( Originally Published Early 1911 )
Fair Jalapa: New Scenes and Customs: A Strange Plant: The Stone Monkey: The Cathedral: The Market: The Plaza: Longing for Old Friends: Ancient Tlaxcala: Historical Reminiscence: Convent of San Francisco: Meeting the Governor: El Santuario: Romance and Tragedy.
I DEPARTED from Puebla in the morning. The first part of the journey lay across a level and fertile country, which ascends gradually, past the old Spanish fortress at Perote, to the summit at the extremity of the tableland, where the altitude is over nine thousand feet. From there the descent into the hot country is rapid and the scenery is very beautiful. I arrived at Jalapa, which lies midway between the table-land and the coast, in the early afternoon. At first sight I thought, " It is like Uruapan ! " I took the open car, drawn by a six-mule team, and we started for el centro. The mules were buckskins, with the black stripe along the backbone and the zebra markings, that mean good breed; and they were as alike as six peas in a pod. They carried us at a spanking trot, up a long, narrow, cobble-paved street, between neat, one-story tiled houses, with wide, overhanging eaves common to the hot country. At the end of the street is a sharp ascent. The driver whistled and rattled the brake, the six buckskins tugged at their collars, there was a hurried scramble of hoofs on the cobbles, and we were at the top, trotting past the plaza with its palms, ever-greens and briar-rose hedges, into the center of the town, where the old Cathedral looks across a smaller plaza at el Palacio Municipal, with the comfortable hotel and the wide portales filling the farther end of the square. On strolling to the plaza after dinner I was unprepared for the magnificent scene that met my eyes. The plaza crowns the hill, and from it you look off, over the lower portion of the city, across a broad stretch of country to the distant mountains. It being then the rainy season, they were partly hidden by the mists, which rested on their peaks, filled the canons, and floated before them, revealing illusive, sunlit vistas. What they must be on a clear day, with Orizaba lifting his white crest eighteen thousand feet into the blue, I could but partly conceive. Throughout my stay, I had not so much as a peep at the ancient monarch, and with Mrs. Hudson's charming legend fresh in mind, I fancied him, in his annual mourning period, when he wraps himself, head and all, in his cloud-blanket and refuses to look upon his people.
Jalapa's plaza is a terrace garden, beautiful with flowers and crystal fountains; but when you tire of all these, there are the mountains to look upon. You leave the place reluctantly, looking back, and resolve that next time you will devote yourself to the garden. I went the next morning determined to see nothing but the flowers, which were profuse and varied. The gardener said that March, April and May were the flower months. In addition to briar roses, which form the hedges, there were fuschias, hydrangeas, fleurs-de-lis, balsam, dahlias, marguerites, sweet william, larkspur, chrysanthemums, cadmus, canna, roses and lilies in variety, and many others that I did not know. There was one particularly gorgeous lily in the Spanish colors, crimson and gold; and a shrub, called tulipan, which bears both a single and double flower of crimson, with yellow stamens. One has but one set of petals, with the yellow tuft in the center, while others, on the same tree, are as full as double poppies.
Jalapa is a clean city. It is built on a hill and drains naturally. I smelled no uncanny smells there. The fountains are especially attractive, being usually of blue and white tiles, spotless, and filled with clear, cool water. There is that pleasant monotony in the houses which is peculiar to the old cities, or the old parts of cities. I am sure the eye is oftener troubled by the glaring unrelation of adjoining houses, than by their sameness. In Jalapa there are whole squares of low, cool-looking houses, some light blue, others terra-cotta or white. The tile roofs have taken on a good color with age: the windows are protected by green or black bars, and through the Moorish grills at the entrances one gets a glimpse of flowering patios. All growing things flourish, there is such an abundance of water. In the outskirts of the city, many houses have extensive walled gardens, which are jungles of coffee shrubs and banana palms. As the roadways are built up, you look over the walls and down upon a tangled thicket of green. On every hand you hear running water, but so thick is the foliage, you seldom see it. Many of these walls are provided with a long, low bench on the street side; in fact there is every opportunity for resting, with comfortable seats lining the long front corridor of the palace and chairs under the portales, fronting the plaza. Nevertheless I was impressed by the vivacity and activity of the Jalapenos. They are quite different in this respect from any people I have met in my travels. The lower classes are notably decent and cleanly. They walk rapidly, with erect, graceful carriage, and collectively they are a handsome people. I noticed more than usual in the poor people, that gentle, kindly expression that draws me to them: and if I spoke to them, their way of answering showed them as kindly as they looked.
