Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/494

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and now as useless piles of stone, copper, iron, and coral as could by any possibility be got together; its mixed and mongrel population; its wide, straight streets, paved in the old Spanish style with the gutters in the centre; the old churches and public buildings, gray and worn with the storms of centuries and any number of sieges and bombardments; its swarms of Zopilotes, and its hideous and importunate beggars; everything, in fact, about the place is interesting.

At the corners of all the principal streets are hitching posts of a novel character: old Spanish, iron guns, set in the ground, breech down, and often rusted away to such an extent as to be hardly recognizable. I would hesitate some time before hitching my horse to such a post; suppose it should happen to go off with him?

Many of the buildings still bear the marks of the balls and shells thrown into the city by the American Army under General Scott; and I noticed one old church which was then partially unroofed, and has never been repaired. In walking about the streets I frequently saw balls or pieces of exploded shells, embedded in the pavement. Many of these were thrown into the city by Miramon, in the attempt to dislodge Juarez in the early part of 1860—an attempt which was frustrated by the direct interference of the American Minister and the American fleet.

The Zopilotes were my friends; but for them I should have had no amusement or occupation for hours at a time.

You should have seen the jolly row I managed to kick up, by throwing a handful of garbage to them from a restaurant, and then sending a small dog among them, to worry them and make the feathers fly.