Jose led us directly to their home. The walls were well built of stone set in adobe mortar; they were smoothly coated with a snowy plaster; the supporting walls of the little terrace on which the house was built were also well constructed and it was with some pride that Jose told us that the work had all been done by himself and Ignacio. Jose is married and has a wife and three children; Ignacio is a bachelor; a younger brother, Carmen, is also unmarried—he has taught himself free-hand and architectural drawing and showed us examples of his work. The old father and mother own the home and received us hospitably. Jose guided us through the village, where we photographed whatever took our fancy, entered houses, examined all that interested us, and really found enthusiasm for our work everywhere. Before the churchyard stands a quaint old cross of stone, dated 1728, upon which are represented all the symbols of Christ’s passion; a long inscription in Aztec is cut into the base. Close by the church, we visited the boy’s school, where we found some forty dark-skinned, black-eyed, youngsters, whose mother-speech is Aztec. We proposed to photograph them, so they were grouped outside the schoolhouse, but not until a pair of national flags and the portrait of the governor, Prospero Cahuantzi, were fixed upon the background wall.
[Illustration: THE ANCIENT DRUM—HUEHUETL; LOS REYES]
[Illustration: FIESTA AT CHOLULA; DAY OF SAN ANTONIO ABAD]
After the picture had been taken, we told the maestro we would like to hear the boys sing. It was plain he did not consider singing their strong forte, but our wishes were met. One boy, standing, wielded the baton, beating time. When the singing was done with, the maestro said he would like us to see the class in arithmetic, if we had time. Accordingly fourteen or fifteen boys, from ten to fourteen years of age, stepped out upon the dirt floor; we were told that they could work examples in percentage, interest, bonds and mortgages, discount, alligation—which did we prefer? Truth to say, it was so long since we had studied alligation, that we had really forgotten what it was, and so expressed a preference for it. “Very good, sir,” said the maestro. “Will you not propound a problem?” From this quandary we escaped by stating that we could not think of doing so; that we had every confidence in his fairness and that he had better give it, as the boys were more accustomed to him. We have visited many classes of the same grade and age in the United States and have never seen one that would surpass them in quickness, accuracy, and clearness of explanation. After our trip through San Nicolas Panotla, Jose took us back to his house, where, meantime, a, dinner had been made ready.