The city has rather a cosmopolitan air and really is a center in a way. The foreigner attracts little attention, but meets everywhere with friendly treatment. One gets an idea of what is meant by la franqueza de la costa (the frankness of the coast). There is little begging and all the working-people have a comfortable look. This ex-tends to the beasts. The mules are all sleek and lively, and I saw men leading burros with halters. This burro seems quite different from the one we see in Mexico City. He is quite a fiery little fellow, proud and quick-stepping, and looks as though he would bolt on provocation. Could anything be more different than the yoking and driving of oxen in Northern lands and in Mexico? Here the yoke is for the neck, and the oxen are guided by " Gee-haw, buck!" There, the yoke is for the horns, and the driver walks silently ahead, his goad resting lightly on the cross-bar between the heads of the oxen and the great brutes follow its slightest deviation.
Jalapa is lighted by electricity, as are the palace and various buildings. The Jalapa Electric Light and Power Co., which has its plant at the falls of Texolo, lights in addition to Jalapa, the adjacent towns of Coatepec, Xico and Teocelo, and several large haciendas, besides sup-plying power for factories and coffee mills. At Xico, about an hour's run from Jalapa, trains connect with the stage, which conveys passengers to la Cascada de Texolo one of the beauty spots thereabouts. Texolo, pronounced Tay-sho-lo, means " stone monkey." In a corn patch, at some little distance from the falls, there is a rock with the figure of a monkey carved on it.
The Indians that people the district say that when the fathers of their tribe settled there, they encountered the carving, left by a previous people. The older tribe, ac-cording to legends, was very extensive. Old Xico, whose site is now marked by a few ruined dwellings, is said to have been a large town. A plague destroyed the populace and the town gradually disappeared. An extensive area is thickly strewn with obsidian arrow fragments and pieces of pottery, and a number of stone idols have been discovered there.
The falls, which are magnificent, are in a deep gorge, where vegetation runs riot. There are beautiful wild flowers, among them orchids of a brilliant rose-pink, and the finest ferns I ever saw. The tree ferns are especially large and full and there is a finer variety, which hangs from the rocks in great clusters; also a species that I think is called elk-horn. The strangest plant is one with a feathery, fern-like foliage called vergonzoso which I take to mean, " the ashamed one." At the slightest touch, not only of a live body but of any foreign object, the leaves curl up tightly and remain closed — how long I cannot say. You touch the top of the plant and it shuts up, quick as a wink: you touch a lower branch, and presto ! that has closed. If you grasp the stalk, the entire thing seems to go to sleep, all the little branches drooping, hanging limp and apparently life-less. The flower is a little fuzzy tuft, pale pink. There is another plant, evidently of the same family, which has a yellow bloom. When there are no flowers, however, you cannot tell them apart except by their actions. He of the yellow flower is quite unabashed when you lay hold of him. He holds up his head in defiance, where his little pink sister droops with shame. My host did not know the name of this bravo; so we christened him "sin verguenza" (without shame). In walking about you continually encounter one or the other, and you cannot resist touching every one, to see whether it is vergonzoso, or not. We learned later that the unashamed is called sensitivo. I picked some of each, and though the latter held out for some time, he eventually curled up as the other; so he is sensitive, if not supersensitive. Perhaps he is like the male of other species. If left alone, he eventually becomes a tree, resembling somewhat the pepper tree. As to vergonzoso, I cannot say. I should suppose each rebuff scared her out of fully a year's growth, and that, in this way, she would never reach maturity.
