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Full text of "Life in Mexico, during a residence of two years in that country"

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l5Mi;:r:?,^^''b'«'y Annex 



Brown UNivERsmr 





CL<i&'<i-.v.'\.crv-v.. -^Vv, ' -o^_ 'iCi.o.n cc^ 

Thou art beautiful, 
Queen of the valley ! thou art beautiful ! 
Thy walls, like silver, sparkle to the sun, 
Melodious wave thy groves, . . . 

SouTHEv'g Madoc. 








\ 1 f% \ J 

P R E F A C E. 

The present work is the result of observations made 
during a two years' residence in Mexico, by a lady, whose 
position there made her intimately acquainted with its 
society, and opened to her the best sources of informa- 
tion in regard to whatever could interest an enlightened 
foreigner. It consists of letters written to the members 
of her own family, and, really^ not intended originally, — 
however incredible the assertion, — for publication. Feel- 
ino; a regret that such rich stores of instruction and amuse- 
ment, from which I have so much profited, myself, should 
be reserved for the eyes of a few friends only, I strongly 
recommended that they should be given to the world. 
This is now done, with a few such alterations and omis- 
sions as were necessary in a private correspondence ; and 
althoug;h the work would derive more credit from the 
author's own name, than from any thing which I can say, 
yet as she dechnes prefixing it, I feel much pleasure in 
making this statement by way of introduction to the 


Boston, December 20, 181-2. 

'S O U J. «> (t^ 




Admhiislrador — Agent. 

Alameda — Public walk with trees. 

Aguador — Water-carrier. 

Alacran — Scorpion. 

Anqnera — Coating- of stamped gilt leather, edged with little bells, which 
covers the back of the horses. 

Arriero — Muleteer. 

Arroba — Spanish weight of twenty-five povmds. 

Azotea — The flat roof of a house. 

Barranca — Ravine. 

Botica — Apothecary's shop. 

Calle — Street. 

Cargadores — Men who carry loads. 

Chingidrlto — Spirit made from sugar-cane. 

CJiile — Hot peppers. 

Compadre and Comadre — Godfather and Godmother ; names by which 
two persons address each other, who have held the same child at the 
baptismal font, or have been sponsors together at a marriage, &c. 

Canonigo — Canon or prebendary. 

Com icos — Actors . 

Camarista — Lady of honour. 

Dia de Anos — Birthday. 

Dulces — Sweetmeats. 

Didrio — Dally newspapers. 

Frisones — Large horses from the north. 

Funcion — Solemnity — festival . 

Frijoles — Brown beans. 


Galopina — Kitclien-girl. 

Garbanzos — Chick-peas, Cicer Arietinnm. 

Gachupin — Name given to the Spaniards in Mexico. 

Garita — City-gate. 

Goleta — Schooner. 

Gentuza — Rabble. 

Ilonras — Funeral honours. 

Hacienda — Country-place. 

Ingenio de Azi/car — Sugar plantation. 

hivdlidos — Disabled soldiers. 

Jarro — Eai'tlien jar. 

Ladroncs — Robbers . 

Leperos — Beggars, low persons. 

Litera — Litter. 

Monte Pio — Office where money is lent on security. 

Mezcal — Brandy distilled from pulque. 

Manga — Cloak made of" cloth, with a hole In the middle for putting the 

head through. 
Novios — Betrothed persons. 

Nuestro Amo — Our Master, used in speaking of the Host. 
Ojo de yl((7?/a — Spring of water. 
Portales — Covered portico supported by columns, 
PuJqueria — Shop where pulque is sold. 
Paseo — Public walk. 
Paso — Pace, pacing. 
Piidrino — Godfather. 
Plaza — Square. 
Patio — Courtyard. 
Petate — Matting. 
Pohlana — Woman of Puebla. 
]^ronanciamiento — A revolution in Me.x:ico. 
Pronunciados — Those who revolt. 
Rancho — A farm. 
Ranchero — Farmer, 

Rehozo — A scarf that goes over the head. 
Reja — Iron grate. 

Sopilote — Species of carrion vulture. 
Sarape-r^A woollen blanket more or less fine, with a hole for the head to 

go through. 
Traspaso — Conveyance, transfer. 
Tihna — Indian cloak. 
Tierra caliente — The hot land. 
Tertidia — An evening party. 
Toreador — Bull-fighter. 
Tortilla — Species of thin cake. 
TortiUera — Woman who bakes tortillas. 
Vaca — Joint stock in gambling. 
Vomito — Name given to the yellow fever. 
Venta — Inn. 

The Publlsliers of the Foreign Library, having been favoured by Mr. 
Prescott with an early copy of these Letters, lose no time in submitting 
them to the English public, accompanied with the recommendation of so 
high an authority as the Autlior of the " History of Ferdinand and 

London, Jar. 16, 1843. 



Departiu'e of the " Norma"- — Last Look of New York Bay — Fellow Passengers — 
Contrary Winds — Deceitful Appearances — Sun-set in Southern Latitudes — 
Seas passed over by Columbus — Varied Occupations on Ship-board — Berry 
Islands — Bahama Banks — Evening in a Tropical Sea — L. E. L. — Pan of Ma- 
tanzas — Morro Castle - Bay of Havana — Arrival — Handsome House in Ha- 
vana — Sights and Somads... 1 


Havana Aristocracy — Liicia de Lammerraoor — La Rossi and Montresor — Brig of 

War — Comitess de V a — Dinner at H a's — Southerly Winds — View 

from the Balcony — Quiuta of Count V a — San Cristobal — ilass at San 

Fehpe — Erard Harp — Dinner at General IM o's — A Desert at Havana — 

Queen of Spain's Birth-day — Dinner at the Yntendencia — La Pantanelh — 
Theatre of Tacon — Railroad — Cure by Lightning — Shops — Ball at tlie Coun- 
tess F a's — Last Visit — Souvenirs 9 


Departure in the Jason — Spanish Captahi and Officers — Life on Board a 5Ian of 
War — " Balances"— Yishing — "Ze Petit Tambour" — Cocoa-nuts — A Norte — 
Spanish Proverb — Peak of Orizava — Theory and Practice — Norte Chocolutero 
— Contrary Wmds — Chain of ]\Ioimtains — Goleta 14 


Distant View of Vera Cruz— Pilots— Boat from the City— Mutual Salutes— Ap- 
proach to Vera Cruz — Crowd ontheAVlaarf — House of Don Dionisio V o — 

Guard of Honour — German Piano — Supper — Madonna — Aspect of the City — 
Sopilotes — Deliberations — General Guadalupe Victoria — Two-headed Eagle — 
Dilapidated Samt— Harp— Theatre — Dofia Innocencia Martmez — Invitation 
from General Santa Anna 20 


Departure from Vera Cruz— Sand Hills— Oriental Scene— 3iLango de Clavo— 
General Santa Anna— Breakfast— Escort and Diligence— Santa Fe — Puente 
Nacional— Bridge sketched by Mrs. Ward— Country m December— Don 
Miguel — First Impressions— Fruit— Plan del Rio — German Musicians— Sleep- 
ing Captain — Approach to Jalapa— Appearance of the City — Cofre de Perote 
— Flowers — House and Rock — Last View of Jalapa— Change of Scenery — 
San Miguel de los Soldados — Perote — Striking Scene before Daj^break — Non- 
arrival of Escort — Yankee Coachman-Dispute— Departure — Company of 
Lancers — Alcalde — Breakfast at La Ventilla— Pulque — Double Escort — 
Crosses — Brigand-loolcing Tavern keeper — Ojo de Agua — Arrival at Puebla — 
Dress of the Peasants — Christmas-eve — Inn — " Nacimiento" 26 

Departure from Puebla— Chirimoyas— Rio Frio — Indian Game— Black Forest — 
Valley of Mexico — Recollections of Tenochtitlan — ilexican Officer — Reception 



— Scenery — Variety of Dresses — Cheers — Storm of Eain — Entry to Mexico — 
Buenavista — House hy Daylight — Sights from tlie Whidows — Visits — Mex- 
ican Etiquette — Countess C a — Flowers in December — Serenade — Pa- 
triotic Hymn 38 


Debut in Mexico — Cathedral — Temple of the Aztecs — Congregation — Stone of 
Sacrifices — Palace — Importunate Leperos — Visit to the President — Countess 
C a — Street Cries — Tortilleras — Sartor Resartus 46 


Ball in Preparation — Agreeable Family — Fine Voices — Theatre — Smoking — 
Castle of Chapultepec — Viceroy Galvez — Montezuma's Cypress — Vice-Queen 
— Valley of jNIexico — New Year's Day — Opening of Congress — Visits from 
the Diplomatic Corps — Poblana Dress — " Funcion Extraordinaria" — Theatre — 
Visit to the Cathedi-al of Guadalupe — Divine Painting — Bishop — Beggars — 
Mosquitoes' Eggs 55 


Visits from Spaniards — Visit from the President — Disquisition — Poblana Dress 
— Bernardo the Matador — Bull-fight Extraordinary — Plaza de Toros — Fire- 
works — Portrait of C n — Fancy Ball — Dress — Costume of the Patronesses 

— Beauty in IMexico — Doctor's Visit — Cards of fa ire part — Marqucsa de San 
Roman — Toilet m Morning Visits of Ceremony — Attempt at Robbery — 
Murder of a Consul — La Guera Rodriguez — Dr. Plan — M. de Humboldt — 
Anecdote — Former Customs 62 


San Fernando — House of Perez de Galvez — A Removal — Size of the Houses — 
Old Monastery — View by Sunset — Evening Visits — Mexican Etiquette — Night 
View from the Azotea — Tacubaya — IMagueys — Making of Pidque — Organos 
and Nopal — Environs of Mexico— Miracle — Hacienda — View from the Coun- 
tess C a's House — Arzobispado — Anecdote — Comparative View of Beauty 

— Indians — Rancheritas — Mexican Cordiality — Masses for the Dead — San 
Agusthi — Form of Invitation — Death of a Senator — A Mistake 73 


CaUede Tacuba — The Leap of Alvarado — The " Noche Triste" — Sale of a Curate's . 
Goods — Padre Loon — Leprosy — Pictiu-es — The Anmmciation — The Alameda 
Paseo de BucareUi — The Viga — Intlians m Canoes — A Murder — A Country 
Fete — Visit to the Colegia Vizcaino — The Jota Arragonesa — Old Soldiers... 83 


The Viga during the Carnival — Variety of Equipages — The Millionaires — The 
Monks — Masked BaU — An Alarming Sight — Medical Students — Dinner at the 
Prussian Minister's — Rides on Horseback — Indian Love of Flowers — Santa 
Anita^The Chinanipas — Their Origin — Indians in Canoes — Song of " El 
Palomo" — Fighting — The Great Lakes — The Drain of Huehuetoca — The Great 
Market of Tlatelolco 91 


Convent of San Joaquin — Mexico m the ^lorrung — Tacuba — Carmehte Prior — 
Convent Garden — Hacienda of Los Morales — El Olivar — A Huacamaya — 
Humming Birds — Correspondence — Expected Consecration — Visit to the Mi- 
neria — Botanic Garden — Arbol de las Manitas — The Musemii — Equestrian 
Statue — Academy of Pamting and Sciilptiu'e — Disappointment 99 


Pahn Sunday — Holy Thursday — Variety of Costimies — San Francisco — Santa 
Domingo — Santa Teresa — Nmis — Stone Bust — The Academy — Religious Pro- 
cession — PilgTimage to the Churches — Santa Clara — Nun's Voice — Orange 
Trees and Rose Bushes — The Cathedral Illuminated— Our Saviour in Chains 


—Good Pridav— The Great Square towards Evening— Dresses of Men, Wo- 
men, and Children— Approach of the Host— Judas— Great Procession— Mi- 
s^re— The Square by Moonlight — A Lonely Walli — Sabado de Gloria — Ball in 
Contemplation — Weekly Soirees- Embroidered MusUns — ATertulia at Home 104 

Letter from the Archbishop— Visit to the " £'«carMacio7i"—Reception— Descrip- 
tion— The Novices— Convent Supper— Picturesque Scene— Sonato on the 
Organ— Attempt at Robbery- Alarms of the Household— Visit to San 
Agustin— Anonymous Letter — The Virgin de los Remedios — Visit to the Chapel 
— The Padre — The Image — Anecdote of the Large Pearl— A INIine 114 


Mexico in May— Leave Mexico for Santiago— Coach of Charles Tenth— Mexican 
TraveUmg— General Aspect of the Comitry— Village of Santa Clara— Rob- 
bers' House— Temples of the Sim and Moon— San Juan— Mexican Posada— 
School-house— Skulls— Hard Fare— Travelling Dress— Sopayuca—Mihtary 
Administrador— Santiago— Matadors and Picadors— Evenings m the Country 
—Dances— Mexican Songs— Cempoala— Plaza de Toros— SkiU of the Horse- 
men— Omatusco — Accident— Tidansmgo — Beautiful Garden— Mexican Dishes 
—Fruits— Horses— Games of Forfeits— Ranchera's Dress— Young Girls and 
their Adnurers— Verses— Ivnowledge of Sunpie Medicme— Indian Baths — 
Hidden Treasures — Anecdote 121 

Arrival of Tepenacasco — Lake with Wild Ducks— Ruined Hacienda — Simset on 
the Plams— Troop of Asses— Ride by Moonlight— Leave Tepenacasco— San 
Miguel— Description— Thunder Storm— Guasco— Journey to Real del Monte 
— EngUsh Road— Scenery— Village of Real— Count de Regla— Director's 
House— Enghsh Breakfast— Visit to the Mmes— Mining Speculations- 
Grand Scenery— Visit to Regla— The Cascade— The Storm— LoneUness— A 
Journey m Storm and Darkness- Return to Tepenacasco— Journey to So- 
payuca — Narrow Escape— Famous Bull — Retm-n to Mexico 136 

English Ball— Dresses— Diamonds— Mmeria— Arrival of the Pope's Bull- 
Consecration of the Archbishop— Foreign Mmisters— Splendour of the Cathe- 
dral — Description of the Ceremony 143 

Mexican Servants — Anecdotes — Remedies — An unsafe Porter — Galopinas— 
The Reboso — The Sarape — Women-cooks — Foreign Servants— Characteris- 
tics of jNIexican Servants— Servants' Wages— Nun of the Santa Teresa- 
Motives for Taking the Veil 148 

The Convent Entry— Dialog-ue-A Chah in Church— Arrival of the Nun- 
Dress- Jose Maria— Crowd— Withdi-awal of the Black Curtain -The Taking 
of the Veil— The Sermon— A Dead Body— Another Victim— Convent of the 
Encarnacion— Attempt at a Hymn— Invitation— Morning Visit— The Nun 
and her Mother— Banquet— Taking Leave— Ceremony of the Veil-taking— A 
Beautiful Victhn— The Last Look— Presentation to the Bishop— Reflections 
— Verses 


San Agustin— The Gambhng Fete— The Beauties of the ViUage— The Road 
fromMexico— Entry to San Agustin— The Gambling Houses— San Antonio— 
The Pedregal— Last Day of the Fete— The Cock-pit— The Boxes- The Cock- 
fight— Decormu— Comparisons— Dinner— Ball at Calvario— House of General 
Moran— View of tlie Gambhng Tables— The Advocate— BaU at tlie Plaza de 
Gallos— Return to Mexico— Reflections— Conversation between two Mmisters 163 




Countess C ti— Gutierrez Estrada— Dinner at General I\Ioran's— DoM-ager 

Marquesa— Eete at San Antonio— Approach of the Kainy Season— Diamonds 
and Plate— Great Ball— Night Travellino— Severe Storm— Chapter of Acci- 
dents—Corpus Cliristi— Poblana Dress— Book Club— Ball— Ilummint; Bird— 
Eranciscan Eriar— :\Iissions to Old and New California— Zeal and Endurance 
of the Mssionaries— Present Condition— Convent Gardener .' 168 


The President— Yturbide— Visit from the Archbishop— Sefior Canedo— General 
Almonte— Senor Cue^as— Situation of an Archbishop in Mexico— Of Senor 
Posada— His Life— Mexican Charity— ^\^ax Ein-ures-Anecdote- Valuable 
Present— Education— Comparison— Schools — Opportunities— Natural Talent 
—Annual— Compliments to the Mexican Ladies by the Editor— Eamilies of 
the Old School— JIorals-Indulgence-Manners-Love of Coimtry— Colleges 176 

Revolution in Mexico— Gomez Earias and General Urrea— The Federalists— The 
President Imprisoned— Firmg - Cannon— First News —Escape— Proclamation 

of the Government — Cannonading — Coiint C a — Houses Deserted ■ 

Countess del V e— Proclamation of the Federalists- Circular of the Fede- 
ralists—Scarcity of Provisions— Bursting of a Shell— Refugees— Dr. Plan- 
Young Lady Shot— Gomez Farias— Rumours— Address of ^Gomez Farias- 
Balls and Bullets— Visit from the Mmister— Arrival of Monsieur de 

Expected Attack — Skirmish — Appearance of tlie Street — San Cosme 

General ^ — The Count de B More Rumom-s- Suspense— Can- 
nonading— Government Bulletin— Plan of the Rebels Defeated— Proclamation 
of the President— Of General Valencia— Maternal Atfection- Fresh Reports 
—Families leaving the City— Letter from Santa Anna— Bustamante's Letter 
when Imprisoned — Propositions — Refusal— Tacubaya—Archbishon— Fresh 
Proposals— Refusal— Second Letter from Santa Anna— Government Biilletin 
—Proclamations— An Awkward Mistake— The ^Vrchbishop visits the Presi- 
dent — Conclusion of the Revolution — Government Newspaper — Circulars 183 

Plan of the Federalists— Letter from Farias— Signing of Articles— Dispersion of 
the " Pronimciados"— Conditions— Orders of General Valencia— Of the Go- 
vernor—Address of General Valencia— Departm-e of our Guests— The Ccs- 
mopolita— State of the Palace and Streets— Bulletin of the Firing— Interior of 

Houses— Escape of Families— Cojiduct of the Troops— Coimtess del V e 

— Santa Aima. — Congress — Anecdote— Discussion in Congress — Lej^rosy 200 


Visiters— Virgm de los Remedios—iincarw«cw7j— Fears of the Nuns— Santa 
Teresa— Rainy Season— Amusing Scene— " Estd a la disposicion de V"— 
Mexican Sincerity— Texian Vessels— Fine Hair— School-mistress— Climate- 
Its Effects — -Nerves — Tours de force — Anniversary — Speech — Paseo — San 
Ajigel— Tacubaya— Army of " The Three Guarantees"— Plan of Yguala— A 
Murder — Indian Pohteness — Drunkenness— Senor Canedo — Revolutions in 
Mexico— The Penon— The Baths— General Situation and View— In- 
dian Family— Of the Boilmg Sprmgs- Capabilities— Solitude— Chapultepec— 
The Desagravios—Vei\\tence at San Francisco— Disciphne of the I^Ien— Dis- 
course of the Monk— Darkness and Horrors — Salmagimdi 205 

Fete-day— Friendly Hint— Precautions— General Tranquillity— President in Saa 
Agustin— Revisit Museum— Ancient Manuscripts— Sculpture— Bronze Bust, 
&c.— Freshness after Rain— Ball at the French Minister's— Pamphlet— Guti- 
errez Estrada— His Character— Concealment- 3ic.r/caAs/«9o— Minister of the 
Treasury — Archbishop's Permission— Paintings— Mexican Painters— Santa 
Teresa— Description of tlie Interior— The Penitences— Tortures— Disciplines, 
&c.— Supper— Profane Ballads— Monasteries— San Francisco— PaJz-e Prior— 
Soldiers and Friars 219 




Din de 3/;<erto.9— Leave Mexico— Herraderos— San Cristobal— Tunas— Plaza de 
Toros— Throwing tlie Zaso— Accidents— llustic Breakfast -Country Fare- 
Baked INIeat- Indian Market— Buried B-all— Mountain— Solitary Hacienda— 
7?t'ves— Mules marked— Kcturn— Queen of Spain's Birthday— Diplomatic 

Dinner '^-' 


Virgin of Caradonga— Santo Domingo— Decorations and iMusic— DagTierreotype 

Weekly Soirees— An Arrival— An Earthquake— Honourable Mr. 

Broken Furniture— J>jos— Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe— Party to the 
Desierto—Itzcuin iepotzotU— Inn of G«(y/»iafco— Ruined Convent— Its Origin— 
Bejeune a la Fourcheite— Splendid Scenery- Vo^r to the Virgin— Musical Mass 
— Tacuba— Ride ^vith the Prior -'^- 


Christmas-day— Kalends and Mass— Amateur Performances— Solo— Po.sfl(fa«— 
Wanderin ■• of the Holy Family— M/cm»"ento— Crowded Party— French Cooks 
—Mexican Cook— State of Household— New Year's-day— Mass— Dirtiness ot 
the Churches, &c.— Comparisons— Private Chapels— English Clul>— Prepara- ^^^ 

tions for Journey 

Leave Mexico— Cuernavaca—T/erra CaUente—Atlacamidco—Ovunge Groves— 
Su-^ar Cane— Aimual Produce— WiU of Cortes— Description— ColTee Planta- 
tion—Scorpions—List of Venemous ReptHes-^capa/ismi^o— Doubts andDifli- 

culties — A Decision 

Leave ^//r,ram«7co-Assemb]e by Starlight-Balmy Atmosphere-Flowers and 
Trees of the Tropics— The formidable Sarrajwa.s—Breal'itast under the Irees 
—Force of the Sun— 3/e«cai/«n— Hospitality— Profitable Estate— Leave Mea- 
catlan— Beautiful VUlage— Musical Bells— Ride by Moonhght— Sugar Fires— 
Cocoyotla— Old Gentleman— Supper— Orange Trees and Cocoas— Delicious 
Water— Sugar Estates— A Scorpion— Set oil' for the Cave— Mornmg Kide— 

Dangerous Path 

Cave of CacaAwam/Z/^a— Superstition— Long-bearded Goat— Poi-tal— Vestibule 
-Fantastic Forms-Breakfast-Pine Torches-Noble Hall-Stalactites and 
Stalagmites-Egyptian Pyramids-Double Gallery-Wonderful Forraations- 
Corridor— Frozen Landscape— Amphitheatre— World m Chaos— Skeleton- 
Wax Lights— HaU of Angels— Return— Distant Light— Inclian Alcalde— 
Cautlamilpas-Unncho-Retm-n to Cocoyotla-Chapel-Meacatlan--Echpse ot 
the Moon-Benighted Travellers-IncUan VUlage— £/ P«ente— Return to^^_^ 


Ride by Starlight— Fear of Robbers- Tropical Wild Flowers--Stout Escort— 
Haulpec-ih^cienda of Cocoyoc-A Fire -Three Tliousand Onange Irees- 
Cofifee Mills, &c.- Variety of Tropical Fruits-Prodigahty ot Nature-Co^a- 
sano-Celehvated Reservoir-Ride to Santa Clara-A l^hi o^oph^r-A Scor- 
i)ion-I^ave Santa Clara-Dangerous i?«rra«ca-Co/on-Agreeable House- 
Civil AdminLstrador-San Nicolas-Solitude-Frauciscan I riar-Rainy Morn- 
ing-Pink Turban-Arrival at ^<fcca-Cypress-Department of 1 ueb k- 
Volcanoes-Dona Marina— Verses— Fopocrtte;jiZ—Cholula— Great 1 jiamid— 
Arrival at Puebla 


Theatre-Portmanteaus-Visiters-Houses of Puebla-Fine Ajts-Paseo-Don 
N. Ramos Arispe-Bishop-Cotton Factories-Don Esteban Antunano- 
Bank of ^wo-Uoited States Machmery-Accident-Difficulties-bhip- 




wrecks — Detentions — Wonderful Perseverance — " La Consktncia Mejicana" — 
Hospital — Prison — El Carmen — Paintings — Painted Floors — Angels — Cathe- 
drd— Gold and Jewels— A Comedy — Bishop's Palace — Want of Masters 269 . 


