Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/364

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350
THE MIRACULOUS FOUNTAIN.

In the chapel, which is richly ornamented like the church, is the original picture of Juan Diego after receiving his message hurrying to the Bishop to deliver it. I was pained to notice that the picture was that of a Spaniard with thin features and a slight curling beard—not that of an Indian at all. There must have been a mistake here somewhere. However, the old clothes which Juan Diego wore are still there, and as they prove the truth of the story in the main, why should we care for a few discrepancies in the minor details.

At the foot of the hill, just below the main church, we saw where some enthusiastic explorer had been boring for oil, with regular Pennsylvania machinery. The rock is purely volcanic, and pitches directly away from the point where he was boring; nevertheless, if he had found oil there in such a sacred place, it would beyond doubt have been unusually valuable for illuminating and other purposes.

We worked our way around to the chapel on the north-east of the church, which stands over the great flowing well of mineral water which opened at the touch of the Virgin's foot. There was a dense crowd around it, and all were drinking of its waters and filling jars and earthen jugs and bottles with it, to carry away to their homes to be used as medicine until their next annual visit. I noticed that the copper kettle with which the water is drawn up from the well, is chained fast; but that is the custom of the country, and must not be construed into a direct reflection on the honesty of the pilgrims. A Mexican lady who visited the well with me, tasting the water remarked, "It is very disagreeable!" when a woman standing by her rebuked her with: