In the morning we heard the full story. Formerly there was here a priest, who devoted his whole life to this parish, growing old in its service; in his old age he was pensioned, with sixty pesos monthly from the parish receipts. The priest who succeeded him, coming something over three years ago, was a much younger man. During his three years of service, he was continually grumbling; the work was hard, his health was bad at Chila, the heat was intolerable; he wished another parish. The archbishop finally took him at his word; without warning he transferred him to another parish, and sent our friend, the archaeologist here, in his place. This did not suit the man relieved; Chila itself was much to his liking; what he really wanted was to be relieved from the support of his superannuated predecessor. No sooner was he transferred than he began to look with longing on his former charge and to make a vigorous effort to regain it. Accusations were hurried to Oaxaca; the new priest was pursuing agriculture as a means of profit; he had not paid the dues to the aged priest; he had himself admitted to parishioners that his object in coming to Chila was more to study antiquities and natural history than to preach the gospel. It is claimed that, immediately on receiving this communication, the archbishop sent a peremptory letter to the padre demanding an explanation; this letter, Ernst said, never was delivered, hence no explanation was sent. The prelate acted promptly; orders were sent to our friend to give up the parish to the former priest, who appeared on the scene to receive his charge. Then, and then only, it is said the delayed letter came to light. The padre had left, at once, for Oaxaca and his archbishop. From there he sent messages by telegraph: “Pack up, and come to Tehuacan;” “Wait until you hear further.” A third came the morning we were there: “Pack up; meet me at Tehuacan, ready to go to a new parish.”
It was really sad to look about the new home, to which he had come with such buoyant hopes and of which he had been so soon dispossessed. When he arrived, the place was neglected and filthy; two whole days were necessary to clean it. It had contained practically no furniture; he had made it look like a place in which to live. He had improved and beautified its surroundings. He had planted a little corn and set out some young banana trees; he had gathered many species of cactus from the neighboring hills and had built up a fine bed of the strange plants in his patio. Passionately fond of pets, he had two magnificent greyhounds and a pug—all brought from Guatemala—a black collie, doves, hens and turkeys on the place. And now, he was again without a home and his time, money, and labor were lost.
Ernst accompanied us to Tehuacan. We rented three horses and a man on foot went with us to bring them back to the village. And for the whole we paid the regular price of eighty-seven centavos—twenty-five each for the animals, and twelve centavos for the man—something less than the twenty pesos demanded the day before at Tehuacan.