Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

backs and legs; in their arms, which they exercise very little, they are comparatively weak. They carry very heavy burdens on their backs for long distances, often as much as one hundred and fifty pounds. The women also carry lighter burdens on their backs, but more frequently upon the head, and when traveling they always carry their young chil

dren strapped to their and narrow as to render it

backs. The Indians difficult for a loaded mule to

who are in the habit of make much progress.

visiting the coast or inThe Indians have worn

terior towns can, many narrow paths all through

of them, speak a little these mountains, some of

Spanish; their own diawhich are frightfully steep.

lects vary greatly in difWe met hundreds of these

ferent parts of the counnatives in parties of from two

try. They are indolent to twenty, always walking in

and very superstitious, single file and with a steady,

but generally docile and rapid gait. They are gener

polite, and they always ally of medium stature and very tough, stop in the road to let a traveler pass having great strength in their necks, and salute him, hat in hand, with an

[ocr errors]

COFFEE-PLANTING AT LAS NUBES.

as

scene.

A Dios, señor!In the warmer parts | ing the whole country between us and the of the country the Indian men are, Pacific Ocean, whose glistening surface, at a a general thing, but little encumbered with distance of twenty leagues, was plainly visiclothing, and, in some districts a short skirt, ble. Our descent at first was very steep, from the waist to the knees, is the only and we were frequently obliged to dismount. garment worn by the women; among the | The road is exceedingly rough, and in the more degraded tribes even this is some- rainy season very dangerous, and often quite times dispensed with. The young children impassable. of both sexes are generally running about About mid-day we entered the beautiful in a complete state of nudity. The Indians district known as the Costa Granda. Here are very unreliable as laborers, having we experienced a wonderful change of many saints-days and church holidays to

The air was deliciously soft and observe; and often, much to the detriment balmy, and laden with the fragrance of of their employers' interests, they will many fruits and Aowers. Our road led absent themselves from work for several us. through highly cultivated coffee and days together. They receive on the plan- sugar plantations; and here and there long tations from one “real” to three “reales" hedges of lemon-trees divided one planta(twelve and a half to thirty-seven and a half tion from another. cents) per day, according to the class of At four o'clock we reached the gates of labor performed, and the planter is always La Victoria, a beautiful “finca," or coffee under advances to them. They are strong- plantation, owned by Don Gregorio Rely addicted to the use of “agua-diente,” the vuelta, to whom I brought letters of introrum of the country, and drunken Indians duction. He was expecting me, and received along the road are almost as common as me with great cordiality. He at once turned trees. As we approached Quezaltenango Rosendo and the beasts over to the care of we met numbers of intoxicated natives, some of his people, and, presenting me ty both men and women, reeling, staggering, his “administrador," Señor Ximines, made screaming and swearing, who had probably the cheerful announcement that dinner been celebrating some fiesta in the city. would be ready in a few moments. Don

Of Quezaltenango, though it is the sec- Gregorio proved to be an exceedingly jolly ond city in size and importance in the host, and during my few days' stay at La republic with i population of some fifteen Victoria, treated me with true Spanish hosthousand Indians and Mestizos, we saw pitality. but little in our one night's stay. It is sit- Coffee culture is very interesting, and the uated at the end of a great plain about growing crop is very beautiful. The trees seven thousand feet above the level of the at maturity are from five to eight feet high; sea, and is backed by a group of mount- they are well shaped and bushy, with a ains in the center of which is a broken glossy dark-green foliage, and planted eight volcano which was last in active eruption or nine feet apart. The flowers are in clusnearly a century ago, although smoke still ters at the root of the leaves, and are smal. issues from the crater. As we passed on but pure white and very fragrant. The fruit the next morning, this rent and broken has a rich color, and resembles a small mountain towered upon our left, the smoke cherry or large cranberry; it grows in cluscurling slowly from its ragged edges into ters, close to the branches, and when it the still air, while beyond, the conical and becomes a deep red is ripe and ready to be symmetrical Volcan de Santa Maria reared gathered. The trees are raised from seed, its lofty peak among the clouds.

and do not begin to yield until the third The new plain upon which our road soon year. In Central America they bear well brought us is peculiarly sterile, being en- for twelve or fifteen years, although, in extirely devoid of verdure, and its baked sur-ceptional cases, trees twenty years old will face is scattered over with rocks thrown yield an abundance of fruit. The trec from the volcano many years ago. It is is particularly beautiful when in full bloom believed by many to have been formerly the or when laden with ripe fruit. bed of a lake, and its general appearance The process of preparing coffee for and surroundings certainly tend to confirm market is as follows: the ripe berries when that supposition. It ends very abruptly, picked are at first put through a machine and from its edge, at an elevation of more called the “ despulpador," which removes than seven thousand feet, we enjoyed an the pulp; the coffee-grains, of which there exceedingly grand and extensive view, cover- il are two in each berry, are still covered with

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

a sort of glutinous substance which adheres | interior to Retaluleu to be reweighed, to the bean; they are now spread out on marked, and cleared at the custom-house large “patios,” made specially for this pur- before being forwarded to the ports ; it is, pose, and left there, being occasionally tossed therefore, during the shipping season, a very about and turned over with wooden shovels busy and important little place. We spent until they are perfectly dry. They are then the day and night there, and the next morngathered up and put into the “retrilla," a ing I set out for Champerico. Don Grecircular trough in which a heavy wooden gorio accompanied us for a short distance on wheel, shod with steel, is made to revolve, so our journey, and then bade us farewell. The as to thoroughly break the husk without heat now became rather oppressive, although crushing the bean. The chaff is separated the road was in excellent condition, and, for from the grain by means of a fanning-mill

