Our Sister Republic/Chapter 4
FROM ZAPOTLAN TO GUADALAJARA.
WE were under a cloud, as it were, in Zapotlan, where we arrived somewhat unexpectedly, in advance of the time which had been fixed upon by the population, and the reception of Mr. Seward, though hospitable, lacked the warmth and enthusiasm we had noticed elsewhere on our trip. We left Zapotlan on the 17th of October, therefore, with no feelings of regret, even in view of the fact, that by prolonging our stay a few days we might have been enabled to "assist" at the bull-fights, which were to last a full week, and for which a large amphitheatre was being erected, and extensive preparations making. The bull-fights were to be followed by cock-fights, on a grand scale. It is a little singular that the people of the towns where the festivals of the Saints are celebrated with the greatest furore, take the most delight in the cruel and demoralizing amusements of the bull-ring and the cock-pit, but it is true nevertheless. Zapotlan is a good illustration of the union of piety and brutality. Zacatecas and several other States have by legislative enactment abolished bull-fights, but in Jalisco they are still the popular amusement.
As we advanced into the interior we continued to ascend the spurs of the Sierre Madre, until we had reached a point twenty miles north-eastward from Zapotlan, when we found ourselves upon the summit of a range of broken mountains, in a locality famous for its brigandage. The bandits, who have been so relentlessly pursued and are now being exterminated, formerly, rarely allowed a traveler to pass this point unrobbed. All along the road from Zapotlan, we had noticed large wooden crosses by the roadside. Each of these crosses bore an inscription giving the date of the murder of some traveler by the brigands, and such facts as might be known concerning him, with a request for travelers to pray for the repose of his soul. These crosses were, in nearly every case, adorned with fresh flowers, though they were often of great age, judging by their weatherstained and moss-grown condition.
From passages in Byron's Childe Harold, we learn that this custom is observed all over Spain, and I know, from personal observation, that it is common in all Spanish America. In the Apache Country of Arizona, I have many times seen the poor Mexican miners stay for hours, to erect a rude cross of stone over the remains of some victim of the relentless savages, although they were personally unacquainted with him, and knew naught of his history, only judging by his appearance that he was a Christian.
These gentlemen of the road are still numerous and daring. Only quite recently they kidnapped a gentleman at night in the streets of Zapotlan, and run him off to the mountains, where they kept him prisoner until his friends raised and forwarded to them one thousand dollars in coin; and a few days before, they attacked and routed the guard accompanying the brother of Mr. Oetling, North German Consul at Colima, within a few miles of Seyula, and he only saved himself by the fleetness of his horse. The members of the fraternity who have been made prisoners and executed, acknowledged their guilt, and admitted that they were connected with a band which had ramifications throughout the Central States of the Republic, and kept regular accounts of their profits and losses, and made dividends to the stockholders on the best and most liberal commercial system. But the Republic and the several States are
HACIENDA IN THE MOUNTAINS OF JALISCO.
now actively at work in conjunction, and it is "short shrift and a long rope" whenever they catch any of the precious rascals.
From the summit of the range which we had been ascending all the morning, we looked down at 11 a. m., on a scene of infinite beauty, and almost unlimited extent. Spreading out from the base of the hills on which we stood, to the very limit of the vision in the eastward, was a magnificent valley, divided into farms with neat hedges and fences, and dotted with mesquite and other trees, giving it the appearance of one vast orchard and garden. Fields of tall corn, now almost ripe for the harvest, waved through all the valley, and here and there the white walls and red roofs of large haciendas and village churches were seen through the embowering foliage. Far away, in the north-east, were the mountains which cut off the valley from Lake Chapala, and northward rose a range of magnificent mountains—a spur of the great Sierra Madre—green to the summit, and checkered, here and there, with lighter green fields of corn. The long Laguna de Seyula stretched through the valley on its north-eastward side, and villages could be seen all along its banks. The bright sun shone down on all this peaceful scene, as it does in June in the United States, and the dark shadows of the flying clouds drifted like the moving figures of a panorama over valley, village, and mountain. But for brigands, and revolutions, and foreign invasions, this would be an earthly paradise—
And a pleasant land to see."
