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soldiers who arrested us my special passport from my own government, with the endorsements of Commandant Peñol and himself, certifying my official character, which were not deemed sufficient; demanding to be set at liberty immediately, and allowed to proceed on our journey without farther molestation; and adding that we should, of course, represent to the government at Guatimala, and also to my own, the manner in which we had been treated. Not to mince matters, Mr. Catherwood signed the note as Secretary; and, having no official seal with me, we sealed it, unobserved by anybody, with a new American half dollar, and gave it to the alcalde. The eagle spread his wings, and the stars glittered in the torchlight. All gathered round to examine it, and retired, locking us up in the cabildo, stationing twelve men at the door with swords, muskets, and machetes; and, at parting, the officer told the alcalde that, if we escaped during the night, his head should answer for it. The excitement over, Mr. C. and I were exhausted. We had made a beautiful beginning of our travels; but a month from home, and in the hands of men who would have been turned out of any decent state prison lest they should contaminate the boarders. A peep at our beautiful keepers did not reassure us. They were sitting under the shed, directly before the door, around a fire, their arms in reach, and smoking cigars. Their whole stock of wearing apparel was not worth a pair of old boots; and with their rags, their arms, their dark faces reddened by the firelight, their appearance was ferocious; and, doubtless, if we had attempted to escape, they would have, been glad of the excuse for murder. We opened a basket of wine with which Col. M'Donald had provided us, and drank his health. We were
relieved from immediate apprehensions, but our prospects were not pleasant; and, fastening the door as well as we could inside, we again betook ourselves to our hammocks.
During the night the door was again burst open, and the whole ruffianly band entered, as before, with swords, muskets, machetes, and blazing pine sticks. In an instant we were on our feet, and my hurried impression was, that they had come to take the passport; but, to our surprise, the alcalde handed me back the letter with the big seal, said there was no use in sending it, and that we were at liberty to proceed on our journey when we chose.
We were too well pleased to ask any questions, and to this day do not know why we were arrested. My belief is, that if we had quailed at all, and had not kept up a high, threatening tone to the last, we should not have been set free; and I have no doubt that the big seal did much in our behalf. Our indignation, however, was not the less strong that we considered ourselves safe in pouring it out. Wc insisted that the matter should not end here, and that the letter should go to General Cascara. The alcalde objected; but we told him that, if not sent, it would be the worse for him; and, after some delay, he thrust it into the hands of an Indian, and beat him out of doors with his staff; and in a few minutes the guard was withdrawn, and they all left us.
It was now nearly daylight, and we did not know what to do; to continue was to expose ourselves to a repetition of the same treatment, and perhaps, as we advanced farther into the interior, -with a worse result. Undetermined, for the third time we •turned into our hammocks. At broad daylight we were again roused by the alcalde and his alguazils, but this time they came
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to pay us a visit of ceremony. The soldiers, who had accidentally passed through the village, and had made all the disturbance, had left. After some deliberation we determined to continue; and, charging the alcalde again about the letter to General Cascara, turned our backs upon him and his alguazils. In a few minutes they all withdrew. We took a cup of chocolate, loaded our mules, and, when we left, the place was as desolate as when we entered. Not a person had been there to welcome us, and there was not one to bid us farewell.
An Indian Funeral.—Copan River.—Woman's Kindness.—Hacienda of San An tonio.—Strange Customs.—A Mountain of Aloes.—The State of Honduras. —Village of Copan.—An ungracious Host.—Wall of Copan.—History of Copan.—First View of the Ruins.—Vain Speculations.—Applications for Medicine.—Search for an Abode.—A Sick Woman.—Plagues of a Muleteer.—An unpleasant Situation.—A Thunder Storm.—Thoughts of buying Copan.
Turning away from the church, we passed the brow of a bill, behind which was a collection of huts almost concealed from sight, and occupied by our friends of the night before. Very soon we commenced ascending a mountain. At a short distance we met a corpse borne on a rude bier of sticks, upon the shoulders of Indians, naked except a piece of cotton cloth over the loins, and shaking awfully under the movements of its carriers. Soon after we met another, borne in the same way, but wrapped in matting, and accompanied by three or four men and a young woman. Both were on their way to the graveyard of the village church. Ascending, we reached the top of a mountain, and saw behind us a beautiful valley extending toward Hocotan, but all waste, and suggesting a feeling of regret that so beautiful a country should be in such miserable hands.
At half past twelve we descended to the banks of the Copan River. It was broad and rapid, and in the middle was a large sandbar. We had difficulty in fording it; and some of the baggage, particularly the beds and bedding, got wet. From the opposite side we again commenced ascending another ridge, and from the top saw the river winding through the valley. As we crossed, by a sudden turn it flowed along the base, and we looked directly down upon it. Descending this mount
ann, we came to a beautiful stream, where a gray-haired Indian woman and a pretty little girl, pictures of youth and old age, were washing clothes. We dismounted, and sat down on the bank to wait for the muleteer. I forgot to mention that he had with him a boy about thirteen or fourteen years old, a fine little fellow, upon whom he imposed the worst part of the burden, that of chasing the mules, and who really seemed, like Baron Munchausen's dog, in danger of running his legs off. Our breach with the muleteer had not been healed, and at first we ascribed to him some agency in our troubles at Comotan. At all events, if it had not been for him, we should not have stopped there. All day he had been particularly furious with the mules, and they had been particularly perverse, and now they had gone astray; and it was an hour before we heard his spiteful voice, loading them with curses. . We mounted again, and at four o’clock saw at a distance a hacienda, or, the opposite side of a valley. It stood alone, and promised a quiet resting-place for the night. We turned off from the camino real into a wild path, stony, and overgrown with bushes, and so steep that we were obliged to dismount, let the mules go ahead, and hold on ourselves by the bushes to descend. At the foot of the hill we mounted and crossed a stream, where a little boy, playing in the water, saluted me by crossing his arms upon his breast, and then passed on to Mr. Catherwood. This was a favourable omen; and, as we climbed up a steep hill, I felt that here, in this lonely spot, away from the gathering-places of men, we must meet kindness. On the top of the hill a woman, with a naked child in her arms and a smile on her face, stood watching our toilsome ascent; and when we asked her if we could make posada there, she answered, in the kindest phrase