Sidor som bilder

While listening to this account we heard a noise in the street, and looking out of the window, saw a man on the ground, and another striking at him with a white club, which by the inoonlight looked like the blade of a broadsword or machete. A crowd gathered, mostly of women, who endeavoured to keep him off ; but he struck among them with blows that would have killed the man if they had hit him. He was one of the Ras. con gang, a native of the town, and known from boy. hood as a bad fellow. All called him by name, and, more by entreaties than force, made him desist. As he walked off with several of his companions, he said that the man was a spy of Morazan, and the next time he met him he would kill him. The poor fellow was senseless; and as the women raised up his head, we saw with horror hairs white as snow, and the face of a man of seventy. He was all in rags, and they told us that he was a beggar and crazy; that he had given no provocation whatever ; but the young scoundrel, in passing, happened to fix his eyes upon him, and calling him a spy of Morazan, knocked him down with his club. Very soon the crowd dispersed, and the women remained to take care of the old man. These were times which required the natural charity of woman to be aided by supernatural strength. Every woman dreaded that her husband, son, or brother should cross the street at night, for fear of quarrels and worse weapons than clubs; and we saw five women, one with a candle, without a single man or boy to help them, support the old man across the street, and set him up with his back against the side of the house. Asterward a woman came to the door and called to the woman in our house, that is the young man passed again he would kill him; and they went out again with a can



dle, carried him into the courtyard of a house, and locked the door. The reader will perhaps cry shame upon us, but we went out once and were urged to refire, and two men were standing at the window all the time. It was natural to wish to break the head of the young man, but it was natural also to avoid bring. ing upon ourselves a gang which, though broken, was strong enough to laugh at the authorities of the town, and to waylay us in the wild road we had to pass. There was one ominous circumstance in the affair: that in a town in the State of San Salvador, a man dared threaten publicly to kill another because he was a partisan of Morazan, showed a disaffection in that state which surprised me more than anything I had yet encountered. Our men were afraid to take the mules to water, and it was indispensable for them to drink. We were cautioned against going with them ; and at length, upon our standing in the doorway ready to go to their assistance, they set off with loaded pistols. When I passed through Izalco before it was a tranquil place.

Early in the morning we started, arrived at Zonzonate before breakfast, and rode to the house of my friend Mr. Le Nonvel. It was exactly two months since I left it, and, with the exception of my voyage on the Pacific and sickness at Costa Rica, I had not had a day of repose.

I was now within four days of Guatimala, but the difficulty of going on was greater than ever. The captain could procure no mules. No intelligence had been received of Morazan's movements; intercourse was cntirely broken off, business at a stand, and the people anxiously waiting for news from Guatimala. Nobody would set out on that road. I was very much distress. ed. My engagement with Mr. Catherwood was for a specific time; the rainy season was coming on, and by the loss of a month I should be prevented visiting Palenque. I considered it actually safer to pass through while all was in this state of suspense, than after the floodgates of war were opened. Rascon's band had prevented my passing the road before, and other Ras. cons might spring up. The captain had not the same inducement to push ahead that I had. I had no idea of incurring any unnecessary risk, and on the road would have had no hesitation at any time in putting spurs to my horse; but, on deliberate consideration, my mind was so fully made up that I determined to procure a guide at any price, and set out alone.

In the midst of my perplexity, a tall, thin, gaunt-look. ing Spaniard, whose name was Don Saturnino Tinocha, came to see me. He was a merchant from Costa Rica, so far on his way to Guatimala, and, by the advice of his friends rather than his own judgment, had been already waiting a week at Zonzonate. He was exactly in the humour to suit me, very anxious to reach Guati. mala ; and his views and opinions were just the same as mine. The captain was indifferent, and, at all events, could not go unless he could procure mules. I told Don Saturnino that I would go at all events, and he under: took to provide for the captain. In the evening he returned, with intelligence that he had scoured the town and could not procure a single mule, but he offered to leave two of his own cargoes and take the captain's, or to sell him two of his mules. I offered to lend him my horse or macho, and the matter was arranged.

In the midst of the war-rumours, the next day, which was Sunday, was one of the most quiet I passed in Cen. tral America. It was at the hacienda of Dr. Drivon,



about a league from Zonzonate. This was one of the finest haciendas in the country. The doctor had imported a large sugar mill, which was not yet set up, and was preparing to manufacture sugar upon a larger scale than any other planter in the country. He was from the island of St. Lucie and, before sitting down in this out-of-the-way place, had travelled extensively in Europe and all the West India Islands, and knew Amer. ica from Halifax to Cape Horn; but surprised me by saying that he looked forward to a cottage in Morristown, New Jersey, as the consummation of his wishes. I learned from him that Jemmy, after his disappearance from Izalco, had straggled to his hacienda in wretched condition and sick of campaigning, and was then at the port on board the Cosmopolita, bound for Peru.

On our return to Zonzonate we were again in the midst of tumult. Two of Captain D'Yriarte's passen. gers for Guayaquil, whom he had given up, arrived that evening direct from Guatimala, and reported that Carrera, with two thousand men, had left the city at the same time with them to march upon San Salvador. Car. rera knew nothing of Morazan's approach; his troops were a disorderly and tumultuous mass; and three leagues from the city, when they halted, the horses were already tired. Here our informants slipped away, and three hours afterward met Morazan's army, in good order, marching single file, with Morazan himself at their head, he and all his cavalry dismounted and leading their horses, which were fresh and ready for immediate action. Morazan stopped them, and made them show their passports and letters, and they told him of the sally of Carrera's army, and its condition; and we all formed the conclusion that Morazan had attacked hem the same day, defeated them, and was then in

Vol. II.-I

possession of Guatimala. Upon the whole, we consid. ered the news favourable to us, as his first business would be to make the roads secure.

At three o'clock the next morning we were again in the saddle. A stream of fire was rolling down the Vol. cano of Izalco, bright, but paler by the moonlight. The road was good for two leagues, when we reached the Indian village of Aguisalco. Our mules were overloaded, and one of Don Saturnino's gave out entirely. We tried to procure others or Indian carriers, but no one would move from home. Don Saturnino loaded his saddle-mule, and walked; and if it had not been for his indefatigable perseverance, we should have been compelled to stop.

At one o'clock we reached Apeneco, and rode up to one of the best houses, where an old man and his wife undertook to give us breakfast. Our mules presented a piteous spectacle. Mine, which had carried my light luggage like a feather all the way from La Union, had gone on with admirable steadiness up hill and down dale, but when we stopped she trembled in every limb, and before the cargo was removed I expected to see her fall. Nicolas and the muleteer said she would certainly die, and the faithful brute seemed to look at me reproachfully for having suffered so heavy a load to be put upon her back. I tried to buy or hire another, but all were removed one or two days' journey out of the line of march of the soldiers.

It was agreed that I should go on to Aguachapa and endeavour to have other mules ready early the next morning; but in the mean time the captain conceived some suspicions of the old man and woman, and resolved not to remain that night in the village. Fortunately, my mule revived and began to eat. Don Sat

« FöregåendeFortsätt »