Puslapio vaizdai

was so loaded she ran aground in mid river away up among the tanglewoods of Hardscrabble. It turned out to be a vexatious day to the boat riders.

Some Irishmen shoveled out a few spadefuls of earth, and a few speeches were made to those who were so fortunate as to get there.

Night drew on, and the throng began to straggle homeward, tired enough. All arrived safely, with no mishaps worthy of note except the famous steamboat. That came puffing homeward through Hardscrabble about dusk, and met an adventure. On the river bank, near Sherman's stone quarry, was a large pile of small stones on the bank, where scows had been loaded. As the steamboat came along a party of Irishmen (for what reason I could never learn) poured in a shower of stones upon the passengers. The boat was not going to be chased on Independence day, and therefore hove to for a pitched battle. Officers tried to do their duty, but failed. At last three men (the leader Mr. Steel) went ashore and put the valiant assailants to flight. An important man who had been brigadier of militia had skulked away on the steamboat and could not be brought to aid in the defense; but when Mr. Steel caught one of these fellows, this same braggart came blustering ashore, and catching up a club struck the captured one, exclaiming courageously, "We'll give it to you!" Many persons spilled their precious blood on that momentous occasion.

At last the sun went down and darkness drew on. The great Illinois Canal had been commenced; the 4th of July had been celebrated; the crowd had let off their overplus of patriotism, and darkness and stillness ended the scene.

In May, 1848, twelve years after the commencement of the canal-which had been discontinued in the bankrupt days of 1838 -all Chicago turned out once more to hail the first boat that had glided through the channel commenced so long before. The canal was at last, after so long a time, finished, and it now exists as a monument of energy and expense. That same canal has consumed more money than it would take to checker our state with railroads.

With me, personally, there are circumstances that will always bring up peculiar emotions when I look upon that old canal. A brother, J. B. Field, to whom his family looked with hope, was out on that day of

1836. He was out, too, in 1848. He had then become a business man, and had a home and family of his own. He went up to Bridgeport in 1848 to see the opening of the canal, and in the evening came home sick and feverish. The cold and the excitement of the day had been too much for him. He laid him down to die. In one short week all that was mortal of him was laid in the graveyard north of Chicago. The days of a city's joy were days of sorrow to us! So do days of joy join hands with days of sorrow and interlink themselves forever!



HOUGH the Pacific was smooth as a duck-pond, not a soul on board the Golden Gate took breakfast on the eighth morning out from San Francisco, for Acapulco was but a few miles off, and we could breakfast much better on shore. Soon we approached the entrance of the harbor; tawny rocks with almost vertical strata project into the blue water; behind them ridges so shaggy with wood and underwood that they might have done honor to Scotland. After rounding another point, we are fairly in the cove, and out of sight of the Pacific. The village-for it is no more-looks pretty among its groves of orange, lime, and cocoa-trees, that even cast their shadow on the white sand below the clear salt ripples.

Thick as musquetoes were the shore boats around us, and great was their rivalry; you had need to step the instant a boat reached the ladder, or it would be drawn from under your feet; however, no accidents happened, and all at last reached the shore, a harvest to the boatmen of some fifty pounds, a dollar being the price for the trip. Beneath some large trees near the landing-place were two-score Mexican women, with as many stalls piled up with oranges, lemons, limes, bananas, pineapples, and water-melons; some, too, had cakes of country-made sugar, fresh eggs, and quantities of dyed coral and flimsy shell ornaments. People from on board ship are always eager for shore luxuries, and home-returning Californians are always free with their money; ladies bought curiosities, and gentlemen fruit; and by the time the ship's gun fired there was little left for sale. I did not wonder that the

most the country. By night I had made three important discoveries-that the women do all the little work that is done at Acapulco, and the men spend their time in cock-fighting or riding for cocks; secondly, that I knew very little at present about smoking a cigarito; thirdly, that the chickens were the toughest, and the choc

place lived entirely on the weekly steamer and the occasional man-of-war; a good big man-of-war, they say, is better than ten steamers. The gun fired, and my shipmates disappeared rapidly; some lamented they had paid their passage through, as they would otherwise have liked to accompany me to Mexico and Vera Cruz; some talked of the danger from robbers-olate the most delicious, by far, of any I such a country for robbers; some, again, in a truly American, or, as Elia would say, Caledonian spirit, expressed their doubts of its being the shortest or cheapest way to New Orleans. The gun fired a second time; the Golden Gate steamed off, Acapulco became quiet, and I was left alone to plan my journey.

had come across.

First, then, for a passport, which I ought to have obtained at San Francisco; but if you have money to spend, no one at Acapulco will oppose your landing or ask to inspect your baggage; you might be disgusted, and return on board ship, and then, good heavens! what a loss. El Señor Miranda, the alcalde of the place and district, received me courteously; he was a fat old gentleman, but fully as courteous as he was fat; nothing would please him better than to give me a passport, and he gave me the document free of all cost, and all in his own handwriting; they have too few travelers to keep printed forms.


