Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/208

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188
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.


II.

The extremely civilized company pouring down to this shabby little place had a grand banquet in an old convent now adapted to the uses of a railway station, and plentiful speech-making afterward. There were a number of merry young journalists of the party, and they comported themselves as merry young journalists are apt to. They rapped on the table and called "otro!" "otro!"—another!—with pretended enthusiasm, even after the dullest speeches. It seemed typical of something curiously illogical in the Mexican mind that in festoons about the banqueting hall were set impartially the names of the presidents and other great men of the past, from Iturbide down to Manuel Gonzales. Iturbide adjoined Bravo and Guerrero, by whom he was shot as a usurper and enemy of the public peace; and Lerdo Portirio Diaz, by whom he was ousted as traitor and tyrant. In the same way these personages, alternately one another's Caesars and Brutuses, are honored impartially in the series of portraits in the long gallery of the National Palace.

There was naturally prominent here the portrait of the Padre Morelos, with the usual handkerchief around his head, and bold air of bandit chief. It is curious that priests should have taken such a share in the early insurrection. They recall those warrior ecclesiastics of the Middle Ages, who used to put on quite as often the secular as the spiritual armor. Probably the oppressions of the Spaniards were often too intolerable even for ecclesiastical endurance. Morelos, strangely enough, when the revolt broke out, was curate under Hidalgo at Valladolid, in Michoacan, and followed him to the field. He came,