Open main menu

Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/135

This page needs to be proofread.


CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 113 of some birds of prey, with their feathers, head, beak, and claws. There are also sold rabbits, hares, deer, and little dogs, which are raised for eating and castrated. There is also an herb street, where may be obtained all sorts of roots and medicinal herbs that the country af- fords. There are apothecaries' shops, where prepared medicines, liquids, ointments, and plasters are sold ; barbers' shops, where they wash and shave the head ; and restaurateurs, that furnish food and drink at a cer- tain price. There is also a class of men like those called in Castile porters, for carrying burthens. Wood and coals are seen in abundance, and brasiers of earthen- ware for burning coals ; mats of various kinds for beds, others of a lighter sort for seats, and for halls and bed- rooms. There are all kinds of green vegetables, espe- cially onions, leeks, garlic, watercresses, nasturtium, borage, sorel, artichokes, and golden thistle ; fruits also of numerous descriptions, amongst which are cherries and plums, similar to those in Spain ; honey and wax from bees, and from the stalks of maize, which are as sweet as the sugar-cane ; honey is also extracted from the plant called maguey,* which is superior to sweet or new wine ; from the same plant they extract sugar and wine, which they also sell. Different kinds of cotton thread of all colors in skeins are exposed for sale in one quarter of the market, which has the appearance of the silk-market at Granada, although the former is supplied more abundantly. Painters' colors, as numerous as can be found in Spain, and as fine shades ; deerskins dressed and undressed, dyed different colors ; earthenware of a

  • This is the plant known in this country under the name of the Century Plant,

which is still much cultivated in Mexico for the purposes mentioned by Cortes. It usually flowers when eight or ten years old.