Diary of Alfred Burton Welch

Tuesday 12-6-98

Mail camer today but none for me. Bot 3¢ bananas, 1 doz, and stayed home all a.m. Very hot. A convent is across the street with high stone walls and broken glass on top. Over 1700 nuns are here, it is said, and we often hear them chanting some dismal tune. Found a fine sensitive plant today.. The boys set around & read parts of their letters aloud for we are over a month behind the times. Oh well, perhaps I don’t deserve any. And perhaps, I do. I’m off all a.m. To Paco boneyard a couple of hours. Took a walk to the “Luneta,” the great promenade on the H²O front. Kite flying and cock fighting in full blast. Saw the bullring & stand. Two modern guns –improperly mounted– guard the Luneta. Montanas & Oregon had dress parade. All in white suits & helmets. Gen. King –the author– passed and returned my salute. Montanas are quartered in a house which was used as a slaughter pen by the Spanish. A wall 30 ft. high encloding an area of 40 x 15 ft. with one entrance. The criminals were stood up in one end and shot. This end is shot all to pieces. This is a city without smokestacks, as charcoal is used. Came along a street of thatch huts over a mile long. After supper the “4” accepted the invitation of a native to go to his house & sing. We were highly entertained by his Senora who played on a splendid harp (very old) –such old Spanish waltzes and love songs. They were beautiful. The house was furnished with elegant old carved ebony and mahogany –but they squat upon the floor not knowing the uses of the furniture. Many of the native huts are furnished in this way –having been taken from Spanish houses when the city was looted. Many natives were sitting in the road listening to the singing. Left at a late hour. We are going next Wens, to visit 3 senoritas –with black hair, thick lips and oh such eyes –slow and languid at times, and then quick and passionate. They are certainly very beautiful –yet all the poetry was flung to the wind when she gracefully lifted her one garment and rolled a cigar upon her brown symmetrical “limb.”