Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/238
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.
I cannot say just why I visited so many prisons. Perhaps because they were always under the eye, adjoining the public offices, and the prisoners were a cheerful lot, who did what they could to attract attention. At Cholula we found them weaving, on a primitive kind of hand-loom, bright sashes of red and blue, which are sold in part for their own benefit. Their accommodations compared favorably with the barracks along-side. When we asked questions about them they stopped work and listened attentively. The guards, I fancy, thought we were trying to identify some persons who had robbed us not—conceiving of such a visit for the pure pleasure of it.
The recollection had involuntarily given me rather dark and depressing ideas of Tlaxcala, as a place of
When I inquired the way to Tlaxcala there was such an ignorance on the subject at my hotel, at Puebla, that it almost seemed as it I was the first person who could ever have been there. A luxurious Englishman abandoned me at this part of the expedition, claiming that nobody knew whether there were conveyances from the junction, whether there were even inns. It seemed to him a case of sitting on a Tlaxcalan door-step and perishing of hunger, or being washed away by the torrents of the rainy season. I found, however, that there was a choice of two trains a day, and went on alone. What then? I suppose Cortez did rather more than that. Tlaxcala was the most undaunted and terrible of all his enemies. He made his way to it after insuperable obstacles, and it was only by the alliance of the warlike Tlaxcalans, when he had finally won them over to his cause, that he effected the conquest of Mexico.