Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/618

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some stone buildings, with broad streets which were once well paved. It has the usual plaza, or central square, with its customary fountain and bit of greenery, so marked a feature in every Mexican town, and so attractive to visitors from the North. About this square are the usual public buildings, as the governor's palace and the great church, this latter said to be second only in size to the cathedral of Mexico City, and the noblest edifice in all Northern Mexico. It is a beautiful and imposing structure of light-colored stone, with a central dome, and two high towers. Its façade reminded me of that of the cathedral of Oaxaca, in Southern Mexico, (though itself a grander building,) as it is embellished with life-size statues of our Saviour and the twelve Apostles. Its picture is here; and in accordance with my plan, to waste no time on text when the graver can be employed to better advantage, I resign the pen in favor of the latter.

I would advise the visitor to follow my example, at least in one particular, and climb to the towers, where there are many bells,—one in particular which was shattered by a cannon-ball from the invading army of Maximilian, in 1866,—and take a survey over the attractive valley from that elevated point. Its numerous bells are mellow-toned, and its quaint old clock is illuminated at night, so that the many loungers in the Plaza, who idle away the hours of evening to the strains of Mexican music and the tinkling waters of the fountain, retire promptly and quietly as the hour often is struck.

At the close of the last century a massive aqueduct was built, about three miles and a half in length, running a long distance on arches of masonry. It terminates near the alameda, a great grove of Cottonwood trees, which shelter grand promenades and drives, though given over to pigs, goats, and burros, and to certain classes of Mexicans. The chapel of Guadalupe, at the head of the alameda, where may be seen a statue of the great Jesuit, Loyola, is fresh and attractive; beyond which a road runs into the suburbs, to a quarter of stately houses and gardens. In the upper part of the city is another alameda, or public walk, which is more of a resort, where a triple row of trees shades numerous benches of stone and masonry.