabe_ where. It was all
his and yet not his.

We came up in the cool dimness of the cog-railway, and after cold
douches and luncheon, enlivened with entomological discussions (that
lovely wilderness is alive with invisible biting specimens), we went
with Mr. Cooper to the reservoir.

We have spent the evening mostly meeting the officials of the company
and playing bridge. (!) Though it was the least _noblesse oblige_
allowed, it seemed a lot after the long, full day--_on paie ses
plaisirs_....

However, they were all so nice and so pleased to see people from the
outside world that, once in our "bridge stride," it wasn't so hard.
Rieloff, who hates cards, after a while went to the piano, bursting
into "_Du meiner Seele schönster Traum_"--following it up with the
"Moonlight Sonata"; so, in the end, we found ourselves sitting in a
dimly-lighted room, with Beethoven floating out on the soft Indian
night--and all was well.

I am dead with sleep, and early to-morrow we depart.


                                                      42 Calle Humboldt,
                                            _August 26th, late evening_.

We were awakened at 5.30 in a dawn of such exceeding beauty that, as I
stepped out into it, I was tempted to fall upon my knees rather than
hurry to our little train. On one side were the hills, so veiled in
splendors of filmy pearls and blues and pinks that their forms could
only be imagined; on the other was an abyss of gold and rose and
sapphire into which our train was to plunge.

All day long we went from glory to glory; but I got home to find
that something human and dreadful had happened in my absence: Little
Emma C., playing over the roof with Laurita and Elim, escaped for
one unexplained second from Gabrielle--fell from it to the stone
_patio_--her fall, for an instant, broken by a balcony railing.

I hurried to her mother's. The child is alive, but dreadfully injured,
and, it is feared, for life. Nature was too beautiful at Necaxa not
to exact some sort of toll from those admitted to it. I am dreadfully
upset.


     [59] Dr. F. S. Pearson, to whose genius this astounding
     engineering feat is largely due, lost his life on the
     _Lusitania_.



XXVII

     A luncheon for Gustavo Madero--Celebrating the _Grito_
       at the Palace--The President's brother explains his
       philosophy--Hacienda of San Cristobal--A typical Mexican
       Sunday dinner


                                                         _September 3d._

The _funcion_ I gave yesterday went off with a good deal of snap.
Everybody in town was there, and the house filled to bursting. Elsie S.
and I brewed the classic Grosvenor punch ourselves and arranged masses
of flowers everywhere. Probably it will be the last gathering I shall
have, _sic transit_, etc.

Madame Madero came with her two sisters-in-law. She seems more worn,
thinner, and older; a year heavy with anxieties has passed over her
since I first saw her in the flush of hope and triumph at the German
Legation.

The Porfiristas--all the old régime--hold the United States responsible
for Madero's success, because of our permitting him to organize and
finance himself on our border, and there are others who think, rather
paradoxically, that it is due to us that he has not had _more_ success.

As for the Maderistas, they don't understand anything, feel no
obligation to us, and wonder why we don't do more. The active
anti-Maderistas feel very bitter that in any revolt aimed against
Madero they can't "use" the border. Nobody has any political love for
us. We loom up as uncertain in our mode of action, but powerful as
arbiters of destinies.

I have not been watching as carefully as I might the great, threefold
presidential race at home. It's a consoling thought that any one of
them will make a good President and under any one of them the United
States will pursue its vast and brilliant destiny. Methinks, however,
as regards two of the candidates, that, after the White House, no other
place can ever really seem like home.


                                                        _September 4th._

Luncheon here to-day for the Gustavo Maderos. He came in with rather
more energy and magnetism than usual, and kept things lively. He
produced from his pocket and presented to the various assembled guests
some small, gilded statues of St. Anthony, in little glass, bottle-like
reliquaries. He said San Antonio was his patron saint, and quite
frankly stated that he was superstitious.

His wit is of the ready kind--readiness in all things is doubtless
his greatest quality. He seems not only excited by his prosperity
and prominence, but intoxicated by it all. There is no gainsaying
the fact that he does give a magnetic hint of possibilities by that
abounding energy and life, overflowing and communicative, if he only
wouldn't give the effect of taking everything in sight for himself or
his friends. He is continually enveloped in clouds of incense by the
expectant who form his circle.

