Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/144

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
136
TRAVELS IN MEXICO.

both our hammocks, and ordered coffee and cigarettes for two. When he had asked me to enter, he had said, in Maya, "Kom in," which is the equivalent in that language for "Come in." There are also other words similar in sound and signification to ours. In the morning, after coffee and cigarettes, we all went into the woods to inspect the logwood—the palo tinto or palo de Campeche—which the men had cut during Acosta's absence. It was then very hot, though the night had been freezing cold.

The wood they had cut lay in little heaps where they had felled the trees. It was trimmed of all the bark and white outer wood, and was in color from light red to dark purple. One of the men had a steelyard with him, and this was hung from a tree, and the wood, piled on a suspended platform, was weighed, four arrobas, or one hundred pounds, at a time. This was noted down, with the name of the man who cut it, and we passed on to the next, being engaged in this way several hours. The horses were then led up, and a load of four arrobas packed on each, and carried to the camp.

The logwood tree, Hamatoxylon Campechianum, is found bordering all the great lagoons and a good portion of the seacoast of Southern Mexico. Campeche especially—a name which this tree bears as its specific appellation—exports vast quantities. It is a tree of medium size and peculiar appearance, attaining a height of twenty or thirty feet. The trunk is gnarled and full of cavities, and separates a short distance above the ground; the leaves are pinnated, the flowers small and yellowish, hanging in bunches from the ends of the branches. The bark is dark, while the sap-wood is yellowish, and the heart, the valuable portion, deep red. The logwood forests are nearly all flooded in the rainy season, though the tree is found in the hills as well as on the plains. It is in the dry season that the cutting begins, and in the rainy season the wood is floated to the embarcaderos, or wharves, on the rivers and lagoons, and thence to the ports to be laden in foreign vessels.

Many other valuable woods are found in Yucatan, including the mastic (Pistacia lentiscus), and dye-woods and dyeing