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A COTTON FACTORY.
land, which it was customary to cross in a bungo, send. ing the mules around the head of the gulf. I was ad. vised that the latter was hazardous, as the Honduras troops were marching upon San Salvador, and would seize them. I might save them by going myself; but it was a journey of six days, through a country so desolate that it was necessary to carry food for the mules; and as I had still a long road beyond, I felt it necessary to economize my strength. I was loth to run the risk of losing my mules, and sent a courier to El Viejo, where the owners of the bungoes lived, to hire the largest, determined to run the risk of taking them with me. The next morning the courier returned, hav. ing procured a bungo, to be ready the next evening, and with a message from the owner that the embarcation must be at my risk.
Obliged to wait the day, after breakfast I started for Realejo. On the way I met Mr. Foster, the English vice-consul, coming to see me. He turned back, and took me first to the machino or cotton factory, of which I had heard much on the road. It was the only one in the country, and owed its existence to the enterprise of a countryman, having been erected by Mr. Higgins, who, disappointed in his expectations, or disgusted with the country from other causes, sold it to Don Francisco and Mr. Foster. They were sanguine in their expectations of profit; for they supposed that, by furnishing a market, the people would be induced to work and raise cotton enough for exportation to Europe. The resources of this distracted country are incalculable. Peace and industry would open fountains which would overflow with wealth; and I have no doubt the influ. ence of this single factory will be felt in quieting and enriching the whole district within its reach.
· I accompanied Mr. Foster to Realejo, which was only half an hour's ride. The harbour, Huarros says, is capable of containing a thousand ships; but, being two or three leagues distant, I was unable to visit it. The town, consisting of two or three streets, with low straggling houses, enclosed by a thick forest, was founded by a few of the companions of Alvarado, who stopped there on their expedition to Peru; but, being so near the sea, and exposed to the incursions of the bucaniers, the inhabitants moved inland, and founded Leon..
At dark we returned to the factory, and Don Fran. cisco and I reached Chinandaga, where I was greeted with intelligence that the proprietor of the boat had sent word that he supposed I had a permission to embark from the chief of the state, as, by a late order, no person could embark without. He was most provokingly out in his supposition. I had entered the state by a frontier of wilderness, and had not once been asked for a passport. The reader may remember how I was prevented visiting the chief of the state ; and, besides, when at Leon, I did not know whether I should continue by land or cross the gulf, and supposed that at the port of embarcation I could procure all that was necessary. I was excessively disturbed ; but Don Francisco sent for the commandant of the town, who said that the order had not yet been sent to the port, but was in his hands, and he would retain it.
Early the next morning I sent on an ox wagon with the luggage and a stock of corn and grass for the mules during the voyage, and, after a pleasant ride of a league, reached the Viejo, one of the most respectable-looking towns in Nicaragua. The house of the owner of the bungo was one of the largest in the place, and furnished with two mahogany sofas made by a Yankee cabi
PORT OF NAGOS COLO.
net-maker in Lima, two looking-glasses with gilt frames, a French clock, gilt chairs with cane bottoms, and two Boston rocking-chairs, which had made the passage round Cape Horn. Don Francisco went over to the commandant. He, unluckily, had received his orders direct from the government, and dared not let me pass. I went over myself with Mr. Foster. The order was positive, and I was in agony. Here I made a push with my official character, and after an hour's torment, by the warm help of Mr. Foster, and upon his undertaking to save the commandant harmless, and to send an express immediately to Leon for a passport from the chief of the state, it was agreed that in the mean time I might go on.
I did not wait long, but, taking leave of Mr. Foster and Don Francisco, set out for the port. It was seven leagues, through an unbroken forest. On the way I overtook my bungo men, nearly naked, moving in sin. gle file, with the pilot at their head, and each carrying on his back an open network containing tortillas and provisions for the voyage. At half past two we reached the port of Nagoscolo. There was a single hut, at which a woman was washing corn, with a naked child near her on the ground, its face, arms, and body one running sore, a picture of squalid poverty. In front was a large muddy plain, through the centre of which ran a straight cut called a canal, with an embankment on one side dry, the mud baked hard and bleached by the sun. In this ditch lay several bungoes high and dry, adding to the ugliness of the picture. I had a feeling of great satisfaction that I was not obliged to remain there long; but the miserable woman, with a tone of voice that seemed to rejoice in the chance of making others as miserable as herself, desisted from washing her maize, and screeched in my ears that a guarda had been sent direct from the capital, with orders to let no one embark without a passport. The guarda had gone down the river in a canoe, in search of a bungo which had attempted to go away without a passport ; and I walked down the bank of the canal in hope to catch him alone when he returned. The sun was scorching hot, and as I passed the bungoes the boatmen asked me if I had a passport. At the end of the canal, under the shade of a large tree, were two women; and they had been in that place three days, waiting for one of their party who had gone to Leon to procure a passport.
It was more than an hour before the guarda appear. ed. He was taken by the eagle on my hat, and while I told him my story, said “Si, señor,” to everything ; but when I talked of embarking, said, “ Señor, you have no passport." I will not inflict upon the reader the details of all my vexations and anxiety that after. · noon. I was most eager to hurry on. To send a courier to Leon would keep me in suspense insufferable. Some difficulty might happen, and the only way for peace of mind was to return myself. I had already made a longer journey than is ever made in the country without an interval of rest. The road before me led through the seat of war, and four days' detention might throw me into the midst of it. (In fact, the result proved that one day would have done so.) I walked with the guarda to the hut, and in greater anxiety than I had felt since my departure from home, showed him my papers—a larger bundle, perhaps, than he had ever seen before, and with bigger seals, partic. ularly my original passport from my own governmentjumbling together his government and my government, the amicable relations existing between them, and try
ing to give him an overwhelming idea of my importance; but he knew no more what it meant than if I had repeated to him in English the fifth problem in Eu. clid. The poor man was almost in as great perplexity as I was. Several times he assented and retracted ; and at length, upon my giving him a letter promising him the protection of Mr. Foster and the commandant at Viejo, he agreed to let the bungo go.
It was about an hour before dark when we went down to embark the mules. My bungo was at the extreme end of the canal, and the tide had risen so that she was afloat. We began with the gray, by casting a noose around her legs, drawing them together, and throwing her down. The men then attempted to lift her up bodily over the side of the bungo; but failing in this, took off the rudder, and leaning it against the side, hauled the mule up it, then tilted the rudder, and dropped her into the boat. In the mean time the macho stood under a tree, looking on very suspiciously, and with fearful forebodings. The noose was put round his legs, with a rope before and behind to pull on, and struggling desperately, he was thrown down, but hardly touched the ground before, with a desperate effort, he broke the ropes and rose upon his feet. A second attempt was more successful ; but the two abreast made a close fit, and I was obliged to leave behind the luggage mule, I paid the guarda to take her to Mr. Foster, but whether she reached him or not I have never heard.
We were assisted by the boatmen of another bungo, and I ordered supper and agua ardiente for the whole. This was furnished at the hut by the guarda, and when it was over, the men, all in good spirits, commenced taking the luggage on board. At this time some who were detained were grumbling, and a new man entered