Modern war, which now also involves Mexico, cannot change its characteristics. Though men will don uniforms of hattle-dress type, they won't altogether discard the favourite serape, the multi-coloured Mexico-Indian covering something like a full-blooded chasuble with a hole through which the head is thrust, and which is an integral part of national costume.. Mexicans ride horseback wearing these gaudy cloaks, and then, of course, there is the broad-brim straw sombrero as well, an eternal favourite with them.
But there is, too, a tragic history of great zealots, men who burnt and slayed ruthlessly for freedom's sake. We've read of them, seen their feats glamorised by Hollywood on the screen, There was once a priest who was also violently enthusiastic about his beautiful country of Mexico. He was Hidalgo y Costilla, and fired by the wish of the people for self-government and for emancipation from the petty tyranny of Spanish civil service officials of the early nineteenth century. he flung his biretta over the windmills. and the soutane as well, and put himself at the head of SONO Indians. The Spaniards caught and shot him.
Then came President Calles, but that was in quite recent years. There was another priest during his time, and his story never loses through its telling. I mean the Jesuit Father Michael Pro, S.J., another enthusiast for his people's freedom whose story has been so admirably written by Mrs. George Norman. He wanted Mexicans, his countrymen, to live as free Catholics and to worship in peace. They shot him too, after a romantic and adventurous career, during which he ministered to all who wanted the blessings of a religion Calles meant to eradicate from Mexico.
Canes failed in the end, and Meeico is freer under the more tolerant regime of these days. But as you look at pictures of ruined churches in remote couutry places, churches built of brick under the guidance of the Jesuits by native Indians, the walls being supported by sagearo ribs which were thrust through holes bored in the brick, just as steel reinforcement is used in modern stractures—you feel that the ruined and decayed condition of the buildings is due not only to time and to the recent persecution, but also to that habit of mind innate in the Latins of sun-scorched lands, the habit of e letting things be and not bothering trio much about anything in particular.