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William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1 4 0 Browse Search
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William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 1: San Carlos. (search)
me poor soul still cares for the old place. Yes, some one cares. A Rumsen chief, old Capitan Carlos, comes in once a year, to smooth the falling stones and keep his memory of the church alive. On pushing the door ajar, a ray of light, a rush of air, go with us into the sacristy. The floor is mud. A broken table leans against the wall. Above this table hang some poor oil pictures, in the Spanish school of sacred art; a faded Sefora of Carmelo, and by way of balance, a yet more faded Jesu Christo. Covered by dust and grime lie votive offerings of the village sort; among the heaps, a bunch of forest leaves, and a chaplet of paper flowers. All sorts of creeping things defile the floor and wall. The room smells moist and mouldy; so we turn our faces towards the chancel, leaving our Lady of Carmelo in the gloom, and shutting the door on spiders, centipedes, forest leaves, and artificial flowers. This chancel has a purer interest than the sacristy. Here stood the shrine, and
William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 2: Mission Indians. (search)
ir foreheads with the White man's sign. A convert died; the music of the spirit land was sung above his grave. What buck had ever seen and heard such funeral rites? The bucks came in, and asked to be baptised. Fray Jose Maria lost no time in teaching creeds and articles. An Indian crept into the church, and asked to be adopted by the White man's saint. Kneel down, replied the smiling friar; now, listen to my words, and say them after me: Santissima Trinidada Dios, Jesu Christo, Esperitu Santo! Hardly another word was spoken by the priest. Crossing his convert, the father gave him a saintly name, and sent him home a new man; a member of the Catholic Church, a subject of the King of Spain. Year after year the fathers ploughed and garnered in this virgin soil. A street arose outside the fence, in which the converts dwelt: poor bucks in dug-outs roofed with logs; chiefs and seers in cabins of poles, roofed and clothed with mats. They lived in peace. No ho