There are questions, from time to time, of the seven hundred thousand
pesos he got from the treasury for the expenses of the revolution, but,
to do him justice, it appears there are national, as well as family
reasons which make it inexpedient for him to fully explain.

As he was smoking his cigar in the library after lunch he said to
me, with an intellectual flash: "Señora, we Latin-Americans think of
everything you think of, but we don't put our thoughts into action. I
am different. When I decide on something I act immediately, which is
why I ought to succeed."

I thought there was a whole world in that remark. One of the
difficulties here _is_ the turning of their very brilliant ideas into
action at the psychological moment. Madame Gustavo M. is handsome in a
rather more artificial style than the other dynastic consorts. She has
done something to her hair. But all the Madero women have qualities of
good looks, freshness, and amiability.

As they said good-by, standing on the veranda, the perfect square of
blue heaven above us, I thought how typical Gustavo Madero was of
Latin-America in many of its aspects, and that he was gifted with
some qualities not often found here. He is above medium height,
with reddish-brown hair, and inclines to the flashy in dress and
gesture--the type of the clever _rasta_. He is known as _ojo parado_,
but after lunching with him on my right in that sun-flooded dining-room
I couldn't tell which was the glass eye and which the mortal orb. They
were both of an astounding brilliancy.


                                                       _September 11th._

The War Department orders two regiments of regulars to the Mexican
border to reinforce the soldiers on duty, but they don't like it down
here. The _Intransigente_, living up to its name, had an editorial
which rather took our breath away, to the effect that nothing can be
done while the American fist is threatening Mexico.

It speaks in the name of every Indo-Spanish nation, decrying the smiles
of ambassadors and the hypocrisy of official notes, and saying that
our affections, at the best, can only be diplomatic, that we can have
treaties for the carrying on of commerce, etc.,--that anything where
the spirit of the two peoples does not touch can be provided for. But
"our soul is against their soul, their cupidity against our pride; our
faith is the Latin faith, the faith of the Scipios and the Guzmans;
theirs is the _fides punica_ of the _Maine_ and the Panama Canal!"

Now that what all really feel has been said, perhaps the air will clear
for a day. I had some time since concluded, with Thomas Jefferson, that
"the press is a fountain of lies," but this was for once the crystal
truth. The _collègues_ were quite excited about it, and I have no doubt
the statement was sent in full to their various foreign offices as
indicative of the underlying sentiments.

Mr. Stronge, who is most conciliatory, and a natural uniter of
factions, somewhat belying his Irish blood (when I asked him, "Irish
diplomacy, what is it?" he didn't know the simple answer, "See a head,
punch it"), considers this only a passing flare-up. But _quién sabe,
quién sabe?_


                                                       _September 16th._

We went, last night, to the palace to celebrate the _Grito_, and again
I saw those tens of thousands of upturned faces, as we stood upon the
balcony overlooking the Zócalo.

I was taken in to supper--the usual ceremonious, standing affair--by
the Minister of War. He showed me a telegram confirming the capture
of Orozco, who was not captured at all. They are very previous about
accepting congratulations concerning good news, whether true or false.
The President was receiving felicitations all the evening, and the
Minister of War said, "We will of course shoot him immediately if Los
Estados Unidos will extradite him." He was supposedly to be taken on
American soil. This morning we saw there had been a big defeat of the
Federal troops; El Tigre mine taken, etc.

Prince Auersperg was at the palace, too. He was trying to interest
the Mexicans in a patent cartridge-belt, just the sort of toy they all
naturally love. I referred him to the Minister of War, and turned to
the "green isle of Cuba" on my other hand.

Afterward, as I watched the vast concourse, I felt a _serrement de
cœur_. A something came out of the crowd--a quality of uncertainty,
destructiveness, force, suffering, heroism, irresponsibility,
persistence. The words of Holy Saturday recurred to me, "_Popule meus,
quod fecisti tu?_" What have you done,--what will you always do?

There is a something so irresistible and strong in life here. They
are simply ground out, these generations, renewing themselves with
terrible ease. The begetting, the mother-pain, the life pilgrimage, the
death-pains--there is such an abundance of it all, but though just as
tragic and mysterious, not as unlovely as in the slums of great cities.