We descended, at a gallop, into the valley of Seyula, the long line of our military escort, with their dashy uniforms and glistening muskets, stretching far out in the rear, and passed through a small village, inhabited mostly by people of Indian descent, who regarded us with unrestrained curiosity, but great respect, doffing their hats and saluting us with the pleasant compliments of the country, as we passed. At a second village, we came unexpectedly upon a collection of eight or ten elegant carriages—regular New York turn-outs—drawn up in a line, and fifty horsemen, magnificently mounted, their saddles being of the costliest pattern and glittering all over with silver, formed in double column. Instantly, the bells of a little church rang out a joyous peal, unusual on a Sabbath-day, and as the coach stopped, the horsemen advanced and sat with uncovered heads, while their spokesman informed Mr. Seward, that they came on behalf of the Government and people of the State of Jalisco, and the authorities and residents of Seyula, to welcome him to their State and town, offer him an humble dinner, and the hospitalities of the place for as long a time as he chose to abide with them. Mr. Seward replied as briefly and heartily as possible, and leaving the stage and entering the carriages, the party started off with the double escort at full speed for Seyula, five miles distant.
Arriving at the town, we found all the population out to meet us, and from every door and window, and every accessible spot on the sidewalks, respectful salutations greeted the strangers from the North. Dark eyes and red lips, such as we saw but seldom in the "Tierra Caliente," smiled welcome upon us, and as the carriages rolled into the Plaza de Armas, the ringing of bells, firing of cannon, strains of martial music, and vivas of the populace, added emphasis to the greeting. Through a double file of well-dressed and intelligentlooking citizens, then through the portal lined with swarthy soldiers presenting arms, the party passed into the great paved court-yard of the Casa Grande of Seyula, and entering the parlor of the house were made at home, at once. The presentations over, we were invited into the hall, where breakfast—it was a grand dinner in fact—was spread, and the tables were speedily filled, all the places not occupied by our party being taken by the citizens and accompanying ladies, while a swarm of servants and citizens waited upon them. It is the fashion, in Mexico, to change the plates of the guests with every dish, and plate followed plate in rapid succession, until we were surfeited. Wines, too, were there in abundance, and the best of all was the dark, rich, fruity, and oily product of the grape of Seyula, resembling Malaga of the finest quality, which it fully equals, if it does not actually excel.
We were now, for the first time, in the grape-producing region of Mexico, and our first introduction to its wines was an agreeable one, indeed. Fraternity and good feeling were the order of the day. What surprised us most, was the fact, that these people had only heard of the coming of the party six hours previously, and that this whole demonstration was thoroughly impromptu. I doubt if any town in the United States of the same, or even twice the population, could, or would do as much in thrice the time, for the President himself; and all this was for merely a distinguished citizen of the United States, and friend of Mexico.
When the solid viands had been removed, Enfraus Carison, Political Prefect of Seyula, arose and read a warm address of welcome. José G. Arroyo, a young representative of the press of Guadalajara, followed in an impassioned and truly eloquent and patriotic address, and others followed in like manner. Mr. Seward made a brief reply, in terms similar to those of his speech at Colima, and his remarks being interpreted to the audience by Señor Cañedo, were enthusiastically applauded.
It was then announced that the annual conferring of rewards in one of the public schools in Seyula, which was going on when we arrived, had been suspended for the time, in order that Mr. Seward might be present. Repairing to the school-house—there are four in this old town of eight thousand inhabitants—we found about one hundred and twenty-five boys and two hundred girls, arranged in the two wings of the building, the sexes being seated separately. All arose at our entrance and bowed politely, remaining standing until requested to be seated. The furniture of the school-room was scant, and of the plainest kind, and the children, mostly, very plainly dressed; but they looked cheerful and intelligent, and all were perfectly neat and clean. There were all colors and shades of colors among the pupils, but there was no distinction of class or condition, so far as their treatment and conduct toward each other went.
