« ПретходнаНастави »
hangings of Gobelins tapestry, presented by Charles Fifth of Spain.
Eight miles from Puebla, across the Atoyac valley, stands the ancient Pyramid of Cholula, considered to be the oldest and most important in Mexico. This pyramid at a distance looks like a natural hill, but closer inspection shows the adobe bricks of which it is composed. On the top of it, reached by steep flights of stone steps, is a comparatively modern chapel, where once stood the temple of a Toltec deity. This was promptly destroyed by the Spaniards, who followed the arts of "missionary and marauder" with great zeal, and were vandals enough to obliterate almost all traces of the primitive civilization and peoples that preceded them. Modern research has so far not shed any light upon the origin of Cholula. It has been suggested that the pyramid was built by FireWorshippers who chose this site for their Temple, as it was near the volcano of Popocatepetl, the "smoking mountain."
A pilgrimage to Cholula is considered by the Faithful to be a very worthy deed. It is a remarkable sight to see devout people going on their knees from the top of the steps across the rough stones of the courtyard, right up to the foot of the altar, and there placing a stiff little bunch of flowers or a burning taper. Though the power of the priesthood has been considerably curtailed under President Diaz, the religious enthusiasm of the masses is still very warm, and at whatever time one entered one of the countless churches, kneeling figures were always to be seen at one or other of the shrines and altars.
tom of the canyons, following the river in its endless curves. The towering bluffs on either side are covered with a peculiar kind of cacti of gigantic size, and most grotesque appearance, called
The most accessible ruined temples and palaces in Mexico are to be found at Mitla, far south of the Capital, under the Southern Cross. To reach the vicinity of these ruins the Mexican Southern R. R. follows the route of one of the exploring parties sent by the energetic Cortes to spy out the land. Instead of through difficult mountain passes and on high bridges crossing gorges, the line runs through the bot
The little town of Oaxaca, now the terminus of the railway, was unearthed by the Spaniards, and from it Cortes took his title of Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, conferred upon. him for his distinguished services by Charles V. of Spain. It was a rich inheritance, with its timber, marble, and onyx, as well as the tropical fruits of the earth. There some of his descendants still live. About 25 miles east of Oaxaca is the village of Mitla, where the ancient temples, whose origin has puzzled many generations, are still standing, despite the ravages of time, earthquakes and modern vandalism. The Mexican Government has at last become alive to the importance of preserving these ruins from further destruction, and has placed their safekeeping in the hands of responsible people. An organized attempt is now being made to excavate carefully in the hope of finding some clue to their builders.
The 25 mile drive to Mitla, in a conveyance drawn by eight mules, is most amusing and interesting, suggesting a journey to the "back-of-beyond." Our Jehu was quite up-to-date as far as driving was concerned, unlike his compatriot at Lake Chapala, who, being unable to reach his leaders with a whip, kept stones beside him which he chucked at their heads at intervals as a gentle reminder. The road lies through queer little villages composed of bamboo huts roofed with straw. The inhabitants are extremely good-looking, especially the statuesque women, clothed in a single white garment, lownecked and short-sleeved, that sets off their bronze skin to perfection. The men, also dressed in white, seem to have reached that happy state when "no one shall work for money and no one shall work for fame," as they ate and gambled under the village fig trees, or
attained a state of Nirvana on a sunny seat smoking the inevitable cigarette.
At Mitla comfortable quarters are to be found at La Sorpresa. It is only a short walk from there to the ruins, to which one is followed by a flock of small children in the airiest clothing, who loudly demand "centavos," and offer the visitor little clay heads of Sphinx-like character, which are con
stantly being dug up in the vicinity. . To call the decoration of these halls and temples "mosaics," is rather a misnomer, as it is really relievo" work ofintricate and most effective design. In the Hall of Monoliths, the huge stone pillars have neither base nor capital, and the door
ways are formed of equally large blocks, fit
ted into each other without any kind of mortar. Some traces of Egyptianlooking heads on the stone-work are in a building used as a stable by the village priest, and the dilapidated entrance of the little school-house is supported by six magnificent pillars of socalled porphyry.
The Spaniards pulled one of the buildings to pieces, and erected a church out of the debris, still used as a place of worship, where a very massive silver lamp, hanging in the centre, is the only sign of former great
reach Mitla involves rather a long journey, it is well worth the time and trouble. Much of the charm will be gone when the ruins are approached by a trolley, as
is not unlikely in the near future.
So little is known of the history of Mexico prior to its invasion by the Spaniards, early in the 16th century, that the traveller's interest is necessarily centred in the country in its still intensely Spanish aspect. Few traces of its former people are to be found, and then only in the shape of these ruined palaces and temples in the south, and the pyramids of Cholula and of the Sun and Moon, and also the huge stone Aztec idols and rude instruments now in the museum at the capital.
The beautiful architecture to be found in all parts of Mexico is due to the Spaniards who left their mark on the land in the building of convents and monasteries, churches, aqueducts and palaces. The stately convents and
monasteries have been turned to baser uses since the final expulsion of the Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans from the country nearly fifty years ago, and are now used as hotels.
The great strides made in some respects in Mexico of late are due to the administration of President Diaz, who, for twenty years, has been at the head of affairs. This is a remarkable record for a country which in fiftynine years of this century was governed by fifty-two presidents, emperors and other rulers. Despot, he is called by some, but his is a despotism which has imposed at least some nineteenth century ways and means on a people that still clings fiercely to the traditions of nearly four hundred years ago.
NO. XIV.-ARTHUR J. STRINGER.
SCARCELY two years ago, a tall,
sunburnt young Canadian came down to New York, fresh from the wilds of Lake Temiscamingue. With him he brought a heartful of hope and a pocketful of manuscript. The name of this young Canadian was Arthur Stringer. He had youth, energy, ambition and a buoyant temperament. In two years he has suceeeded in making a name for himself second to no other Canadian of his years. Before very long he broke into that established stronghold of American literature, Harper's Magazine, and Mr. Henry Alden, the veteran editor of the oldtime publishing house, at once set his seal of approval on the offerings of the young poet. Now it is no uncommon thing to find his work, both prose and verse, in the different magazines. Word has gone about that there is a new Canadian poet. It is no wonder a New York wag once said that you can't throw a snow-ball in Canada without hitting a poet.
Mr. Stringer was born in the town of Chatham, Ont., on February 26th, 1874. His literary tendencies came to him through his mother, who, before her death, had written a number of beautiful lyrics. His maternal grandfather, too, was a Dublin barrister and somewhat of an author in a small way in his own day. The poet's father, Hugh Arbuthnott Stringer, was the captain of a lake vessel at the time of the young author's birth, and perhaps thus it was that there has been innate in the breast of the son a love for the Canadian Great Lakes, about which he has sung so often and so well. In a study of life on the lakes he wrote not long ago: "Next to have been born beside the sea itself, I hold it the best gift of the gods to have been cubbed in the lap of the Great Lakes. What sun-browned child of summer
who has splashed in them, what boy who has tumbled over their rollers, what youth who has trafficked from quiet Canadian ports to busy American cities, can ever forget those scenes on God's great canvas?"
Both in his heart and in his work Arthur Stringer has ever cherished a fond remembrance for the home of his early youth. And herein lies one pleasing feature of our "Sons Beyond the Border." Amid the busy scenes of metropolitan life they never quite shake off the influence of their former environment. In Mr. Stringer's case this is especially marked. His work, no matter whereof he writes or sings, is fundamentally and characteristically Canadian. In a life marked with much roving he seems always to have gloried in the land of his birth: