Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/52

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46
RURAL MASS AND SUNDAY SCENES.

When we arose on Sunday morning we, found a fat, round-bellied, jolly-looking priest, in black, sitting in the door-way, while his assistants were hanging a bright, large-patterned chintz curtain up along the wall under the lower verandah, and preparing for mass. Donning his rich embroidered white satin robes, he opened the service. The native women and children came stealing quietly in, and knelt on the pavement, in the great walled area by themselves, while the men in lesser numbers came in, and knelt or sat carelessly about in the verandah. The priest read his prayers in an inaudible voice in Latin, then, seated in a chair, read indifferently a very good, sound, practical, moral sermon in Spanish, then concluded the services "with bell and candle," and then proceeded to pack up his traps. I observed that Señor Huarte stood by as "patron" during the services, but the congregation, consisting of perhaps one hundred, all told, contained no other men of intelligence or education. Gov. Cueva, Señor Rendon, and the other educated men who were with the Seward party, regarded the priest and his proceedings with apparent indifference. When the service was over the priest packed up his things, mounted his little mule, took his umbrella in his hand, and galloped away to hold service somewhere else. His figure as he galloped off was so strikingly Spanish and picturesque that it might answer for an illustration of Gil Blas or one of Cervantes works.

All that morning mounted men were galloping back and forth, receiving orders from Señor Huarte, hat in hand, or detailing: the latest news from the river. At 2 p. m. the stages arrived, and the baggage, which had come up meantime, was packed and started off. Having