In Indian Mexico (1908) eBook

Frederick Starr
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 481 pages of information about In Indian Mexico (1908).
windows to see us and know our business.  When he arrived, we greeted him in a most friendly way and told him that we had come for the skulls.  He looked aghast.  “The skulls, what skulls, sir?” “The skulls the prefecto ordered you to dig for us.”  By this time, the crowd outside, which had increased with every minute, showed uneasiness.  The presidente declared he knew nothing of any skulls.  After we had explained the matter more fully, he assured us that no messenger had come from the prefecto; this, which at first we thought to be a lie, was no doubt true.  He was plainly scared.  He begged us to be careful lest the people, who were ignorant, should overhear us.  He told us that a year before Don Carlos (Lumholtz) had been there; that he, too, had wanted skulls, and that the town officials had given him permission to dig some from the graveyard; that this caused so much excitement and so many threats that the permission had to be revoked.  He feared the people had already heard our wishes and were even then in an ugly mood—­a thing which seemed likely from an inspection of the faces in the doorway and windows.  He said, however, that Don Carlos afterward secured some skulls from an ancient burial-place not distant from the village, and, if we pleased to wait in Cheran through the morrow, as it was now too late, five in the evening, to do aught, he would gladly show us the burial place of the ancients, where no doubt abundant skulls could be secured.  Not yet certain that the man was telling truth, we spoke to him severely, saying that we should report him to the governor for not having obeyed the order of the prefecto.  At the same time we demanded an official document signed by himself as presidente, and by the secretario, and duly sealed, stating that no messenger had come to him from the prefecto.  To our surprise this document was promptly furnished, good evidence that the prefecto had played us false, only pretending to despatch the messenger whom we had seen started.

With profuse apologies and expressions of regret from the officials, we left Cheran, hurrying on to Nehuatzen for the night.  Our chief reason for doing so was that everyone who knew of our intention to visit Cheran had shaken their heads, remarking “Ah! there the nights are always cold.”  Certainly, if it is colder there than at Nehuatzen, we would prefer the frigid zone outright.  Nehuatzen is famous as the town where the canoes for Lake Patzcuaro are made.  We had difficulty in securing food and a place to sleep.  The room in which we were expected to slumber was hung with an extensive wardrobe of female garments.  These we added to the blankets we carried with us, but suffered all night long from the penetrating cold.  The two indian boys, who accompanied us as guides and carriers, slept in the corridor outside our door and when day broke they were so cramped and numbed and stiff with cold, that they lighted matches and thrust their cold hands into the flames, before they could move their finger-joints.  We had planned to leave at five, but it was too cold to ride until the sun should be an hour high, so finally we left at seven.  There was heavy frost on everything; curved frost crystals protruded from the soil, and we broke ice a half inch thick in water-troughs, unfinished canoes, by the roadside.

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In Indian Mexico (1908) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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