« FöregåendeFortsätt »
VIRTUE OF A PASSPORT.
the alcalde, and presently that worthy trotted down with six alguazils, marching in single file, all with wands in their hands, and dressed in handsome cloth cloaks, the holyday costume for the Holy Week. We told them that we wanted a guide, and the whole six set off to look for one. In about ten minutes they returned single file, exactly on the same trot as before, and said they could not find any; the whole week was holyday, and no one wanted to leave home. I showed Carrera's passport, and told the justitia he must go himself, or send one of his alguazils, and they set off again in pursuit. After waiting a little while, I walked to the top of a hill near by, and saw them all seated below, apparently waiting for me to go. As soon as they saw me they ran back in a body to repeat that they could not find a guide. I offered them double price, but they were immovable; and feeling rather uncertain what turn things might take, I talked largely of Carrera's vengeance, not contenting myself with turning them out of office, but taking off their heads at once. After a few moments' consultation they all rose quietly ; one doffed his dignity and dress, the rest rolled up the cargo, and throwing it on his bare back, placed the band across his forehead, and set him off on a run. We followed, the secretary begging me to write to Carrera that it was not through his fault I was kept waiting, and that he would have been my guide himself if I had not found another. At a short distance another alguazil, by a cross cut, intercepted and relieved the first, and they ran so fast that on the rough road we could not keep up with them..
The road was indeed rough and wild beyond all description; and very soon we reached another im. mense ravine, descended it, and commenced an ascent
on the opposite side, which occupied three hours. Through openings in the woods we looked down precipices one or two thousand feet deep, while the mountain side was still higher above us. The whole mountain was clothed with luxuriant vegetation, and though wanting the rocky, savage grandeur of Alpine scenery, at every turn the view was sublime. As we climbed up we met a few Indians who could speak no language but their own, and reaching the top, saw a wretched spectacle of the beings made in God's image. A drunken Indian was lying on the ground, his face cut with a machete, and weltering in his blood; and a drunken woman was crying over him. Our Indians stopped and spoke to them, but we could not under. stand what they said. At about three o'clock we emer. ged from the woods, and very soon saw Totonicapan, at a great distance and far below us, on a magnificent plain, with a high table of land behind it, a range of mountains springing from the table, and rising above them the Volcano of Quezaltenango. The town was spread over a large space, and the flat roofs of the houses seemed one huge covering, broken only by the steeple of the church. We descended the mountain to the banks of a beautiful stream, along which Indian women were washing; and following it, entered the town, and rode up to the house of the corregidor, Don José Azmitia. Our luggage had arrived safely, and in a few minutes our men presented themselves to receive us.
Much might be said of Totonicapan as the head of a department, and surrounded by mountains visible on ali sides from the plaza ; but I stop only to record an event. All along, with the letters to corregidors, the passport of Carrera, and the letter of the archbishop, our road
A REAL DINN E R.
had been a sort of triumphal march; but at this place we dined, i. e., we had a dinner. The reader may remember that in Costa Rica I promised to offend but once more by referring to such a circumstance. That time has come, and I should consider myself an ingrate if I omitted to mention it. We were kept waiting per. haps two hours, and we had not eaten anything in more than twelve. We had clambered over terrible mountains ; and at six o'clock, on invitation, with hands and faces washed, and in dress-coats, sat down with the corregidor. Courses came regularly and in right succession. Servants were well trained, and our host did the honours as if he was used to the same thing every day. But it was not so with us. Like Rittmaster Dugald Dalgetty, we ate very fast and very long, on his principle deeming it the duty of every commander of a. fortress, on all occasions which offer, to secure as much munition and vivas as their magazines can possibly hold.
We were again on the line of Carrera's operations ; the place was alive with apprehensions; white men were trembling for their lives ; and I advised our host to leave the country and come to the United States.
The next morning we breakfasted with him, and at eleven o'clock, while a procession was forming in the plaza, we started for Quezaltenango, descended a ra. vine commanding at every point a beautiful view, ascended a mountain, from which we looked back upon the plain and town of Totonicapan, and on the top entered a magnificent plain, cultivated with cornfields and dotted with numerous flocks of sheep, the first we had seen in the country; on both sides of the road were hedges of gigantic aloes. In one place we counted upward of two hundred in full bloom. In the middle of the plain, at the distance of two and a half leagues, we
crossed, on a rude bridge of logs, a broad river, memo. rable for the killed and wounded thrown into it in Alvarado's battle with the Quiché Indians, and called the “River of Blood.” Two leagues beyond we came in sight of Quezaltenango, standing at the foot of a great range of mountains, surmounted by a rent volcano constantly emitting smoke, and before it a mountain ridge of lava, which, if it had taken its course toward the city, would have buried it like Herculaneum and Pompeii.
Quezaltenango.--Account of it.-Conversion of the Inhabitants to Christianity.
-Appearance of the City.-The Convent.-Insurrection.-Carrera's March upon Quezaltenango.-His Treatment of the Inhabitants. ---Preparations for Holy Week.—The Church.-A Procession.-Good Friday.-Celebration of the Resurrection.-Opening Ceremony.- The Crucifixion.-A Sermon.- Descent from the Cross.—Grand Procession.- Church of El Calvario.—The Case of the Cura.-Warm Springs of Almolonga.
We were again on classic soil. The reader perhaps requires to be reminded that the city stands on the site of the ancient Xelahuh, next to Utatlan the largest city in Quiché, the word Xelahuh meaning " under the government of ten;" that is, it was governed by ten principal captains, each captain presiding over eight thousand dwellings, in all eighty thousand, and containing, ac. cording to Fuentes, more than three hundred thousand inhabitants; that on the defeat of Tecum Umam by Al. varado, the inhabitants abandoned the city, and fled to their ancient fortresses, Excansel the volcano, and Cek. xak, another mountain adjoining; that the Spaniards entered the deserted city, and, according to a manuscript found in the village of San Andres Xecul, their videttes captured the four celebrated caciques, whose names, the reader doubtless remembers, were Calel Kalek, Ahpopgueham, Calelahan, and Calelaboy; the Spanish rec. ords say that they fell on their knees before Pedro Alvarado, while a priest explained to them the nature of the Christian faith, and they declared themselves ready to embrace it. Two of them were retained as hostages, and the others sent back to the fortresses, who returned with such multitudes of Indians ready to be baptized, that the priests, from sheer fatigue, could no longer lift their arms to perform the ceremony.