Much later, when at home planning the details of our next extensive journey, the thought struck us that it might be well to make the boy with the smile a member of our party. It seemed as if, in going into districts rarely visited by strangers, it would be well to have the party as largely Mexican as possible. If, however, the boy were to accompany us, it was necessary that he should first learn something of our work and needs, and perhaps of English. Accordingly, I decided to go to Cholula and bring the boy up to the States.
The resolution was so hastily taken that there was no time to send word to the boy himself. Going straight to Cholula, I had some difficulty in finding his abode. I knew that the boy had no father, that his widowed mother had but one other child, a girl younger than the boy himself. I had once seen the mother and the little sister; I also knew the street on which they lived. Arriving at the street, however, no one apparently had ever heard of the boy. One and another through the whole length of the street was questioned, but none knew his name or recognized his description. Excepting that I knew that trait of Mexican character which assists acquaintances to seclusion, when they are sought by strangers, I should have despaired. As it was, I kept on asking, and finally, from a child who could hardly speak on account of youth, I discovered the house which I sought. It was a little hut set back behind a yard of growing corn. I had inquired at the houses on either side and at the house across the road, as also of a man working in the corn in the yard itself. But everyone had been profoundly ignorant of the boy’s existence. Walking up to the house, I found the door open, and the mother and the little girl within. The moment the woman saw me, she said, “Que milagro, Senor!” (What a miracle, sir!) and rising, gave me a warm embrace. The little girl did the same. “And where is Manuel?” I inquired. “Ah, sir, he has gone to Puebla on an errand for a gentleman; but he will be back on the street-car at half-past ten. Pray wait, sir, till he comes.”
The house consisted, like most of its class, of a single room. The walls were built of sun-dried bricks of adobe. Entrance was by a single door. There were no windows. The floor was clay. The flat roof was scarcely six feet above the floor. The furniture, though ample, was scanty. A little earthen brazier for heating and cooking, a stone metate, a rubbing-stone for grinding corn-meal, a table heaped