A bright, manly little fellow, Lorenzo Villalbazo, aged twelve years, came forward, and read in a loud, clear voice, an address which had been delivered at Guadalajara by an eminent friend of education; and Amanda Ron, Reymunda Villalbazo, and Geronima Ortega, aged eleven, twelve, and thirteen years respectively, followed with readings of selections copied by themselves. Their reading was equally faultless, and could not well be improved. I noticed that in each selection, special reference was made to the public schools of the "great and powerful Estados Unidos del Norte" as the source of our strength and glory, but was told that the selections had not been made with reference to our being present, as we had not been expected. The distribution of prizes, silver coins with tri-colored—green, white and red—ribbons, followed. I noticed that a majority of the prizes were carried off by children of full Indian blood, and one of the highest was taken by a young Indian woman of seventeen years, whose scant, but scrupulously neat apparel indicated, unmistakably, that she was the daughter of people in very poor circumstances.
I am surprised at the excellence of the public schools of Mexico, when I remember how recently they were called into existence, and, even more so, at the bright intelligence and excellent deportment of the pupils. On the streets, the children of Mexico are patterns of good behavior, and the rowdy element, so painfully apparent among the youth of our Northern cities, is wholly absent here.
Seyula is one of the oldest cities of Mexico, and boasts of a number of churches quite out of proportion to its population. Some of these we visited. We found one of them, though plain outside, a magnificent structure inside, with long rows of pillars and vaulted ceiling, painted in rich fresco designs beautifully executed.
The inhabitants of Seyula, not to be outdone by those of more pretentious towns, got up a select dancing party in the evening, in honor of their visitors, and among the dancers I noticed an unusual number of fine-looking men and beautiful women, of the pure, or nearly pure, Spanish type. One of these, Dolores Mora, daughter of the paymaster of the State Guard of Jalisco, then in the field against the bandits, was a perfect beauty, and would have been a belle in any ballroom in Christendom. A full, round face, soft, dark brown hair, large, lustrous, black eyes, complexion just tinged with the hue of the olive, cheeks like the ripe, red peach, bright red lips, contrasting with the pearly teeth, and a slender, petite figure, moving with a willowy grace through the dreamily voluptuous mazes of the danza; in all the store-house of my memory there is not a sweeter picture than that.
At midnight we retired to rest, and all night long, heard the strains of soft music from harp, and guitar, and violin, which told us that the festivities still went on.
At day-break, as usual, we were off again on our journey. Our road all day—about thirty miles—lay along the margin of the Laguna de Seyula, and between fields of tall corn, sugar-cane, beans, red pepper, &c., &c, surrounded by high fences of solid stone, mostly of lava formation. The roads were heavy with mud from the recent rains, and our progress very slow. The lake, swollen by the storm—was from three to six miles, wide and thirty long. Geese, and little white cranes, curlew, plover, ducks, &c., abounded along the shores, and great flocks of pink-hued birds, resembling flamingoes, were seen from time to time. We saw two bright red birds, called "cardinals," perched on the tops of the great "pitilla," Cactus, which here forms a prominent feature in the vegetation; the castor-bean, which here becomes a permanent and beautiful tree, was seen all along the road, and the tree-cotton—a cotton-plant entirely unlike that of our Southern States, really a tree—abounded. The mountain sides were everywhere patched with fields of corn and barley—the first ripe and the latter two-thirds grown—far up towards their summits.
Villages, inhabited by working-people of Indian descent were frequent. At one of these, called Techaluta, we were met by a company with a fine brass-band—every little hamlet in the country has one—and men with rockets, who played, and fired rockets as long as we were in sight. They had no flags, but had stretched every handkerchief and piece of bright-colored goods in the town, on lines across the street; and a horseman, dashing up to the carriage, threw in an address of the most progressive republican fraternity type, addressed to Mr. Seward and signed by the principal men of the municipality. At another Indian village, Guamacate, we obtained a breakfast of tortillas, chicken, and frijoles in abundance for fourteen persons, all for one dollar and a half. The same fare would have cost us in New York two dollars each.