Concert — Diligence— Leave Puebia — Escort— View from the Cathedral Towers 
— Black Forest — History of the Crosses — Tales of ISIurder — An iUarm — Re- 
port of a Skirmisli — Rio Frio — Law Concernmg Robbers — Then- Moderation — 
Return to Mexico — Cai-nival Ball — Improvement in Dress 275 


Distinguished Men — Generals Bustamante, Santa Anna, and Victoria — Anecdote 
— Seiior Pedraza — Sefior Gutierrez Estrada — Count Cortina — Seiior Go- 
rostiza— Don Carlos Bustamante — " oMornhigs in the Alameda" — Don Andres 
Quintana Roo — Don Lucas Alaman — General Moran — General Ahnonte — 
Sefior Canedo — Seiiors Neri del Barrio and Casaflores — Doctor Valentin — 
Don Francisco Tagle — Eight Revolutions 280 


New Minister — San Angel — Profitable Pulque Estate — The Village — Surround- 
ing Scenery — The Indians — The Padre — The Climate^Holy Week in the 
Country — Dramatic Representations — Coyohuacan — The Pliarisees — Image 
of the Saviour — Music and Dresses — Procession — Catliohcism amongst the 
Indians — Strange Tradition — Paul the Fifth — Contrast between a Mexican 
and a New England Village — Love of Fireworks — Ferdinand the Seventh — 
Military Ball — Drapeaux 285 


Holy Thursday at Coyohaucan — Hernan Cortes — His Last Wishes — Padres 
Camilas — Old Church — Procession — -Representation of the Taking of Christ 
— Curate's Sermon under tlie Trees — A Religious Drama — Good Friday — 
Portable Pulpit — Heat — Booths — Religious Procession — Simon tlie CjTenian 
— Costumes — Curate's Sermon^Second Discourse — Sentence Pronomiced by 
Pontius Pilate — Descent from the Cross — Procession of tlie Angels — Funeral 
Hymn — The Pesame to the Virgin — Sermon — " Sweet Kitty Clover" — Music 
in Mexico — Anecdote 290 


Balloon — San Bartolo — Indian Women — A Beauty— Different Castes —Indians 
— Their Character, &c.^Tliose of Noble Race— Ball at the French Minister's 
— AbeciUa — Danger of Walking unattended — Shooting Party— A Murder — 
Robbery of a Farmhouse — Discomfited Robber Captain — The " Zambos" — 
Letters and Visiters — Covuitry Life in Mexico 297 


Gambling — Fete at San Agustin— Breakfast at San Antonio — Report — Cock- 
fight — Ladies — Private Gambling — A Vaca — The Calvario — Bonnets — Dinner 
— Evening Ball — Mingling of Classes — Copper Tables — Dresses and Decora- 
tions — Indian Bankers,Male and Female —Decorum — Habit — Holders of Banks 
— ^Female Gambler— Roljbery — Anecdote — Bet — Casa de Moncda — Leave San 
Angel— Celebration — Address — Cross and Diploma — Reply — Presentation of 
a Sword — Discourses and Addresses — Reflections 305 


Italian Opera — Artists, Male and Female — Prima Donna— Lucia de Lammer- 
moor — Some Disappointment — SecondRepresentation — Improvement — Romeo 
and Giuhetta — La Ricci — La Scnora Cesari — The Mint — False Coining — Re- 
petition of Lncia — Procession by Night — A Spanish Beauty — Discriminating 
Audience — A little too s/mp?e— Gold Embroidery— Santiago— Pilgrims — Old 
Indian Custom — Soiree — Mexico by Moonlight — Mysterious Figure — Arch- 
bishop — Viceroy 316 



Eevillagigedo — The False Merchant and the Ladjr-The Viceroy, the Unjust 
Spaniard, tlie Indian and the Golden Ounces — Horrible Murder — Details — 
Oath — Country Family — The Spot of Blood — The ]\Iother Unknowingly De- 
nounces her Son — Arrest of tlie Three — Confession — Execution — The Viceroy 
fulfils his Pledge — Paving of the Streets — Severity to the Monks — Solitary 
Damsel — Box on the Ear — Pension — Morning Concert — New Minister — 
" Street of the Sad Indian" — Traditions — A Farewell Audience — Inscription 
on a Tomb 322 


Agitation — Storm — Revolution — Manifesto — Resembling a Game of Chess — 
Position of the Pieces — Appearance of the City — Firing — State of Parties — 
Comparisons — " Comicios" — The People — Congress — Santa Anna — Anuiesty 
Offered — Roaring of Cannon — Proclamation — Time to Look at Home — The 
Will of the Nation — Different Feehngs — Judge's House Destroyed — The Mint 
in Requisition — Preparations — Cannonading — " Los Enanos." 332 


Leave Mexico — Travelling Equipage — San Xavier — Fine Hacienda — Millionaires 
— Well-educated Ladies — Garden, &c. — Tlanapantla — Indian Hut — Mrs. Ward 
Dofia Margarita — The Pronunciamiento — False Step — Santa Anna in Puebla 
— Neutrality — General Paredes— President in Tlanapantla — Tired Troops — 
Their March — Their Return — Curate's House — Murder — General Paredes 
in the Lechei-ia — President in Tlanapantla — A Meetmg — Return of the Presi- 
dent and his Troops — General Paredes and his Men — Santa Anna m Tacu- 
baya — A Jimction — President in Mexico — Allied Sovereigns— Plan — Articles — 
President declares for Federahsm — Resigns — Resiilts — Hostilities — Capitula- 
tion — Trimnphal Entry — Te Deum — New Ministry 339 


Santa Monica — Solidity — Old Paintings — Anachronism — Babies and Nurses 
from the Cima — Society — Funds — Plan — Indian Nurses — CarmeUte Convent 
— Midnight Warning — Old Villages and Churches — Indian Bath — San Mateo 
— The Lecheria — Fertility — Molino Viejo — Dulness — Religious Exercises — 
Return to Mexico — IMexican Hotel — New Generals — Disturbances — General 
Bustamante — Inconvenience — Abuses in the Name of Liberty — Verses — In- 
dependence celebrated 350 


Opera — Santa Anna and his Suite — His Appearance — Belisario — Solitary 
" Viva .'" — Brilliant House — IMilitary Dictatorslaip — San Juan de Dios — 
Hospital de Jesus — Cuna — Old Woman and Baby — Different Apartments — 
Acordada — Junta — Female Prisoners — Chief Crime — Travaux Forces — 
Children — Male Prisoners — jporfr/fc,— -Soldiers Gambling — Chapel — Confes- 
sional — Insane Hospital — Frenchmen— Different Kinds of Insanity — Kitchen 
— Dinner — Insane Monk — " Black Chamber " — Soldiers — College — Santa 
Anna's Leg — Projects — AU Saints — Sefiora P a — Leave-takings 358 


Leave Mexico — Diligence — Indian Padre — Brandy -drinking Female — Bad Roads 
— BeautifulView — Escort — Good Breakfast — Crosses — Robber's Head— Select 

Party — Lerma — Valley of Toluca — Hacienda — Toluca — Count de B and 

Mr. W The Commandant — Gay Supper — Colonel Y Day at Toluca 

— Journey to La Gabia — Heat and Himger — Pleasant Quarters — Princely Es- 
state — El Pilar — A ZorUlo— A Wolf— Long Journey — TortiUas— Count de 
B State of Michoacan — Forest Scenery — Trojes ofAngangueo — Comfort... 372 

Leave 7Vq/es— Beautiful Territory— Tarrascan Indians— Taximaroa — Distressed 
Condition— An Improvement — Cold ]\Iorning— Querendaro — Fine Breed of 
Horses — Sau Bartolo — Produce— Country Proprietors — Colear — Ride to Mo- 


relia — Wild Ducks — Sunset — Cathedral Bell — Cuincho — Curates Morelos, Ma- 
tamoros, and Hidalgo— Warm Batlis — Ilaudsonie Girls — Starving Travellers 
— Lost Mules — Laneers — Night on a Heap of Straw — Mules Found — Tzint- 
zontzan — ICing Calsonsi — Paseuaro — Kind Keception — Bishop — Bobbers — 
Guru — Night in a Barn — Mountain — Uruapa — Enelianting Scenery — Pleasant 
Family — Jorullo 381 


Indian Dresses — Saints — Music — Union of Tropical and European Vegetation 
— Old Customs — Falls of the Sararaqui — Silkworms — Litlian Painting — Beau- 
tiful Heroine — Leave Uruapa — Tziracuaratiro — Talkative Indian — Alcalde's 
House — Pascuaro — Old Church — ^losaic Work — The Lake— The Cave — 
Fried Fish — Rich Indians — Convent — -Cuincho — Darkness — Morelia — -Ala- 
meda — Cathedral — Silver — Waxworks — College — Wonderful Fleas 397 


