Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/108

This page has been validated.
103
MEXICO.

clumsy imposture to which she owes her elevation to this dignity is not worth recounting. There is only one rival to her dominion in the affections of the common people in the valley of Mexico, and that is Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, whose shrine is to be seen in a village near the base of the mountains to the west of the city. The leperos and poblanitas of the city pin their faith, in case of any impending danger, upon her wonder-working image; and in cases of great emergency—as during the prevalence of the cholera, last year—she is brought with great pomp into the metropolis. On one occasion it was settled that she should pass the night in town, as the weather was unfriendly, and a suitable lodging was provided: but when morning dawned she had vanished. The fact was, that nothing could keep her away from her own flock at los Remedios, where accordingly she was found at dawn in her usual place; covered with mud, however, with having walked a number of leagues in a dark and rainy night. And this miracle is believed! Alas! poor human nature!

Wherever I go, I carry about with me an Englishman's weakness, and am particularly observant of climate and weather. This may be pardonable in a locality so peculiar as that of Mexico, where you are raised far above the ordinary region of mists and vapours, into that of frost and snow, and yet, from local and extraordinary causes, enjoy a climate of peculiar beauty and salubrity.[1]

The thermometer in the city of Mexico very seldom falls to the freezing point, and as rarely rises to a degree of oppressive heat; the usual range throughout the year being from 50 to 80° of Fahrenheit.

  1. The city of Mexico was nevertheless visited by the cholera in the course of the preceding year 1833. Out of a population of 160,000, 15,000 are stated to have fallen victims to its virulence. At the height, as many as 1400 deaths occurred in the course of twenty-four hours. Very few cases were spasmodic. Laudanum was found to be the most effectual remedy. Of the English residents all escaped with one single exception, while a considerable number of the French were carried off.