Two other plants, that we did not touch, are known as mal hombre (bad man) and mala mujer (bad woman). They have broad, flat leaves and are really nettles.
One thing reminded me of the North, even there. It was a beautiful creeper with a blue flower like our morning-glory. In the North, it is carefully tended and opens only for a few hours in the morning. Here it runs wild over everything, coffee plants, banana palms, fences and trees alike; leaping from one to another, trailing in streamers and deep festoons, and flaunting its exquisite azure flowers all day long, and all night, for aught I know.
I am reminded to speak of the birds. They are every-where,— in cages, in the trees, in the city and out of it; and all sing, with full-throated, flute-like voices. I imagine the altitude, less than four thousand feet, is better for vocal organs than a higher one. In the mountains, at a height of eight to ten thousand feet, there are no song birds; at least where I have been. There are plenty of birds, but all have harsh, shrill cries. Even the cattle seem incapable of good hearty lowing, but bleat feebly as though they had weak lungs.
Every time I went on the streets I noticed things that are different from Mexico City. The women of the serving-class wear, many of them, what I should call for lack of a better name, a sort of scuff ,slipper which protects the toes and sole of the foot and is only kept in place by scuffing as they walk. It is unusual to see a slovenly house mozo. His clothes are all wash material and show that they are frequently laundered. The poorest evidently possess at least one change. As the servants here are more active, much more seems to be required of them. Our table-boy swept the corridor and did chamber work besides; and if one of the children cried while he was serving the table, he darted out to pacify it. Some of the Jalapa milkmen ride horses or mules, and carry four cans in straw pockets, slung fore and aft from the saddle. Pulque, which is brought from up above, is delivered on mule-back, in bottles held in two crates which hang one on each side of the mule, who wears a 'collar of bells, and seems proud of his profession. The cargadores are a fine, sturdy set, also comparatively clean, feet and all; and they bow to you on the slightest provocation. They are evidently a step towards the Veracruz cargador, who drinks vino tinto and banquets his cronies. I noticed that many peones smoked large, villainous-looking, black cigars. I never saw that but once in Mexico, and the smoker, I felt sure from his gloomy eye, was away from his own tierra. The street venders seldom cry their wares. At dusk, nimble fellows in spotless white, trot about carrying wooden trays with delicious, shiny loaves of bread; and the inevitable dulces and peanuts are sold on the curb.
The cathedral is an interesting old edifice, with one tower, generally rambling and picturesque, and little Moorish, grated windows, scattered here and there, and a clock which is lighted at night. I arrived in time for mass. The church was undergoing repairs, outside and in, and scaffolding and ladders were everywhere. The workmen evidently had orders to keep working, no mat-ter what happened. Some six or eight were busily chipping stone-work inside, and the racket quite drowned the priest's intoning and the piping of the small organ. The boys' voices, however, rose above the din, and seemed unusually clear and sweet. At the elevation of the Host, two wheels, one on each side of the altar, all hung with bells, were whirled rapidly by altar boys, and rang musically. I never happened to see this before. As the mass proceeded, the Indian workmen gradually stopped work, and stood reverently attentive, all save one big fellow, who kept doggedly at it, pounding away with a small sledge-hammer. The mass ended and the people went out, but he seemed quite oblivious to all save the work in hand. A group of Italian laborers sat near me and they seemed serious and devout, though they paid slight attention to the usual forms.
The city market is a big, imposing structure, very plain, surrounded by broad corridors with fine arches, and with an entrance on each of its four sides, between rows of massive pillars. The rotunda has a fountain and stalls, which are not in use, the display all being in the outer corridors, which are really portales with shops and restaurants opening upon them. The favorite café which is always crowded to the door, is naturally la Jalapena, which is presided over by a very pretty girl, with the customary rose tucked back of the ear. At one corner of the market there is a clump of willows, shading a stone fountain with a broad rim, just right for a seat, and there the people are lolling morning, noon and night. The night life of Jalapa is like that of Guadalajara, though possibly it keeps up till a later hour. Ladies promenade in groups, both with and without escorts; and on all sides you hear the sweet salutation, Adios! ending with the rising inflection, instead of dropping the voice, as in Mexico. I have noticed it too, in the suburbs of the capital. Perhaps it means more intimate relations among the residents. At night the moon broke through the clouds and favored us for quite an hour. The plaza was very animated, with groups of pretty girls and caballeros promenading, and children romping. I think they were playing ringaround-the-rosy in Spanish.
The Alameda or Parque Hidalgo, in the older part of town, is a quaint place, circular, and surrounded by huge masonry benches, fully eighteen feet long, placed at intervals of six feet around the entire circle. Evidently when Jalapa is en fiesta she has crowds to take care of. The place seemed like a great amphitheater, with the trees sprung up inside and filling the arena. I am continually impressed by the remarkable building of the old Spaniards, from their greatest monuments to their smallest. These old benches are massive, dignified and finely proportioned.
I stayed a week in Jalapa. In the end, the lavish profuseness of nature and the constant rains became oppressive. There was too much of everything,—water, vegetation, flowers. I found it enervating in every way, yet could not make up my mind to leave. I sat outside the hotel a long time, trying to diagnose the unsatisfied, restless feeling that for weeks had troubled me. And I succeeded. I was homesick for the mines,— for my good friends, Don Alfredo and Dona Marciana. I went to my room and began preparations for departure. I already felt better and began to whistle.
Before I left Mexico for Puebla, it had been planned that a friend who was leaving, a few days later, for Oaxaca, should join me in Jalapa; and that on our homeward journey, we should visit the ancient city of Tlaxcala, capital of the state of the same name, which adjoins the state of Puebla on the north. I was reluctant to abandon this visit, yet the failure of my friend to appear half-inclined me to do so. Then, too, the thought of a reunion with Don Alfredo and Dona Marciana was now transcending all other interests. I was still in doubt when I took the north-bound train. I had always been interested in Tlaxcala. History gives it a foremost place among the ancient Indian nations, and it occupies the unique one of never having yielded allegiance to the great Montezuma. Many and fierce were the battles between the heroic Tlaxcaltecas and the Mexicanos, who wished to subdue them. The former were always victorious, and the little State retained its independence, until the coming of the Spaniards. Tlaxcala was a republic. The people, generally supposed to have belonged, with the Aztecs, to the Nahuatl family, lived first on the shores of Lake Texcoco; but owing to quarrels with the Aztecs and other neighboring kingdoms, they migrated to the region now known as Tlaxcala, which is bounded by the states of Mexico, Puebla, Hidalgo and Veracruz. There they became a hardy, vigorous and independent people; repeatedly repelling the attacks of the other tribes, who frequently laid siege to their stronghold.
When Cortes reached the tableland, in his march to the capital of Montezuma, he found it desirable to pass,through Tlaxcala; and he sent messengers to the capital, to ask the right of way. He met with a peremptory refusal, but he was determined to pass with or without permission, and the result was a number of bloody battles with the Tlaxcaltecas, in all of which the latter were defeated with heavy losses. A treaty of peace was at last effected, and the Spaniards, as friends and guests of the people, entered the city of Tlaxcala, which then occupied the hills above the site of the present town. They were met by multitudes at the gates of the city, who showered them with flowers and adorned their horses' necks with garlands. One historian says a hundred thousand people came out to meet them; and Cortes himself, in a letter to the emperor, compared the city with Granada, affirming that it was larger and more populous. It was divided into four quarters, separated one from the other by high stone walls, and governed respectively, each by its own chief or senor. The four chiefs were Maxixcatzin, Xicotencatl (the elder), Tlehuexolotzin and Citlalpopocatzin, and their names are inscribed on a tablet in the old convent as the first Tlaxcaltecas to receive Christian baptism. From that time until the conquest was completed, the Tlaxcaltecas were the faithful friends and allies of the Spaniards, together with the Cempoallans or Totonaca, the friendly Indians of Veracruz, who had aided Cortes in vanquishing those of Tlaxcala.
After the massacre of Cholula, when Cortes resumed his march to Mexico, and the Cempoallans abandoned him, fearful to trust themselves within the domains of Montezuma, the brave Tlaxcaltecas were steadfast and accompanied him to the Aztec capital. They shared with the Spaniards the horrors of the Noche Triste and all the hardships of that disastrous retreat; and far from blaming them as the cause of their misfortunes, were stancher than ever in their devotion. They shared, too, in the victorious battle of Otumba, afterwards guiding the Spaniards back to Tlaxcala, where they were given a warm welcome and found friends to nurse them and heal their wounds; the chiefs assuring them that they and their people were their faithful allies till death. It was in Tlaxcala that thirteen brigantines were built under Martin Lopez, with the ready aid of Indian work-men; and these ships were carried over the mountains, piecemeal, on the backs of Indians, to the lake of Texcoco. The journey took four days and the escort was composed of twenty thousand Tlaxcalan warriors. In the final siege of the Aztec capital, the Tlaxcaltecas were the main support of Cortes; and a Tlaxcalan chief helped rescue the conqueror, when his horse was killed under him, and he was about to be carried off a prisoner. How any one could ever question the fidelity of the Indian as a friend, after these events, which are historical, I cannot understand.
When I reached Puebla, it was raining: in fact I had seen little else but rain for a week past. Whom should I run across in Puebla, but my friend Don Miguel, whom I had expected to meet at Jalapa but who had been held up five days by washouts down Oaxaca way. As I have said, our plans had included a trip to Tlaxcala, but I had given that up, being tired of prowling about alone. It is well enough in bright weather, but on rainy days I want a human companion.
" Shall we not go to Tlaxcala?" Don Miguel asked, after making it clear that el aqua (the water) and not he was to blame for our tardy meeting. At the magic name " Tlaxcala " the day brightened visibly. My "Why not?" had such a taken-for-granted sound, I began to believe I had never really given up going. Our train left at 7:30 the following morning, and the day was gloomy enough, with rain imminent; but with a good companion, I forgot the weather. We had coffee at the station where the Chinese boys spoke neither English nor Spanish, a thing I often notice in the Mongolian in Mexico. These Chinese eating-houses invariably have good, hot soda-biscuit and the vilest coffee, with a strong savor of the ubiquitous cockroach. The ride from Puebla to Santa Ana Chiautempan, where we left the train for the street car, takes about an hour. I always feel, when I leave the railroad, I am getting closer to old Mexico. Railroads are fine things to take you comfortably near any given shrine, but for the last ten or twenty miles, give me a diligencia or at least a street car. At San Pablo Apetatitlan, a little pueblo we passed through, all was delightfully primitive; and in the quaint church, evidently very old, the bell was tolling mournfully, announcing a recent death in the village, and calling on the living to pray for the soul of the dead. The tolling is called doblando, and my companion admitted that while he knew it was practised of old, he had never heard it before. The bell was also tolled formerly when death was at hand. Agonias it was called, and it supplicated prayers for the dying. Both impressed me as solemn and beautiful.
As we left San Pablo, we caught a momentary glimpse of two beautiful towers, that just showed above the hills between us and Tlaxcala. A young charro said the church was El Santuario de Ocotlan, so-called from the appearance of the Virgin in a pine tree; from which the ocote (pitch-pine) is taken. We lost sight of them immediately, but this only added to our anticipation. The delight in approaching a town for the first time, in this land where all towns have something of the picturesque and beautiful, is indescribable., Before we entered Tlaxcala, we passed innumerable abandoned houses of adobe fast going to ruin, which evidently once constituted an extensive suburban district. On reaching the town itself, we inquired for the best hotel, and were told there was but one, which simplified matters. My friend had assured me that we should call on Governor Cahuantzi; of whom I had heard much and whom I was anxious to meet. I reminded him that we had brought no letters, but he said that made no difference. " I am a Mexican," he said, " and you are a journalist. It is but right that we should pay our respects to the Governor." Almost immediately on our arrival, however, he encountered a good friend in an old resident of the town, and this gentleman offered to present us. We went at once to the palace, where he made an appointment for us to meet the Governor, and we then set out to see the city.
