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A BURIAL-PLACE. 133
etics." There was but one grave, and the stone bore the inscription
de la Religione Reformada.
July 19 de 1837.
At the end of this passage was a deadhouse, in which lay, on separate beds, the bodies of two men, both poor, one entirely naked, with his legs drawn up, as though no friend had been by to straighten them, and the other wrapped in matting. On the right of the passage a door opened into a square enclosure, in which were vaults built above the ground, bearing the names of the wealthy inhabitants of the city. On the left a door opened into an enclosure running in the rear of the deadhouse, about seven hundred and fifty feet long, and three hundred wide. The walls were high and thick, and the graves were square recesses lengthwise in the wall, three tiers deep, each closed up with a flat stone, on which the name of the occupant was inscribed. These, too, were for the rich. The area was filled with the graves of the common people, and in one place was a square of new-made earth, under which lay the bodies of about four hundred men killed in the attack upon the city. The table of land commanded a view of the green plain of Guatimala and the volcanoes of the Antigua. Beautiful flowers were blooming over the graves, and a voice seemed to say,
"Oh do not pluck these flowers,
A bier approached with the body of a woman, which was buried without any coffin. Near by was a line of new-made graves waiting for tenants. They were dug through skeletons, and sculls and bones lay in heaps beBide them. I rolled three sculls together with my foot II - 12
It was a gloomy leave-taking of Guatimala. The earth slipped under my feet and I fell backward, but saved myself by stepping across a new-made grave. I verily believe that if I had fallen into it, I should have been superstitious, and afraid to set out on my journey.
I have mentioned that there were rumours in the city of some horrible outrage committed by Carrera at Quezaltenango. He had set out from Guatimala in pursuit of Morazan. Near the Antigua he met one of his own soldiers from Quezaltenango, who reported that there had been a rising in that town, and the garrison were compelled to lay down their arms. Enraged at this intelligence, he abandoned his pursuit of Morazan, and, without even advising the government of his change of plan, marched to Quezaltenango, and among other minor outrages seized eighteen of the municipality, the first men of the state, and without the slightest form of trial shot them in the plaza; and, to heighten the gloom which this news cast over the city, a rumour preceded him that, immediately on his arrival, he intended to order out all the prisoners and shoot them also. At this time the repressed excitement in the city was fearful. An immense relief was experienced on the repulse of Morazan, but there had been no rejoicing; and again the sword seemed suspended by a single hair.
And here I would remark, as at a place where it has no immediate connexion with what precedes or what follows, and, consequently, where no application of it can be made, that some matters of deep personal interest, which illustrate, more than volumes, the dreadful state of the country, I am obliged to withhold altogether, lest, perchance, these pages should find their way to Guatimala and compromise individuals. In my long
FEA.RFUL STATE OF THE COUNTRY. 135
journey I had had intercourse with men of all parties, and was spoken to freely, and sometimes confidentially. Heretofore, in all the wars and revolutions the whites had the controlling influence, but at this time the Indians were the dominant power. Roused from the sloth of ages, and with muskets in their hands, their gentleness was changed into ferocity; and even among the adherents of the Carrera party there was a fearful apprehension of a war of castes, and a strong desire, on the part of those who could get away, to leave the country. I was consulted by men having houses and large landed estates, but who could only command two or three thousand dollars in money, as to their ability to live on that sum in the United States; and individuals holding high offices under the Central party told me that they had their passports from Mexico, and were ready at any moment to fly. There seemed ground for the apprehension that the hour of retributive justice was nigh, and that a spirit was awakened among the Indians to make a bloody offering to the spirits of their fathers, and recover their inheritance. Carrera was the pivot on which this turned. He was talked of as El rey de los Indios, the King of the Indians. He had relieved them from all taxes, and, as they said, supported his army by levying contributions upon the whites. His power by a word to cause the massacre of every white inhabitant, no one doubted. Their security was, as I conceived, that, in the constant action of his short career, he had not had time to form any plans for extended dominion, and knew nothing of the immense country from Texas to Cape Horn, occupied by a race sympathizing in hostility to the whites. He was a fanatic, and, to a certain extent, under the dominion of the priests; and his own acuteness told him that he
was more powerful with the Indians themselves v uiie supported by the priests and the aristocracy than at the head of the Indians only; but all knew that, in the moment of passion, he forgot entirely the little of plan or policy that ever governed him; and when he returned from Quezaltenango, his hands red with blood, and preceded by the fearful rumour that he intended to bring out two or three hundred prisoners and shoot them, the citizens of Guatimala felt that they stood on the brink of a fearful gulf. A leading member of Ihe government, whom I wished to call with me upon him and ask him for his passport, declined doing so, lest, as he said, Carrera should think the government was trying to lead him. Others paid him formal visits of ceremony and congratulation upon his return, and compared notes with each other as to the manner in which they were received. Carrera made no report, official or verbal, of what he had done; and though all were full of it, no one of them dared ask him any questions, or refer to it. They will perhaps pronounce me a calumniator, but even at the hazard of wounding their feelings, I cannot withhold what I believe to be a true picture of the state of the country as it was at that time.
Unable to induce any of the persons I wished to call with me upon Carrera; afraid, after such a long interval and such exciting scenes as he had been engaged in, that he might not recognise me, and feeling that it was all important not to fail in my application to him, I remembered that in my first interview he had spoken warmly of a doctor who had extracted a ball from his side. This doctor I did not know, but I called upon him, and asked him to accompany me, to which, with great civility, he immediately assented.
LAST INTERVIEW WITH CARRERA. 137
It was under these circumstances that I made my last visit to Carrera. He had removed into a much larger house, and his guard was more regular and formal. When I entered he was standing behind a table on one side of the room, with his wife, and Rivera Paz, and one or two others, examining some large Costa Rica chains, and at the moment he had one in his hands which had formed part of the contents of those trunks of my friend the captain, and which had often adorned his neck. I think it would have given the captain a spasm if he had known that anything once around his neck was between Carrera's fingers. His wife was a pretty, delicate-looking Mestitzo, not more than twenty, and seemed to have a woman's fondness for chains and gold. Carrera himself looked at them with indifference. My idea at the time was, that these jewels were sent in by the government as a present to his wife, and through her to propitiate him, but perhaps I was wrong. The face of Rivera Paz seemed anxious. Carrera had passed through so many terrible scenes since I saw him, that I feared he had forgotten me; but he recognised me in a moment, and made room for me behind the table next to himself. His military coat lay on the table, and he wore the same roundabout jacket, his face had the same youthfulness, quickness, and intelligence, his voice and manners the same gentleness and seriousness, and he had again been wounded. I regretted to meet Rivera Paz there, for I thought it must be mortifying to him, as the head of the government, to see that his passport was not considered a protection without Carrera's endorsement; but I couid not stand upon ceremony, and took advantage of Carrera's leaving the table to say to him that I was setting out on a dangerous road, and considered it indispensable to for