Next for an animal and a saddle: you may hire these tolerably cheap, and a man to travel along with you and bring them back again; but it is a "feckless" way of making the journey you travel when he pleases, and stop when and where he pleases; in short, you put yourself and eighty or ninety dollars at his disposal, and are carried through without incident or accident, the charm of all travel. arranged for the appearance of a pony and saddle next day, in time for a start with the vice-consul, (who was glad of a companion besides his servant,) and then I felt enough was done for the day. I was without a companion, for none but myself had stayed on shore, voluntarily; half a dozen, who had smuggled themselves on board at San Francisco without paying their passage, after being kept ironed in the hold on a diet of bread and water, were turned loose at Acapulco, penniless, to get backward or forward as they could, and execute their prodigious threats of actions for false imprisonment, shooting the captain, blowing up the ship, and al

The start on any journey is agreeable; but if it be a journey on horseback, and through the tropics, it is something more. In the cool of the afternoon we rode out of Acapulco between groves of wild and cultivated orange-trees, alternating with patches of corn and sugar-cane; the latter also grows wild. I was burdened with little; only a revolver and a small knapsack: not indeed that, after the fashion of Dionysius, in the Frogs, I carried these myself to relieve my pony; they were slung at the bow of my saddle, a genuine Spanish saddle, for which I must avow something of an affection. There are two other appurtenances none rides without— a prodigious pair of spurs, and a lariette, or long halter, always kept around your horse's neck, and coiled up in front of the saddle when you are riding. It was my destiny to ride if not entirely unarmed, at least all alone; my Rosinante was not fresh, for he had been ridden a long way in the morning; so at a steep, rough hillthat is, a hill I then thought steep and rough-I dismounted, and led him; but after a few minutes he turned refractory, and broke my bridle all to bits; it must have been rotten enough previously; even if you have a thong or two of leather in your pocket-and it is well not to travel without them-it will take you some minutes to mend a broken bridle, and several more to experimentalize on a Spanish bit, if you have not observed their application previously; so by the time all was square again my Spanish friend, the ex-viceconsul, was far out of sight, as soon happens on an up-and-down serpentine bridleroad; sundry messages from in front reached me through the mouths of homereturning villagers, certainly not Homer's "articulate-speaking men;" but I, poor soul! knowing but a trifle of Spanish, and none of the names of villages, failed to apprehend their import, and most innocently rode on a league past the hamlet where my now ex-companion was waiting

their provisions along with them, and also grain for their mules, and a long trough of matting to feed them in. Their noise awoke me a bit of bread was soon munched, Rosinante was soon saddled, and we were off, as the clouds before us had the faintest tinge of saffron, while the morning When you are riding along bridle-paths star was yet undimmed. To have waited alone after dark, or by the uncertain light for a substantial meal would have been to of the moon setting behind the woodland, lose the prime. O those delightful rides yourself very uncertain of your way, too," in solitude, yet not alone," along narand every moment feeling surer of having row paths, shaded, even after the sun was gone wrong, from not reaching the ex- high in the heavens, by flowering trees of pected village-just then the bark of a every kind and color, that load the air dog is the most welcome of all sounds. with perfume, or arched overhead by the Venta had no inn; none of the villages convolvulus in all its varieties, from the have; indeed there are but three or four little yellow one, no bigger than a golden posadas between Acapulco and Cuerna- thimble for the most delicate of fingers, vaca, ninety-three leagues; but if you ask to the large white that might rival a maglong enough you will always find a roof, nolia. The convolvulus, with its tangled and it will not be much more than a roof, growth, embowers the whole country, so to cover you. The walls of the cottages that the unsunned rivulets flow cool across are mere wicker-work, fastened to the your path and all this is among mountains corner-posts that support the roof; the wild and rocky as those of the Highlands, latter is generally substantial, to resist the and infinitely more irregular in their formrainy season, and always projects into a ation this union of sternness and beauty sort of verandah, under cover of which the is the greatest charm of all. At the top fire is built and the cooking goes on. The of one steep, rugged hill, I stopped a breath of a hungry traveler soon blows breathing space, and looking back, had my up the smoldering ashes, and by the time last gaze on the far-off Pacific. Heat and I had seen to my horse having his prov- thirst are apt to diminish sentiment, and ender, my own was ready; bread, choco- even enjoyment, and still more so is an late, fried eggs, and beans, spread out in upset from your horse: after a long drink the verandah; for inside the cottage about from one of the cool streams, I thought to a score of women were kneeling and mount as at other times, but my gallant chanting before a small altar lit up with gray thought otherwise, and for the first a few candles; their voices were not spe- time with me, played his darling trick of cially sweet, but the simple beauty of the kicking and bolting at the critical moment, chant itself, the earnest devotional feeling so that the saddle-girth broke three parts of those who sang, and most of all, the in two, and the saddle turned, and sent me stillness of the hour, produced a harmony to the ground a very neat spill; but from more than sweet; at the commencement my having hold of the lariette, the horse of a journey it seemed "to meet and greet could not escape, and after dragging me one on the way;" and with my revolver a short distance, came to a stand. All under my head, and the strain yet in my this was in the way of business, and did ears, I fell asleep; not in bed, pray do not not prevent our reaching Dos Arroyos expect beds, the villagers have no such (Two Streams) in due season. Puedo luxuries, but only mats of woven rushes almorzar aqui ?" (Can I breakfast here?) that you may spread on the ground, and quoth I, at the first promising cottage. provide your own pillow. "Sì, Señor, blancos y tortuyas ?" Huevos is the legitimate word for eggs, blancos the village term: tortuyas are the national bread of Mexico, as much as oat-cake is of Scotland, but they more nearly resemble scones: the women soak the corn [Indian corn] in lye and water till it is hulled; then pound it with an iron roller on a flat stone, and taking lumps in their hands,