I am to press on to other things. What can one do, save leave it to
God? But I felt unspeakably sad as I turned back into the great _sala_,
where I saw the pale, illumined face of the priest Hidalgo looking down
upon it all from its heavy gold frame. I stood by Mr. Lefaivre, as we
were waiting for the motor, and he said, "_Il_ [Madero] _veut gouverner
avec des vivas_." It is the situation rather in a nutshell.

I am sitting out here in the park, with only this scrap of paper, which
is so crisscrossed that you won't be able to read it. But, oh! this
heavenly, _washed_ morning--this freshness of light filtering through
the trees! Elsie and Elim are coming in sight, making such a charming
picture across the green spaces with the glinting sunlight--a magic
world.

My "day" this afternoon, and then dinner at the Embassy. The Schuylers
return shortly. I have told Gabrielle to put out the white satin dress.
Its days are numbered, like mine.


                                                       _September 17th._

Last night a great crowd at the station to say good-by to Señor Rivero,
former governor of the Federal District. He has now been sent as
minister to Buenos Aires, and goes _via_ Spain--a rather zigzag route;
neither he nor his wife nor any of the six children nor accompanying
servants were ever out of Mexico before.

Again in the park; shining, fresh, the band playing, the children
running over the grass with their butterfly-nets; but I must go home,
as I am having people for lunch.


                                                       _September 18th._

Some one is playing the "_Liebestod_"; it floats in through the open
windows. It is now nine o'clock; my thoughts are turning from this
strange and gorgeous Indian plateau to other climes--to things my
spirit is familiar with. Madame Lefaivre is pressing me to go with her
on the _Espagne_. We would like to make the voyage together.

Played bridge this afternoon at her Legation with Auersperg and De
Soto. Mr. Lefaivre and Elsie S. immersed in chess. It was raining the
proverbial "cats and dogs."

It is very pleasant seeing Auersperg--some one with all those
traditions, and yet who has been through the American mill. A
German-speaking lunch yesterday--Von H., Auersperg, Riedl, Rieloff.
Auersperg regaled us with a description of his first and only eating
of an iguana, a sort of cross between a lizard in looks and a pig in
taste, at some hacienda near Cordoba. He was screechingly funny and
sang:

     "_Nur die Jugend giebt uns Schwung,
     Nur die Liebe macht uns jung._"

A far-off look replaced the twinkle at any reference to Vienna. He is
short and stout, but the God of wit lives within, looking out of his
brown eye, smiling about his wide mouth, and he carries with him an
atmosphere of deep kindliness at all times. He departed from Vienna
in his earliest youth, came to New York, studied medicine, got his
diploma "all by himself" which shows the pluck and ability which may
be concealed under the cover of the "first society" and "protection."
Baroness R. left last week.

I see that Demidoff has been appointed minister to Greece, where he
will find a Russian queen. Athens is fortunate to have him.

Last night we had supper at the Gambrinus restaurant with the Gustavo
Maderos, the Darrs, and Colonel Eduardo Hay, this last a figure of the
Madero revolution.

The place started out by being a German affair, but no matter what
nationality opens a hotel or restaurant here, it ends by being Mexican.
Gustavo Madero repeated his famous remark that of a family of clever
men the only fool among them was chosen for President. He has a sense
of humor that does not care much who or what it demolishes, and a sort
of prevision about a joke.

He incidentally spoke of _El Cocodrilo_; when I asked who the
individual might be, they told me it was Diaz! How terrible is the
stuff of dreams when it is spilt over a whole nation! It sometimes
seems as if the entire government had eaten _marihuana_.[60] Gustavo
Madero was elected Deputy in the last July elections, and has the
majority in the House where he "wants" them--under his thumb.

He was amusing, but cynical (as he well may be), about the cry of
"free land," saying that it would engulf, in the fulfilment of its
high purpose, any man in any party starting out under its banner. "And
the people won't get the land," he added; "they never do, anywhere. It
isn't only in Mexico, as foreigners seem to believe."

We caused a cloud to come over his face when we asked if he were soon
starting for Japan. He has been delegated to thank the Mikado for
participation in the Diaz centenary celebration of 1910. You see how
fast Mexican events move, and how infinitely unrelated to one another
they sometimes are! He said, with a rather sharp look in his eye, that
Japan was _muy lójos_ (very far), and it certainly is far from these
Mexican political fields, apparently white for the harvest.[61]


                                                       _September 21st._

Recently a band of Mexican regulars made the journey from El Paso,
_via_ the United States, to some point in Sonora. Several of the more
up-to-date papers at home are worrying for fear, unless our Monroe
Doctrine be more extensive and comfortable, the "house guests" won't
stay. There is one consoling aspect to the Zapatista outrages, as
far as Madero is concerned. They always relate to his own people, and
so can be dismissed. But the outrages in the north are not so easily
disposed of where American and Mexican _meum_ and _tuum_ is involved.

