Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/94

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
86
TRAVELS IN MEXICO.

leave the country. From ten to fifteen dollars is the price for a good woven hemp hammock, and some bring even twenty-five and thirty dollars. They are very durable, and endure years of wear; there is as much difference, too, in hammocks as in beds.

Yucatan has other products than hemp, but that is king. Sugar is made in the eastern portions in a limited way, but, as the best sugar lands are in the south, and all in possession of Indians supposed to be wild, but little is done in this direction. Hardly enough vegetables are raised to supply the people, and cotton only in small quantities. Regarding the culture of cotton, I should like to introduce something that I found in an old letter-book of the consulate, written by a former acting native consul in answer to inquiries from Washington.

"The culture of cotton is very little here, and is cultivated only on the southern part of this city and in a very small quantity, and grows at the extent of twelve feet. No other insect enemies of the cotton plant has been found but its worm, and the worm is exactly as mentioned on the letter, that is, a great worm with white lines and black dots. Cotton worm is always on the cotton leaf, and there is no doubt that this worm kills the plant. He does not touch the accorn of the cotton, as he remains always on the leaf. The worm has always been in the country, as it belongs to the plant. Cotton has been growing here for more than twenty years, and it grows wild, but it is inferior to the plant cultivated. The prevailing direction of winds, during the months of March, April, June, and July, are generally breeze and southeast. Any more information that I may have respecting the cotton worm and the insect enemy of the plant I will inform immediately."

It has been my blessed privilege to inspect several such letter books in various consulates in the south, and the amount of information contained in them is not unfrequently equalled by their rare humor, especially if the product of alien representatives.

One morning early we hired a coche and set out to visit the estate of Don Alvaro Peon, who had invited us to inspect his hemp plantation, and some remarkable ruins situated there. It was moonlight when we started, but as we passed the Calle