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minimum of sixty-five bottles per diem, paying twenty-five cents a bottle for all over this amount. All the product is brought to the public store, where it is tested at 50°; and the retailers send in their written orders for the number of bottles they require. The estancas (or drinkshops) pay forty dollars per month. The unfortunates who drink take a small tumblerful at a time.
I bought a mare — yegua colorada — for sixty dollars ; and as all bills of sale and receipts must be in Spanish, we, with the help of the postmaster, composed the following simple affair on stamped paper :
COBAN, 13 de Novr, de 1883. Que yo Miguel Reyes vicino de Coban, Alta Verapaz, he vendido y vendo a Don Guillermo T. Brigham una yegua colorada con el hierro del margen en la suma de sesenta pesas en efectivo.
En constancia firmo yo el vendidor.
is not only stamped, but also water-marked, and is for sale at the principal shops. As the stamps are changed every two years, the Government has to redeem all stamped paper on hand at the end of each biennial period.
FROM COBAN TO QUEZALTENANGO.
Y Wednesday we had captured two mules; and
these, in addition to our mare, — all being well shod, — enabled us to leave Coban'accompanied by a capital mozo de cargo, who carried my photographic outfit. Santiago rode one mule, I the other; and Frank had the mare, who was a little wild at first, but soon became very tame and attached to us by kind treatment. After trying to get away for three days, we started early in the morning, and nearly forgot to look at the barometer, which was my constant companion ; but after we were in the saddle the little dial was consulted, and the needle indicated an elevation of forty-four hundred feet. No barometer was needed to mark the elevation of our spirits on getting on the road again. As far as Santa Cruz we retraced our steps. Our mozo kept up with us, carrying our photographic and cooking utensils easily. And now this little town, in the early morning, was far more attractive than when, wet and hungry, we came to it before. On this visit there was more to eat, and from a tree by the wayside we bought twenty-five oranges for three cents, and also some good bananas. Our breakfast was very satisfactory, although eaten in a dirty house full of filthy children. At two we started on a good road for San Cristobal, where we arrived in an hour and a
half. This little town, of some four thousand inhabitants, is surrounded by hills of great beauty ; but the Laguna is an insignificant body of water.
body of water. As there is no posada, we rode into the Plaza, and had a capital room assigned us in what was once a monastery, — now confiscated to public uses. Our comida was obtained at the house of an aged señora to whom the polite comandante conducted us. We found that Thursday and Sunday were the principal market-days, that the townclock chimed the quarters, that there were unworked mines of silver and lead close at hand, and that the maguey grew abundantly there. We also watched the process by which the rotted leaves are macerated and washed in the brook which flows through the town, and
we saw the resulting pita spun into cords for hammock-weaving.
The priests' kitchen was roofless; but the great cooking-range was intact, being built of brick, with perhaps a dozen pot-holes of graduated sizes, the largest being cut from the corners of four tiles, the smaller ones from the edges of two. Besides
this range, which occupied the middle of the kitchen, there were two large cooking-benches.
The road to our next stopping-place was remarkably good, and the scenery very fine, — the road winding along the side of a mountain and overlooking deep valleys in which the night-clouds still lingered. By the wayside we saw a cascade of calcareous water, which petrified twigs and leaves in its reach. By eleven o'clock we rode into a sugar-plantation belonging to President
Barrios, now in the charge of an old schoolmate of his, Juan Prado. There both sugar and coffee were cultivated, and much fine imported stock kept. It was but one of the many fincas belonging to the President, where he has endeavored to improve the agricultural standard of his country and the native stock as well. The cane was of the ribbon variety, and of fair quality ; but the mill was simply a vertical twenty-inch iron rollmill turned by four oxen.
There was but one open kettle, with no clarifier; and the inspissated syrup was run into wooden moulds and cooled into very dark hemispherical blocks (panela), — a form of sugar much in demand among the Indios.
Señor Prado received us most hospitably, and set before us bananas, anonas, and limas, or sweet lemons ; then brought us large glasses of a warm liquid made from rice and sugar, — not at all to our taste, although a favorite drink of the mozos. The buildings at the President's finca were neither pleasant nor convenient ; but a large roof, substantially framed, was being walled in with hewn pine-planks three inches thick, each plank representing an entire tree. In this building men were grating off the juicy pulp of the coffee-berry in rude machines ; after this pulping the berries are washed, and spread in the sun to dry.
We here learned that we could not cross the Chixoy (pronounced chisoy) River that afternoon, as the wire suspension-bridge had been swept away the last year, and the man whose duty it was to haul travellers across on ropes would not be there so late in the day; we were consequently obliged to yield to the importunities of our host and stay over night at Primavera. To entertain us, in
the afternoon Señor Prado took us to a mound which the new roadway had just grazed ; and together we dug out fragments of fine pottery and bits of human bones much decayed, — the lower third of a left femur and a fragment of a pelvis being the most distinctly human. Some earthen vessels had been found here and sent to the Museo Nacional in Guatemala City. The bones were mingled with charcoal and ochre, and often cemented together like lime concretions or fulgurites.
We each had a tumbler of warm milk as a “stirrupcup” when we said our adios to our kind host in the morning, and soon after six we were on the road again. Here, as so often again in the republic, we found that the roadbed was undergoing active repair. The primitive method of removing large rocks and ledges greatly interested us. Fires are kept up on and around these obstructions ; when thoroughly heated, these are left to cool, or the cooling is hastened by water. In either case the hammerers have easy work.
The narrower road led among pine-forests, where inany of the trees had been girdled and were slowly decaying, — the comajen being unknown at this elevation. Men were cutting timber for the President's house and for a new bridge. A mortise is cut in the end of each log, to which the drag-ropes are fastened. We passed a pleasant village in the valley below us on our left, and after about nine miles of poor road we came to a rapid descent of twenty-two hundred feet, so steep that we were obliged to lead our mules almost to the bank of the Chixoy, where the pier on the side nearest us had been undermined in the last flood. The path ended on a narrow rock shelf, where was fastened a rude timber frame, from