A letter from ----, dreading life, fearing death. His is a ravaged
existence and "pain's furnace heat within him quivers." I sent him the
inclosed verses, which came to me in the night. It is the simplicity of
death, after all, that is its wonder.

     To ----

     Why should I fear to die?
       When all I love do tread
       Among the quickened dead?
     If they, then why not I?

     If their wills have reposed
       From acts the sense hath known,
       Why then myself alone
     Affright and uncomposed?

     Shall I not rather deem
       If they give back no groan,
       They lie not there alone,
     In some cold, heavy dream?

     But have returned home,
       As one at eventide
       By his swept fireside
     Sitteth, but not alone.

       *       *       *       *       *

     So steadfast are the laws
       That bind us each to each,
     They scarcely give us pause
       To weep that which they teach.


                                                       _Sunday evening._

A long day. N. is at the Embassy; the house is quiet, except for water
still dripping heavily from the roof. My Mexican sands are slipping,
and this morning my eyes looked their last on the so-familiar beauty of
the plateau. Early Mr. de S. and Mr. S. and myself started out from the
city, down the shining Avenida San Francisco, through the Zócalo, past
the palace, through the Calle de la Moneda, where the French troops
entered in 1863, out past the San Lázaro station, on to what was once
the ancient Aztec causeway.

There we met three fishermen, clad only in small breech-clouts, with
long poles over their shoulders, on each end of which were small nets
full of little fish. They were moving along silently, swiftly, the sun
glistening on their wet bodies, just as from the night of time dark men
have moved over that causeway.

We passed the sun-baked Peñon Viejo, with its clump of trees, its bits
of cactus growing on its grassy sides, and the old Church of Santa
Marta on a farther hill. On one side the road is bounded by the white
_tequesquite_ shores of Texcoco, with little piles of soda gathered up
at intervals. On the other are the green, sweet-water shores of Lake
Chalco, and the little lake of San Martu, so near the Texcoco lake
that there is just room between for the railway and the motor road. At
Los Reyes, about eighteen kilometers out of town, we branched off to
Texcoco over a highway running through maize-planted fields, under the
great cypresses and eucalyptus-trees of the Hacienda de Chapingo, along
more corn-fields, till we bumped into Texcoco.

The usual Sunday market was in full blast around the _portales_ of the
Plaza, and there was a coming and going in the old church as I stepped
in for a moment. Here Cortés lay by his mother and his daughter for
over one hundred and fifty years. The little near-by chapel, with its
antique baptismal font, was built by the Conqueror himself, and shows
how limited were the means he had at his command when bivouacking
in the "Athens of Mexico." As I bid farewell to these scenes of his
romantic deeds and the long-time resting-place of his venturesome
heart, I bethought me of his watchword:

     _Por el rey infinitas tierras_
     _Y por Dios infinitas almas._

We went on toward the beautiful little village of Magdalena, entered
through some wonderful plantings of organos cactus, and at the entrance
was the little pink-and-blue pulque-shop, with its motto, so true of
all things earthly, "_Paso á paso se va llegando_."[62]

The sun shone through the cypress and eucalyptus in the atrium of the
lovely old church, and Indians, in clean, white clothes were going
to Mass. There was an assortment of wide, flounced petticoats, quite
striking in these days of tight skirts. All was as I had first seen
it, except that some feet would never tread these paths again, while
others were beginning to toddle about, and nature had blossomed and
reblossomed, and I myself was to pass. That was all.

As we went on we seemed, for a while, to lose the volcanoes, but
higher up on the great ridge they showed themselves again in all
their splendor and the air got quite cold, communicating a sensation
of excessive lightness and purity. The hills around are bare of
vegetation.

Mr. de S. said that the first conquerors wanted to make the beautiful
plateau resemble in all things the Castilian soil, which in so many
places is arid and treeless. However that may be, every authority the
country has ever had has taken literally "a whack" at the trees, till
these hills are bare and dry. Great stony, waterless gorges separate
the immense stretches of maguey--endless, symmetrically planted
fields, stretching to barren hills, from which the French, during their
occupation, cut the last timber.

