Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/360

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346
THE GREAT ANNUAL PILGRIMAGE.

common thing to see a comely young Indian girl, with a sufficient dash of Spanish blood in her veins to cause her cheek to bloom like the sunny side of a yellow apricot, trudging along with a pet puppy in her arms, carrying him to taste the holy waters of the miraculous spring of Guadaloupe.

A railroad now runs along the road of the Penitents, and pilgrims are seldom seen crawling along on their hands and knees, as of yore. I went out there on Sunday, December 12th, on the holy anniversary. The road all the way from the northern gate to Guadaloupe, was so blocked with ox-carts, mule-carts, saddle-horses, and carriages, all bearing visitors to the shrine, that we could hardly force our coach along; and the multitude on foot, raised such a dust as almost to stifle us. We saw but one person —a poor old woman—crawling along upon the knees, by the side of the road; all the rest marched, or rode, straight ahead. The cars went loaded. Most of the people in the better class of carriages, and in the cars, were wholly, or partially, of European blood; but all those on foot, or in carts, were Indians. The former generally appeared to go to see what was to be seen; the latter all went, umnistakably, to worship.

We got within a quarter of a mile of the church, and leaving the carriage, made our way with difficulty through the motly crowd into the plaza in front of the church. There were probably twenty-five thousand to thirty thousand people, of all ages, sexes, and conditions there, and they were going and coming all the time.

All the bells in the towers of the church—some twenty in number—began ringing at once, and the air was filled with their melody. Those old Span-