At 2 1-2 o'clock p. m. we reached the end of our day's journey at the village of Zacoalco, and were met outside of the town by thirty finely mounted men, as at Seyula, and escorted to our lodgings in a large, cool, roomy house, surrounding a square area filled with tropical trees and flowers. The military guard of the town were drawn up at the gate-way to receive us, and the entire population was gathered in the vicinity. We were now at the head of the Laguna de Seyula, and at the commencement of the Laguna de Zacoalco. From the shores of the lake at Seyula, is taken the soda-earth used in making soap all over this part of Mexico. From its waters, salt of a fair quality for mining purposes is manufactured; and the owner of the lake, Señor Escandon of the city of Mexico, derives from it a revenue of sixty thousand dollars per annum, though it is but carelessly administered.
The valley is dotted all over with the bean-bearing mesquite trees, and on them grows a variety of parasites—the misletoe and a similar parasite plant—bearing bright scarlet blossoms in wonderful profusion. The variety and beauty of the flowers are so great as to be beyond the power of description. Even the best educated residents of the country do not know the names of half the flowers we saw by the roadside. Twenty leagues is the distance from Zacoalco to the great city of Guadalajara, where we were to rest on our journey for a week, or more.
We left Seyula, under the impression that at Zacoalco we should rest in peace, with no serious demonstrations, the place being represented as extremely dull. We were therefore much surprised to find the town of some fifteen thousand people, wide-awake, and determined not to be behind the other little cities of the State of Jalisco, in its hospitalities. We were invited at 8 p. m. to participate in a dinner, which for completeness and sumptuousness in all its details, could not be excelled at the finest hotel in New-York with every preparation, and found a number of prominent citizens of the place in attendance, anxious to do the honors of the table in the most creditable manner. They did it. After dinner, the company returned to the parlor, where addresses, fervid, eloquent, and patriotic, were delivered by the Political Prefect and other leading citizens. Mr. Seward responded, in terms similar to those of his previous speeches, and his remarks being translated by Señor Cañedo, were warmly applauded. Music and singing followed, and it was midnight before one of the most pleasant reunions we attended in Mexico finally broke up.
At 6 a. m. on Tuesday, the bugles of the military escort sounded the advance, and the long train was off for Guadalajara; just as the first rays of the warm Autumn sun of the tropics gilded the tall towers of the grand old Church of Zacoalco—towers which have looked down on the gray-walled town unchanged for three hundred years—kissed the placid waters of the Laguna de Zacoalco, and crowned with glory the grand, old, green-clad mountains which surround the ever-beautiful valley.
Half-a-dozen miles from Zacoalco, we ascended a steep hill of volcanic origin, and came upon the battle-field of La Coronea. Here, the Imperialists sent out by Maximilian, to prevent the Republican Army of the West commanded by Gen. Ramon Corona advancing from Sinaloa, from uniting with those of Escobedo who commanded the Army of the North before Queretaro, were strongly intrenched on the summit of the broken, irregular hills, with stone walls in front. The position commanded the road on both sides and is naturally a strong one; but the tide of war had turned; the ragged Chinacos, who at first were demoralized in presence of the better drilled and better armed French, Belgian and Austrian mercenaries, had learned from experience how to fight them, and the foreign invaders were themselves demoralized and disheartened. Corona's forces carried the position at the point of the bayonet, and the Imperialists were utterly routed, the entire force being killed or made prisoners. Escobedo had already routed and scattered like chaff the Imperialist Army of the North under Miramon, at Zacatecas, and was laying siege to Queretaro. Corona arrived before the doomed city just in time to participate in the most desperate portion of the contest. When the last desperate sortie was made by Maximilian with the hope of cutting his way out and escaping to the Pacific coast, via Morelia, Corona's division caught the full weight of the blow, and was savagely handled and cut to pieces; but the delay was fatal, though the sortie had become an almost insured success, for it enabled the Republicans to rally to the rescue just in time. Escobedo's victorious army came up, and, falling upon the Imperialist forces, rolled them back in utter rout within their intrenchments, and from that time forth, the fate of the Empire and of Maximilian was sealed.
