Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/51

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were to unite in one general uprising, and it was well known that the Indians of Chan Santa Cruz had sent invitations for a grand council of all the tribes; but the latest advices report that they have buried the hatchet. Every year they send a threatening message to the capital, promising to make its streets run with blood, and to massacre the last inhabitant; and every year the people quake and turn pale, but do nothing to prevent their advance. That advance, if it is ever made, will be along the ridge of the hills that lie south of Merida, commencing at Uxmal and running into the interior, towards the capital of these insurgents, Chan Santa Cruz. Yucatan is incompletely garrisoned by a few Mexican and Federal troops, who once in a while march out into the country in search of the Indians, who retire to their fastnesses; and the troops then triumphantly return, with a great flourish of trumpets—but without any Indians.

From fifty to fifty-five thousand people reside in this city of Merida, the greater portion of whom are Indians, or people directly descended from them, who show in their swarthy skins their native blood. From a union of the two races, Spanish and Indian, result the Mestizos,—feminine, Mestizas,—or mixed people, who are the handsomest in all Mexico. They are a gentle, docile race, loving pleasure, not always avoiding labor, cleanly in habit, and perfectly honest. Though three centuries have passed away since this territory was subjugated, the Indians and Mestizos yet retain many of their ancient customs and dances, and especially the style of dress of the period antecedent to the conquest.

As a servant, the Indian is slothful, but humble, never impudent, always reliable; and a dirty one is indeed a phenomenon. In hiring laborers, whether to work on a plantation or as house servants, you must always advance them money, retaining a percentage from their wages as they come due, to reimburse you. No matter how long a servant may stay, with you, he or she will surely leave in your debt; even the washerwoman is no exception. When they desire to go, they do so, previously informing you of their intention. This is generally when they have got a little money ahead; and they lie idle so long as it