Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/210

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

Nobody was a braver or better soldier than he before he attempted to betray it to the British.

Well, I suppose the Mexicans understand it, but I don't. Are they content with such a mixed ideal of good? Can a person have been such a patriot at one time that no subsequent crimes can weigh against him? One very simple lesson from it all would seem to be a less impatience with the ruling powers, on the one hand, and much less haste with powder and shot, on the other.


I stayed a couple of days at Cuautla, to visit the sugar haciendas. The sugar product is large, and the district one of the most convenient sources of supply for central Mexico. A week afterward the newly inaugurated road was the scene of an accident unequalled, I think, in the annals of railway horrors. Five hundred lives were lost, in a little barranca, an insecure bridge over which had been washed out by the rain. A regiment in garrison at Cuautla was ordered to Mexico, and started in a train of open "flat" cars, there not having been passenger cars sufficient for the purpose. On other flat cars was a freight of barrels of aguardiente. The start was made in the afternoon. There was delay on the track. The shower came on, the night fell, and the men, pelted by the storm, without protection, broke open the aguardiente, and drank their fill. Some say that the engineer reported the road unsafe, but was forced by an exasperated officer to go on with a pistol at his head. They came to the broken bridge, and the train went through. The soldiers who were not mangled and incapacitated outright—drunk, and crazed with excitement stabbed—and shot one another. The barrels of aguardiente burst and took fire; the car-