Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/115

This page has been validated.

insisted that he should sing for them. He did so—and was hissed most obstreperously by his lawless auditory! It is said that he had borne the pillaging with becoming temper, but the hissing he never forgot or forgave.

Thus situated, we made the best of our position, and determined to enjoy ourselves in our own way: riding out every morning, frequently dining and spending the afternoon at the house of one or other of our European acquaintances, and passing the evening at the paséo, or on the elevated azotea of one of the fine palaces, which, now half warehouse and half dwelling house, are, many of them, in the occupation of foreigners. The scale of the interior arrangement of these princely structures corresponds with the stately exterior. They contain suites of elevated apartments, now despoiled of their rich furniture, and melancholy from their vast extent and want of inhabitants; but evincing in their fresh gay gilding, carved work, panelling, and painted ceilings, both the past glories of which they have been the scene, and the extreme purity of the atmosphere which circulates within their lofty walls. The view's from the more elevated, over the flat roofs and the numerous domes of the city, and the complete panorama of mountains, were of a beauty which is indescribable.

There are certain thoroughfares and places of resort, in Mexico, which seem to pour one incessant stream of human beings, from sunrise to sunset. Such are the main streets leading to the causeways; the vicinity of Parian and Plaza Mayor, where the bulk of the business of the capital is concentrated; the various markets; and the quarters where the canals from the lakes terminate.

Numberless light canoes laden with fruits, flowers, vegetables, maize, and straw, meat, wild ducks, and game of various description, approach the centre of the city by the latter channels; frequently accompanied by