Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/343

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THE MARKETS AND FLOATING GARDENS.

And what are they? Why, they are beds of earth, of greater or less extent, and of varying height, with ditches cut through them; they are gay with flowers, fringed with trees, and as neatly kept as the best kitchen garden in New York. It is true that the gardener floats among them in his canoe while he gathers his vegetables and loads his boat with them, and then carries them to market. But the gardens. are solid; they may shake a bit if one jumps on them, because they are boggy, even as a cranberry bed is, or a section of meadow land. But

TLM D343 From the floating gardens.jpg

FROM THE FLOATING GARDENS.

they are gay with flowers, and here it is that many of those exposed in the market are raised.

So many have denied the existence of the ancient chinampas, or veritable floating gardens, that I would extend our trip yet farther down the canal, and into the two great fresh-water lakes, Xochimilco—the flowering field—and Chalco, where we shall in very truth encounter them. I have described the chinampas that, though perhaps once vagrant, are now fixed in position and doing duty as kitchen gardens. To one who has read the history of the Aztec irruption into the Mexican