There is a feudal aspect to the old, high, wall-inclosed haciendas,
with their battlements and turret-holes, always the belfry of a
chapel showing above. Everything that is needed for the life of the
Indian--which isn't much--is contained within their walls, together
with the much more costly and complicated machinery of the pulque
industry. "_Pulque fino de Apam_" is inscribed on each little
blue-and-pink _cantina_. The view, as we turned back, was enchanting,
showing us Mexico as it appeared to the conquerors when Cortés first
looked upon it and called it "_La más hermosa cosa del mundo_" ("The
most beautiful thing in the world"). Beyond--far beyond the enchanting
hills to the east, is the drop into the land of coffee and pineapple
and banana and a thousand heavy scents unknown to this thin air.

Gorgeous but ominous masses of clouds began to roll up on the wide
horizon, and shortly afterward over the shining green plain moved a
misty wall of fast-approaching rain, and there were deafening peals
of thunder, with great white flashes of lightning. In a moment, it
seemed, even before the chauffeur could button down the curtains, we
were deluged, and the road was a rush of gray water, with a pelting of
hail on the motor-top. Some Indians, in the long, thatch-like capes of
grass that they wear as raincoats, passed us--the water dripping from
the bamboos on to their bare feet.

Then began a slipping and skidding down the hill and a search for
the nearest shelter. The view toward the great Apam plain was dark
and splendid, with here and there a heavy bar of light falling on the
fields of maguey. At last we found ourselves within sight of the rather
sizable village of Calpulalpam, and decided to ask shelter at the San
Cristobal hacienda known to Mr. de S., slipping down the hill in a
second cloudburst that made the auto feel like a fly in a millrace.

In inconceivable mud, not even an Indian in sight, we went in through
the great gate in the feudal-like wall, with a church of baroque design
built into it, where we found ourselves in a roughly paved court with
an old fountain. The gate was fortunately near the entrance to the
dwelling of the _administrador_, a Spaniard, as the _administradores_
nearly always are.

He welcomed us warmly into _la casa de ustedes_, appearing with
_El Pais_ in his hand. He pressed us to stay for the _comida_.
We delicately answered that we had sandwiches, and only wanted
shelter, but we allowed ourselves to be persuaded. His once-handsome
wife shortly appeared, dressed in a white sack and a blue rebozo,
accompanied by several boys and a really beautiful girl of about
eighteen, and we all went into the long, low-ceilinged dining-room. The
_administrador_ and his spouse sat cozily side by side, the children
near them, and we three at the other end, together with a friend
of theirs--some local functionary. The room was dusky, the windows
curtained _outside_ by sheets of water, but the table was bountifully
spread with such a typical repast of well-to-do Mexicans of that class
that you will be interested in the menu.

We began with a _sopa de frijoles_,[63] followed by plates of hot
tortillas, and a big dish of rice decorated with fried eggs, slices
of fried bananas, and bacon. _Mole de guajolote_[64] was the _pièce de
résistance_. I inclose the receipt for it, which Madame Lefaivre sent
me the other day. Taking it from the philosophic point of view, it is
the image of their politics; _melé_, _melo_, _mole_, and the result
very indigestible.

Pulque was served in lovely old engraved glass-jars, and was very
liberally poured out to us in only slightly smaller glasses. It was the
far-famed _Pulque fino de Apam_, but seeing that we did no more than
politely sip in spite of all the urging (if one could lose one's sense
of smell, one _could_ go ahead), the _administrador_ disappeared, and
came back with a dusty bottle of _Xeres_ of some old mark.

There were various sweets on the table: _cajetas de Celaya_,[65]
celebrated all over Mexico, guava jelly, and a sweet looking somewhat
like it, called _membrillate_, made of quince-juice. The little local
functionary seemed somewhat annoyed to find us there. I suppose he
looked on that Sunday dinner as his special appearance, and strange
people had come in and monopolized the stage. His contribution to the
conversation was the complaint that when Americans come to Mexico they
continue to speak English. I pointed out that most of us would give
half our kingdom to possess in return _la lengua castellana_, and that
we did not _all_ use it _all_ the time because we couldn't. At this
point Mr. S. humbly said he was speaking what he thought was Spanish,
and he answered, "You are an exception," but he continued a somewhat
muffled conversation with Mr. de Soto.