San Bartolo — Mass — Market — Rancheros — San Andres — Insanity — Rancho — 
House of Don Carlos Heimblirger — Wild Scenery — German Songs — Las Mil- 
las — Leave-taking — Storm — Rainbow — El Pilar — La G abia — Toluca — News 
— Copper Pronunciamiento — Return to Mexico — General Moran — Funeral Ob- 
sequies — New Theatre — Codes Mass — Santa Clara — Santa Fe Prisoners — 
New Year 410 


Last Day in Mexico — Theatre — Santa Anna — French Minister's — Parting — 
Diligence — Last Look of Mexico — Fatigue — Robbers — Escort — Second Im- 
pressions — -Baths at Jalapa — Vera Cruz — Some Accomit of San Juan de Ulua 
— Siege of 1825 — Siege of 1838 — General Bustamante — Theatre— Of the North 
Winds 420 


Sail in the TjTian — Norther off Tampico — The Bar — The River Panuco — The 
Pilot^ — The Shore — Alligator — " Paso de Dona Cecilia" — Tampico — Spanish 
Consul's House — Society — Navigation — Banks of the Panuco — Extraordinary 
Inoculation — -The " Glorieta" — Leave Tampico— Furious Norther — Voyage — 
Ai'rival at Havana 427 


Havana — The Carnival — The Elsslcr — La Angosta — Ingenio of Coimt V a 

— General Bustamante — Lord Morpeth — Ix'ave Havana — Voyage in the Med- 
way — Old Friends — Retm'u to the United States 435 



Departure of the " Norma" — Last look of New York Bay — Fellow-passengers 
— Contrary VVinds — Deceitful Appearances — Sunset in Southern Latitudes 
— Seas passed over by Columbiis — Varied Occupations on Ship-board — 
Eerry Islands — Bahama Banks — Evening; in a Tropical Sea — L. E. L. — Pan 
of Matanzas — Morro Castle — Bay of Havana — Arrival — Handsome Llouse 
in Havana — Sights and Sounds. 

Packet Ship Norma, Oct. 27th, 1839. 

This morning, at 10 o'clock, we stepped on board tlie steamboat 
Hercules, destined to convey us to our packet witli its musical 
name. The day was foggy and gloomy, as if refusing to be com- 
forted, even by an occasional smile from the svm. All prognosti- 
cated that the Norma vvoidd not sail to-day, but "where there's a 
■\"vnll," &c. Several of our friends accompanied us to the wharf ; the 

Russian Minister, the Minister of Buenos Ayres, Mr. , who 

tried hard to look sentimental, and even brought tears into his eyes 

by some curious process ; Judge . Mr. --^ , and others, from 

whom wc were truly sorry to part. "^ 

The Norma was anchored hi one of the most beautiful points of 
the bay, and the steamboat towed us five miles, imtil we had passed 
the Narrows. The winct was contrary, but the day began to clear 
up, and the sun to scatter the watery clouds. 

Still there is nothing so sad as a retreating -view. It is as if time 

were visibly in motion ; and as here we had to part from , we 

could only chstinguish, as through a misty veil, the beauties of the 
bay ; the shores covered to the water's edge with trees rich in their 
autumnal colouring ; the white houses on Stat en Island — the whole 
gradually growing fiinter, till hke a dream, they feded away. 

The pilot has left us, breaking our last link with the land. "We 



Still see tlie mountains of Neversink, and the Kghtliouse of Sandy 
Hook. The sun is setting, and in a few minutes we must take our 
leave, proLably for years, of places long familiar to us. 

Our fellow-passengers _ do not appear very remarkable. Tliere is 

Madame A , returning from being prima donna in Mexico, in 

a packet called after tlie opera in wliicli slie was tbere a favourite 

with her husband Senor V a^id her child. Tliere is M. B '- 

with moustaches like a bird's nest ; a pretty widow in deep afflic- 
tion, at least in deep mourning; a maiden lady going out as a 
governess, and every variety of Spaniard and Havanero. So now 

we are alone, C n and I, and my French femme-de-chambre; 

with her air of Dowager Duchess, and moreov ersea-sick. 

28th. — When I said I hked a sea hfe, I did not mean to be un- 
derstood as liking a merchant ship, with an airless cabin, and with 
every variety of disagreeable odour. As a French woman on board, 
with the air of an affl.icted porpoise, and with more truth than 
elegance, expresses it: "Tout devient puant, meme I'eau-de- 

The wind is still contrary, and the Norma, beating up and down, 
makes but Httle way. We have gone seventy-four miles, and of 
these advanced but forty. Every one being sick to-day, the deck is 
nearly deserted. The most interesting object I have discovered on 
board is a pretty little deaf and dumb girl, very lively and with an 
intelligent face, who has been teaching me to speak on my fino-ers. 

The infant heir of the house of has shown his good taste by 

imssing the day in squalHng. M. B , pale, dirty, and much 

resembling a brigand out of employ, has traversed the deck mth 
uneasy footsteps and a cigar appearing from out his moustaches, like 
a light in a tangled forest, or a jack-o'-lantern in a marshy tliicket. 
A fat Spaniard has been discoursing upon the glories of olla podrida. 
All reste, we are slowly pursuing our way, and at this rate mio-ht 
reach Cuba in three months. 

And the stars are shining, quiet and silvery. All without is soft 
and beautiful, and no _ doubt the Norma herself looks all in unison 
with the scene, balancing herself like a lazy swan, white and gra- 
ciously ._ So it is without, and within, there is miserable sea-sick- 
ness, bilge-water, and all the unavoidable disagreeables of a small 

31st. — Tliree days have passed without any thing worthy of 
notice having occurred, except that we abeady feel the difference 
of temperature. The passengers are still enduring sea-sickness in 
all its phases. 

This morning opened with an angry dispute between two of the 
gentlemen, on the subject of Cuban lotteries, and tliey ended by 
applying to each other epithets wliich, however much they might 
be deserved, were certainly rather strong ; but by dinner time, 
they were amicably engaged in concocting together an enormous 
tureen oi' (/asjmchos, a sort of salad, composed of bread, oil, -vdnegar, 


sliced onion and garlic — and tlie fattest one declares that in warm 
"weatlier, adishoi' (/aspachos, with plenty of garlic in it, makes liim 
feel as fresh as a rose. He must indeed be a perfect bouquet. 

The opening of morning is dramatic in oiir narrow cabin. About 
twenty voices in Spanish, German, Italian, and broken EngHsh, 
strike up by degrees. From a neighbouring state room, JVid 
(Toiseau puts forth his head. " Stooar ! a toomlar ! here is no 
vater !" " Comin, sir, comin." " Caramha! Stooard !" " Comin, 
sir, comin!" " Stuart ? vasser und toel !" " Here, sir !" " Amigo ! 
how is the wind ?" (This is the waking up of el Senor Ministro, 
putting his head half suffocated out of liis berth.) " Oh steward I 
steward !" "Yes, miss," " Come here, and look at this!" " I'll 
fix it, miss," — &c. 

1st November. — A fair wind after a stifling night, and strong 
hopes of seeing the Bahama Banks on Sunday. Most people are 
now gradually ascending from the lower regions, and dragging 
themselves on deck with pale and dejected countenances. Madame 

A has such a sweet-toned voice in speaking, especially in her 

accents of her bella Italia, that it is refreshing to listen to her. I 
have passed [all day in reading, after a desultory fashion, 
" Les Enfans d'Edouard," by Casimir Delavigne, Washington 
Irving, D'Israeh's " Curiosities of Literature," &c. ; and it is rather 
singular that while there is a very tolerable supply of Enghsh and 
French books here, I see but one or two odd volmnes in Spanish, 
although these packets are constantly filled with people of that 
nation, going and coming. It is that they do not care for reading, 
or that less attention is paid to them, than to the French or Ame- 
rican passengers ? One would tliink Cervantes, Lope de Vega, 
Calderon or Moratin, better worth buying than many common- 
place novels which I find here. 

