all their energy in making the last speech, and take things easy until new strength, vigour and
inspiration have accumulated for another display of verbal fireworks.
Every time I looked at a half-finished monument or public building I could not help won-
dering how many orators had strained their lungs and vocal chords during the laying of the
foundation-stones, and I tried to estimate how much of the funds had evaporated into space in
the same way as the speeches had done.
Near the capital is the San Salvador Country Club, where all the native anti-Americans
make desperate efforts to ape their pet aversions, and let the world know that they have
mastered half a dozen English words. At the time 'Oxford' trousers were the height of mas-
culine fashion and, not content with the already very wide 'bell bottoms', some of the young
caballeros had them tailored so wide that they looked almost like crinolines.
The way to tell the general level of culture in any country is to judge the lower or, better
said, the poor classes that constitute the vast majority, and in this respect I am more afraid of
being disbelieved than disputed if I were to state my straightforward opinion and facts about
some of the countries I passed through.
When the chief revenue of a nation is the taxation on alcohol, which is distilled and sold
by the government, it is apt to make one think.
InSanSalvadorthe peones (landworkers)receivestarvationwagesofafewpenceperday,
and two meals of beans ( frijoles ) and mashed-corn 'pancakes' ( tortillas ). To make the latter,
corn is boiled and then mashed between two stones. When the paste is ready it is flattened
between the hands and put to bake as an earthenware plate over the fire. From Panama to the
U.S. border this was the chief food I had.
Naturally the Salvadorians have their evening parade around the plaza, and were it not for
this daily social event the average woman would never leave her house at all. Some of the
señoritas are distinctly pretty but as a rule they are of a darkish hue, and really white women
are as rare as bathrooms in the native hotels.
From the capital towards the Guatemalan border the trip was easy and very pleasant. On
the way I made the acquaintance of some charming people who were all very hospitable. I
visited the beautiful Lagoon of Coatepeque, which in reality is the crater of a volcano filled
with water. It lies in a deep hollow, and measures roughly one and a half miles across. On one
side, behind the surrounding mountain ridges, one can see the smoke and fire of the famous
volcano Yzalco, often called 'The Lighthouse of Central America', since its bright eruptions
may act as guiding beacons to mariners at sea.
coffee in the country is grown on the slopes of the extinct volcano after which the town was