, a considerable distance, thickly shaded. In and the coffee is now thoroughly dry and many places the trunks and branches of the clean. After this, it is the custom of some trees were hung or draped with vines and planters to have it spread out on long tables creepers, bearing flowers of the most brilliant and carefully picked over by the Indian colors. We passed many shapely orangewomen and children, all the bad beans trees covered with bright fruit, and rode being thrown out. It only remains then to through several groves of plantains and have it put into bags, weighed and marked, cocoa-palms. The forests were full of parbefore it is ready for shipment to the port. rots, macaws, cockatoos and other birds of On some of the larger plantations this process beautiful plumage. There were quantities is greatly simplified, with considerable saving of iguanas or lizards, varying from a few in time and labor, by the use of improved inches to over three feet in length, running machinery for drying and cleaning the coffee. across the road or rustling among the leaves

After two more days of delicious dreamy at either side; innumerable vultures were idleness in this little paradise, I was obliged gracefully sailing about in the air, or swoopto go on as far as Retaluleu, about six ing down and hopping about in a stealthy leagues nearer the sea, and Don Gregorio, and repulsive manner. These disgusting having business there, accompanied me. birds are met with in large numbers in The road was cool and shady and almost almost all parts of Central America; they level, there being a continuous but scarcely are the natural scavengers of the country, noticeable descent toward the ocean; and and no doubt of great use in keeping off the entrance to the town is through a beau- plagues and pestilences, specially from the tiful grove of cocoa-palms. Coffee, hides, - tierras calientes.” A stringent law exists and other produce are brought from the against molesting them in any way.

After a very hot ride of five hours, we and freight, great “lanchas” are used, like began to feel a gentle breeze and to inhale the one in our first engraving. the refreshing salt air from the sea. Soon On the morning of the third day after my we heard the great waves breaking on the arrival, the steamer“ Costa Rica” came shore, and presently descried the masts of into port. I jumped into the first launch two vessels riding at anchor, apparently and went off to the steamer and shortly hardly more than a stone's throw ahead of after daylight the next morning we cast us. Pushing on over a slight elevation, we anchor off San José and, immediately after

breakfast, some of us went ashore. We found the people considerably excited, having just received the startling intelligence that a revolution had broken out in Honduras which was likely to involve some of the other states in war. It seemed that General Medino, a former president of Honduras, had made a revolution against Leive, the then president, to regain control of the government. It was stated that Medino was supported in this effort by General Barrios of Guatemala, and that the latter, fearing opposition from General Gonzalez, president of San Salvador (who was supposed to be in favor of Leive), had sent two thousand men to the frontier, and that war between the two republics was imminent. It gave us plenty to think about and speculate upon for the rest of the day, as such a war as was expected would materially affect the plans and interests of almost every passenger in the ship; we returned early to the steamer and got under way again before sunset.

At Acajutla, where we arrived next morning, I experienced some annoyance from the officials,having no passport, and coming as I did from the then hostile state of Guatemala. Acajutla, the northernmost port of San Salvador, is a small town built on a high bluff which forms one of the few breaks

in the long stretch of sand beach found ourselves entering the town of Cham- | that extends almost uninterruptedly from San perico, with the unruffled waters of the wide Benito in Chiapas to Punta Arenas in Costa Pacific spread out before us, a white line Rica; it is the port of Sonsonate, a conof seething foam marking its shores as far siderable town about five leagues from the as the eye could reach, and the grand roar coast. of the surf thundering in our ears. Cham- I was free at last and was just crossing perico is probably destined to be the chief the street to the hotel when I met, most port in Central America; it is at present the opportunely, Mr. Henry Jones, an Englishworst landing-place on the coast. There is man residing in Sonsonate, to whom I had no harbor and no pier, and to effect the letters of introduction. He was the agent embarking and disembarking of passengers of the Pacific Mail S. S. Co., and he had

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

CATHEDRAL PLAZA, QUEZALTENANGO.

[graphic][merged small]

come down to the port to look after their An hour's ride brought us out upon a interests. The weather being oppressively sort of elevated plain at the farther end warm and the town itself presenting no of which was the town of Izalco, and bespecial attractions, I spent most of the day yond rose the famous volcano, its brown in his office. At about three we took the sides covered with lava and light smoke “ diligence " for Sonsonate. The road was issuing from the crater. The Volcan de very dusty and nearly level, and the sur- Izalco is quiet at present, but it has been rounding country not quite so rich in vege- almost constantly in eruption for many tation as it is near the coast of Guatemala; years. This volcano has literally grown there were, however, many beautiful trees out of the earth within the past century. and flowers, and we passed through a fine About eighty years ago a small opening in grove of cocoa-palms just before entering the ground appeared from which smoke the town, which we reached about dusk. issued and small quantities of earth and

As we received no fresh news of an stones were thrown up by internal explosions. alarming character on the day after my These eruptions have continued, and the arrival, but, on the contrary, learned that pile, which was at first but little larger than the Salvadorean troops were concentrating an ant-hill, has accumulated from year to in considerable force at Santa Ana, thus year until it has grown into its present form, giving additional protection to Sonsonate, a great conical mass which rises to an elevathe people became more quiet and hopeful. tion of seven thousand feet. Mr. Jones was obliged to go to the capital It was almost dark when we entered the on the third day after my arrival, and very capital, having accomplished a distance of kindly offered to supply me with mules, if more than sixty miles. On the 6th of I would accompany him; this of course I of January, or “ Twelfth-day," I attended was very glad to do. We were obliged to the reception at the palace of President make a very early start the next morning, Gonzalez, and was duly presented to him. as we had a long journey before us, and He rose from the sofa to receive me, and while the moonlight was still struggling with then introduced me, with a wave of his the dawn the mules were brought out into hand, to those immediately around him. the patio and everything was in readiness. He invited me to a seat beside him and

« AnteriorContinuar »