Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/117

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111
STRANGE SIGHTS ON THE ROAD.

wealthiest land owners in Mexico. The grand canal, miles in length, and of solid masonry, through which the water is earned for irrigating this estate, cost in itself a colossal fortune, and the sugar-mills and other improvements must have required an outlay of a million dollars, at least. As it was a little distance from our road, we did not visit it.

After leaving Santa Anna Acatlan, we passed through a better cultivated country for some miles, and then entered a pass through the mountains to the north-eastward, which led us into the Valley of Guadalajara. Passing through one Indian village, we saw a number of men and women kneeling in groups by the roadside and looking imploringly at the carriage, but they did not speak or hold out their hands like beggars, and we were unable to form any idea of their object. They remained kneeling and regarding us in silence as long as we were in sight. There was something unnatural and painful to me in the spectacle of those men and women thus kneeling on the earth, in silent supplications, as if they had mistaken the party for visitors from heaven instead of another country, and I would be sorry to see it repeated.

We saw another strange sight next day. Indian men and women, walking by the roadside, carrying great burthens on their backs, three hundred or four hundred pounds weight of coarse earthernware or other articles, in long wicker baskets, and braiding straw hats, or knitting fine embroidery as they moved along, bending beneath their loads. Of this embroidery I shall speak again hereafter.

Our road continued to be fearfully cut up, and heavy from the recent rains, and our progress slow. We were