The more I looked at the daughter the more I saw she was of an
extraordinary loveliness; not Spanish, not Indian, but some third
thing--was it Arab?--showing distinctly through these two. She looked
at us as if we kept the keys of the gate of heaven, _i.e._, escape from
the hacienda. The only door open to her, however, is marriage, and that
will lead to a stone wall, as far as horizon is concerned.

She said she longed to see Mexico City, if only _once_, and asked me
about the _tight_ skirts--hers were long and flowing. _Enfin_, she is
ready for life, but the functionary seemed to have a proprietary eye on
her.

They were all as nice and pleasant as possible, and so hospitable.
After lunch we made the rounds of the hacienda buildings. The family
to whom the vast estate belongs must have been absent not only one, but
two generations--from the look of the rooms. It was the quintessence of
"absentee landlordship."

We went through what seemed acres of corridors and half-dismantled
rooms, with an occasional piece of good furniture or an old, faded
brocade curtain. The library had rows upon rows of yellowing books
and countless volumes of accounts of bygone _administradores_ of the
estate, the same thing that one finds piled up in every bookshop in
Mexico City. In the days before it was easy to get away, some one,
however, had loved the classics, for one case was full of richly bound
Latin books.

There were numberless fascinating little courtyards. One had a
cypress-tree pressed against an oval, barred window; another, only
half-inclosed, had a fig-tree growing higher than the top, and out
beyond was the great Apam plain, light and cloud rapidly passing over
the green, maguey-planted stretches. There was something sad and lovely
about it all, and Guadalupe seemed a sort of "Mariana in the moated
grange." There were vast granaries, too; wheat growing easily at this
altitude, in addition to the pulque.

We went at last into the little chapel where there were some old,
carved _prie-Dieu_, covered with faded brocade, and the altar was
a charming example of Churrigueresque, with small, gilded saints in
elaborately carved and gilded niches, surrounding a large, central
figure of Saint Christopher. It was all, somehow, melancholy-inducing,
and made us remember that the "whole round world is but a sepulchre,"
as Nezahualcoyotl put it.

We took a photograph of Guadalupe, standing on a little outer stairway
leading to the _entresol_, where the family sleep and the girl dreams
her dreams. I was only sorry some Prince Charming had not been with
us. She had a distinctly yearning expression as we drove away into the
great world; there was, probably, far back, some venturesome blood, but
she will doubtless get the functionary.


                                                       _September 29th._

Last night, one of Von Hintze's big dinners. He has been such a good
friend from the first, and we have been a part of all his dinners,
which have been many. _Paso á paso se va llegando_, and this is likely
to be the last. I felt as if I were back in Vienna, as Auersperg sat
on one side of me and Riedl took me out. A handsome Captain Bazaine was
also there. That name found in Mexico awakens historical thoughts, and
now that I am to leave it all, perhaps forever, the least tap on memory
and a thousand things spring into consciousness.

Mrs. Stronge presided; Hohler was there, the Hugo Scherers, Mr. Carlos
de Landa, Mr. Hewitt, the Von Hillers, and we played bridge till late.
Conditions are going from bad to worse here, and I feel an increasing
sadness at leaving all this touching, appealing beauty of Mexico to
the powers of darkness, or if not of darkness, of such uncertainty that
evil only can come.

The "Apostle" has become the _mono de Coahuila_. The favor of
republics is more short-lived than that of princes. How true a word La
Rochefoucauld spoke when he said, "_On loue et on blâme la plupart des
gens parce que c'est la mode de les louer ou de les blâmer_."

Gustavo, _ojo parado_, would perhaps like to be President, and feels
himself superior in intelligence and will to his brother, who is, as a
fact, decidedly under his dominion.

If "Panchito" did not feel that he is upheld by the world of spirits,
and I should add by a passionate, resolute consort, he might abdicate;
everything here is possible except peace, and it is still "up" to the
heavens to perform miracles and so relieve the Mexicans themselves of
the tedium of installing a stable government.


     [60] A Mexican herb inducing insanity.

