CHAPTER I. BUENOS AYRES IN 1889.

In the year 1889, after five weeks of ocean tossing, the steamer on which I was a passenger anchored in the River Plate, off Buenos Ayres. Nothing but water and sky was to be seen, for the coast was yet twenty miles away, but the river was too shallow for the steamer to get nearer. Large tugboats came out to us, and passengers and baggage were transhipped into them, and we steamed ten miles nearer the still invisible city. There smaller tugs awaited us and we were again transhipped. Sailing once more toward the land, we soon caught sight of the Argentine capital, but before we could sail nearer the tugs grounded. There we were crowded into flat-bottomed, lug-sailed boats for a third stage of our landward journey. These boats conveyed us to within a mile of the city, when carts, drawn by five horses, met us in the surf and drew us on to the wet, shingly beach. There about twenty men stood, ready to carry the females on their backs on to the dry, sandy shore, where was the customs house. The population of the city we then entered was about six hundred thousand souls.

After changing the little gold I carried for the greasy paper currency of the country, I started out in search of something to eat. Eventually I found myself before a substantial meal. At a table in front of me sat a Scotsman from the same vessel. He had arrived before me (Scotsmen say they are always before the Englishmen) and was devouring part of a leg of mutton. This, he told me, he had procured, to the great amusement of Boniface, by going down on all fours and baa-ing like the sheep of his native hills. Had he waited until I arrived he might have feasted on lamb, for my voice was not so gruff as his. He had unconsciously asked for an old sheep. I think the Highlander in that instance regretted that he had preceded the Englishman.

How shall I describe the metropolis of the Argentine, with its one-storied, flat-roofed houses, each with grated windows and centre patio? Some of the poorer inhabitants raise fowls on the roof, which gives the house a barnyard appearance, while the iron-barred windows below strongly suggest a prison. Strange yet attractive dwellings they are, lime-washed in various colors, the favorite shades seeming to be pink and bottle green. Fires are not used except for cooking purposes, and the little smoke they give out is quickly dispersed by the breezes from the sixty-mile-wide river on which the city stands.

The Buenos Ayres of 1889 was a strange place, with its long, narrow streets, its peculiar stores and many-tongued inhabitants. There is the dark-skinned policeman at the corner of each block sitting silently on his horse, or galloping down the cobbled street at the sound of some revolver, which generally tells of a life gone out. Arriving on the scene he often finds the culprit flown. If he succeeds in riding him down (an action he scruples not to do), he, with great show, and at the sword's point, conducts him to the nearest police station. Unfortunately he often chooses the quiet side streets, where his prisoner may have a chance to buy his freedom. If he pays a few dollars, the poor vigilante is perfectly willing to lose him, after making sometimes the pretence of a struggle to blind the lookers-on, if there be any curious enough to interest themselves. This man in khaki is often "the terror of the innocent, the laughing-stock of the guilty." The poor man or the foreign sailor, if he stagger ever so little, is sure to be "run in." The Argentine law-keeper (?) is provided with both sword and revolver, but receives small remuneration, and as his salary is often tardily paid him, he augments it in this way when he cannot see a good opportunity of turning burglar or something worse on his own account. When he is low in funds he will accost the stranger, begging a 
 cigarette, or inviting himself at your expense to the nearest cafe, as "the day is so unusually hot." After all, we must not blame him too much - his superiors are far from guiltless, and he knows it. When Minister Toso took charge of the Provincial portfolio of Finance, he exclaimed, "C-o! Todos van robando menos yo!" ("Everybody is robbing here except I.") It is public news that President Celman carried away to his private residence in the country a most beautiful and expensive bronze fountain presented by the inhabitants of the city to adorn the principal plaza. [Footnote: Public square.] The president is elected by the people for a term of three years, and invariably retires a rich man, however poor he may have been when entering on his office. The laws of the country may be described as model and Christian, but the carrying out of them is a very different matter.

Some of the laws are excellent and worthy of our imitation, such as, for example, the one which decrees that bachelors shall be taxed. Civil elections are held on Sundays, the voting places being Roman Catholic churches.

Both postmen and telegraph boys deliver on horseback, but such is the lax custom that everything will do to-morrow. That fatal word is the first the stranger learns - manana.

Comparatively few people walk the streets. "No city in the world of equal size and population can compare with Buenos Ayres for the number and extent of its tramways." [Footnote: Turner's "Argentina."] A writer in the Financial News says: "The proportion of the population who daily use street-cars is sixty-six times greater in Buenos Ayres than in the United Kingdom."

This Modern Athens, as the Argentines love to term their city, has a beautiful climate. For perhaps three hundred days out of every year there is a sky above as blue as was ever seen in Naples.

The natives eat only twice a day - at 10.30 a.m., and at 7 p.m. - the common edibles costing but little. I could write much of Buenos Ayres, with its carnicerias, where a leg of mutton may be bought for 20 cts., or a brace of turkeys for 40 cts.; its almacenes, where one may buy a pound of sugar or a yard of cotton, a measure of charcoal (coal is there unknown) or a large sombrero, a package of tobacco (leaves over two feet long) or a pair of white hemp-soled shoes for your feet - all at the same counter. The customer may further obtain a bottle of wine or a bottle of beer (the latter costing four times the price of the former) from the same assistant, who sells at different prices to different customers.

There the value of money is constantly changing, and almost every day prices vary. What to-day costs $20 to-morrow may be $15, or, more likely, $30. Although one hundred and seventy tons of sugar are annually grown in the country, that luxury is decidedly expensive. I have paid from 12 cts. to 30 cts. a pound. Oatmeal, the Scotsman's dish, has cost me up to 50 cts. a pound.

Coming again on to the street you hear the deafening noises of the cow horns blown by the streetcar drivers, or the pescador shrilly inviting housekeepers to buy the repulsive-looking red fish, carried over his shoulder, slung on a thick bamboo. Perhaps you meet a beggar on horseback (for there wishes are horses, and beggars do ride), who piteously whines for help. This steed-riding fraternity all use invariably the same words: "Por el amor de Dios dame un centavo!" ("For the love of God give me a cent.") If you bestow it, he will call on his patron saint to bless you. If you fail to assist him, the curses of all the saints in heaven will fall on your impious head. This often causes such a shudder in the recipient that I have known him to turn back to appease the wrath of the mendicant, and receive instead - a blessing.

It is not an uncommon sight to see a black-robed priest with his hand on a boy's head giving him a benediction that he may be enabled to sell his newspapers or lottery tickets with more celerity.

The National Lottery is a great institution, and hundreds keep themselves poor buying tickets. In one year the lottery has realized the sum of $3,409,143.57. The Government takes forty per cent. of this, and divides the rest between a number of charitable and religious organizations, all, needless to say, being Roman Catholic. Amongst the names appear the following: Poor Sisters of St. Joseph, Workshop of Our Lady, Sisters of St. Anthony, etc.

Little booths for the sale of lottery tickets are erected in the vestibules of some of the churches, and the Government, in this way, repays the church.

The gambling passion is one of Argentina's greatest curses. Tickets are bought by all, from the Senator down to the newsboy who ventures his only dollar.

You meet the water-seller passing down the street with his barrel cart, drawn by three or four horses with tinkling bells, dispensing water to customers at five cents a pail. The poorer classes have no other means of procuring this precious liquid. The water is kept in a corner of the house in large sun-baked jars. A peculiarity of these pots is that they are not made to stand alone, but have to be held up by something.

At early morning and evening the milkman goes his rounds on horseback. The milk he carries in six long, narrow cans, like inverted sugar-loaves, three on each side of his raw-hide saddle, he himself being perched between them on a sheepskin. In some cans he carries pure cream, which the jolting of his horse soon converts into butter. This he lifts out with his hands to any who care to buy. After the addition of a little salt, and the subtraction of a little buttermilk, this manteca is excellent. After serving you he will again mount his horse, but not until his hands have been well wiped on its tail, which almost touches the ground. The other cans of the lechero contain a mixture known to him alone. I never analyzed it, but have remarked a chalky substance in the bottom of my glass. He does not profess to sell pure milk; that you can buy, but, of course, at a higher price, from the pure milk seller. In the cool of the afternoon he will bring round his cows, with bells on their necks and calves dragging behind. The calves are tied to the mothers' tails, and wear a muzzle. At a sh-h from the sidewalk he stops them, and, stooping down, fills your pitcher according to your money. The cows, through being born and bred to a life in the streets, are generally miserable-looking beasts. Strange to add, the one milkman shoes his cows and the other leaves his horse unshod. It is not customary in this country for man's noble friend to wear more than his own natural hoof. A visit to the blacksmith is entertaining. The smith, by means of a short lasso, deftly trips up the animal, and, with its legs securely lashed, the cow must lie on its back while he shoes its upturned hoofs.