3d. — Yesterday the wind blew soft as on a summer morning. A 
land-bird flew into the ship. To-day the wind has veered round, 
but the weather continues charming. The sea is covered with mul- 
titudes of small flying-fish. An infantile water-spout appeared, and 

died in its birth. Mr. , the consul, has been giving me an 

account of the agreeable society in the Sandwich Islands ! A mag- 
nificent simset, the sight of which compensates for all the incon- 
veniences of the voyage. The sky was covered with black clouds 
lined with silver, and surroimded by every variety of colour; deep 
blue, fleecy, rose, violet, and orange. The heavens are now thickly 
studded with stars, numbers shooting across the blue expanse hke 
messengers of fight, glancing and disappearing as if extinguished. 

It is well to read the History of Columbus at sea, but especially 
in these waters, where he wandered in suspense, liigh-wrought ex- 
pectation, and firm faith; and to watch the signs which the noble 
mariner observed in these latitudes ; the soft serenity of the breezes, 
the clear blue of the heavens, the briUiancy and nmnber of the 
stars, the sea-weeds of the gulf, which always drift in the direction 

B 2 


of tlie "^'ind, the little land-birds that come like harbingers of good 
tidings, the frequency of the shooting stars, and the multitude of 

As the shades of evening close around, and the tropical sky 
glitters with the light of innumerable stars, imagination transports 
us back to that century which stands out in bold rehef amidst other 
ages rolHng by comparatively undistinguished, and we see as in a 
vision the Discoverer of a World, standing on the deck of his ca- 
ravel, as it bounded over the unknown and mysterious waste of 
waters, his vigilant eyes fixed on the west, hke a Persian intently 
watching the rising of his god; though his star was to arise from 
whence the day-god sets. We see him bending his gaze on the 
first dark fine that separated the watery sea from the blue of the 
heavens, stri\dng to penetrate the gloom of night, yet waiting ■^^^.th 
patient faith imtil the claAvn of day should bring the long-wished 
for shores in sight. 

6th. — For three days, three very long and uncomfortable days, 
the wind, with surprising constancy, has continued to blow dead a- 
liead. In ancient days, what altars might have smoked to iEolus I 
Now, except in the increased puffing of consolatory cigar-smoke, no 
propitiatory offerings are made to unseen powers. There are indeed 
many mourning signs amongst the passengers. Every one has tied 
up his head in an angry-looking silken bandana, drawn over his 
nose with a doo-o-ed air. Beards are unshaven, a black stubble co- 
vering the lemon-coloured coimtenance, which occasionally bears a 
look of sulky defiance, as if its owner were, like Juhet, " past hope, 
past cure, past help." 

7 th. — Tills morning the monotony of fine weather was relieved by 
a hearty squall, accompanied by torrents of rain, much tlumder, and 
forked lightning. The ship reeled to and fro hke a dninkenman, and 
the passengers, as usual in such cases, performed various involuntary 
evolutions, cutting right angles, sliding, spinning round, and rolling 
over, as if Oberon's magic horn were playing an occasional blast 
amidst the roaring winds; whilst the stewards alone, hke Horace's 
good man, walked serene amidst the ^vreck of crockery and the fall 
of plates. Driven from our strong hold on deck, indiscriminately 
crammed in below like figs in a drum; " weltering," as Carlyle has 
it, " like an Egyptian pitcher of tamed vipers," the cabin ^vindows 
all shut in, we tried to take it coolly, in spite of the suffocating 

There is a cliild on board who is certainly possessed, not by a 
witty, mahcious demon, a diable boitcux, but by a teasing, stupid, 
wicked imp, which inspires him Avith the desire of tormenting every 
thing human that comes within his reach. Should he escape being 
thrown overboard, it vnll show a wonderful degree of forbearance 
on the part of the passengers. 

8th. — The weather is perfect, but the wind inexorable; and the 
passengers, with their heads tied up, look more gloomy than ever. 


Some sit dejected in comers, and some qnarrel _ with tlicir neigh- 
bours, thus finding a safety-valve by which their wrath may es- 

9tli. — There is no change in the wind, yet the gentlemen have all 
brio-htened up, taken off their headkercliiefs and shaved, as if 
ashamed of their six days' impatience, and making up their minds 
to a sea-Hfe. This morning we saw land; a long, low ridge of hills 
on the Island of Eleuthera, where they make salt, and where there 
are many negroes. Neither salt nor negroes visible to_ the naked 
eye ; nothing but the grey outHne of the hills, melting into the sea 
and sky; and having tacked about all day, we found ourselves hi 
the evening precisely opposite to tliis same island. There are Job's 
comforters on board, who assure us that they have been tliirty-six 
days between New York and la " joya mas preciosa de la corona de 

For my part, I feel no impatience, ha\'ing rather a dishke to 
chano-ing my position when tolerable, and the air is so fresh and 
laden with bahn, that it seems to blow over some paradise of sweets, 
some land of fragrant spices. The sea also is a mirror, and I have 
read Marryat's Pirate for the first time. 

Thus then w^e stand at eight o'clock, P. M. ; wind a-head, and 
httle of it, performmg a zig-zag march between Eleuthera and 
Abaco. On deck, the pretty widow lies in an easy chair, surrounded 
by her countrymen, who discourse about sugar, molasses, chocolate, 
and other local topics, together with the relative merits of Cuba as 

compared with the rest of the known world. MadamiC A is 

studyino- her part of EHzabetta in the opera of Roberto Deve- 
reux, which she is to bring out in Havana, but the creaking of the 
Norma is sadly at variance with harmony. Apale German youth, 
in di-essing-gown and shppers, is studying Schiller. An ingenious 
youngster is carefully conning a well-thumbed note, which looks 
Hke a milhner's girl's last billet-doux. The httle jwssede is burning 
brown-paper within an inch of the curtains of a state-room, wdiile 
the steward is dragging it from him. Others are gradually dropping 
into their berths,"like ripe nuts from a tree. Thus are we all pur- 
suing our vocations. 

9th. Wind dead a-head ! I console myself with Cmq-Mars and 

Jacob Faithful. But the weather is lovely. A young moon in her 
first quarter, like a queen in her mmority, ghtters Hke a crescent on 
the brow of night. 

Towards evening the long wished for Hghthoiise of Abaco (built 
by the Enghsh) showed her'^charitable and revolving radiance. But 
our ship, Penelope-hke, undoes by night what she has joerformed by 
day, and her course is backward and crabbish. A dehcious smell of 
violets is blowing from the land. 

10th. — A fair wind. The good tidings commimicated by the 

* The most precious jewel in the Spanish crown, the name given to Cuba. 


A , toute rayonnante dejoie. A fair wind and a brigKt blue sea, 

cool and refreshing breezes, the waves sparkKng, and the ship o-oin<^ 
gallantly over the waters. So far, our voyage may have been te^ 
dious, but the most determined landsman mu^t allow that the wea- 
ther has been charming. 

Smiday at sea; and though no bells are tolling, and no hymns are 
chanted, the blue sky above and the blue ocean beneath us, form 
one vast temple, where, since the foundations of the earth and sea 
were laid, Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night show eth 

This morning we neared the Berry Islands, unproductive and 
rocky, as the geography books would say. One of these islands 
belongs to a coloured man, who bought it for fifty dollars— a cheaply- 
purchased sovereignty. He, his wife and children, with their negro 
slaves I live there, and cultivate vegetables to sell at New York, or 
at the different ships that pass that way. Had the wind been 'fa- 
vourable, they would probably have sent us out a boat with fresh 
vegetables, fish, and fruit, which would have been very acceptable. 
We saw, not far from the shore, the wreck of a two-masted vessel ; 
sad sight to those who pass over the same waters to see 

" A brave vessel. 
Who had, no doubt, some noble creatures in her, 
Dashed all to pieces!" 

Who had, at least, some of God's creatures in her. Any thing but 
that ! I am hke Gonzalo, and " would fain die a dry death." 

We are now on the Bahama Banks, the water very clear and 
blue, with a creamy froth, looking as if it flowed over pearls and 
turquoises. _ An EngKsh schooner man-of-war (a ^oy-of-war in size) 
made all sail towards us, doubtless hoping we were a slaver; but, on 
putting us to the test of liis spy-glass, the captain, we presume, per- 
ceived that the general tinge of countenance was lemon rather than 
negro, and so abandoned his pursuit. 

