Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/99

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Besides the two principal products, the estates about Mexico furnish a large quantity of European grain, Mexican and European wheat, and abundance of beans, peas, Chili pepper, and vegetables, in addition to most of our European fruits.

Surely there is not on the face of the earth a country more highly favoured by nature than New Spain. You can hardly name a mineral product which it does not hide within its bosom, or a vegetable one, of whatever zone, which it might not, under proper management, be made to bring to perfection in one part or another of its varied surface. Yet how little has man hitherto done to improve these advantages!

But to return for an instant to the hacienda. It may be remarked, that in common with all its neighbours of the same class, there are signs of interior decay observable, consequent upon the altered circumstances of the country: and the general magnificence of the plan and the dimensions of the apartments, contrast disagreeably with the scanty character of the furniture. These country seats were once palaces, but they are no longer so; still there was a feudal air about the great hall of San Antonio, which for size and noble proportions might almost rival the ritter-saal of a German castle. The church had been completely despoiled of its ornaments, and now seemed to be utterly deserted.

From the hacienda of San Antonio, the route continues to run, in nearly a straight line, to Tlalpam or San Augustin de las Cuevas, a town with a large church and plaza, most delightfully situated among gardens and groves, at the very foot of the hills in advance of the Ajusco. It is a favourite resort of the citizens of all classes from the capital, many of the wealthier of whom have country seats here, to which they repair to enjoy fine air and verdure, in exchange for the heat and glare of the city.

Among these, the country seat and gardens of the exiled General Moran are particularly beautiful. The