Many and varied are the scenes. One is struck by the number of horses, seven and eight often being yoked to one cart, which even then they sometimes find difficult to draw. Some of the streets are very bad, worse than our country lanes, and filled with deep ruts and drains, into which the horses often fall. There the driver will sometimes cruelly leave them, when, after his arm aches in using the whip, he finds the animal cannot rise. For the veriest trifle I have known men to smash the poor dumb brute's eyes out with the stock of the whip, and I have been very near the Police Station more than once when my righteous blood compelled me to interfere. Where, oh, where is the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals? Surely no suffering creatures under the sun cry out louder for mercy than those in Argentina?

As I have said, horses are left to die in the public streets. It has been my painful duty to pass moaning creatures lying helplessly in the road, with broken limbs, under a burning sun, suffering hunger and thirst, for three consecutive days, before kind death, the sufferer's friend, released them. Looking on such sights, seeing every street urchin with coarse laugh and brutal jest jump on such an animal's quivering body, stuff its parched mouth with mud, or poke sticks into its staring eyes, I have cried aloud at the injustice. The policeman and the passers-by have only laughed at me for my pains.

In my experiences in South America I found cruelty to be a marked feature of the people. If the father thrusts his dagger into his enemy, and the mother, in her fits of rage, sticks her hairpin into her maid's body, can it be wondered at if the children inherit cruel natures? How often have I seen a poor horse fall between the shafts of some loaded cart of bricks or sand! Never once have I seen his harness undone and willing hands help him up, as in other civilized lands. No, the lashing of the cruel whip or the knife's point is his only help. If, as some religious writers have said, the horse will be a sharer of Paradise along with man, his master, then those from Buenos Ayres will feed in stalls of silver and have their wounds healed by the clover of eternal kindness. "God is Love."

I have said the streets are full of holes. In justice to the authorities I must mention the fact that sometimes, especially at the crossings, these are filled up. To carry truthfulness still further, however, I must state that more than once I have known them bridged over with the putrefying remains of a horse in the last stages of decomposition. I have seen delicate ladies, attired in Parisian furbelows, lift their dainty skirts, attempt the crossing - and sink in a mass of corruption, full of maggots.

In my description of Buenos Ayres I must not omit to mention the large square, black, open hearses so often seen rapidly drawn through the streets, the driver seeming to travel as quickly as he can. In the centre of the coach is the coffin, made of white wood and covered with black material, fastened on with brass nails. Around this gruesome object sit the relatives and friends of the departed one on their journey to the chacarita, or cemetery, some six miles out from the centre of the city. Cemeteries in Spanish America are divided into three enclosures. There is the "cemetery of heaven," "the cemetery of purgatory," and "the cemetery of hell." The location of the soul in the future is thus seen to be dependent on its location by the priests here. The dead are buried on the day of their death, when possible, or, if not, then early on the following morning; but never, I believe, on feast days. Those periods are set apart for pleasure, and on important saint days banners and flags of all nations are hung across the streets, or adorn the roofs of the flat-topped houses, where the washing is at other times dried.

After attending mass in the early morning on these days, the people give themselves up to revelry and sin at home, or crowd the street-cars running to the parks and suburbs. Many with departed relatives (and who has none?) go to the chacarita, and for a few pesos bargain with the black-robed priest waiting there, to deliver their precious dead out of Purgatory. If he sings the prayer the cost is double, but supposed to be also doubly efficacious. Mothers do not always inspire filial respect in their offspring, for one young man declared that he "wanted to get his mother out of Purgatory before he went in."

A Buenos Ayres missionary writes "There are two large cemeteries here. From early morn until late at night the people crowd into them, and I am told there were 100,000 at one time in one of them. November 1 is a special day for releasing thousands of souls out of Purgatory. We printed thousands of tracts and the workers started out to distribute them. By ten o'clock six of them were in jail, having been given into custody by a 'holy father.' They were detained until six in the evening without food, and then were released through the efforts of a Methodist minister."

The catechisn reads: "Attend mass all Sundays and Feast days. Confess at least once a year, or oftener, if there is any fear of death. Take Sacrament at Easter time. Pay a tenth of first-fruits to God's Church." The fourth commandment is condensed into the words: "Sanctify the Feast days." From this it will be seen that there is great need for mission work. Of course Romanism in this and other cities is losing its old grip upon the people, and because of this the priest is putting forth superhuman effort to retain what he has. La Voz de la Iglesia ("The Voice of the Church"), the organ of the Bishop of Buenos Ayres, has lately published some of the strongest articles we have ever read. A late article concludes: "One thing only, one thing: OBEY; OBEY BLINDLY. Comply with her (the Church's) commands with faithful loyalty. If we do this, it is impossible for Protestantism to invade the flowery camp of the Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman."

