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and we determined not to be diverted from the course we had marked out.
The next morning we had one painful moment with the cura, and that was the moment of parting. He was then calm and kind, his irresistible laugh and his enthusiasm all gone. We had one village to pass at which he told us the Indians were bad, for which reason he gave us a letter to the justitia; and in the kindness of his heart insisted on my accepting one of his beautiful quezales.
As this was Holy Week, we had great difficulty in procuring a guide. None of the Indians wished to leave the village, and the alcalde told an alguazil to take a man out of prison. After a parley with the inmates through the grating, one was selected, but kept in confinement till the moment of starting, when the alguazil opened the door and let him out, our roll of luggage was put on his back, and he set off. The battered soldier accompanied us a short distance, and Bobon went before, carrying on a stick the royal bird of Quiche. Crossing the plain and the ravine on which the city stood, we ascended a mountain in the rear, commanding a magnificent view of the plain of Quiche, and descending on the other side, at the distance of two leagues reached the village of San Pedro. A thatched church, with a cross before it, stood near the road, and the huts of the village were a little in the rear. The padre had told us that the Indians of this place were "muy malos," very bad; and as our guide, when he relurned, had o be locked up in prison, to avoid the necessity of slopping we tried to induce him to continue; but he dropped his load at the foot of the cross, and ran back in such haste that he left behind his ragged chamar. The justitia was a Mestitzo, who sent for
A REAL DINNER. 201
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 rime has come, and I should consider myself an ingrate if I omitted to mention it. We were kept waiting perhaps 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 ravine 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
Vol. II.—C C
* Agave Americana.
crossed, on a rude bridge of logs, a broad river, memorable for the killed and wounded thrown into it in Alvarado's battle with the Quich6 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.
Qnezaltenango.—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 ol 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 Quiche, 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, according to Fuentes, more than three hundred thousand inhabitants; that on the defeat of Tecum Umam by Alvarado, the inhabitants abandoned the city, and fled to their ancient fortresses, Excansel the volcano, and Cekxak, 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 Kalen, Ahpopgueham, Calelahan, and Calelaboy; the Spanish records 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.
As we approached, seven towering churches showed that the religion so hastily adopted had not died away. In a few minutes we entered the city. The streets were handsomely paved, and the houses picturesque in architecture; the cabildo had two stories and a corridor. The Cathedral, with its facade richly decorated, was grand and imposing. The plaza was paved with stone, having a fine fountain in the centre, and commanding a magnificent view of the volcano and mountains around. It was the day before Good Friday; the streets and plaza were crowded with people in their best attire, the Indians wearing large black cloaks, with broad-brimmed felt sombreros, and the women a white frock, covering the head except an oblong opening for the face; some wore a sort of turban of red cord plaited with the hair. The bells were hushed, and wooden clappers sounded in their stead. As we rode through, armed to the teeth, the crowd made way in silence. We passed the door of the church, and entered the great gate of the convent. The cura was absent at the moment, but a respectable-looking servant-woman received us in a manner that assured us of a welcome from her master. There was, however, an air of excitement and trepidation in the whole household, and it was not long before the good woman unburdened herself of matters fearfully impressed upon her mind.
After chocolate we went to the corregidor, to whom we presented our letters from the government and Carrera's passport. He was one of Morazan's expulsados, a fine, military-looking man, but, as he told us, not a soldier by profession; he was in office by accident, and exceedingly anxious to lay down his command; in deed, his brief service had been no sinecure. He in