Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/38

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32
LOST TREASURE.

their opinion from letters written for publication abroad by European correspondents residing here, generally suppose.

A few years ago a vessel was loading Mexican dollars in the harbor of Manzanillo, when a box or two fell overboard, and the divers failed to recover them. The boxes at last rotted and went to pieces, and since that, from time to time, the waves during great storms wash the dollars ashore. When we arrived the waves had been immense, and the shore all along the front of the town, was lined with the poorer natives, hunting for the precious pesos. As these men earn their living by hunting, and loading and unloading vessels, having perhaps two or three days work in a month, a dollar is quite a fortune to them, and the finding of two or three is an event of their lives. The dollars are stained to an inky blackness by long immersion in the sea-water, but are still worth their face, and no discount is charged on them by the merchants, who get them all in the end. The people are small eaters in this hot climate, and beef is ten cents per pound, and beans fifteen cents, while fish can be obtained for the taking from the water, and fruit costs next to nothing; so that every time a native finds one of these dollars, he has secured the means of a comfortable living for a month, and may consider himself a gentleman for that' time if he is of economical habits, and not given to gambling.

We heard much apparently well grounded complaint about the management of postal matters in this part of the Republic. The Government charges twenty-five cents on each letter, but, singularly enough, while there are no Government mails between here and the interior, there is a Post-Office, and the postage is rigidly exacted.