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A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY. 143
broken by the track of the direct road from Guatimala, and afar off the spires of the town of Chimaltenango. At the foot of the mountain we reached the. village of Paramos. We had been three hours and a half making Six miles. Don Pepe summoned the alcalde, showed him Carrera's passport, and demanded a guide to the next village. The alcalde called his alguazils, and in a very few minutes a guide was ready. Don Pepe told us that he left us in Europa, and with many thanks we bade him farewell.
We were now entering upon a region of country which, at the time of the conquest, was the most populous, the most civilized, and best cultivated in Guatimala. The people who occupied it were the descendants of those found there by Alvarado, and perhaps four fifths were Indians of untainted blood. For three centuries they had submitted quietly to the dominion of the whites, but the rising of Carrera had waked them up to a recollection of their fathers, and it was rumoured that their eyes rolled strangely upon the white men as the enemies of their race. For the first time we saw fields of wheat and peach-trees. The country was poetically called Europa; and though the Volcano de Agua still reared in full sight its stupendous head, it resembled the finest part of England on a magnificent scale.
But it was not like travelling in England. The young man with whose throat Mr. Catherwood had been so familiar loitered behind with the sick mule and a gun. He had started from Ciudad Vieja with a drawn knife in his hand, the blade about a foot and a half long, and we made up our minds to get rid of him; but we feared that he had anticipated us, and had gone off with the mule and gun. We waited till he came up, relieved him from the gun, and made him go forward, while we drove the mule. At the distance of two leagues we reached the Indian village of San Andres Isapa. Don Saturnino flourished Carrera's passport, introduced me as El Ministro de Nueva-York, demanded a guide, and in a few minutes an alguazil was trotting before us for the next village. At this village, on the same requisition, the alcalde ran out to look for an alguazil, but could not find one immediately, and ventured to beg Don Saturnino to wait a moment. Don Saturnino told him he must go himself; Carrera would cut off his head if he did not; "the minister of NewYork" could not be kept waiting. Don Saturnino, like many others of my friends in that country, had no very definite notions in regard to titles or places. A man happened to be passing, whom the alcalde pressed into service, and he trotted on before with the halter of the led horse. Don Saturnino hurried him along; as we approached the next village Carrera's soldiers were in sight, returning on the direct road to Guatimala, fresh from the slaughter at Quezaltenango. Don Saturnino told the guide that he must avoid the plaza and go on to the next village. The guide begged, and Don Saturnino rode up, drew his sword, and threatened to cut his head off. The poor fellow trotted on, with his eye fixed on the uplifted sword; and when Don Saturnino turned to me with an Uncle Toby expression of face, he threw down the halter, leaped over a hedge fence, and ran toward the town. Don Saturnino, not disconcerted, caught up the halter, and, spurring his mule, pushed on. The road lay on a magnificent table-land, in some places having trees on each side for a great distance. Beyond this we had a heavy rain-storm, and late in the afternoon reached the brink of an immense precipice, in which, at a great distance, we CHAPTER IX.
saw the molina or wheat-mill, looking like a NewEngland factory. The descent was very steep and muddy, winding in places close along the precipitous side of the ravine. Great care was necessary with the mules; their tendency was to descend sidewise, which was very dangerous; but in the steepest places, by keeping their heads straight, they would slip in the mud several paces, bracing their feet and without falling.
At dark, wet and muddy, and in the midst of a heavy rain, we reached the molina. The major-domo was a Costa Rican, a countryman of Don Saturnino, and, fortunately, we had a room to ourselves, though it was damp and chilly. Here we learned that Tecpan Guatimala, one of the ruined cities we wished to visit, was but three leagues distant, and the major-domo offered to go with us in the morning.
Vol. II.—T 13
Journey continued.—Barrancas.—Tecpan Guatimala.—A noble Church.—>, sacred Stone.—The ancient City.—Description of the Ruins.—A Molina.—Another Earthquake—Patzum.—A Ravine.—Fortifications.—Los Altos. — Godmes. —Losing a good Friend.—Magnificent Scenery.—San Antonio.—Lakeot Atit
In the morning the major-domo furnished us with fine horses, and we started early. Almost immediately we commenced ascending the other side of the ravine which we had descended the night before, and on the top entered on a continuation of the same beautiful and extensive table-land. On one side, for some distance, were high hedge fences, in which aloes were growing, and in one place were four in full bloom. In an hour we arrived at Patzum, a large Indian village. Here we turned off to the right from the high road to Mexico by a sort of by-path; but the country was beautiful, and in parts well cultivated. The morning was bracing, and the climate like our own in October. The immense tableland was elevated some five or six thousand feet, but none of these heights have ever been taken. We passed on the right two mounds, such as are seen all over our own country, and on the left an immense barranca. The table was level to the very edge, where the earth seemed to have broken off and sunk, and we looked down into a frightful abyss two or three thousand feet deep. Gigantic trees at the bottom of the immense cavity looked like shrubs. At some distance beyond we passed a second of these immense barrancas, and in an hour and a half reached the Indian village of Tec
TEC PAN GUATIMALA. 147
pan Guatimala. For some distance before reaching it the road was shaded by trees and shrubs, among which were aloes thirty feet high. The Long street by which we entered was paved with stones from the ruins of the old city, and filled with drunken Indians; and rushing across it was one with his arms around a woman's neck. At the head of this street was a fine plaza, with a large cabildo, and twenty or thirty Indian alguazils under the corridor, with wands of office in their hands, silent, in full suits of blue cloth, the trousers open at the knees, and cloak with a hood like the Arab burnouse. Adjoining this was the large courtyard of the church, paved with stone, and the church itself was one of the most magnificent in the country. It was the second built after the conquest. The facade was two hundred feet, very lofty, with turrets and spires gorgeously ornamented with stuccoed figures, and a high platform, on which were Indians, the first we had seen in picturesque costume; and with the widely-extended view of the country around, it was a scene of wild magnificence in nature and in art. We stopped involuntarily; and while the Indians, in mute astonishment, gazed at us, we were lost in surprise and admiration. As usual, Don Saturnino was the pioneer, and we rode up to the house of the padre, where we were shown into a small room, with the window closed and a ray of light admitted from the door, in which the padre was dozing in a large chair. Before he had fairly opened his eyes, Don Saturnino told him that we had come to visit the ruins of the old city, and wanted a guide, and thrust into his hands Carrera's passport and the letter of the provesor. The padre was old, fat, rich, and infirm, had been thirtyfive years cura of Tecpan Guatimala, and was not used to doing things in a hurry; but our friend, knowing the