Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/471

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THE INDIAN PACKERS AGAIN.

the people were again looking forward with hope to the future. Nevertheless, we found the town as quiet as a well-regulated cemetery, and saw no sign of life, such as would be found in an American city.

The mists from the Gulf of Mexico come up here almost daily, and it rains, more or less, nearly every week in the year. The atmosphere is of course very damp, and fevers are quite prevalent and severe.

Most of the freight between the end of the two sections of the railway, is packed through the Cumbres, and over the dusty plains to Puebla, or vice versa, upon mule backs; but all the vegetables, charcoal, country produce, earthenware, etc., etc., is still packed into this, as other towns, on the backs of stalwart male and female Indians.

It is wonderful how much these Indians will carry on their backs at a dog-trot, and how cheaply they will carry it. If they have to transport a given amount of freight for twenty miles, even right alongside the railway all the way, they never think of putting it upon the cars, but divide it up into three or four hundred pound packages, get it upon their backs, and go off at a pace equal to the average speed of a fast-walking horse.

If they start for a town, with a load of fruit or vegetables to be sold in the market, they will not dispose of it on the way, even if offered double the price at which they propose to sell it on the plaza. Like the negro, who when fishing for catfish, was seen to catch a fine, large pickerel, deliberately take him off the hook, and throw him out into the stream as far as his strength would enable him to hurl him, and who, in answer to an inquiry as to his reason for so doing, replied: