Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/58

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
40
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.

ally sit down upon a bench in the midst of it, and gaze comfortably about—can it be possible?

The imposing cathedral makes a new pyramid on the spot where once stood the pyramid of the Aztec war-god. These stones should be ankle-deep with all the blood of various sorts that has been spilled upon them. For a moment one renews the pagan superstition. I would gladly see set up again, for a brief instant, old Hutzilopotchli, the war-god, aloft on his ancient terrace, hear the beat of the lugubrious war-drum, and see the mournful procession of captives winding up to the sacrifice, in charge of the sinister priests with their black locks flowing down upon their shoulders.

But not one instant too long. What! hideous priests, you will indeed lay them down on the sacrificial stone, and raise the knives of flint above their bared breasts for the monstrous slaughter? Not one hair of their heads shall be harmed. San Jago and Spain! When was Castilian ever known to turn his back upon a foe? Up the pyramid we go, leaping from step to step, though with no better weapon than a sun-umbrella in hand, to their deliverance. Ay, howl if you will, baffled miscreants, and rattle your spears and arrows like hail upon us! Down with your old Hutzilopotchli till he crashes in fragments below there. Your carven sacrificial stone shall be set up in the court-yard of the Academy of Fine Arts of San Carlos for this, and your great calendar-stone, a show-piece, against the side of the cathedral.

It is a good day's work. I estimate that there were in that train of captives not less than a hundred souls!

But it is hard to conjure up images of desperate conflicts, though there have been so many, in this bright sunshine, with the multitude of pretty, novel sights. On one side of the square a beneficent institution, the Na-