Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/460

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444
A MEXICAN BRIDGE BUILDER.

When the railway company, at the collapse of the Empire, found it necessary to suspend work a few months, more or less, on account of the condition of the country, it is said that they sent an English sub-superintendent down to Amozoc, to take charge of the material on hand in that vicinity. With perfectly Anglican simplicity, he housed all the iron rails, and left the chairs and spikes out-of-doors. It is hardly necessary to say that on the resumption of work not a chair or spike was to be found, and I may add that the price of steel goods manufactured at Amozoc had mean time fallen to exactly the cost of the workmanship, no charge for material being reckoned by the enterprising Amozocians in their estimates of the expenses of carrying on the business.

The leaving of the chairs and spikes out of doors was of course an absurdity, but that it was quite necessary to house the rails is demonstrated by the fact that they used to disappear every night, when left out of doors and not fastened down. One day an officer of the company was riding some twelve miles distant from the track, when he saw a countryman driving an ox team, with one of the full length T rails, weighing sixty pounds to the foot, dragging on the ground behind them. Demanding to know what he was doing with the rail the fellow replied, with a shrug of the shoulders:

"Oh, just going to build a puntacita" (i. e., a little bridge.)

"But that rail belongs to the railway company; don't you know that?"

"Oh, no, Señor, I did not know who it belonged to. Do you represent the company?"