Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/523

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505
THE RANCHERO AND HIS PIG.

The pig thus urged, persisted in traveling, mainly with the two legs on one side, which naturally caused him to move in a circle, instead of advancing in a direct line. As the circle grew neither larger, nor smaller as the day wore on, it was evident that neither man nor beast got nearer home, or nearer market. It never appeared to occur to the man that if he would change the rieta and the cornstalk from hand to hand occasionally, the pig might be induced to change his tactics also, and adopt the line of practical advance and progress, in place of the line of beauty, which leads us, practically, nowhere, after all. The chances are that hunger, or the desire for "sleep, tired nature's sweet restorer" etc., in the fullness of time induced a change of tactics on the part of one or the other; but which? Did the endurance of the man equal his attachment to "el cosas del pais" and prove too much for the pig? or did the pig's proverbial obstinacy wear out the man? or did each hold his own, and are they both destined to walk around and around on that lonely hillside as we left them, through the endless cycles of eternity? I ought to have staid and seen it out; but an aching void within me urged me on, and I did not; I wish I had let it ache!

The other doubt is sadder, and more painful still. As we went down by rail from Paso del Macho to Vera Cruz, we looked from the window of what had been Maximilian's imperial car, upon a scene by the roadside which struck me nearer to the heart, and filled my soul with sadness and doubt more utterly unfathomable.

A poor, old steed—who may have borne Santa Anna and his fortunes in his day, or better served the world by drawing a dump-cart for a grading party on the railroad track—had been turned out to die. The zapilotes