Page:Guatimala or the United Provinces of Central America in 1827-8.pdf/53

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from one end of the room to the other, and three or four swords with several muskets, ornamented its walls.

Soon after our arrival several of the neighbours entered the house, which seemed always open to every visiter. One threw himself in a hammock, others seated themselves on the table, or on beds, and all began at once to inquire the news, and to discuss politics with the greatest vehemence, smoking and spitting on the floor most profusely.

Nothing can exceed the indolence, licentiousness, and ignorance of these people. Their only idea of freedom is, the absence of all restraint, and consequently, in manners and morals they have levelled themselves with the brute creation.

The mistress of the house, a young woman of about twenty, was a complete specimen of filth and vulgar finery. Terribly afflicted with a güegüecho, or swelling of the glands of the neck, she still had sufficient vanity to suppose herself handsome; and dressed in a dashing printed gown, made very low in the body, with pink shoes, and silk stockings, and two gold chains hanging about her neck, she paraded the room like a sultana of the east. A more pitiable object could scarcely be seen. Her husband, an old man of about sixty, exceeded her if possible, in grossness. In this house it was our misfortune