« FöregåendeFortsätt »
man, I had beheld the same representation of the descent from the cross; but the enthusiasm of Greek pilgrims in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was nothing compared with this whirlwind of fanaticism and phrensy. By degrees the excitement died away; the cracking of the pine branches ceased, the whole arbour was broken up and distributed, and very soon commenced preparations for the grand procession.
We went out with the corregidor and officers of the municipality, and took our place in the balcony of the cabildo. The procession opened upon us in a manner 80 extraordinary, that, screening myself from observation below, I endeavoured to make a note of it on the spot. The leader was a man on horseback, called the centurion, wearing a helmet and cuirass of pasteboard covered with silver leaf, a black crape mask, black vel. vet shorts and white stockings, a red sash, and blue and red ribands on his arms, a silver-hilted sword, and a lance, with which, from time to time turning round, he beckoned and waved the procession on. Then came a led horse, having on its back an old Mexican saddle richly plated with silver. Then two men wearing long blue gowns, with round hoods covering their heads, and having only holes for the eyes, leading two mules abreast, covered with black cloth dresses enveloping their whole bodies to their feet, the long trains of which were supported by men attired like the other two. · Then followed the large silver cross of the crucifixion, with a richly-ornamented silver pedestal, and ornaments dangling from each arm of the cross that looked like lanterns, supported by four men in long black dresses. Next came a procession of Indians, two abreast, wearing long black cloaks, with black felt hats, the brims six or eight inches wide, all with lighted candles in their
hands, and then four Indians in the same costume, but with crowns of thorns on their heads, dragging a long low carriage or bier filled with pine-leaves, and having a naked scull laid on the top at one end.
Next, and in striking contrast with this emblem of mortality, advanced an angel in the attitude of an operadancer, borne on the shoulders of six men, dressed in flounced purple satin, with lace at the bottom, gauze wings, and a cloud of gauze over her head, holding in her right hand a pair of silver pincers, and in her left a small wooden cross, and having a train of white muslin ten yards long, supported by a pretty little girl fancifully dressed. Then another procession of Indians with lighted candles; then a group of devils in horrible masquerade. Then another angel, still more like an operadancer, dressed in azure blue satin, with rich lace wings, and clouds, and fluttering ribands, holding in her right hand a ladder, and in her left a silver hammer; her train supported as before; and we could not help seeing that she wore black velvet smallclothes. Then another angel, dressed in yellow, holding in her right hand a small wooden cross, and in the other I could not tell what.
The next in order was a beautiful little girl about ten years old, armed cap-a-pie, with breastplate and helmet of silver, also called the centurion, who moved along in a slow and graceful dance, keeping time to the music, turning round, stopping, resting on her sword, and waving on a party worthy of such a chief, being twelve beautiful children fancifully dressed, intended to represent the twelve apostles; one of them carrying in his arms a silver cock, to signify that he was the representative of St. Peter. The next was the great object of veneration, the figure of the Christ crucified, on a bier, AFFLICTIONS OF A CURA.
in a full length case of plate glass, strewed with roses inside and out, and protected by a mourning canopy of black cloth, supported by men in long black gowns, with hoods covering all but the eyes. This was followed by the cura and priests in their richest robes and barehead. ed, the muffled drum, and soldiers with arms reversed; the Virgin Mary, in a long black mourning dress, closed the procession. It passed on to make the tour of the city; twice we intercepted it, and then went to the Church of El Calvario. It stands on an elevation at the extreme end of a long street, and the steps were already crowded with women dressed in white from the head to the feet, with barely an oval opening for the face. It was dark when the procession made its appearance at the foot of the street, but by the blaze of innumerable lighted candles every object was exhibited with more striking wildness, and fanaticism seemed written in letters of fire on the faces of the Indians. The cen. turion cleared a way up the steps; the procession, with a loud chant, entered the church, and we went away.
In the evening we made several visits, and late at night we were called to a conference by some friends of the cura, and on his behalf. His troubles were not yet over. On the day of our arrival he had received a peremptory order from the provesor to repair to Guatimala, with notice that “ some proper person” would be appointed in his place. We knew that the terms of the order afflicted the cura, for they implied that he was not a proper person. All Quezaltenango, he said, could answer for his acts, and he could answer to God that his motives were only to prevent the effusion of blood. His house was all in confusion; he was pack. ing up his books and furniture, and preparing to obey the provesor's order. But his friends considered that Vol. II.-EE
it was dangerous for him to go to Guatimala. At that place, they said, he would be under the eyes of Carrera, who, meeting him in an angry moment, might cut him down in the street. If he did not go, the provesor would send soldiers after him, such was the rigour of church discipline. They wished him to fly the country, to go with us into Mexico; but he could not leave without a passport from Guatimala, and this would be refused. The reason of their unburdening themselves to us showed the helplessness of his condition. They supposed that I might have influence with the provesor, and begged me to write to Guatimala, and state the facts as they were known to all Quezaltenango. I had determined to take no part in the public or personal affairs of this unhappy revolution, but here I would not have hesitated to incur any trouble or risk to serve the cura could it have done him any good ; but I knew the sensitiveness of the men in power, and believed that the provesor and the government would resent my interference. I proposed, however, to write to a friend who I knew stood well with the provesor, and request him to call upon that dignitary and state the facts as from me; and I suggested that he should send some friend to Guatimala expressly to see the provesor in person. Returned to a land of government and laws, I can hardly realize that so short a time since I was called in to counsel for the safety of a man of the cura's char. acter and station. Relatively, the most respectable clergyman in our country does not stand higher than he did.
The next morning we were invited to breakfast with another friend and counsellor, and about as strange a one as myself, being the old lady who had sent the cura one hundred dollars, before mentioned. The plan
was discussed and settled, and in the course of the day two friends undertook to visit Guatimala on the cura's behalf. We intended that day to ascend the Volcano of Quezaltenango, but were disappointed in our guide. In the morning we made purchases and provisions for continuing our journey, and as one of our mules' backs was badly galled, we requested the gobernador to procure us Indian carriers.
In the afternoon, in company with the corregidor, we rode to the warm springs of Almolonga. The road crosses a spur of the volcano, and descends precipitously into a deep valley, in which, about a league distant, stand the village and hot springs. There is a good bathing-house, at which we were not allowed to pay, being considered the guests of the city. Outside, in a beautiful natural reservoir, Indian men, women, and children were bathing together.
We returned by another road, passing up a valley of extraordinary beauty, and the theme of conversation was the happiness the country might enjoy but for wars and revolutions. Beautiful as it was, all wished to leave it, and seek a land where life was safe-Mexico or El Norte. Toward evening, descending the spur of the volcano, we met several hundred Indians returning from the ceremonies of the Holy Week, and exceeding in drunkenness all the specimens we had yet encountered. In one place a man and woman, the latter with a child on her back, were staggering so near the brink of a precipice, that the corregidor dismounted and took the child from them, and made them go before us into the town.
There was no place we had visited, except ruined cities, so unique and interesting, and which deserved to be so thoroughly explored, as Quezaltenango. A month,