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me an object of suspicion; for in their disgraceful fights they thought that the eyes of the whole world were upon them, and that England, France, and the United States were secretly contending for the possession of their interesting country. I intended to pay a visit to the chief of the state; but, afraid of being insulted or getting into some difficulty that might detain me, I returned to the house. By means of the servants Nicolas had found two men who were willing to accompany me, but I did not like their looks, or even to let them know when I intended to set out. I had hardly disposed of them before my guide came to advise me not to set out the next day, as five hundred soldiers, who had been making preparations for several days, were to march the next morning against San Salvador. This was most unpleasant intelligence. I did not wish to travel with them, or to fall in with them on the road; and calculating that their march would be slower than mine, told the guide to ascertain their time for starting, and we would set out two hours before them. Nicolas went out with him to take the mules to water; but they returned in great haste, with intelligence that piquets were scouring the city for men and mules, and had entered the yard of a padre near by and taken three of his animals. The lady of the house ordered all the doors to be locked and the keys brought to her, and an hour before dark we were all shut in, and my poor mules went without water. At about eight o'clock we heard the tramp of cavalry in the streets, and gathering inside the doorway, saw about six hundred men taking up their line of march, There was no music, no shouting, no waving of handkerchiefs, to cheer them as defenders of their country or as adventurers in the road to glory; but in the dark,
and barefooted, their tread seemed stealthy; people looked at them with fear; and it seemed rather the sally of a band of conspirators than a march by the soldiers of a republic. My muleteer did not return till daylight the next morning. Fortunately for us, he had learned that the troops were destined on another, but even a more inglorious expedition. Expenses had been incurred in sending troops into Honduras, of which Grenada refused to pay its portion, on the ground that, by the constitution, it was not liable except for expenses incurred in defending the borders of its own state. This was admitted; but the expense had been incurred; Leon had fought the battle, and had the same materials with which she gained it to enforce the contribution. In order that Grenada might be taken unawares, it was given out that the troops were destined for San Salvador, and they were actually marched out on the San Salvador road; but at midnight made a circuit, and took the route for Grenada. War between different states was bad enough, but here the flame which had before laid the capital in ruins was lighted again within its own borders. What the result of this expedition was I never heard; but probably, taken unawares and without arms, Grenada was compelled by bayonets to pay what, by the constitution, she was not bound to pay. Outside of Leon, and once more on the back of my macho, I breathed more freely. Nicolas was induced to continue by hearing that there was a vessel at Realejo for Costa Rica, and I hoped to find one for Zonzonate. The great plain of Leon was even more beautiful than before; too beautiful for the thankless people to whom the bounty of Providence had given it. On the left was the same low ridge separating it from the Pacific Ocean, and on the right the great range of Cordilleras, terminated by the volcano of the Viejo. I had passed through the village of Chichuapa when I heard a cry of “caballero” behind me, and turning, saw divers people waving their hands, and a woman running, almost out of breath, with a pocket-handkerchief which I had left at the house where I breakfasted. I was going on, when a respectable-looking gentleman stopped me, with many apologies for the liberty, and asked for a medio, sixpence. I gave him one, which he examined and handed back, saying, “No corre,” “it does not pass.” It was always, in paying money, a matter of course to have two or three pieces returned, and this I sometimes resisted ; but as in this land everything was al reverso, it seemed regular for beggars to be choosers, and I gave him another. My stopping-place was at the house of Mr. Bridges, an Englishman from one of the West India Islands, who had been resident in the country many years, and was married to a lady of Leon, but, on account of the convulsions of the country, lived on his hacienda. The soil was rich for cotton and sugar, and Mr. B. said that here fifty men could manufacture sugar cheaper than two hundred in the islands; but the difficulty was, no reliance could be placed upon Indian labour. Here again, thanks to the kindness of Mr. B. and his lady, and the magnificent wildness of hacienda life, I could have passed several days with much satisfaction; but I stopped only for dinner, after which Mr. B. accompanied me to Chinandaga. As usual, my first business was to make arrangements for continuing my journey. My whole road was along the coast of the Pacific, but beyond this the Gulf of Conchagua made a large indentation in the
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, having 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 maquina 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 re-, sources of this distracted country are incalculable. Peace and industry would open fountains which would overflow with wealth; and I have no doubt the influence 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 Francisco and I reached Chinandega, 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