Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/153
THE FINE ARTS AND LITERATURE.
regular histories and of newspaper intelligence, so that populace may to some extent be getting their information for the first time.
Riva Palacio has written also, with Manuel Payno, a large work appropriately called El Libro Rojo (The Red Book). It gives an account (and graphic illustrations) of the heroes and other notables in Mexican history who have come to violent ends. This is a fate that has over-taken aspirants to distinction quite regularly, and the plates from the book, hung up at the book-stalls in the Portales, are a ghastly chamber of horrors. The three lighting curates of the early insurrection, Hidalgo, Morelos, and Matamoras begin the series; and Maximilian, Mejia, and Miramon, standing with bandaged eyes at the Hill of las Campañas, for the present conclude it.
Several minor writers have feebly essayed the Aztec material for fiction. Riva Palacio has availed himself also of the picturesque life under the Spanish viceroys. Of him it is to be said that, though of the sensational school, and careless in plan, he has, not unfrequently, passages of genuine force, and unhackneyed incidents that enchain the attention.