Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/270

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260
AN AZTEC IDOL

thousand years. In height it does not compare with the Big Trees of California, but it has a certain beauty of itself, and its history makes it one of the objects of interest in the vicinity of this wonderful old Capital.

There is an old church, half in ruins, near the old historical cypress-tree, which was erected in commemoration of the Noche Triste, and, singularly enough, the worshipers are all Indians—in fact, the Indians built it and have always occupied it. In a niche in the church we saw an ancient Aztec idol, where a saint would be found in other churches. It appeared singular enough, among the images of Saints, Martyrs, and the Holy Family, but it is held in much reverence by the Indian worshipers, and the white priests do not offer to object to it on account of old associations.

In another part of the church we saw a sarcophagus, which the Indian boy who acted as a guide for us—in consideration of a rial—told us contained the body of the Savior of the world. I think that he must have been misinformed, as his story disagrees, in some important particulars, with the commonly accepted history of the crucifixion and resurrection; but as there was no possible good to be attained by a discussion with him, we did not stop to dispute it.

From the old church, we went to a beautiful pleasure-garden called the "Garden of San Cosme," where we found shady walks, trees, flowers, and many conveniences for amusement. It is true that the "Happy Family" consisted of a deer and a poodle-dog, only, but the other appurtenances of the place were perfect. They charge one dollar an hour for the use of a bowling alley, and we proceeded to rent the establishment and run it. We had champagne, and "the Judiciary of