Page:Guatimala or the United Provinces of Central America in 1827-8.pdf/162

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distant. On the outside of the town, a fine avenue of trees leads into fields nearly isolated from the surrounding country, by stupendous barrancas, and surrounded in the distance, by a chain of mountains and volcanoes, over the tops of which an immense mantle of dark clouds lies almost perpetually stretched. On a fine evening, these fields are to be seen thickly studded with small parties, reclined upon the grass; some enjoying the cool breeze, and others listlessly gazing upon the majestic prospect. Close by is the village, which consists of a few small houses, a number of Indian huts, and a square or plaza, ornamented by a fine old fountain, which stands in the middle.

Once a year, this spot becomes the busy scene of rustic festivity, by the influx of visitants at the annual fair, which commences on the l4th of August, and lasts fifteen days. The first of these is appropriated to the sale of mules and horses, of which an immense variety are exhibited. The second is the great feast, and devoted to amusement. The middle of the plaza is then occupied by a multitude of Dulce women, who, squatted on the ground, are peeping through their black mantillas, and recommending the various preserved fruits and sweetmeats which they have for sale; a few covered stalls, with toys and ornaments, are interspersed among the crowd,