Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/95

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Driving up to the door of the residence of Don Trinidad Viszcayno, we alighted, and were soon provided for, for the night. The City Council of Zapotlan called immediately to pay their respects, and a band commenced playing in front of the house. The crowd was dense, but well-behaved and respectful, and during our stay, nothing but kind treatment was experienced. Among those who paid us most attention was Señor Don Manuel F. Alatorre of Guadalajara, cousin of Gen. Alatorre, a popular republican commander, then in the City of Mexico.

Zapotlan contains from eighteen thousand to twenty thousand people. There are more Indians in proportion to the whole population than at Colima, and fewer well-dressed people on the streets. This is one of the oldest cities in America, and is situated in one of the richest regions of Mexico; but, two hundred and fifty years' experience have only brought the people up to manufacturing soap and sugar. There are ten or twelve large soap factories in Zapotlan, and the trade is enormous. One of them we visited. There are no iron kettles or utensils in it, and all the heating is done in vats made of brick, while the ladling is done with immense calabashes fastened to long poles. And yet, the work is well done, and the soap much superior to the common brown soap in general use in the United States. The alkali is obtained from soda-earth in immense quantities on the margin of a lake ten leagues from Zapotlan, and the hogs are thrown into the vats whole, bristles and all, as we had an opportunity to see. This is emphatically "going the whole hog." In some parts of Mexico cakes of soap are used as small change, and hence the expression so common in the