The palace is very large and very old, dating from the sixteenth century. Its dilapidated state had made repairs necessary, but thus far they had been unobtrusive. The exterior had been replastered and left in the natural color with no attempt at ornament, leaving the beautiful stone carving about the entrances, as it was left by the Spaniards. Inside, native workmen were frescoing the main hall after a quaint Indian fashion, with warriors in battle array, and the ancient deities of the nations; the effect being singularly pleasing. I wish more of the early life of the country might be embodied in modern decoration. Innumerable charming legends afford themes for series of wall-panels, that would make a theater or other public edifice wonderfully interesting.
Tlaxcala's plaza is large and shaded by magnificent trees, with a profusion of the shrub known as huele de noche, which, as the name suggests, is fragrant at night. It bears fine, white flowers, and either by special dispensation, or on account of the rain which was already falling, it filled the air, though it was barely midday, with a strong, sweet aroma like magnolias. The parterres were all outlined by borders of black and white pebbles, worked into ornamental designs, both Grecian and Indian figures appearing. The walks were well kept, and the whole town impressed me as clean.
The first church we entered was that of the old con-vent of San Francisco. The ancient pile, largely in ruins, is on a low hill a little above the town. The buildings may well be called antiquisimos, as they were constructed shortly after the conquest, on the site of an Indian temple. Some of the walls of this temple still survive. An immense gateway leads into the convent inclosure. The bell tower stands alone, separated from the buildings, and some ominous crevices in the masonry suggest a general collapse at no distant day. A portion of the convent now serves as a cuartel and prison; but the church is preserved, being sustained by private subscription. The altars are very rich, though the carving is not so fine as in many of the old churches, and the paintings are dim with age and extremely interesting. I was impressed by the first one at the left on entering. It is entitled " Nuestra Señora de la Antigua." The Virgin and Child are in dark blue robes, covered with a small design in gold. The Virgin, whose face is very beautiful and dignified, holds a lily in her right hand; and two angels support a crown above her. In one of the chapels is the figure of the good San Benito de Palermo, ebony black and richly adorned. And this reminds me that in some of the oldest, most isolated temples, I have seen images of the Christ, which if not black, were nearly so. A dark nut-brown comes nearer the color, perhaps. I remember one most remarkable, that had long black hair that hung below the middle of the figure. The most precious relics in San Francisco, however, are the first pulpit from which the Christian religion was preached in Mexico, and the font at which the four governors of the Indian republic were baptized. Both pulpit and font are of stone. Above the latter is a tablet, with the following inscription:
" En esta fuente recibieron la f e Catolica los cuatro senadores de la antigua Republica de Tlaxcala. El acto religioso tuvo lugar el ano 1520, siendo ministro Don Juan Diaz, Capellan del ejercito conquistador; y padrinos, el capitan, Don Hernan Cortes y sus distinguidos oficiales, Don Pedro de Alvarado, Don Andres de Tapia, Don Gonzalo de Sandoval, y Don Cristobal de Olid.
"A Maxixcatzin, se le dio el nombre de Lorenzo, y a Xicohtencatl se le dio, el nombre de Vicente, y a Clahuziolochi el de Gonzalo, y a Ziclapopocal el de Bartolomi "
" At this font received the Catholic faith the four senators of the ancient Tlaxcalan republic. The religious act took place the year 1520, the minister being Don Juan Diaz, chaplain of the conquering army, and the god-fathers, the captain, Don Hernan Cortes and his distinguished officers, Don Pedro de Alvarado, Don Andres de Tapia, Don Gonzalo de Sandoval, and Don Cristobal de Olid.