Fully a couple of hours before daylight the muleteers of a train of packmules were busy feeding their animals and preparing their own breakfast. Hardly a day but I met or passed a train of forty or fifty mules, with four or five muleteers to keep them going and refasten the packs that are continually shifting; they carry

for me. Next morning he passed my sleeping village unseen by me, and the next time we met it was in the Grand Plaza of Mexico; as he was in a great hurry to get to the capital, and I was in none at all, our separation was really a very lucky



twist (whence the name) and flatten them into thin round cakes, and bake them on large flat iron pans over the coals; these pans are in all Mexican cottages. Tortuyas, when brought to you hot-and-hot, as they should be, are excellent; but when a day, or even a few hours old, they become tougher than cow-hide, rougher than saw-dust, and more indigestible than wedding-cake. Bread you do not often see in villages, and wheat I did not see growing till on the table-lands of Mexico.

After breakfast and a siesta, I set to work on my broken saddle-girth, and though with queer instruments, mended it, so that very likely it will last till, as Mr. Chucks said of the top-gallant yard, it is time for it to be broken again; but did the fair lady who put a bodkin in my needlebook think its first use would be to mend a saddlegirth, in a Mexican cottage, with a string of buckskin taken out of a pair of Indian moccasins, themselves bought at Great Salt Lake city, the Mormon capital? This afternoon a man tried to "plant" me; there are no professional ladrones till nearer Mexico, but an Englishman at Vera Cruz told me he had been robbed only ten leagues from Acapulco. As I was just on the point of riding down a steep hill through a narrow gully or cutting, where it was hard enough not to strike one's knees, and therefore quite impossible to turn when once in it, up came a rider sharply behind -a little too soon; reining aside, I let him pass on, and he received the customary salute of Addios very sulkily, as one might fancy an Arab who wanted to rob one, eating one's salt; he bore a strong resemblance to one of the muleteers entering Dos Arroyos along with me. At the bottom of the hill he turned into a by-path, and as my own led me up an eminence, I could see him below, in company with another man, riding very fast through the woods in a circumbendibus: my gray had not eaten two reales'-worth of corn for nothing, so we in turn sharpened up. After a league or so, the fellow again rode behind me, as before, just as I was entering a gully; again he had to pass; again he turned into the woods. All this happened a third time, and as it was getting dark he might perhaps have caught me at last in a fix, but for my reaching the little village of Lalto. Positively, next morning he reappeared in the same fashion, but as the path now became terribly steep and

narrow, I thought the game had been played long enough, and allowed my revolver, with its "cinco tiros," to come in view: he saw it, and I saw him no more. Before night the revolver got a ducking; I missed the ford of the Pelegrino, a dark, broad torrent, such as in a northern climate would delight the heart of a salmonfisher; but the pool looked so calm, in spite of the big waterfall at its "tail,” I was tempted in, not indeed supposing it shallow, but yet not expecting sudden depth. In a moment we were swimming; it was soon done, though not without coming near an upset from "the gray," struggling to climb a slippery sunken rock edging on the deep water; but, till it was too late, I had never thought of lifting my revolver: wet as it was, not a single charge missed or hung fire; that is saying something for Deane and Adams's workmanship. There was still half an hour's sunlight, and after spreading the contents of my knapsack to dry, I sat down on à big stone and dissected the pistol, depositing the screws one by one in my wideawake. The lock is very simple, if you are used to it; half an hour's work set all right, and an old buckskin glove made a very fair extempore case while the other was drying in such a warm climate you need not bother about changing your own wet clothes; not, indeed, that I had a change with me.

