Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/271

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A RAMBLE AROUND THE CITY.

ing. Yet the Mexicans submit to these impositions, the result of negligence on the part of the actors, and apparently are not inconvenienced by it at all. Cigarettes between the acts, and frequent exchanges of calls, are permissible. As the great city is now lighted by electric lights, and electric clocks connected with the astronomical observatory are displayed in prominent places, no one need fear to wander about its streets, even at night, except in remote and unillumined suburbs.

Very near to the city, once situated, in fact, at the end of the shortest of those four causeways leading out of ancient Mexico, is Tacuba, two miles from the Alameda. In going to this interesting suburb, you take the car at the plaza, and pass through, among many others, the avenue of illustrious men, Los Hombres Ilustres, which is very wide and straight, and leads directly out into the country, though changing its name half a dozen times before it reaches open fields. Lying to its right, beyond the Alameda, is the abode of some of the men who have made, not only this street, but the whole republic, illustrious. They reside in a silent quarter called San Fernando, the panteon, or cemetery, of San Fernando. Most of the great men of Mexico are dead; the greatest lie here, either sepulchred beneath costly marbles, or shelved in the columbaria, after the city fashion in this country.

By far the richest sculpture is that above the remains of Juarez, the "Washington of Mexico," its Indian President, its wise ruler. There lie buried, also, several of the unfortunate generals and leaders of the people, who have been executed by their countrymen, either by the people because they leaned toward Spain, or by the Spaniards because they favored the people. They died for their country, all of them, and through their deaths, though they fell fighting on different sides, is their beloved land now made glorious. I wonder if there will be any reproaches in order when the last trump shall summon all these heroes to their final awards. Let us imagine them pleading their cases.

"I," for instance, says Iturbide, "struck the decisive blow that freed my country from the yoke of Spain."