Among the most daring, active, and determined of the officers in General Corona's command, was General Angel Martinez, a native of Sinaloa, and commander of a brigade noted for its rough style of fighting and defective outfit. This dashing officer, with the most inadequate means, accomplished important results and contributed much to the overthrow of the Imperial cause in the North-west. His enemies nicknamed him "El Machetero" from the machete or short sword—the favorite weapon of his followers—a weapon which he himself wielded with terrible effect on more than one occasion. When Corona was holding the French in Mazatlan, after the terrible defeats he gave them at the Presidio of Mazatlan and Palos Prietos, Martinez entered Sonora, and swept it like a whirlwind; nothing escaped him in the field, and the hurried evacuation of Guaymas by the French at his approach, alone saved a remnant of the force from utter extermination.
In one of the battles, near Hermosillo, the forces of the Imperialist butcher, General Lanberg, who was the perpetrator of the wholesale massacre of La Noria, were cut to pieces, and Lanberg, himself, lassoed and pulled out of the saddle, with a jerk which broke his neck, by one of Martinez's subalterns. War to the death had been proclaimed on both sides, and no quarter was given or asked.
One day in 1869, the writer was standing on Montgomery street in San Francisco, conversing with General Martinez and others, when the subject turned on the languages which each spoke, or did not speak. One could speak Spanish, English and French; another German, English and French, and so on. One of the party deprecatingly remarked that his Spanish was deficient, but added, "I have managed to wade through a good deal of French in my life-time." "What does he say?" asked the General quickly. The remark was translated to him literally, when he instantly lifted his hat with a polite bow, and responded, "Yo tambien Señor!" (I also Sir!) It was, all things considered, the most terrible pun I ever heard uttered.
For twenty miles, our road led us along the shores of the Laguna de Zacoalco, a part of the time with the Laguna de Seyula on the opposite side of the tongue of land on which we traveled. The soil was for the most part coarse and gravelly, and the country little cultivated. The mountains, though covered with dense verdure, were composed almost wholly of old lava, and all the fences along the roadside were built of the same material, in fact, this entire country is of comparatively recent volcanic origin. At the upper end of the Laguna de Zacoalco, we passed near the water-side for miles. Great cane-brakes came up to the road in many places, and, growing by the edge, of the water, we saw thousands of beautiful pink and spotted lilies, richly fragrant, and much like the Japanese lily in appearance. Many species of birds, unlike those of the United States, were seen all along the shores of the lake. Among them were flocks of large pink birds, which in the distance appeared to me like the ibis. I also noticed the "wandering ibis " of Audubon, and the "Great Whooping Crane," snow white, except two bars of black on the wings, with black legs, red spots on the top of the head, and black bill. This crane is occasionally killed in Illinois and other western states, and was confounded by Audubon with the sand-hill Crane of the west, he supposing it to be the old bird of that species. There was also a large crane with snow white body and jet-black wings, of which I once killed a single specimen north of the Rio Grande, in Texas, the small white crane of the west, and swarms of birds of the curlew and plover species, quite new to me, though I am familiar with the birds of all parts of the United States.
At 10 o'clock, we arrived at the village of Santa Anna Acatlan, where we breakfasted at a Mexican fonda, or hotel, the first we had visited in Mexico. Our table was set in the corridor, opening on the square area, or patio, in the center of the establishment, and adjoining the kitchen. Everything came upon the table in excellent order, clean and well cooked. It is a singular fact that in Mexico one never sees a badlycooked dish. Such a thing as a joint of meat coming upon the table half-raw, is wholly unknown here. There are many people who adhere to the belief, that when modern "improved" cooking-stoves came into use in the United States, and the old-fashioned bake-ovens disappeared, good cookery vanished with them, and I am more than half inclined to admit that they are right. These Mexicans who have only earthern ovens and stoves, utterly unlike anything ever seen in our country, and not a single iron dish, all being of the light glazed, brown earthernware of the country, contrive to cook twenty times as great a variety of dishes as we are able to compound, and what is more, cook them all to perfection. On the whole, I don't think we know anything about cooking in the United States.
