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Mexico Picture

Mexico Picture image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
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One of the famous eating houses of the Atchison road is situated at Wallace, where the train going south stops late in the aftérnoon. As the cars draw up at the station )$ie long platform is thronged with the peopleof the country, of diverse races. Rough miners in flannel and heavy boots stand watching the train; cowboys, set off by sombreros and spurs, swagger about the platform, and Spanish-Americans, witli swarthy faces and gleaming black eyes, lounge against the railings, looking impassively on the scène. Most picturesque of aü there gathered are the descendants of the tribes akin to the Toltecs and Aztecs, those migrating people, whose first home was in the northwest bef ore they went south to colonize the valleys of the Mexican plateau - the Pueblo Indians from Santo Domingo and San Filipe. They are qnaintly ciad in their characteristic garb of leggins and tunic, with a blanlcet dress for the women, and sometimes for the men a gaudy blanket wTapped about the body. Some are awaiting the train on the station plaftorm, and others, belated, are seen running toward the cars, bearing on their heads and backs the tbings they have to trade. They exhibit a great variety of pottery, in the sliape of vessels of divers sizes, form and pattenis of decoration, and many earthen idols of infinite ugliness. They offer for sale pieces of what the New Mexican curiosity dealers cali smoky topaz, which in reality is obsidian or volcanic glass, the material used by the ancieni Aztecs for cutting purposes, from swords down to razors. MAJfY NATIONALITIES. About the train is a characteristic colection of passengers. There are tourïsts, European and American commercial travelers, young men from the east going to the southwest to try their fortunes, and perhaps in the rear cars some himilies of emigran ts. Representing the ;erritory are merchants, miners and catemen of American and American descent, while opposite the blonde eastern lady, in her dainty traveling habit, may sit a dark eyed olive tinted beauty with the blood of Aragón or Castile in her veins, and perhaps a darker and not unbecoining tinge from Indian ancestry. ïraveling theatrical companies, army officers and private soldiers on leave or on duty, and Indian delegations going on or returning from a visit to the great father at Washington, are eurrent types in a southwest passenger train. Almost without exception the passengers are affable and disposed to conversation. Stiffness and reserve among fellow passengers by stage or by rail vanish west of the hundredth meridian. There is an excellent dinner, plentifnl and well served, at the pleasant and roomy railroad restaurant, with so much time allowed for the stay that the traveler, after his ampie and leisurely ineal, is able to walk about in this barbarously brilliant scène and make bargains with the brown and .worldly wise sons and daughters of the country for such of their wares as he fancies. The Pueblo Indians hasten toward any one whose eye they may catch, hold up their goods, and address him in a language mainly aboriginal, with perhaps a few Spanish at American words intermingled, but the only part of the discourse really understood on either side is the extemporized sign language. They ask several prices, expecting to be beaten down to a fair rate, and they seldom will let the possible customer get away without consummating a trade. Demure, swarthy Pueblo children look on the transactions of their elders with great interest, the larger girls helping their mothers by carrying the very young children in a couch made by slinging a shawl about their neoks. INDIAÍI POTTËRY. The Indian pottery is the ware most purchased by the passengere. It is quaint of pattern, and in its way mucb of it is reaily beautiful. The material of which it is made is a white or grayish tinted clay, which the men bring to the women, who are the pottery makers. The Indians guard jealously the secret of the places where are found the earth that makes the choicest kinds. The hunter, prospector or raüroad explorer coming suddenly upon these natives engaged in digging clay for the purpose is likely to reniember the terror' and con8ternation which they exhibit. The molded pottery is buried in dry sheep's dung, which is fired, and thus it is baked. The material used in making the striped designs is a decoction from a certain green root which the Indians cali Wake. It is painted upon the j seis, and in the baking it tnrns black. The best pottery is made by the Acoma, Znni and Cochiti Indians. A gong clanks at the station, and those passengers who have not already returned to the cars discontinue their promenade or hastily conclude their bargains. The conduotor's cry rings out, "AU aboardl" and the laggards enter the cars; but even as the train moves slowly off the passengers are still making last bargains from the car platforms and through the windows with the aborigines, who at the fast approaching disappearance of their possible customers are disposed at the 1 ast moment to close bargains at almost any price. The train gathers headway, the last Indian vender is passed and soon the platform with ita semi-barbaric, party colored assemblage is left behind, and the passengers Lave turned from the strange and striking scène to gaze at the panorama of the river and the Indian vülagee against a mountain background on the rigfat, aa the train speeds sonthward down the siindy vailey of the Bio Grande toward Albuquerque.- Harper's Weekly.