Tliis evening on the Banks. It would be difficult to imagine a 
more placid and lovely scene. Every thing perfectly calm, all sail 
set, and the heavens becoming gradually sprinkled with silver stars. 
The sky blue, and without a cloud, except where the sun has just 
set, the last crimson point sinking in the calm sea and leaving a long 
retinue of rainbow-coloui'ed clouds, deep crimson tinged with bright 
silver, and melting away into gray, pale vapour. 

On goes the vessel, stately and swanhke ; the water of the same 
turquoise blue, covered with a light pearly froth, and so clear that 
we see the large sponges at the bottom. Every minute they heave 
the lead. " By the mark three." " By the mark three, less a 
quarter." |' By the mark twain and a half," (fifteen feet, the vessel 
drawing thirteen,) two feet between us and the bottom. The sailor 
sings It out Hke the first line of a hymn in short metre, doled out by 

the parish clerk. I wish Madame A were singing it instead of 

he. " By the mark three, less a quarter." To tins tune, the only 


soxmd breaking the stillness of tlie niglit, I dropped to sleep The 
captain passed the night anxiously, now looknig out for hghts on 
the Banks, now at thelielm, or himsell^ sotmdmg the lead: 

" For some must watch whilst others sleep ; 
Thus wags the world away." 

11th.— Beautiful morning, and flxir wind. About eight we left 
the Banks. Just then we observed, that the sailor who sounded, 
having simg out five, then six, then in a few minutes seven, suddenly 
found°no bottom, as if we had fallen off all at once from the brink of 
the Bank into an abyss. 

A fellow-captain, and passenger of our captain's, told me this 
morning, that he spoke the sliip which carried out Governor and 
Mrs. McLean to Cape-Coast Castle— the unfortunate L. E. L. It 
does not seem to me at all astonishing that the remedies which she 
took in England without injury, should have proved fatal to her m 
that wretched climate. i> i i • 

"VVe have been accompanied all the morning by a fane large ship, 
going full sail, the Orleans, Captain Sears, bound for New Orleans. 
. . A long semicircular Hne of black rocks m sight; some ot 
a round form, one of which is called the Death's Head; another of 
the shape of a turtle, and some two or three miles long. At the ex- 
tremity of one of these the Enghsh are building a lighthouse. 

12th.— We are opposite the Pan of Matanzas, about sixty miles 
from Havana. Impatience becomes general, but the breeze rocks up 
and down, and we gain httle. This day, Hke all last days on board, 
has been remarkably tedious, though the country gradually becomes 
more interesting. There is a universal brushmg-up amongst the 
passengers; some shaving, some with their heads plunged into tubs 
of cold water. So may have appeared Noah's ark, when the dove 
did not return, and the passengers prepared for terra firma, after a 
forty days' voyage. Our Mount Ararat was the Morro Castle, 
which, dark and frowning, presented itself to our eyes, at six 

o'clock, P.M. „ , . 

Nothino- can be more striking than the first appearance ot tins 
fortress, starting up from the sohd rock, with its towers and battle- 
ments wliile here, to remind us of our latitude, we see a lew leathery 
cocoas growing amidst the herbage that covers the banks near the 
castle. By its side, covering a considerable extent of ground, is the 
fortress called the Cahana, painted rose-colour, with the angles of its 
bastions white. 

But there is too much to look at now. I must famsh my letter m 

Havana. , ,^ , 

Havana, 13th November. 

Last evening, as we entered the beautiful bay, every tiling struck 
us as strange and picturesque. The soldiers of the garrison, the 
prison built by General Tacon, the irregular houses with their fronts 
painted red or pale blue, and with the cool but uninhabited look pro- 



duccci by the absence of glass ^viudows; the merchant ships and laree 
mcn-of-Avar; vessels from every port in the commercial Avorld, the 
little boats gliding amongst them mth their snow-white sails, the 
negroes on the wharf— nothing European. The heat was great, that 
ol a J uly day, without any freshness in the air. 

As we approached the wharf the noise and bustle increased. Tlie 
passengers all crowded upon deck, and we had scarcely anchored, 
when various little boats were seen making for the Norma. Fir-t 
boat broiight an officer with the salutations of the Captain-General 
to his Excellency, with every poHte offer of service; second boat 
brought the Achnmistrador of the Yntendente (the Count de Villa 
Aueva), with the same civiHties; the third, the master of the house 
where ^^^c now are, and whence I indite these facts; the fourth, the 
ltahan_ Opera, winch rushed simultaneously into the arms of the 

A 1; the fifth, prosaic custom-house officers; the sixth, a Havana 

coimt and marqms; the seventh, the family of General M o. 

i^mally, we were hoisted over the ship's side in a chair, into the 
government boat, and rowed to the shore. As it was rather dark 
when we arrived, and we were driven to our destination in a volante, 
we did not sec much of the city. We could but observe that the 
streets were narrow, the houses irregular, most people black, and the 
volante, _ an amusmg-looking vehicle, looking behind Hke a black 
insect with_ high shoulders, and with a Kttle black postiHon on a horse 
or mule with an enormous pair of boots and a fancy uniform. 

ihe house m which, by the hospitality of the H a family we 

are_ installed, has from its windows, which front the bay, the most 
varied and interesting view imaginable. As it is the first house, 
Spanish fashion, which I have entered, I must describe it to you 
before 1 sleep. The house forms a great square, and you enter the 
court, round which are the offices, the rooms for the negroes, coal- 
house, bath-room, &c., and in the middle of which stand the volantes. 
Proceed up stairs, and enter a large gaUery which runs aU round the 
house. Fass into the Sala, a large cool apartment, with marble 
floor and tables, and chaise-longues with elastic cushions, chairs, and 
arm-chairs of cane. A drapery of white musHn and blue silk 
chvides this from a second and smaller di-aA\4ng-room, now ser\-Ing as 
my, and beautifully fitted up, with £.-othic toilet- 
tal3le, mlaid mahogany bureau, marble centre and side-tables, fine 
mirrors, cane sofas and chairs, green and gold paper. A drapery of 
white mushn and rose-coloured silk divides this from a bedroom, 
also fatted up Avith all manner of elegances. French beds with blue 
silk coverhds and clear musquito curtams, and fine lace. A drapery 
divides this on one side from the gallery; and this room opens into 
others which run all round the house. The floors are marble or 
stucco--the roofs beams of pale blue wood placed transversely, and 
the whole has an air of agreeable coohiees. Every thing is handsome 
without being gaudy, and admirably adapted for the cfimate. The 
sleeping apartments have no windows, and are dark and cool, while 


the drawing-rooms liave large windows down to tlie floor, with green 
shutters, kept closed till the evening. 

The mosquitoes have now commenced their evening song, a signal 
that it is time to put out the Hghts. The moon is shming on the 
bay, and a faint soimd of military music is heard in the distance, 
while the sea moans -with a sad but not unpleasing monotony. To 
all these somids I retire to rest. 


Havana aristocracy— Lucia de Lammermoor— La Rossi and Montresor— Brig 

of war— Countess de V a— Dinner at H a's-Southerly winds— View 

from the balcony— Quinta of Count V a— San Cristobal-Mass at ban 

Felipe— Erard Harp— Dinner at General M o's— A Dessert at Havana- 
Queen of Spain's birthday— Dinner at the Yntendencia— La Pantanelh— 
Theatre of Tacon— Railroad— Cure by lightning — Shops — Ball at the 
Countess F a's— Last visit— Souvenirs. 

15tla._We expected hospitahty and a good reception, but cer- 
tainly all our expectations have been surpassed, and the last few days 
have been spent in such a round of festivity, that not a moment has 
been left for writing. At home we have held a levee to all that is 
most distinguished in Havana. Counts, marquesses, and generals, 
with stars and crosses, have poured in and poured out ever since our 
arrival. I do not pretend to form any judgment of Havana. We 
have seen it too much e7i beau. 

Last evening we found time to go to the theatre. The opera was 
" Lucia de Lammermoor." The prima donna, La Rossi, has a voice 
of much sweetness, sings correctly and with taste, is graceful m her 
movements, but sadly deficient in strength. Still she suits the 
character represented, and comes exactly up to my idea of poor 
Lucy, devoted and broken-hearted, physically and morally weak. 
Tliough the story is altered, and the interest weakened, how graceful 
the music is! how lovely and full of melody! The orchestra is 
good, and composed of blacks and whites, Kke the notes of a piano, 
mingled in harmonious confusion. 