     [61] Gustavo Madero was apprehended, as he was lunching in
     this restaurant in the Avenida San Francisco in company
     with General Huerta, February 18, 1913, and was shot
     while attempting to escape early the next morning. _Vide A
     Diplomat's Wife in Mexico._

     [62] "Step by step one reaches the end."

     [63] Bean soup.

     [64] Turkey stew with Chile gravy.

     _Receipt for the famous "mole de guajolote"_

       Pepper and salt
       Cinnamon
       Grains of sesame
       Chile ancho  }
       Chile mulato } Three kinds of peppers
       Chile verde  }
       Anis
       Almonds
       One piece of chocolate
       One piece of sugar
       Laurel
       Cloves

     All ground separately on the _metate_, then ground together
     and put into the saucepan, where the turkey already boiled is
     waiting, cut up in bouillon.

     I don't know if _mole_ must be made from the second joint of
     the turkey leg, but my pieces always prove to be that when
     scraped. The sauce is so thick that the anatomy is completely
     masked when one helps oneself.

     [65] Boxes of sweets from Celaya.



XXVIII

     Good-by to Mexico, and a special farewell to Madame
       Madero--Vera Cruz--Mexico in perspective


                                                          _October 1st._

We take the _Mexico_ of the Ward Line on the 10th. So sorry not to be
going with Madame Lefaivre straight to France, but we think it will be
well to wrap the Stars and Stripes about us for a space.

This is only a word. I sit among open boxes in what will never again
be my home, "things I have known and loved awhile." Through it runs my
Mexican _étape_, my "rosary of the road."


                                                           _October 3d._

Madame Lefaivre and I have each received diplomas and testimonials from
the Red Cross, and a very polite note from Madame de Palomo. It was a
curious and salutary experience in things human.

The ambassador sent N. a really beautiful letter of appreciation.
He has a quite perfect epistolary turn--finished off by a very chic
signature, and has been all that a chief could be during the long,
strange Mexican months, while Mrs. Wilson has been the kindest, most
considerate of friends.


                                                          _October 5th._

This morning I went up to Chapultepec to say good-by to Madame
Madero. As I drove up the winding way in the white morning the flowers
were shining softly along the embankments, the trees were feathery,
unsubstantial, the birds singing "like to burst their little throats."
It might have been the road to Paradise instead of to the abode of
care.

I went in through the great iron gate, the guard saluting, across the
flat, stone terrace where some cadets were at drill, and got out at the
glass doors leading up to the big stairway. The President was standing
there as I drove up, his auto waiting to take him to the palace to a
Cabinet meeting. I thought he looked slightly--very slightly--troubled,
though I had a feeling that his head was still in the morning clouds of
the dazzling day. He wished me a _bon voyage_ and _prompt retour_ and
drove away. Our personal relations with them both have always been most
friendly.[66]

I imagine there has been little or no change in his psychology along
the lines of practical statecraft. His true habitat is the world of
fancy, where he feels himself protected and led on by benign powers as
definitely as was Tobias by the angel. A state of mind like that can
be very compelling, and he _may_ witness what the unkind say is his pet
ambition--his own apotheosis.

The dim progression of Mexican events seems to have left his spirits
untouched, though his fleshly being must be a mass of black-and-blue
spots from the hard facts he bumps into. "One man with a dream at
pleasure," but I felt like leaving him a pocket edition of _Le Prince_.

I thought Madame Madero showed the strain of that climb from obscurity
and prison up the _via triumphalis_ to the presidential peaks. The
flood of morning light, as we sat on the terrace, did not spare her
worn and anxious face. I have an idea that she is very practical, but
it is not her practicality, but her husband's dreams, that brought them
to Chapultepec. It's a situation to discourage common sense.

She was, as always, courteous and friendly, but a puzzled look was on
her face, and I felt that there were questions that she would have
liked to put to me, that the circumstances forbade. We spoke of the
work she is just now especially interested in, for the amelioration
of the Mexican woman's lot--the organizing of the lace and embroidery
industry, _à la_ Queen Elena, in Italy, several years ago. There is a
really lovely product here, the drawn linen work--_deshilados_, it is
called--introduced by the Spaniards and practised through generations
in cloisters and religious schools.

She told me that in Puerto Rico one hundred thousand women had been
organized, and she wanted to do the same here, asking me if I could not
interest people in New York in the industry.