" To Maxixcatzin was given the name Lorenzo, and to Xicohtencatl was given the name Vincente, and to Clahuziolochi that of Gonzalo, and to Ziclapopocal that of Bartolomé."
There seems a great difference in the spelling of Indian names by various writers. These are copied as they are inscribed on the tablet.
Before leaving this old church of San Francisco, I must speak of the wonderful arrangement of cedar cross-beams or girders, fashioned in a most beautiful and decorative way, and resisting the wear of more than three centuries.
From San Francisco, we went directly to the palace. We were conducted through a long suite of apartments and came finally to a handsomely furnished salon, which the Governor entered to receive us. Colonel Prospero Cahuantzi, Governor of Tlaxcala, claimed with pride that he was a direct descendant of the brave Tlaxcalteca race. Despite the fact that his sixty-seventh birthday was close at hand, he was apparently in the prime of life, showing the old time virility of his people. He gave us a cordial welcome, and my friend at once told him who we were, and what the object of our visit. At first the Governor spoke rather deprecatingly of Tlaxcala, saying it was little more than a rancho; but on finding that we were interested in the state and its history, he talked delightfully about it. His memory was remark-able and he had historical dates at his fingers' ends. He indicated where the ancient city had stood, and assured us that a portion of San Francisco's walls was really that of a Tlaxcalan temple. In connection with the first baptismal rites, he said that Otila, the daughter of Maxixcatzin, was actually baptized before the chiefs. This maiden had for a lover none other than the noble Cuauhtemoc. As Governor Cahuantzi expressed it, she was " Cuauhtemoc's novia." She was beautiful, and the ardent young Velasquez de Leon fell in love with her at sight. " Neither knew a single word of the language of the other," said the governor, " nevertheless he began making her flowery speeches." The damsel's heart was won by the gallant young officer, and the latter lost no time in requesting Padre Olmeda to marry them.
" But, my son," said the padre, " it is impossible ! You and this girl are of different races: you have not the same language: she is not even a Christian. Impossible!"
" Baptize her then and make her one!" said the fiery Velasquez de Leon. " Marry her I will!"
The idea of baptism was not unpleasant to the padre. Cortés was consulted and readily acceded. The troops were called out, there was a grand parade with martial salutes and music, and Otila was received into the Christian church with the new name Estefania, and sealed to Velasquez de Leon as his lawful wife.
Now comes the tragedy. On the Noche Triste, during that awful fight on the causeway of Tacuba, Cuauhtemoc, the betrayed lover, killed Velasquez de Leon with his own hand.
Governor Cahuantzi spoke fluently of the ancient language of Tlaxcala, which was the Mexicana. At a recent celebration of the anniversary of Cuauhtemoc, he delivered an address in the Mexican tongue. We had a very interesting half hour, and then bade him good-by reluctantly.
We had dinner at the restaurant under the portales with a small, active boy for waiter. Dinner over, we set out on a pilgrimage to el Santuario, whose towers we saw in approaching the town, and which stands on the hill above it. It is a beautiful church, snow white, with extremely graceful towers and ornate facade. I was disappointed to find the base of the ornament only was stone, with an application of something like staff to finish it. The image of the Virgin at the main altar is said to be very miraculous and the sacristy is lined with a series of elaborate paintings that impressed me slightly. We heard, later, that the best pictures were in another chapel, which we did not know existed, it being directly behind the main altar.
Tlaxcala has a museum, with a fine collection of idols and ancient relics of the Christian church. Among the latter are some splendid old chairs and vestments heavy with gold embroidery. An interesting exhibit are bow and arrows, with flint tips, said to be originals. We spent the rainy afternoon at the museum, and bade fare-well to Tlaxcala in that gloomy half-light, well suited to conjuring up phantom cities and armies. I had saturated myself with Tlaxcalan history; the little town it-self (it has only about three thousand souls) bore the stamp of antiquity, and on the long dark ride to the railroad, the deeds of the old conquerors and their allies, los Tlaxcaltecas, seemed very real and near.