Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/462

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carried off sixpennyworth of silver in each ear every day for a month; and how Pedro Alvarado (the Indian names have almost disappeared except in a few families, and Spanish names have been substituted) had a hammer with a hollow handle, like the stick that Sancho Panza delivered his famous judgment about, and carried away silver in it every day when he left work; and how Vasco Nunez stole the iron key from the gate (which it cost two dollars to replace), walking twenty miles and losing a day's work in order to sell it, and eventually getting but two-pence for it; and plenty more stories of the same kind."

This mine well illustrates the uncertainty attending all mining operations. Before the present company got control of it, two others had it, the last of which stopped within forty feet of the lode that has yielded millions. It was the making of Pachuca, the cause of its being created capital of the State, and floated the company through a long series of years, in which its other mines were being worked at a loss. Since the opening of this the mine of Guatemotzin has given up millions of dollars. The ore extracted in the district is about twelve thousand cargas, of three hundred pounds, per week, and the wages paid the laborers, miners, muleteers, teamsters, etc. amount to more than forty thousand dollars weekly. It may seem hardly credible, but nearly the whole of this large sum is spent every Saturday; by Sunday night hardly a miner has a copper remaining. He spends it in pulque, mainly, and such things as profit him nothing. When well filled with pulque he is very valiant; hardly a day passes that some one is not killed or wounded, and on Sundays grim death reaps a harvest.

In the summer of 1881, the inhabitants of Mexico were electrified by the news that an old mine, which had been neglected for one hundred years or more, had been found in bonanza. This mine was owned by the Condé de Regla, who employed two hundred slaves at work there, it is said, chained together. They were never allowed to see the light, after having entered the horrible pit, and finally, despairing of escape, they set the woodwork of the mine on fire, and all perished. The mine has not been worked since until recently, as it filled with water.