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rancho. As most of the people we met were Indians or Ladinos, I was attracted by her appearance, and rode up to the rancho. The proprietor, in the easy costume of our host of Encuentros, was swinging in a hammock under the portico, and smoking a cigar. At a little distance was a shed thatched with stalks and leaves of Indian corn, and called the cucinera, or kitchen. As usual, while the don was lolling in his hammock, the women were at work. I rode on to the cucinera, and dismounted. The party consisted of the mother and a pretty daughterin-law of about nineteen, and two daughters of about fifteen and seventeen. The reader is perhaps curious about costumes; but having given him an insight into those of this country, he will not require any farther descriptions. In honour of my visit, the mother snatched up the little girl who had attracted me to the rancho, carried her inside, and slipped over her head a garment which, I believe, is generally worn by little girls; but in a few minutes my young friend disencumbered herself of her finery, and was toddling about with it under her arm. The whole family was engaged in making tortillas. This is the bread of Central and of all Spanish America, and the only species to be found except in the principal towns. At one end of the cucinera was an elevation, on which stood a comal or griddle, resting on three stones, with a fire blazing under it. The daughter-in-law had before her an earthen vessel containing Indian corn soaked in lime-water to remove the husk; and, placing a handful on an oblong stone curving inward, mashed it with a stone roller into a thick paste. The girls took it as it was mashed, and patting it with their hands into flat cakes, laid them on the griddle to
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bake. This is repeated for every meal, and a great part of the business of the women consists in making tortillas.
"When Mr. Catherwood arrived the tortillas were smoking, and we stopped to breakfast. They gave us the only luxury they had, coffee made of parched corn, which, in compliment to their kindness, we drank. Like me, Mr. C. was struck with the personal beauty of this family group. With the advantages of dress and education, they might be ornaments in cultivated society; but it is decreed otherwise, and these young girls will go through life making tortillas.
For an hour longer we continued on the ridge of the mountain, then entered a more woody country, and in half an hour came to a large gate, which stood directly across the road like a tollbar. It was the first token we had seen of individual or territorial boundary, and in other countries would have formed a fitting entrance to a princely estate; for the massive frame, with all its posts and supporters, was of solid mahogany. The heat was now intense. "We entered a thick wood and forded a wild stream, across which pigs were swimming. Soon after we came to a cochineal plantation, and passed through a long lane thickly bordered and overshaded with shrubs and trees, close to suffocation. We emerged into an open plain, on which the sun beat with almost intolerable power; and, crossing the plain, at about three o'clock entered Gualan. There was not a breath of air; the houses and the earth seemed to throw out heat. I was confused, my head swam, and I felt in danger of a stroke of the sun. At that moment there was a slight shock of earthquake. I was unconscious of it, but was almost overpowered by the excessive heat and closeness of atmosphere which accompanied it.
We rode up to the house of Donna Bartola, to whom we had a letter of recommendation, and I cannot describe the satisfaction with which I threw myself into a hammock. Shade and quiet restored me. For the first time since we left Yzabal we changed our clothes; for the first time, too, we dined.
Toward evening we strolled through the town. It stands on a table of breccia rock, at the junction of two noble rivers, and is encircled by a belt of mountains. One principal street, the houses of one story, with piazzas in front, terminates in a plaza or public square, at the head of which stands a large church with a Gothic door; and before it, at a distance of ten or twelve yards, was a cross about twenty feet high. The population is about ten thousand, chiefly Mestitzoes. Leaving the plaza, we walked down to the Motagua. On the bank a boat was in process of construction, about fifty feet long and ten wide, entirely of mahogany. Near it a party of men and women were fording the stream, carrying their clothes above their heads; and around a point three women were bathing. There are no ancient associations connected with this place; but the wildness of the scene, the clouds, the tints of the sky, and the setting sun reflected upon the mountains, were beautiful. At dark we returned to the house. Except for the companionship of some thousands of ants, which blackened the candles and covered everything perishable, we had a room to ourselves.
Early in the morning we were served with chocolate and a small roll of sweet bread. While at breakfast our muleteer came, reiterating a demand for settlement, and claiming three dollars more than was due.
We refused to pay him, and he went away furious. In half an hour an alguazil came to me with a summons to the alcalde. Mr. Catherwood, who was, at the moment, cleaning his pistols, cheered me by threatening, if they put me in prison, to bombard the town. The cabildo, or house of the municipality, was at one side of the plaza. We entered a large room, one end of which was partitioned off by a wooden railing. Inside sat the alcalde and his clerk, and outside was the muleteer, with a group of half-naked feslows as his backers. He had reduced his claim to one dollar, doubtless supposing that I would pay that rather than have any trouble. It was not very respectable to be sued for a dollar; but I looked in his face on entering, and resolved not to pay a cent. I did not, however, claim my privilege under the law of nations, but defended the action on the merits, and the alcalde decided in my favour; after which I showed him my passport, and he asked me inside the bar and offered me a cigar. This over, I had more important business. The first was to hire mules, which could not be procured till the day but one after. Next I negotiated for washing clothes, which was a complicated business, for it was necessary to specify which articles were to be washed, which ironed, and which starched, and to pay separately for washing, ironing, soap, and starch; and, lastly, I negotiated with a tailor for a pair of pantaloons, purchasing separately stuff, lining, buttons, and thread, the tailor finding needles and thimble himself. Toward evening we again walked to the river, returned, and taught Donna Bartola how to make tea. By this time the whole town was in commotion preparatory to the great ceremony of praying to the Santa Lucia. Early in the morning, the firing of muskets, petards, and rockets had announced the arrival of this unexpected but welcome visiter, one of the holiest saints of the calendar, and, next to San Antonio, the most celebrated for the power of working miracles. Morazan's rise into power was signalized by a persecution of the clergy: his friends say that it was the purification of a corrupt body; his enemies, that it was a war against morality and religion. The country was at that time overrun wifh priests, friars, and monks of different orders. Everywhere the largest buildings, the best cultivated lands, 'and a great portion of the wealth of the country were in their hands. Many, no doubt, were good men; but some used their sacred robes as a cloak for rascality and vice, and most were drones, reaping where they did not sow, and living luxuriously by the sweat of other men's brows. At all events, and whatever was the cause, the early part of Morazan's administration was signalized by hostility to them as a class; and, from the Archbishop of Guatimala down to the poorest friar, they were in danger; some fled, others were banished, and many were torn by rude soldiers from their convents and churches, hurried to the seaports, and shipped for Cuba and old Spain, under sentence of death if they returned. The country was left comparatively destitute; many of the churches fell to ruins; others stood, but their doors were seldom opened; and the practice and memory of their religious rites were fading away. Carrera and his Indians, with the mystic rites of Catholicism ingrafted upon the superstitions of their fathers, had acquired a strong hold upon the feelings of the people by endeavouring to bring back the exiled clergy and to restore the influence of the church. The tour of the Santa Lucia was regarded as