Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/275

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263
HOW CORTEZ PROCURED POWDER.

which would have defied the guardian spirits of the Davenport Brothers to release him.

The officer then told the woman to roll the clothing in a bundle and tie it up, which was done; then he ordered the thief to take it in his hand and carry it, which he refused to do. Thereupon he made a loop in the cord, and passing it over the neck of the thief, compelled him to carry it upon his back. As he mounted his horse, his attendant attached the lariat on his saddle to the cord with which the elbows of the culprit were tied, and told him to vamos! instanter. The officer rode off on horseback, with the thief at the end of his lariat carrying the bundle on his back, and walking by the side of the horse, the woman who owned the clothing and those who were wanted for witnesses following him, and the policeman on foot bringing up the rear. That evening the woman returned with the clothing, and brought word that the thief had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to six months in the chain-gang.

The great volcano of Popocatepetl is the grandest and most striking feature of the glorious panorama of Mexico. As seen from the Castle of Chapultepec, or the residences of the Barons or Escandons, at Tacubuya, it is so far beyond the power of language to describe, that only the veriest tyro would make the attempt. Only those who have sat for hours on hours, absorbed, in the surpassing beauty and grandeur of the scene, can approach towards an appreciation of it.

It is related by some historians, that Cortez, having-exhausted his supply of gunpowder in the siege of Mexico, scaled the height of Popocatépetl, and descending into the crater obtained therefrom a quantity of sulphur, with which he manufactured sufficient of the best