Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]

Out into the night, with a quivering mosjon, slowly glimmer ard fade away in the distance : the through train of the Atchison, Topeka and and with their disappearance came those melanSanta Fé Road rolled steadily on its trip to the choly thoughts that bid adieu to many pleasant heart of New Mexico, leaving the great depot at scenes of which the shining lights gave token. Kansas City and the many twinkling lights to I was bound for the heart of New Mexico, even

VOL. XVII.-13

beyond the reach of the iron horse of civilization who had been a missionary in Louisiana, and

—a long and novel trip for pleasure ; but with a talked temperance, and talked it loudly. prospect of much interest, and with the anticipa. She very happily spoke of the people of Louisition of coming enjoyment, I endeavored to banish ana as having treated her with great politeness all gloomy thoughts. Sitting cosily back in the and consideration, notwithstanding her mission cushioned seat, I stared through the open window was for the instruction of the blacks. I imagine into the darkness at the broad, fertile fields of it would have taken some nerve to do otherwise, Kansas, which I could not see, but through which judging by the way she entertained us as we sped we were passing, noting the savage snort of our along. engine, and endeavoring to fit a rhyme to the On and on-a moving dream of progress-over melody of the rattling car-wheels.

the grassy plains of Colorado to the border line These musings were rudely interrupted by a of New Mexico, at once the newest and the oldest shriek, the slamming of doors, and then a jar, section of America. Still bearing on her cliffs and I was made unpleasantly aware of the coun- the vestiges of an ancient race of artisans, she has try's republicanism.

just been touched by the mighty Iron Finger of We stopped to take on board a picnic party of civilization, and the shriek of the locomotive has darkies bound for home at Topeka. Thoughtless not as yet well awakened her people from their and noisy, with the boisterous merriment of their lengthened slumber. race, they entered and crowded into every seat, Passing Fisher's Peak, which has an altitude of utterly regardless of any but themselves. There 9400 feet, we reached Raton Pass, through, or, was a belle among the party,-a very black belle, rather, over which, a road has been cut.

-who seemed to be the centre of admiration, and The grade is very steep, and the puffing and who had a striking way of expressing herself. In labor of the engine in ascending is almost painful, describing an event of the day she said, “I laughed though it is one of the largest of American entill I most went crazy; and when I couldn't laugh gines, the “Uncle Dick," an iron monster weighno mo' I hollered." Then they all sang, and ing over fifty-nine tons. with their singing came over me the dreamy meno Once beyond the pass, sweet, wild views meet ries of the sweet, warm, music-loving South; and the enraptured gaze upon every hand. How when they filled the car with the melody of their familiarly the mountains greet one who has lived peculiarly chiming voices, keeping symphony with amid their majestic grandeur! Their rugged trees, their feet, my heart warmed with the sentiment with here and there an oasis of green-growing expressed-a sentiment which ran something like grass, present some striking effects; and with an this:

impatience born of the beautiful scenery I longed

to be clambering high up their rocky sides.
“ Possum meat am good to eat;

Here and there over the landscape were the
Carve dat possum !
Possum meat am good and sweet;

low mud-built and mud-covered houses of the Carve dat possum !

native Mexicans, and about them the black-haired, Carve dat possum, chil’en,

swarthy people themselves. Cattle, sheep, and Carve dat possum, chil'en,

horses abounded in plenty, but scarce any eviCarve dat possum, chil'en,

dences of cultivation. Carve him to de heart !"

Forty hours after leaving Kansas City we I rather regretted this party leaving when they reached the town of Las Vegas, to-day the most arrived at their destination.

promising and important of New Mexico's towns, In respect to the remaining passengers, there with a strong and rapidly increasing American was the usual list of characters who will read by element and a fine geographical position. This the light of one crazy lamp twenty feet distant, town consists, as in fact do nearly all such places and go to sleep in the vain attempt; and a certain throughout the Territory touched by the railroad, other class who promenade the aisle to the water | of a new and an old town. The new one is cooler about every half-hour, and then drink from American, the old decidedly Mexican; the houses a pocket-flask when they get there.

being built in the old Spanish style with a court The next seat to mine was occupied by a woman in the centre surrounded on all sides by rooms

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

built of adobe, plastered or unplastered, having banker; and apropos I had the pleasure of formsmall windows with broad sills. These houses . ing the acquaintance of quite a genius of this are, as a rule, only one story high, very uninviting kind. He had lived in California in the early from without, but often scrupulously neat and days, and confidentially imparted to me his belief clean within, and sometimes surnished with considerable taste.

Near Las Vegas are the Hot Springs, with an unvarying temperature of 140°. Several nice hotels are being erected here, and it bids fair to become in time a favorite resort. The scenery around about is romantic, and the Gallinas River, a clear, free-flowing mountain stream, passes within a few yards of the springs, and washes the base of the bath-house. This same river divides the old and new town.

Here for the first time we saw the adobe bricks in process of manufacture—a process simple enough. With a hoe a man mixes mud, water, and cut wheat-straw in the proper proportions to arrive at consistency, and then moulds it in a box about eighteen inches long by ten in width. The bricks are then spread in the sun to dry, and it is not unusual to see grass sprouting from them if the weather has been damp. From these the much-gazed-at adobe house is made, a structure capable (in the climate in which it is used) of enduring for three hundred years. The roofs of the ordinary adobes are almost flat, and made of mud spread on about six inches thick. There is a peculiarity

A SCENE ON THE CANADIAN. about these roofs. When it rains, they seldom leak until a week after, for by that whisky was a better mine than gold. He that time the water has an opportunity of soaking initiated me in the mystery of making the beverthrough. This is convenient for the inmates, as age out of strychnine and tobacco, and said it the weather being then clear they can move out. was like the New Englander's razors—made to

In this town of Las Vegas one meets the pecul- sell ; nor did he ever indulge in any himself. He iar characters met with only in towns of a like thought of retiring and emigrating to Mexico to description. One's landlord is on a par with his practice medicine, and requested me to see if I

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »