Although I was invited to stay a few days in this town, I immediately continued towards
the border, where my correspondence had been addressed, and where I planned to take a good
A modern road that is to connect Monterrey with Laredo was under construction at the time
we passed, but as only a short piece was finished it was more of a hindrance than a help to
us. The distance to the border along this road is a little over 140 miles, and as the country is,
practically a desert, we came to only one small village that deserves the name of such. When
I rode up to the municipal building a few men were seated on a bench. One of the group, a tall
dark fellow, who made a striking picture with his large charro hat, smiled when he saw me,
in a sense, for he said he had been on the look-out for me for a long time in Central America.
This naturally surprised me, and when I asked the smiling fellow to be more explicit, he ex-
plained that he had fought as right-hand man under General Moncada in Nicaragua, and that
he had been watching for me there to advise me to keep out of that country, should I foolishly
have attempted to cross it during those turbulent times. He added that I ought to consider my-
self lucky to have been so well advised about giving Nicaragua a miss, for he was convinced
that the least I would have lost would have been the horses. To my amazement he handed me
over a map I had lost in Central America, telling me that for a long rime he had hoped to have
the pleasure of handing it back to me personally.
blowing sand into our eyes, making them run with tears.
A few goats and scraggy small cattle keep alive with difficulty on the coarse shrubbery,
which is the only thing that grows on these dull and sandy plains. One day an enraged cow
in very poor huts, where there were more fleas than frijoles , and I was thankful when I saw
the skyline of Laredo, the border town.
In the northern part of Mexico I had to make the acquaintance of a new kind of insect, al-
though I thought every possible species had sampled my blood. I had been itching badly for
some days and was sure that I was only being worried by some particularly hungry or vicious
short all the 'fleacraft' I had acquired with long and painful experience, my attempts at even
getting a glimpse of them proved futile. I began to wonder if such things as flea ghosts exist,
but, just as I was giving up my thorough investigations as hopeless I saw something move
along the seam of my shirt, inside which I had my head like a photographer focusing a cam-