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large chair, two secretaries at a table beneath, and on the wall were the arms of the republic, the groundwork of which was three volcanoes, emblematic, I suppose, of the combustible state of the country. The deputies sat on each side, about thirty being present, nearly half of whom were priests, with black gowns and caps; and by the dull light the scene carried me back to the dark ages, and seemed a meeting of inquisitors.
The subject under discussion was a motion to revive the old law of tithes, which had been abolished by the Liberal party. The law was passed unanimously; but there was a discussion upon a motion to appropriate a small part of the proceeds for the support of hospitals for the poor. The priests took part in the discussion, and with liberal sentiments; a lay member, with big black whiskers, opposed it, saying that the Church stood like a light in darkness; and the Marquis Aycinena, a priest and the leading member of the party, said that " what was raised for God should be given to God alone." There was another discussion upon the point whether the law should operate upon cattle then in being or to be born thereafter; and, finally, as to the means of enforcing it. One gentleman contended that coercive measures should not be used, and, with a fine burst of eloquence, said that reliance might be placed upon the religious feelings of the people, and that the poorest Indian would come forward and contribute his mite; but the Assembly decided that the law should be enforced by Las leyes antiguas de los Espagnoles, the old laws of the Spaniards, the severities of which had been one of the great causes of revolution in all Spanish countries. There was something horrible in this retrograde legislation. I could hardly realize that, in the nineteenth century, men of sense, and in a country
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through the length and breadth of which free principles were struggling for the ascendancy, would dare fasten on the people a yoke which, even in the dark ages, was too galling to be borne. The tone of debate was respectable, but calm and unimpassioned, from the entire absence of any opposition party. The Assembly purported to be a popular body, representing the voice of the people. It was a time of great excitement, and the last night of its session; and Mr. Hall and I, four men and three boys, were the only listeners.
As it was not safe to be in the streets after eight o'clock, the Assembly was adjourned, and, after a short session the next morning, assembled at a state breakfast. The place of meeting was in the old library, a venerable room, containing a valuable collection of rare old Spanish books and manuscripts, among which had lately been discovered the two missing volumes of Fu cntes, and where I promised myself much satisfaction The only guests were Mr. Hall, the French consul gen eral, Colonel Monte Rosa, an aid of Carrera, and my self. Carrera was invited, but did not come. The ta ble was profusely ornamented with flowers and fruits There was very little wine drunk, no toasts, and no gay ety. There was not a gray-haired man at table; all were young, and so connected that it seemed a large family party; more than half had been in exile, and if Morazan returned to power they would all be scattered again.
I had been but three days in Guatimala, and already the place was dull. The clouds Avhich hung over the political horizon weighed upon the spirits of the inhabitants, and in the evening I was obliged to shut myself up in my house alone. In the uncertainty which hung over my movements, and to avoid the trouble of housekeeping for perhaps but a few weeks, I dined and supped at the house of the senora, an interesting young widow who owned mine (her husband had been shot in a private revolution of his own getting up), and lived nearly opposite. The first evening I remained there till nine o'clock ; but as I was crossing on my return home a fierce " Quien vive?" " who goes ?"came booming up the street. In the dark I could not see the sentinel, and did not know the password. Fortunately, and what was very unusual, he repeated the challenge two or three times, but so fiercely that the tones of his voice went through me like a musket-ball, and probably in a moment more the ball itself would have followed, but an old lady rushed out of the house I had left, and, with a lantern in her hand, screamed " Patria Libra."
Though silent, I was not idle; and when in a safe place thanked her from across the street, hugging close the inside of my doorway. Since Carrera's entry, he had placed sentinels to preserve the peace of the city, which was very quiet before he came, and his peaceofficers kept it in a constant state of alarm. These sentinels were Indians, ignorant, undisciplined, and insolent, and fond of firing their muskets. They were ordered to challenge "Quien Vive?" "Who goes?" "Que gente?" "What people ?" "Quel Regimento?" "What regiment ?" and then fire. One fellow had already obeyed his orders literally, and, hurrying through the three questions, without waiting for answers, fired, and shot a woman. The answers were, "Patria Libra," "Country free;" "Paisano," "Countryman;" and " Paz," "Peace."
This was a subject of annoyance all the time I was in Guatimala. The streets were not lighted; and hearing the challenge, sometimes at the distance of a square,
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in a ferocious voice, without being able to see the sentinel, I always imagined him with his musket at his shoulder, peering through the darkness to take aim. I felt less safe by reason of my foreign pronunciation; but I never met any one, native or stranger, who was not nervous when within reach of the sentinel's challenge, or who would not go two squares out of the way to avoid it.
Hacienda of Narengo.—Lazoing.—Diplomatic Correspondence. — Fonnolaa.— F4te of La Concepcion. — Taking the Black VeiL— A Countrywoman. — Renouncing the World.—Fireworks, &c—Procession in honour of the Virgin.— Another Exhibition of Fireworks.—A fiery Bull.—Insolent Soldiery.
The next day, in company with Mr. Savage, I rode to Narengo, a small hacienda of the Aycinena family, about seven miles from the city. Beyond the walls all was beautiful, and in the palmy days of Guatimala the Aycinenas rolled to the Narengo in an enormous carriage, full of carving and gilding, in the style of the grandees of Spain, which now stands in the courtyard of the family-house as a memorial of better days. We entered by a large gate into a road upon their land, undulating and ornamented with trees, and by a large artificial lake, made by damming up several streams. We rode around the borders of the lake, and entered a large cattle-yard, in the centre of which, on the side of a declivity, stood the house, a strong stone structure, with a broad piazza in front, and commanding a beautiful view of the volcanoes of the Antigua.
The hacienda was only valuable from its vicinity to Guatimala, being what would be called at home a country-seat; and contained only seven thousand acres of land, about seventy mules, and seven hundred head of cattle. It was the season for marking and numbering the cattle, and two of the Sefiores Aycinena were at the hacienda to superintend the operations. The cattle had been caught and brought in; but, as I had never seen the process of lazoing, after dinner a hun