The charges at these Mexican "fondas" are quite reasonable; say twelve and a half to twenty-five cents, at the outside, for a "square meal," and lodgings, such as they are, at a nominal cost. They do not usually provide beds, the travelers carrying blankets, or mattresses, with them; and as the beds are not unlikely to be a little too much crowded for comfort when they are furnished, it is better to carry your own sleeping outfit with you.
From the hill above Santa Anna Acatlan, we had a fine view of the immense Hacienda del Plan, the largest and finest sugar estate in the State of Jalisco. The house stands upon a hill overlooking the Laguna de Zacoalco, and is surrounded by the sugar-works and other buildings, with vast fields of sugar-cane, now twothirds grown—it requires from one year to fourteen months to come to full maturity—in all directions. The house is like a great square castle in appearance, with columns and verandah all around, and looks like a fit place for the residence of a prince.
From this estate, a large part of the great State of Jalisco, which has nine hundred thousand inhabitants, or more than any other in Mexico, derives its supply of sugar, and its products are sent even as far north as the Rio Grande. It belongs to Señor Ramos, one of the wealthiest land owners in Mexico. The grand canal, miles in length, and of solid masonry, through which the water is earned for irrigating this estate, cost in itself a colossal fortune, and the sugar-mills and other improvements must have required an outlay of a million dollars, at least. As it was a little distance from our road, we did not visit it.
After leaving Santa Anna Acatlan, we passed through a better cultivated country for some miles, and then entered a pass through the mountains to the north-eastward, which led us into the Valley of Guadalajara. Passing through one Indian village, we saw a number of men and women kneeling in groups by the roadside and looking imploringly at the carriage, but they did not speak or hold out their hands like beggars, and we were unable to form any idea of their object. They remained kneeling and regarding us in silence as long as we were in sight. There was something unnatural and painful to me in the spectacle of those men and women thus kneeling on the earth, in silent supplications, as if they had mistaken the party for visitors from heaven instead of another country, and I would be sorry to see it repeated.
We saw another strange sight next day. Indian men and women, walking by the roadside, carrying great burthens on their backs, three hundred or four hundred pounds weight of coarse earthernware or other articles, in long wicker baskets, and braiding straw hats, or knitting fine embroidery as they moved along, bending beneath their loads. Of this embroidery I shall speak again hereafter.
Our road continued to be fearfully cut up, and heavy from the recent rains, and our progress slow. We were now in a country where the freighting business is carried on, mostly, with heavy wagons and heavier ox-carts with enormous wheels of wood, with wooden axles and no felloes, the whole middle of the wheel being filled with a solid block of heavy wood. The oxen are yoked by the head instead of the neck, and driven, half a dozen yokes to a single cart, like mules before a wagon. The wives, and often the children, of the cart-drivers accompany them on their long journeys from city to city, and one of their camps by the roadside is a little village in itself. The poor people of the villages along the route live, to a considerable extent, by supplying these teamsters and other travelers with articles of food, cheese, fruit, cigarritos, matches, and ardent spirits. A bottle of the fiery liquid distilled from the mescal plant, otherwise called the "American aloe," or "century plant," which blossoms in this latitude in five to seven years from planting, instead of once in a hundred, as is commonly believed at the North—called "mescal"—is sold at the little wayside stands for six and one-fourth cents, and will produce as much drunkenness as a barrel of North American whisky.
