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across the breast, large boots, and each with an old guitar, waltzing and dancing an occasional fandango. How it happened that these devils, who, of course, excited laughter in the crowd, came to form part of a religious procession, I could not learn. The boys followed them, just as they do the military with us on a fourth of July; and, in fact, with the Guatimala boys, there is no good procession without good Devils. Next, and in striking contrast, came four beautiful boys, six or eight years old, dressed in white frocks and pantalettes, with white gauze veils over wreaths of roses, perfect emblems of purity; then four young priests, bearing golden candlesticks, with wax candles lighted; and then four Indians, carrying on their shoulders the figure of an angel larger than life, with expanded wings made of gauze, puffed out like a cloud, and intended to appear to float in air, but dressed more after the fashion of this world, with the frock rather short, and the suspenders of the stockings of pink riband. Then, borne as before, on the shoulders of Indians, larger than life, the figure of Judith, with a drawn sword in one hand, and in the other the gory head of Holofernes. Then another angel, with a cloud of silk over her head, and then the great object of veneration, La Virgina de la Concepcion, on a low hand-barrow, richly decorated with gold and silver and a profusion of flowers, and protected by a rich silken canopy, upborne on the ends of four gilded poles. Priests followed in their costly dresses, one under a silken canopy, holding up the Host, before the imaginary splendour of which all fell on their knees. The whole concluded with a worse set of devils than those which led the procession, being about five hundred of Carrera's soldiers, dirty and ragged, with fanaticism added to their usual expression of Vol. I.-E E 19
ferocity, and carrying their muskets without any order; the officers dressed in any costume they could command; a few, with black hat and silver or gold band, like footmen, carried their heads very high. Many were lame from gunshot wounds badly cured; and a gentleman who was with me pointed out several who were known to have committed assassinations and murders, for which, in a country that had any government, they would have been hung. The city was at their mercy, and Carrera was the only man living who had any control over them.
At the head of the street the procession filed off in the cross streets, and the figure of the Virgin was taken from its place and set up on the altar. The priests kneeled before it and prayed, and the whole crowd fell on their knees. I was at the corner near the altar, which commanded a view of four streets, and rising a little on one knee, saw in all the streets a dense mass of kneeling figures, rich men and beggars, lovely women and stupid-looking Indians, fluttering banners and curtains in balconied windows, and the figures of angels in their light gauze drapery seeming to float in air; while the loud chant of the crowd, swollen by the deep chorus of the soldiers' voices, produced a scene of mingled beauty and deformity at once captivating and repulsive. This over, all rose, the Virgin was replaced on her throne, and the procession again moved. At the next altar I turned aside and went to the square in front of the Church of San Francisco, the place fixed for the grand finale of the honours to the Virgin, the exhibition of fireworks!
At dark the procession entered the foot of a street leading to the square. It approached with a loud chant, and at a distance nothing was visible but a long
A FIERY BULL. 219
train of burning candles, making the street light as day. The devils were still at its head, and its arrival in the square was announced by a discharge of rockets. In a few minutes the first piece of fireworks was set off from the balustrade of the church; the figures on the roof were lighted by the glare, and, though not built expressly for that purpose, the church answered exceedingly well for the exhibition.
The next piece was on the ground of the square, a national one, and as much a favourite in the exhibition of fireworks as the devils in a religious procession, called the Toros, or Bull, being a frame covered with pasteboard, in the form of a bull, covered on the outside with fireworks; into this figure a man thrust his head and shoulders, and, with nothing but his legs visible, rushed into the thickest of the crowd, scattering on all sides streams of fire. I was standing with a party of ladies and several members of the Constituent Assembly, the latter of whom were speaking of an invasion of troops from Quezaltenango, and the sally of Carrera to repel them. As the toros came at us, we retreated till we could go no farther; the ladies screamed, and we bravely turned our backs; and holding down our heads, sheltered them from the shower of fire. All said it was dangerous, but it was the custom. There was more cheerfulness and gayety than I had yet seen in Guatimala, and I felt sorry when the exhibition was over.
All day I had felt particularly the influence of the beautiful climate; the mere breathing of the air was a luxury, and the evening was worthy of such a day. The moonbeams were lighting up the facade of the venerable church, and showing in sadness a rent made by an earthquake from top to bottom. As we walked home, the streets were lighted with a brilliancy almost unearthly; and the ladies, proud of their moonlight, almost persuaded me that it was a land to love.
Continuing on our way, we passed a guardhouse, where a group of soldiers were lying at full length, so as to make everybody pass off the walk and go round them. Perhaps three or four thousand people, a large portion ladies, were turned off. All felt the insolence of these fellows, and I have no doubt some felt a strong disposition to kick them out of the way; but, though young men enough passed to drive the whole troop out of the city, no complaint was made, and no notice whatever taken of it. In one of the corridors of the plaza another soldier lay on his back crosswise, with his musket by his side, and muttering to everybody that passed, "Tread on me if you dare, and you'll see!" and we all took good care not to tread on him. I returned to my house, to pass the evening in solitude; and it was melancholy to reflect that, with the elements of so much happiness, Guatimala was made so miserable.
THE PROVESOR. 221
The Provesor.—News of the Day, how published in Guatimala.—Visit to the Convent of La Concepcion.—The Farewell of the Nun.—Carrera.—Sketch of his Life.—The Cholera.—Insurrections.—Carrera heads the Insurgents.— His Appearance in Guatimala.—Capture of the City.—Carrera Triumphant.— ArriTal of Morazan.—Hostilities.—Pursuit of Carrera.—His Defeat.—He is again uppermost.—Interview with Carrera.—His Character.
The next three or four days I passed in receiving and paying visits, and in making myself acquainted with the condition of the country. Among the most interesting visiters was the venerable provesor, since the banishment of the archbishop the head of the church, who, by a late bull of the pope, had been appointed bishop; but, owing to the troubled times, had not yet been ordained. A friend in Baltimore had procured for me a letter from the archbishop in that city, to whom I here acknowledge my obligations, recommending me to all his brother ecclesiastics in Central America. The venerable provesor received this letter as from a brother in the Church, and upon the strength of it, afterward, when I set out for Palenque, gave me a letter of recommendation to all the curas under his charge. During the day my time passed agreeably enough; but the evenings, in which I was obliged to keep within doors, were long and lonely. My house was so near the plaza that I could hear the sentinels' challenge, and from time to time the report of a musket. These reports, in the stillness of night, were always startling. For some time I did not know the cause; but at length learned that cows and mules