Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/51

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45
DON JUAN FIRMIN HUARTE.

turbine wheel which is to run some of the machinery and assist in irrigation. The grounds all around are filled with carts and other agricultural implements, exposed to sun and rain, and a great part of the work done on the buildings and ditch, &c., has been wasted, because not half done,—a set of incompetent theoretical European engineers, having botched everything from the start. The proprietor, Señor Huarte, now sees how he has been imposed upon, and when we were there, was endeavoring to secure the services of a clear-headed practical American, then at Colima, to take charge of the work and carry it on to completion. He has already expended $200,000 on improvements on his estate and from appearances, it will cost fully half as much more before he will derive an income from it. The fields are rudely fenced with round poles, and cultivated in a very primitive manner with clumsy agricultural implements. When in full operation with proper management, the estate ought to pay interest on a million dollars.

Señor Huarte is a native of old Spain, short, dark, rotund, polished in manner, courteous and hospitable, and fond of doing everything on a princely scale. His grand house is at Colima, where his children reside—he is a widower—and this is only his country residence. During our stay, he entertained us on a scale of magnificence which puts the hospitalities showered on our visitors to California completely to shame. His kitchen swarms with domestics, male and female, and at his table, course after course of meats, fowls, vegetables and fruits follow each other with rapidity, for hours at a time, and are washed down with wines from every grape growing country from Ay and Malaga, to Sonoma.