Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/207

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201
A GAME PADRE.

million dollars, in coin, to put the requisite machinery on the ground, drain the mine by pumping, and commence work. It is generally believed that countless millions of treasure yet remain in this mine, and will some day be exhausted.

In the chapel near the tiro, we saw the votive offerings and pictures presented by grateful miners in commemoration of some miraculous escape from death. One of these was a rude painting representing a miner falling into the great tiro, and being miraculously caught and stayed in mid-air by the Virgin, as he pronounced her name. If any man will convince me that a human being ever fell into that shaft, and escaped with a whole bone in his body, I will swallow all the stories you may tell me about ancient and modern miracles henceforth, without a doubt or question. We saw a number of men sorting over and sifting a great pile of waste ores, the accumulation of years, and this was all the work going on at this great mine when we were there. On every wall, and over every gate-way was the sign of the cross, and ruin and desolation overshadowed all.

Near the church we saw a cross, erected on the spot where a man was waylaid and murdered by bandits only a few months before. Near this, and on the direct road to Guanajuato, a priest was stopped only a short time before our visit, "put up" and "gone through," by the bandits who took every dollar he had, kicked him, and told him to travel. After they had let him go he felt in his pockets, and finding a rial which they had overlooked, called them back, and with a grim humor said to them, "Here my poor friends, there is still 12 1-2 cents coming to you!" They took the money,