Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/341

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THE MARKETS AND FLOATING GARDENS.

would call mud-scows. Into one of these picturesque arks some of the boatmen succeed in dragging the explorer, and, after waiting half an hour till they have secured a load, and the benches are alive with Indians and fleas, they push off from the bank, worming their way amongst a hundred other mud-scows, and the voyager finds himself afloat upon the waters of the "raging canal." Then he gives himself up to the enjoyment of the hour, revelling in pictures of the "Venice of the "Western world,"[1]—fancying the Mexicans in their disguise of dirt,—dirt, the war-paint of the

TLM D341 Canal of La Viga.jpg

CANAL OF LA VIGA.

true Venetian,—as they swiftly pass in their light canoes (shaped like a bread-trough),—fancying, I say, that they are the noble Aztecs,—as, take them for what their remote maternal ancestors may have been, they certainly are. Thus the gondola glides gently over the waves, the passenger indulges in

  1. Prescott did not originate this phrase; we find it in Clavigero (18th century), and in others: "The situation of this city is much like that of Venice."—Th. Gage, 1626.