Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/596

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believed; and that four Kickapoos had been killed by the Mexican soldiers,—which we doubted.

The car was filled with dirty Mexicans, who were most intolerably saucy, but with whom we were soon quits, by leaving them switched off on a siding till morning, while we travelled for the Border on the engine. It was just sunset as we slid away, and left them howling lamentations at being left to the mercies of Los Indios barbaros, the Kickapoos. I don't believe there were ten Indians in the State; but even one is enough to cause a village full of Mexicans to run like smitten curs.

Reaching the Rio Escondido, or Lost River, we found the rails only "fourth-spiked," but we rattled over them safely, stopping to take water at the end of the bridge. Our road-master, thinking to astonish the keeper in charge of the water-tank, who lived here all alone, gave out that seventeen men had been murdered down the track, that all the section hands had fled, and that we had five Kickapoo "stiffs" aboard, being all we had "saved" of a party of fifty or more. To which information the waterman calmly replied, that he guessed the boys down the track had forgotten how to use their Winchesters. This was a rebuke to our friend, who said no more about the mythical "stiffs," and we went on without delay to the Rio Grande.

Orders from the superintendent arrested our engine on the southern bank of the river, and an alcalde and posse arrested our road-master, before he could secure his "grip" and a few necessary articles, and shake from his heels the mud of this land of "God and Liberty." We could not help him, and, as he went off to cool his heels in the calaboose, he earnestly advised us to depart at once from this wretched region, unless we wished to swell the ranks of the "fools caught in Mexico," with various phrases reflecting on the officials, which it is needless to repeat.

The moonlight guided us over the low-water bridge and along the river-bottom, a mile or so, to the town, where I reached the hotel at about eleven o'clock, and in company with a young man who had been "run out" of the Sabinas valley on account of some infirmity of temper. I inquired what it was that had particularly incensed the Mexicans, and he said that it was only be-