Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/533

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two persons, perched high up on leathern springs in the centre. It was drawn by three little mules harnessed all abreast, one in the shafts, and one on each side; it will be long ere I shall look upon its like again.

That night we all went to the Sisal theatre. It is a funny affair. The stage was under a palm leaf-thatched shed, open on one side, and the scenery was permanently fixed, admitting of no changing. The audience sat in a large open yard, with the starry Heavens above them for a roof, and a grove of cocoa palm trees in full verdure for a back ground. It is doubtless the tallest theatre in the world at this time, the best ventilated, and the safest in case of a fire or an earthquake.

What the play was I could not find out. The company was composed of amateurs, and the performance for the benefit of some charity which I hope deserved it. The theatre was filled to repletion, the mosquitoes occupying all the space not required by the audience of some five hundred people. The principal actor was the Prefecto Politico of the town, a fine, fleshy, old gentleman, who, despite the loss of one eye, played his part right well. I made his acquaintance, and found him a true gentleman, and very pleasant company indeed. Admission dos rials, and un rial extra for a chair—total, thirty-seven and one half cents. The scene was novel and interesting, and I shall not soon forget that evening's entertainment at the theatre, by the side of the restless, moaning sea, on the wild, lone shore of Yucatan.

That evening a party of officials and leading citizens left Merida, on receipt of the telegram announcing Mr. Seward's arrival, and come down to the coast before midnight, having galloped their horses all the way.