Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/118

This page has been validated.
112
MEXICO.

sans have of late years settled in Mexico, but are always regarded with jealous dislike by the natives.

The works in wax are celebrated; and there is an artist, Hidalgo by name, whose models of national character and costumes are of rare beauty and fidelity. There is evidently much native talent of an imitative kind; but the disadvantages under which the country labours, are sufficient to crush and extinguish it.

Owing to the causes before alluded to, I am totally unable to give you the smallest insight into the manner in which the best classes of the natives employ themselves during the early part of the day. Soon after sunrise, the churches held their proportions of worshippers of all ranks. The hour of prayer over and gone, while we suppose that the males repaired to their ordinary occupations, private or official, the higher class of females disappeared altogether. Among the crowds in the great thoroughfares, at the market, under the great arcades, or on the promenades—it was a rare occurrence to descry the mantilla of a lady of condition.

Now and then, it is true, a solitary maiden, followed by her watchful duenna, might cross your path, saluting your nostrils by a gentle whiff from the lighted cigarita, which, like the glance of her black eye, was but half shrouded by the ample mantilla; but this was not a usual apparition.

It was evident that they neither went out shopping, nor visiting, nor gallivanting, but staid within doors—which, on the charitable supposition that they were properly employed, was well enough; but hereof deponent saith not.

It was far otherwise in the evening. Then all, young and old, came out of their hiding places, and the Alameda and paseos before sunset, and the portales after dark, swarmed with the damas and signoritas of the city.

The number of carriages which repair to the evening promenade is very great; and there is certainly considerable taste and luxury displayed among them.

They are in general capacious vehicles, with bodies