Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/288

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TRAVELS IN MEXICO.

tocracy, and at the conquest only changed masters. Nevertheless, countless mongrels were born, some in lawful matrimony, some per nefas; and during three centuries the priest and the monk, the soldier and the young Creole, have continued to engraft the Caucasian stock on the wild trunk. Thus arose the numerous Mestizo population, which has inherited TLM D288 Mestizio.jpgMESTIZO.
(By a Native Artist.)
in part the brown hue of the mother, but also the greater energy and more vigorous mind of the father.

"The Mestizo, then, is properly the offspring (not always properly begotten) of white father and Indian mother. He has an inborn originality, and is the representative of national customs and peculiarities. He is a magnificent horseman; one might take him for an Arab, as, lance in hand, he rushes past upon his light steed. In the warmer regions he wears (on Sundays) a carefully plaited white shirt, wide trousers of white or colored drilling, fastened round the hips by a gay girdle, brown leather gaiters, and broad felt hat, with silver cord or fur band about it. The peasants, or rancheros, are usually distinguished by the calzoneras, or open trousers of leather ornamented with silver, with white drawers showing through, a colored silk handkerchief about the neck, and the sarape,—the blanket-shawl with slit in the centre, resembling a herald's mantle. The women seldom wear stockings, though their dainty feet are often encased in satin slippers; they have loose, embroidered chemises, and a woollen or calico skirt, while the rebozo—a narrow but long shawl—is drawn over the head, and covers the otherwise exposed arms and breast."

These are the elements that go to make up the Mexican people: Indians, Creoles, Mestizos. The last constitute the great majority of rancheros, or farmers, and arrieros, or mule-drivers;