I felt how frail her body, but how determined her will as we embraced
in the dazzling morning. About us was the perfume of the rare and
lovely shrubs of the _patio_, the splash of the fountain, the singing
of birds, the lustrous hills, the shining volcanoes; that crystal air
enfolded us, closer than human touch, but beneath us was the restless
city and the shifting will of the Mexican people.


                              On board the _Mexico_ in Vera Cruz Harbor.
                                                         _October 10th._

We got down last night over the International; so many friendly faces
at the station--_une belle gare_--reminding me of the unforgetable
going away from Copenhagen. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the
_Chef du Protocole_, nearly all the colleagues, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson,
Aunt Laura, and many American friends were there.

The train departed at last without the slightest warning, but, the hour
being at hand, we were standing near the steps, and as it quite slyly
began to move out I was pushed into it by friendly hands with my load
of flowers. Various other passengers had only time to scramble into
the baggage and rear cars; and so, without any sound except those of
friendly adieux, we slipped out of the station into the starlit valley,
toward the hills that hold the splendors of this Indian world.

I had a feeling as of some one who leaves treasure behind, and the
thought that my eyes will probably never again rest on the beauty of
Mexico gives me a clutching at the heart. "_Heureux ceux qui n'ont pas
vu la fumée de la fête de l'étranger et qui ne se sont assis qu'aux
festins de leurs pères._"

It is seventeen months since we landed, but changing governments have
not changed Mexico.

On arriving, at 7.30, we repaired to the Arcades of the Hotel
Diligencias of somewhat branded reputation, in one of the little
rickety cabs. If its back flap is loose, you have a lovely breeze. If
not, you feel as if you were in a "hot country" _not_ of earth.

I asked for tea, but when it was poured out I decided 'twere better
to do in Vera Cruz as the Veracruzanos do, and ordered, as a farewell
tribute, "chocolate Mexicano," which, though it brought my own
temperature up to the boiling-point, was very good.

The dissolving sensation is not unpleasant after having one's nerves
screwed up to the last turn by all those "high" months. Something thick
and stiff, in very small cups, being served on an adjacent table to a
couple of _indigènes_, was "chocolate español."

Afterward I went across the palm-planted Plaza, that I had only seen
in the dim light of my arrival, to the old cathedral--wind-swept,
sun-enveloped, rain-deluged, the patine of centuries making it lovely
beyond description, with its flying buttresses and quaint gargoyles,
and its pink belfry, in which swing old, green-bronze bells.

Inside, the modern Veracruzanos have let themselves "go" as regards
art. Cheap stained-glass windows, "made in Germany," and realistic
portrayals of saints in agony, one more appalling than the other,
encumber the chapels, and, I hate to record it, only paper and tinsel
flowers were on the altars. But I turned my thoughts to One who walked
upon the waters, and prayed for a safe voyage.

They tell me there are fish as beautiful as flowers to be seen in the
market, but instead of continuing the investigation of Vera Cruz in the
garish light of its October day we went back to the ship. On our way
we met an Oxford friend of N.'s, a young Englishman, perfectly turned
out in spotless white, who might have been called suddenly before the
viceroy (I find myself getting a little wild) without the slightest
change in his raiment. He hadn't spoken with one of "his kind" for
weeks, and was not expecting any one. England's true conquest of the
world, it seems to me, identity, habits, customs, unchanged by that
most potent of all alchemies--the tropics.

The German and Russian ministers take the _Mexico_ as far as Progreso,
whence they depart on some sort of hunting expedition, and promise
aigrettes and similar vanities. We have all been sitting on the breezy
side of the boat, sipping lemonade, talking of Mexico in perspective
and "letting him who will be wise." Vera Cruz is a memory of color,
green and pink and white, merciless sun, refreshing breeze, and the
Veracruzanos, of all shades and origins, coming and going, carrying on
their heads the abundances of earth and sea. I post this in Havana.


                                                         _October 12th._

Last night, in the dim prow, some Indians were chanting in mournful,
wailing voices, a half-sensuous, half-imploring air of sad peoples. As
it floated toward me in the soft, thick darkness it possessed me with
its melancholy--but I must trim my lamp for other nights.


     [66] Francisco I. Madero and José María Pino Suarez were
     killed when being transferred from the palace to the
     Penitenciaría on the night of Saturday, February 22, 1913.
     _Vide_ page 215, _A Diplomat's Wife in Mexico_.--E. O'S.


THE END





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