Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/297

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nationalities; it is an old liking, which the late war has not destroyed, and hardly even diminished. The reasons for this are many. There exists a certain similarity of character between them; they have been reared in the same religion; and last, but not least, the gushing, ceremonious politeness of the Frenchman fascinates the Mexican, whose vanity is easily tickled by these demonstrative though insincere formalities. When questioned as to their fondness for the French, Mexicans will tell you repeatedly that un Frances tiene educacion, which by no means implies that a Frenchman is educated, for in that respect they and Mexicans rank much alike, but that the Gaul knows how to embrace à la Mexicana, i. e. to fall into his friend's arms as if he were about to wrestle with him, and actively pat him on the back with the right hand of affectionate acquaintance."

Now in these two extracts we see illustrated the previous statement regarding the heterogeneousness of the population, since, although both speak of the Mexican, each describes a radically different type; the first evidently the Indian, the latter the Creole or Mestizo of the upper ranks. One should be careful to discriminate between the various classes of people. I have had my attention called to the fact, that those who have known the Mexicans longest speak of them in the highest terms. Of such well-informed observers was Brantz Mayer, author of several books on Mexico. He says: "I think it exceedingly reasonable that the Mexicans should be shy of foreigners. They have been educated in the strict habits of the Catholic creed; the customs of the country are different from others; the strangers who visit them are engaged in the eager contests of commercial strife; and besides, being of different religion and language, they are chiefly from those Northern nations whose tastes and feelings have nothing kindred with the impulsive dispositions of the ardent South. In addition to the selfish spirit of gain that pervades the intercourse of these visitors, and gives them no character of permanency, or sympathy with the country, they have been accustomed to look down on the Mexicans with contempt for their obsolete habits, without reflecting that they are not justly censurable for traditional usages, which they had no