Page:Guatimala or the United Provinces of Central America in 1827-8.pdf/171

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if ready to fall upon the head of the passer-by, remain precisely as they did when, fifty years ago, the inhabitants fled from their vicinity, through fear of being swallowed up by their ruins. The very rubbish in many places, has not been removed, and such is the superstitious feeling of the lower orders, that they object to see any portion of the stones appropriated to what they deem unhallowed purposes. These buildings are many of them in a very superior style of architecture, far surpassing similar edifices in the new capital. In the streets near the market-place, the houses have been mostly repaired, or rebuilt; but in some of the outer ones, bare walls, covered with moss, still meet the eye in every direction.

The suburbs constitute one vast garden, filled with vegetables, for the supply of both the cities, or covered with the nopal for the cultivation of the cochineal insect, of which a considerable quantity is annually produced. These gardens are mostly well directed, and regularly irrigated. In the vicinity, are some water-mills, for grinding flour; but the machinery is wretchedly coarse. The number of inhabitants is now estimated at near 16,000, employed chiefly in agriculture, and the streets and plaza are again thronged with a noisy multitude, equally forgetful of the fearful past, and careless of the future.