Sidor som bilder

Don Manuel de Aguila was expelled because CariEo wanted to be chief.

We continued in the woods till about two o'clock, when, turning off by a path to the right, we reached a clearing, on one side of which was the hacienda of Aranjuez. The entrance to the house was by a ladder from the outside, and underneath was a sort of storehouse. It was occupied by a major-domo, a Mestitzo, and his wife. Near it was the cucinera, where the wife and another woman were at work. The major-domo was sitting on the ground doing nothing, and two ablebodied men were helping him.

The major-domo told us that he had a good potrero for the mules, and the house promised a good restingplace for me. Outside, and extending all around, was a rough board piazza, one side of which commanded a view of the ocean. I seated myself on this side, and very soon Nicolas brought me my dinner. It consisted of tortillas, rice cooked with lard, which he brought in a shell, and salt in his hands. I finished with a cup of chocolate, and could not but think of the blessings wasted by this major-domo. In the same situation, one of our backwoodsmen, with his axe, his wife, and two pairs of twins, would in a few years surround himself with all the luxuries that good land can give.

After dinner I led the mules to a stream, on the banks of which were tufts of young grass, and while I was sitting here two wild turkeys flew over my head and lighted on a tree near by. I sent Nicolas for my gun, and soon had a bird large enough for a household dinner, which I sent immediately to the house to be converted into provender. At sundown I returned, and then discovered a deficiency in my preparations which I felt during the whole journey, viz., of candles. A


light was manufactured by filling a broken clay vessel with grease, and coiling in it some twisted cotton, with one end sticking out about an inch. The workmen on the hacienda took advantage of the light, and brought out a pack of cards. The wife of the major-domo joined them, and seeing no chance of a speedy termination of the game, I undressed myself and went to bed. When they finished the woman got into a bed directly opposite mine, and before lying down lighted another cigar. The men did the same on the floor, and till the cigars went out continued discussing the game. The major-domo was already asleep in the hammock. All night the wife of the major-domo smoked, and the men snuffled and snored. At two o'clock I rose and went out of doors. The moon was shining, and the freshness of the morning air was grateful. I woke Nicolas, and paying the major-domo as he lay in his hammock, at three o'clock we resumed our journey. I was charmed with this place when we reached it, and disgusted when we left. The people were kind and of as good disposition as the expectation of pay could make them, but their habits were intolerable. .

The freshness of the morning air restored my equanimity; the moon shed a glorious light over the clearing, and lighted up the darkness of the forest. We heard only the surge of monkeys, as, disturbed by our noise, they moved on the tops of the trees.

At eight o'clock we reached the River Lagartos, breaking rapidly over a bed of white sand and gravel, clear as crystal, and shaded by trees, the branches of which met at the fording-place, and formed a complete arbour. We dismounted, took off the saddles from our mules and tied them to a tree, kindled a fire on the bank, and breakfasted. Wild scenes had long lost the charm of novelty, but this I would not have exchanged for a dejeuner a la fourchette at the best restaurant of Paris. The wild turkey was not more than enough for my household, which consisted of Nicolas.

Resuming our journey, in two hours we emerged from the woods, and came into an open country in sight of the Cerros of Collito, a fine bare peak, standing alone, conical, and covered with grass to the top. At twelve o'clock we reached the rancho of an Indian. On one side was a group of orange-trees loaded with fruit, and in front a shed thatched with leaves of Indian corn. An old Indian woman was sitting in the door, and a sick Indian was lying asleep under the shed. It was excessively hot, and riding under the shed, I dismounted, threw myself into a ragged hammock, and while quenching my thirst with an orange fell asleep. The last that I remembered was seeing Nicolas drive into the hut a miserable half-starved chicken. At two o'clock he woke me, and set before me the unfortunate little bird, nearly burned up, the expense of which, with oranges ad libitum, was six and a quarter cents, which the old woman wished to commute for a charge of gunpowder. I was very poor in this, and would rather have given her a dollar, but could not help adding the charge of gunpowder to the coin.

At two o'clock we set off again. We had already made a day's journey, but I had a good resting-place for the night in view. It was excessively hot, but very soon we reached the woods again. We had not gone far before a deer crossed our path. It was the first I had seen in the country, which was almost destitute of all kinds of game. Indeed, during my whole journey, except at the wild turkey, I had fired but twice, and then merely to procure curious birds; and most unfortunate


ly, in pursuance of my plan of encumbering myself as little as possible, I had with me but a few charges of duck-shot and half a dozen pistol balls. Very soon I saw two deer together, and within reach of a ball. Both barrels of my gun were loaded with duck. I dismounted and followed them into the woods, endeavouring to get within reach. In the course of an hour I saw perhaps a dozen, and in that hour fired away my last duckshot. I was resolved not to use my pistol balls, and as both barrels were empty, kept quiet. As the evening approached the deer increased, and I am safe in saying I saw fifty or sixty, and many within rifle-shot. Occasionally cattle peeped at us through the trees as wild as the deer. The sun was getting low when we came out into a large clearing, on one side of which stood the hacienda of Santa Rosa. The house stood on the right, and directly in front, against the side of a hill, was a large cattle-yard, enclosed by a hard clay wall, divided into three parts, and filled with cows and calves. On the left was an almost boundless plain, interspersed with groves of trees; and as we rode up a gentleman in the yard sent a servant to open the gate. Don Juan Jos6 Bonilla met me at the porch, and before I had time to present my letter, welcomed me to Santa Rosa. Don Juan was a native of Cartago, a gentleman by birth and education, and of one of the oldest families in Costa Rica. He had travelled over his own country, and what was very unusual in that region, had visited the United States, and though labouring under the disadvantage of not speaking the language, spoke with great interest of our institutions. He had been an active member of the Liberal party; had laboured to carry out its principles in the administration of the government, and to save his country from the disgrace of falling back into despotism. He had been persecuted, heavy contributions had been laid upon his property, and four years before he had withdrawn from Cartago and retired to this hacienda. But political animosity never dies. A detachment of soldiers was sent to arrest him, and, that no suspicion might be excited, they were sent by sea, and landed at a port on the Pacific within the bounds of his own estate. Don Juan received an intimation of their approach, and sent a servant to reconnoitre, who returned with intelligence that they were within half a day's march. He mounted his horse to escape, but near his own gate was thrown, and his leg badly broken. He was carried back insensible, and when the soldiers arrived they found him in bed; but they made him rise, put him on horseback, hurried him to the frontiers of the state, and left him, communicating to him his sentence of banishment, and death if he returned. The boundary-line of the State of Costa Rica is a river in the midst of a wilderness, and he was obliged to travel on horseback to Nicaragua, a journey of four days. He had never recovered the use of his leg, which was two or three inches shorter than the other. He remained two years in exile; and on the election of Don Manuel de Aguila as chief of the state, returned. On the expulsion of Don Manuel he retired again to his hacienda, and was then busily engaged in making repairs for the reception of his family; but he did not know at what moment another order might come to expel him from his home.

While sitting at the supper-table we heard a noise over our heads, which seemed to me like the opening of the roof. Don Juan threw his eyes to the ceiling, and suddenly started from his chair, threw his arras around the neck of a servant, and with the fearful

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