Articles such as this, however, and the circulation of a tract by one of the leading church presses, are not calculated to help forward a losing cause. The tract referred to is entitled, "Letter of Jesus about the Drops of Blood which He shed whilst He went to Calvary." "You know that the soldiers numbered 150, twenty-five of whom conducted me bound. I received fifty blows on the head and 108 on the breast. I was pulled by the hair 23 times, and 30 persons spat in my face. Those who struck me on the upper part of the body were 6,666, and 100 Jews struck me on the head. I sighed 125 times. The wounds on the head numbered 20; from the crown of thorns, 72; points of thorns on the forehead, 100. The wounds on the body were 100. There came out of my body 28,430 drops of blood." This letter, the tract states, was found in the Holy Sepulchre and is preserved by his holiness the Pope. Intelligent, thinking men can only smile at such an utter absurdity.

An "Echoes from Argentina" extract reads: "Not many months ago, Argentina was blessed by the Pope. Note what has happened since: - The Archbishop, who was the bearer of the blessing and brought it from Rome, has since died very suddenly; we have had a terrible visitation of heat suffocation, hundreds being attacked and very many dying; we have had the bubonic pest in our midst; a bloody provincial revolution in Entre Rios; and now at the time of writing there is an outbreak of a serious cattle disease, and England has closed her ports against Argentine live stock. Of course, we do not say that these calamities are the result of the Pope's blessing, but we would that Catholics would open their eyes and see that it is a fact that whereas Protestant countries, anathematized by the Pope, prosper, Catholic countries which have been blessed by him are in a lamentable condition."

BUENOS AYRES AT THE PRESENT TIME.

Perhaps no city of the world has grown and progressed more during this last decade than the city of Buenos Ayres. To-day passengers land in the centre of the city and step on "the most expensive system of artificial docks in all America, representing an expenditure of seventy million dollars."

To this city there is a large emigration. It has grown at the rate of 4,000 adults a week, with a birthrate of 1,000 a week added. The population is now fast climbing up to 1 1-2 millions of inhabitants. There are 300,000 Italians, 100,000 Spaniards, a colony of 20,000 Britishers, and, of course, Jews and other foreigners in proportion. "Buenos Ayres is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world. There are 189 newspapers, printed in almost every language of the globe. Probably the only Syrian newspaper in America, The Assudk, is issued in this city." To keep pace with the rush of newcomers has necessitated the building of 30,000 houses every year. There is here "the finest and costliest structure ever built, used exclusively by one newspaper, the home of La Prensa; the most magnificent opera house of the western hemisphere, erected by the government at the cost of ten million dollars; one of the largest banks in the world, and the handsomest and largest clubhouse in the world." [Footnote: John Barrett, In Munsey's Magazine.] The entrance fee to this club is $1,500. The Y.M.C.A. is now erecting a commodious building, for which $200,000 has already been raised, and there is a Y.W.C.A., with a membership of five hundred. Dr. Clark, in "The Continent of Opportunity," says, "More millionaires live in Buenos Ayres than in any other city of the world of its size. The proportion of well- clothed, well-fed people is greater than in American cities, the slums are smaller, and the submerged classes less in proportion. The constant movement of carriages and automobiles here quite surpasses that of Fifth Avenue." The street cars are of the latest and most improved electric types, equal to any seen in New York or London, and seat one hundred people, inside and out. Besides these there is an excellent service of motor cabs, and tubes are being commenced. Level crossings for the steam roads are not permitted in the city limits, so all trains run over or under the streets.

"The Post Office handles 40,000,000 pieces of mail and 125,000 parcel post packages a month. The city has 1,209 automobiles, 27 theatres and 50 moving picture shows. Five thousand vessels enter the port of Buenos Ayres every year, and the export of meat in 1910 was valued at $31,000,000. No other section of the world shows such growth." [Footnote: C. H. Furlong, in The World's Work.]

The city, once so unhealthy, is now, through proper drainage, "the second healthiest large city of the world." The streets, as I first saw them, were roughly cobbled, now they are asphalt paved, and made into beautiful avenues, such as would grace any capital of the world. Avenida de Mayo, cut right through the old city, is famed as being one of the most costly and beautiful avenues of the world.

On those streets the equestrian milkman is no longer seen. Beautiful sanitary white-tiled tambos, where pure milk and butter are sold, have taken his place. The old has been transformed and PROGRESS is written everywhere.