Fanny Chambers Gooch Iglehart.

Face to face with the Mexicans: the domestic life, educational, social and business ways, statesmanship and literature, legendary and general history of the Mexican people, as seen and studied by an A online

. (page 4 of 38)
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everything was clear. We sat in the patio on the afternoon of her
first visit, and among other things was her determination that we
should converse about Don Quixote, she being familiar with his story
in the original and I in my own tongue. Many of the humorous
adventures of the Don were called up by her in the most amusing
manner. In rapid succession she mentioned the men with their
" pack-staves," the " wine-bags," and was finally overcome with laugh-
ter as she said that our grand old house reminded her of the isle of
Barataria, where Sancho Panza was governor.

She then sang in a low, sweet tone many operatic airs, among them,
"Then You'll Remember Me," and others equally familiar, possess-
ing an added charm in the sweet Spanish. Near night-fall she arose
to go home, saying Pancho — meaning her husband — would soon be



.-/ NEIV HOME AND NEW FRIENDS. 57

there, and she wisl;ed him never to enter their home and find her
absent. PLicing her arm affectionately about my waist, in her sweet
Spanish she said to nic : " In my country it is very sad for you, and
you are far from your home and people, but do not forget I am your
friend and sister ; what I can do for you shall be done as for a sister."
Her husband, Don Pancho, shared fully in her professions of friend-
ship, and on one occasion, when a hundred miles away from the city,
sent us 2. regalo (gift) of a donkey-load of grapes.

In striking personal contrast were my two most intimate friends
among Mexican women. Pomposita, like Liberata, had the petite fig-
ure, the dainty feet and hands peculiar to the women of that country ;
but unlike her, she possessed the high cheek-bones, the straight black
hair, the brown skin indicating her Indian origin, of which she was
justly proud.

But there was no contrast in the exhibition of their devoted kind-
ness and friendship. Both were equallj' ready to assist me in adapting
myself to the strange order of things and to aid in my initiation into
the mysteries of their peculiar household economies. In case of sick-
ness it seemed worth while to suffer to be the object of such exquisite
tenderness, and experience the unspeakable sweetness of their sisterly
ministrations.

But the time came when an overwhelming affliction fell upon me,
when the night with its countless stars and crescent moon told of no
serene sphere where tears and grief are unknown. The shadows passed
over my soul without a gleam to enlighten the gloom of the grave.

The oft-read promise to grief-stricken humanity, " Thy brother shall
rise again," was powerless to console.

My sister Emma, the loveliest and most devoted of women, was
suddenly called from this bright world in the summer bloom of her
loving life, leaving four young and tender children, leaving all her re-
lations and friends grief-stricken and myself in the depths of such an-
guish as only God and the good angels know. When we came into
this world, it was in a large family of brothers who loved and petted
the two wee girls with all the devotion of noble-hearted men. But



58



FACE TO FACE WITH THE MEXICANS.



the)- had long gone forth into the world, our noble parents had been
called to their last home, while we remained together, our hearts throb-
bing in unison. Now that she was taken, it seemed to me there was
a void that no space nor object of the affections could fill, and the
better part of my life was gone.

In these darkened and burdened days of grief I can only tell how
true, loving, and tender were the hands that ministered to me. The




PORTAL IN SALTILLO.



other members of our party were absent on a journey, and these
strangers nobly filled their places. In the long and painful illness that
followed, Pomposita, Liberata and other friends never left me for a
moment, day or night, and in deference to my sorrow all were robed in
somber black. Every possible delicacy that could tempt a wayward
appetite was brought ; notes and messages came daily to my door, and
numberless inquiries, all expressive of sympathy and a desire to serve
me, from the male relatives of my friends. These affectionate and



A NEW HOME AND NEW FRIENDS. 59

tender attentions could not have been exceeded by those endeared to
me b}' ties of blood.

Pomposita, thou



Online LibraryFanny Chambers Gooch IglehartFace to face with the Mexicans: the domestic life, educational, social and business ways, statesmanship and literature, legendary and general history of the Mexican people, as seen and studied by an A → online text (page 4 of 38)