There is a superior variety of the mescal produced near Guadalajara, and called after the village in which it is made "Tequila," (pronounced Tekela.) This costs more, and is sent to the City of Mexico and elsewhere, as something very choice for a present to one's friends. I took one drink of it under the supposition that it was annisette, or some other light liquor, swallowing possibly about an ounce, druggist's measure, before I smelled the burning flesh as the lightning descended my throat. As I sat down the glass my head began to increase in size so rapidly, that I saw at once, that unless I got outside immediately, the door would be too small to admit of my passing through it. Seizing my hat which appeared to have become of about the size of an ordinary umbrella, I turned it up edgewise, and succeeded by a tight squeeze in passing it through the door; the street then appeared funnel-shaped, and I remember an odd fancy that I was to resemble the man who "went in the big and came out at the little end of the horn." Curiously enough my legs decreased in size, as my head enlarged, and my last recollection of the affair is that my person resembled a sugar hogshead walking off on two straws: body I had none. No more tequila for me, please!
The teamsters and muleteers drink this clear, colorless, harmless-looking concentrated lightning with apparent impunity; but a single bottle of it will cause a rebellion among an entire regiment of soldiers, and
very likely result in a pronunciamento on the spot. Nevertheless, the ox drivers, like the muleteers, are a quiet, well-behaved, and generally honest and trustworthy class of men, quite equal in these particulars to any class in the same walks of life in any country.
When we were in the pass through the hills, between the Valleys of Zacoalco and Guadalajara, our team went down in a mud-hole of unusual depth and enormity, and stayed there for nearly two hours before it could be extricated. When, at last, we passed across to rolling and but sparsely grassed and wooded plains, resembling those of Southern California in appearance, with numerous villages, each with its great house and white-walled church, and came upon the edge of the table-land overlooking the proud City of Guadalajara, the sun was just going down in the west, and the full round moon coming above the eastern horizon. What a glorious scene! The city, white-walled and red-roofed, with its numerous churches, and immense and magnificent Cathedral overtopping all, stood out grandly beautiful in the double light, a sight to look upon and admire, and to exult over in memory henceforth through all our lives.
At a little town three or four miles outside the walls of Guadalajara, we met a line of light carriages, with an escort of about one hundred citizens, splendidly mounted, on horseback, with the Municipal Council and the Secretary of Gov. Cuervo, and others, coming to offer the hospitalities of the city, and a hearty welcome to the Capital of Jalisco.
Entering the carriages, we were driven rapidly toward the city, the military escort, civil police in uniform, and mounted citizens forming a magnificent cavalcade nearly half a mile in length, galloping on either side. As we neared the walls, the roadside was lined with private carriages, filled with the beauty and fashion of the city; and when we passed through the barrier and dashed down the narrow, well-paved streets, the sidewalks were crowded, and every window and house-top occupied. Beautiful women waved their handkerchiefs, and gave a smiling welcome on all sides. All Guadalajara seemed to be abroad in the cool, bright evening, all pleased, all happy, and all anxious to welcome the strangers from the North.
We were driven directly to a house, in elegance of appointment the counterpart of that of Señor Huarte at Colima, but on a much grander scale, and as soon as we were in doors, the keys were presented to Mr. Seward, and the whole establishment was placed at his disposal; he was told to consider it his own, and each member of the party requested to order what he desired, from a drink of water to a carriage, during our stay. With the exception of the servants, the party were the sole occupants of the entire premises, and we were most emphatically "at home" for the week. Gov. Cuervo, with much consideration, sent word that as we had traveled so far, and must be very weary, he would postpone his call until morning, and we were left alone for the night! And such a night!
Dinner over, I wandered alone out into the streets, visited the grand plaza, and saw the people of the city, old and young, rich and poor, proud and lowly, sitting on the seats beneath the orange trees, conversing and passing the time happily and innocently away, myself alone, of all the crowd, unknowing and unknown. I heard the visit of Mr. Seward and party frequently mentioned, and some curiosity as to its object and full purport expressed; but no unkind sentiments, no harsh suspicions were uttered in my hearing, and there seemed to be but one feeling toward the visitors.
In this proud old city, the source of unnumbered revolutions and pronunciamentos in times gone by, I heard more whisperings of love than talk of war on that delicious evening; and when I retired to rest, the soft, fragrant air, heavy and sensuous with the breath of flowers, coming in through the open window, was accompanied by the music of the light guitar, and the sweet voice of woman, singing the old, old song, from the blossom-wreathed balcony on the opposite side of the street.