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enclosed by living fences of trees bearing flowers, with roads sixty feet wide; and, except the small horsepath, the roads had a sod of unbroken green. The deep green of the coffee-plantations, the sward of the roads, and the vistas through the trees at all the crossroads were lovely; at a distance on each side were mountains, and in front, rising above all, was the great Volcano of Cartago. It was about the same hour as when, the day before, from the top of the mountain of Aguacate, I had looked down into great ravines and over the tops of high mountains, and seen the Pacific Ocean. This was as soft as that was wild; and it addressed itself to other senses than the sight, for it was not, like the rest of Central America, retrograding and going to ruin, but smiling as the reward of industry. Seven years before the whole plain was an open waste. At the end of this table of land we saw San José on a plain below us. On the top of the hill we passed a house with an arch of flowers before the door, indicating that within lay one waiting to receive the last sacrament before going to his final account in another world. Descending, we saw at a distance a long procession, headed by a cross with the figure of the Saviour crucified. It approached with the music of violins and a loud chorus of voices, and was escorting the priest to the house of the dying man. As it approached, horsemen pulled off their hats and pedestrians fell on their knees. We met it near a narrow bridge at the foot of the hill. The sun was low, but its last rays were scorching to the naked head. The priest was carried in a sedan chair. We waited till he passed, and taking advantage of a break in the procession, crossed the bridge, passed a long file of men and longer of women, and being some distance ahead, I put on Vol. I.-YY *
my hat. A fanatic fellow, with a scowl on his face, cried out, "quittez el sombrero," "take off your hat." I answered by spurring my horse, and at the same moment the whole procession was thrown into confusion. A woman darted from the line, and 'Hezoos sprang from his horse and caught her in his arms, and hugged and kissed her as much as decency in the public streets would allow. To my great surprise, the woman was only his cousin, and she told him that his wife, who was the principal milliner in the place, was on before in the procession. 'Hezoos was beside himself; ran back, returned, caught his horse, and dragged the beast after him; then mounting and spurring, begged me to hurry on and let him go back to his wife. Entering the town, we passed a respectable-looking house, where four or five well-dressed women were sitting on the piazza. They screamed, 'Hezoos drove his mule up the steps, and throwing himself off, embraced them all around. After a few hurried words, he embraced them all over again. Some male friends attempted to haul him off, but he returned to the women. In fact, the poor fellow seemed beside himself, though I could not but observe that there was method in his madness; for, after two rounds with the very respectable old ladies, he abandoned them, and dragging forward a very pretty young girl with his arms around her waist, and kissing her every moment, told me she was the apprentice of his wife; and though at every kiss he asked her questions about his wife, he did not wait for answers, and the kisses were repeated faster than the questions. During all this time I sat on my horse looking on. Doubtless it was very pleasant for him, but I began to be impatient; seeing which, he tore himself away, mounted, and, accompanied by half a dozen of his friends, he
TRAVELLING EMBARRAS8MENTS. 355
again led the way. As we advanced his friends increased. It was rather vexatious, but I could not disturb him in the sweetest pleasures in life, the welcome of friends after a long absence. Crossing the plaza, two or three soldiers of his old company, leaning on the railing of the quartel, cried out companero, and, with the sergeant at their head, passed over and joined us. "We crossed the plaza with fifteen or twenty in our .suite, or, rather, in his suite, some of whom, particularly the sergeant, in compliment to him, were civil to me.
While he had so many friends to welcome him, I had none. In fact, I did not know where I should sleep that night. In the large towns of Central America I was always at a loss where to stop. Throughout the country the traveller finds no public accommodation save the cabildo and a jar of water. Everything else he must carry with him, or purchase on the spot—if he can. But in the large towns he has not this resource, for it is not considered respectable to stop at the cabildo. I had letters of recommendation, but it was excessively disagreeable to present one from the back of a mule with my luggage at my heels, as it was, in fact, a draught at sight for board and lodging.
'Hezoos had told me that there was an old chapiton, i. e., a person from Spain, in whose house I could have a room to myself, and pay for it; but, unfortunately, time had made its changes, and the old Spaniard had been gone so long that the occupants of his house did not know what had become of him. I had counted upon him with so much certainty that I had not taken out my letters of recommendation, and did not even know the names of the persons to whom they were addressed. The cura was at his hacienda, and his house shut up; a padre who had been in the United States was sick, and could not receive any one; my servant's friends all recommended different persons, as if I had the whole town at my disposal; and principally they urged me to honour with my company the chief of the state. In the midst of this street consultation, I longed for a hotel at a hundred dollars a day, and the government for paymaster. 'Hezoos, who was all the time in a terrible hurry, after an animated interlude with some of his friends, spurred his mule and hurried me back, crossed a corner of the plaza, turned down a street to the right, stopped opposite a small house, where he dismounted, and begging me to do the same, in a moment the saddles were whipped off and carried inside. I was ushered into the house, and seated on a low chair in a small room where a dozen women, friends of 'Hezoos and his wife, were waiting to welcome him to his home. He told me that he did not know where his house was, or that it had an extra room, till he learned it from his friends; and carrying my luggage into a little dark apartment, said that I could have that to myself, and that he, and his wife, and all his friends would wait upon me, and that I could be more comfortable than in any house in San Jos6. I was excessively tired, having made three days' journey in two, worn out with the worry of searching for a resting-place, and if I had been younger, and had no character to lose, I should not have given myself any farther trouble; but, unfortunately, the dignity of office might have been touched by remaining in the house of my servant; and, besides, I could not move without running against a woman; and, more than all, 'Hezoos threw his arms around any one he chose, and kissed her as much as he pleased. In the midst of my irresolution " la poveQUARTERS IN A CONVENT. 357
ra" herself arrived, and half the women in the procession, amateurs of tender scenes, followed. I shall not attempt to describe the meeting. 'Hezoos, as in duty bound, forsook all the rest, and notwithstanding all that he had done, wrapped her little figure in his arms as tightly as if he had not looked at a woman for a month; and la povera lay in his arms as happy as if there were no pretty cousins or apprentices in the world.
All this was too much for me: I worked my way out of doors, and after a consultation with the sergeant, ordered my horse to be saddled, and riding a third time across the plaza, stopped before the convent of Don Antonio Castro. The woman who opened the door said that the padre was not at home. I answered that I would walk in and wait, and ordered my luggage to be set down on the portico. She invited me inside, and I ordered the luggage in after me. The room occupied nearly the whole front of the convent, and besides some pictures of saints, its only furniture was a large wooden table, and a long, high-backed, woodenbottomed settee. I laid my pistols and spurs upon the table, and stretching myself upon the settee, waited to welcome the padre to his house.
It was some time after dark when he returned. He was surprised, and evidently did not know what to do with me, but seemed to recognise the principle that possession is nine points of the law. 1 saw, however, that his embarrassment was not from want of hospitality, but from a belief that he could not make me comfortable. In Costa Rica the padres are poor, and I afterward learned that there it is unusual for a stranger to plant himself upon one. I have since thought that the Padre Castro must have considered me particularly