It is not my intention to speak of every day's ride; they were leisurely enough, seldom beyond four or five leagues in the morning, and as much when the heat of the day was past. The villages, too, are a good deal alike; but Rincon must not be forgotten; Rincon, the smallest of villages, nestling beside a wooded stream at the head of the long valley. It is enshrined in memory along with the green hollow in which, at midnight, I first heard the sweet, sad monotone of the yet unseen Pacific beating against its shore, not wildly or savagely, but with a slow and solemn ground-swell; and from you, little Rincon, I first looked up at the Southern Cross: looked up? no, but along the valley, at the bottom of which, dimmed indeed by the moonlight, yet shining through the moonlight, stood the Cross, almost vertical : the season was that of the vernal Equinox. I suppose none has ever dreamed dreams of travel, and not felt one dream realized on the first sight of le quattro stelle, as


Dante prophetically called them tiful stars in divine symmetry, speaking infinite things at midnight, when the wind is hushed among the pines on the mountains, and the stream in the valley runs silently among the silent trees, and the birds have ceased to sing, and there is calm everywhere, even in a beating heart. Many successive nights I rose from a matbed in some cottage verandah, to look on those stars, and-for so we mingle the most heavenly with the most earthly things-from their inclination knew it was time to give my horse his early feed of


Between a great many hundred feet of ascent and descent in the course of a day's ride, it is hard to perceive any general rise of the country, yet almost league by league something of tropical vegetation drops behind. The cocoa-trees ventured no further than four leagues from Acapulco; but after thirty-five leagues there is a sudden and complete change; without crossing any division, you pass, by a constant ascent out of deep rich valleys among grand, wild mountains, into one that is a mere trough, with bare, brown hills on either side, and reach Masatlan, a village with a stone house, almost a posada. The landlord I found a small strong man, with dark shaggy hair and beard, and with small, but keen, quick eyes; across his forehead and face was an ugly gash, half covered with bands of linen, and the manycolored blanket wrapped loosely round him gave a sort of Orientalism to his appearance. Finding I was from California, he asked a good many questions I did not care to answer, for I did not like his manner or looks; meanwhile his son kept bothering me to take him as a servant for the journey, to clean the cabayos, etc.; I had work enough to get rid of him by standing a reale's-worth of aguardientebrandy, or whatever spirit you like to call it. A few leagues beyond Masatlan is Chilpansingo, a town perhaps three-quarters of a mile square, with long narrow streets closed in by the massive stone walls of one-story houses, pierced here and there with a door, but scarcely ever with a window. Ugly as the valley is, the town itself has many pleasant gardens, full of orange-trees, lemons, and bananas. Many villagers I met tramping home with a stock of candles for the ensuing Easter festival, and others were still buying; but

the chief inn, the Meson di San Francisco, was as quiet as death; they told me the day was 'santo,' and it was impossible to get my horse shod till Saturday, or perhaps Monday. In Mexico traveling with your horse unshod, or with only his forefeet shod, is very common; mine had come so well enough; but with no blacksmith for another thirty-five or forty leagues, I did not like the risk. First I was glad to change some United States gold at par for Mexican dollars, but that involves changing again, for in small villages the people have no money, or are afraid yours may be bad. Sometimes I could not get change even for a two-reale bit or reale; at Chilpansingo, however, they were glad enough to have my United States gold, but were unwilling to change English sovereigns, and would not look at California coin; the latter has a bad name; I lost ten per cent. on all mine, and unfortunately nine tenths of my money was in that form. Even in the States it is at five per cent. discount; but as a dollar a day will pay all your traveling expenses when once started, the loss is not very serious, after all.

Patience and perseverance will do a good deal; I found a blacksmith's house, and sat there till he returned from mass. He would shoe my horse after dinner, and invited me to share the meal; as the following day was Good Friday, dinner was frugal-tortuyas, and two kinds of beans. They offered to get me a spoon to eat with, but I preferred doing at Rome as Rome does, and a few days' practice had made me expert in the application of pieces of tortuyas to all such purposes. After dinner the blacksmith gave me a lesson in making cigaritos, and then walked out to buy horse-shoes and nails at a shop, for they seem to import the shoes in boxes. We could buy but seven nails, and as the day was "santo" the blacksmith would not make more than enough to shoe the fore-feet: the pair of shoes and seven nails cost seven reales, about three shillings and sixpence; and the shoeing half a dollar. A traveled young Mexican came in, and assisted me in blowing a quaint pair, or one might say two pairs, of vertical bellows: he assured me there were placeres in the mountains opposite, and wished I would stay to work them; he had been to New York to get up a mining company, but came back aпρактоç, as Thu

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