The theatre is remarkably pretty and airy, and the pit struck us 
as being particularly clean and respectable. All the seats are red 
leather arm-chairs, and all occupied by well-dressed people. 

At the end of the first act, we went round to the Coimtess 
F a's box, to return a \isit wliich she had made me m the 


morning. We found her extremely agreeable and full of intelli- 
gence, also with a very decided air of fasliion. She Avas dressed in. 
fawn-coloiu-ed satin, with large pearls. At the end of the second 
act, Lucia was taken ill ; her last aria missed out, and her monu- 
ment driven on the stage without further ceremony. Montresor, 
the Ravenswood of the piece, came in, sung and stabbed himself 
with immense enthusiasm. It is a pity that liis voice is deserting 
Mm, while liis taste and feeling remain. The house has altogether 
a French look. The boxes are private — that is, the property of 
individuals, but are not shut in, which, in tliis cHmate, would be 
suffocating. _ We passed out through a long file of soldiers. The 
sudden transition from Yankee land to this military Spanish negro- 
land is dreamy. 

The General de la Marina {Anglice, admiral of the station) called 
some days ago, and informed us that there is a brig of war destmed 
to convey us to Vera Cruz. 

Amongst the ladies who have called on me, I find none more 

charming than the Countess de V a. Her voice is agreeable, 

her manners cordial and easy, her expression beautiful from good- 
ness,_ with animated eyes and fine teeth, her dress quiet and rich. 
She is universally beloved here. I received from her, nearly every 
morning, a bouquet of the lovehest flowers from her qiunta — roses, 

carnations, heliotrope, &c. The dinner at H a's to-day was a 

perfect feast. I sat between the Count de F a and the Comit 

de S V , a milHonaire. Every thing was served in French 

white and gold porcelain, which looks particidarly cool and pretty 

in this cHmate. The Count de P r was there and his brother; 

the latter a gentlemanly and intelhgent man, with a great taste for 
music, and whose daughter is a fii'st-rate singer and a charming 
person. _ After dinner we rose, according to custom, and went into 
an adjoinino- room, while they arranged the dessert, consisting of 
every imaginable and unimaginable sweetmeat, with fruits, i^es, 
&c. The fruits I have not yet learnt to hke. They are certainly 
wonderful and deHcious productions of nature ; but to eat eggs and 
custards and butter off the trees, seems unnatural. 

The heat to-day is terrible, with a sufibcating south wind blowing, 
and were the houses not built as they are, would be unbearable. 
The dinner is served in the gallery, which is spacious and cool. 

After dinner, Senor Don P o H a rose, and, addressing 

C n, pronounced a poetical impromptu, commemorating the late 

victory of Espartero, and congratulating C n on his mission to 

the Mexican repubhc. We then adjourned to the balcony, where 
the air was delightful, a cool evening breeze having suddenly sprimg 
up. A large ship, full sail, and various barks, passed the Morro. 
There were negroes with bare legs walking on the wall, carrying 
parcels, &c. ; volantes passing by with their black-eyed occupants, 
in full dress, short sleeves, and flowers in their hair ; well-dressed, 
martial-looking Spanish soldiers marching by, and making tolerably 


free remarks upon tlie ladies in the volantes We had a visit 

from the Captain-General. 

In the evening we went out to see the Coimtess de V -a, at 

her pretty quinta, a short way out of town, and walked in the 
o-arden by moonho-ht, amongst flowers and fountams. ihe httie 
Sount is ah-eady one of the chamberlains to the Queen, and a diamond 
key has been sent him by Queen Cristina in token of hei- appro- 
bation of his father's ser\aces. These country retreats are dehghtlui 
after the narrow streets and impure air of the city. ... We saw 
there a good engraving of Queen Victoria, mth the Duchess ot 
Sutherland and Lady Normanby. ^ 

I7tb_yesterday we went to see the procession ot the patron 
saint, San Cristobal, from the balconies of the Yntendencia. It is 
a fine, spacious buildmg, and, together with the Captam-Cxeneral s 
palace, stands in the Plaza de Armas, which was crowded with 
neoToes and negresses, all dressed in white, with wlnte mushn and 
blonde mantillas, framing and showing ofi" their dusky physiog- 

Two reo-iments, with excellent bands of music, conducted the 
procession," composed of monks and priests. San Cristobal,^ a large 
figure with tliick gold legs, surrounded by gold angekTvuth gold 
mngs, was carried by to the music of " Suoni latromha, to which 
were adapted the words of a hymn in praise of Liberty. 

We attended mass in the morning m the church ot San J^ elipe, 
and entered, preceded, according to custom, by a Httle negro foot- 
man carryino- a piece of carpet. There were few people m church, 
but the grouping was pictiu-esque. The black faces of the negresses, 
with their white mantiUas and white satm shoes ; the black siik 
dresses and black lace mantillas of the Havana ladies, with their 
white faces and black eyes, and Httle Hveried negroes standing be- 
hind them ; the officers, music, and long-bearded priests— aU were 

very effective. , 

Found, on my return, an excellent Erard harp, sent me by the 

Marquesa de A s, a pretty woman and female Croesus. 

A splendid entertamment was given us to-day by General 

]y[ o. His house is large and cool ; the dinner, as usual, m the 

gallery ; and although there were nhiety-seven guests, and as many 
negroes in waiting, the heat was not oppressive. The jewels of the 
laches were superb, especially the diamonds of the M— — family ; 
sprays, necklaces, earrmgs, really beautiful. The Maxquesa de 

A wore a set of emeralds the size of small eggs. She had a 

pretty, graceful-looking daughter with her, with beautiful eyes. 
Even the men were well sprinkled with diamonds and rubies. ^ ^ 

Tlie dessert, from variety and quantity, was a real cunosity. 
Immense vases and candelabras of alabaster were placed at <iifierent 
distances on the table, and himdreds of porcelain dishes were hUed 
with sweetmeats and fruits— sweetmeats of every description, from 


the little meringue called " moutliful for a queen," to tlie blancmano-er 
made of supreme de volaille and milk. ^ 

After dinner our health was drank, and another poetical address 
pronounced. The evening concluded with music and the Havana 

20th.— Yesterday being the Queen of Spain's birthday, a dinner 
was given to us at the Yntendencia. The house in size is a palace, 
and the apartments innumerable. The dinner very elegant, and the 
dessert arranged in another room, a curiosity as usual for profusion 

and variety. Her Majesty's health was proposed by Don B o 

H^ a, and so well-timed, that all the guns of the forts fired a 

salute, It bemg sunset, just as the toast was concluded, which was 
drank with real enthusiasm and hearty good-will. According to 
Spanish custom, the aristocracy generally "ie tutoient, and call each 
other by their Christian names ; indeed, they are almost all connected 
bj intermarriages. You may guess at an inferior in rank, only by 
their increased respect towards him. 

We stood on the balcony in the evening. The scene was beau- 
tiful, the temperature rather warm, yet dehcious from the softness of 
the breeze. The moon rose so bright that she seemed Hke the sun 
shining through a silvery veil. Groups of figures were saunterino- 
about m the square, under the trees, and two bands having stationed 
themselves with lamps and music, played alternately pieces from 
Mozart and Belhni. We regretted leaving so dehghtful a scene for 
the theatre, Avhere we arrived in time to hear La PantaneUi sing an 
Ana, dressed in helmet and tunic, and to see La Jota Arragonesa 
danced by two handsome Spanish girls in good style. 

One evening we went to the theatre of Tacon, to the Captain- 
G-eneral's box. It is certainly a splendid house, large, airy, and 
handsome. The play was the " Campanero de San Pablo," which 
though_ generally hked, appears to me a complicated and unnatural 
composition, with one or two interesting scenes. The best actor 
was he who represented thebhnd man. The chief actress is an over- 
grown dame, all tat and dimples, who kept up a constant sobbiuo- 
and heaving of her chest, yet never getting rid of an eternal smirk 
upon her face. A bolero, danced afterwards by two Spanish dam- 
sels in black and silver, was very refreshing. 

23d. — To-morrow we sail in the Jason, should the wind not 
prove contrary. Visits, dinners, and parties have so occupied our 
time, that to wi-ite has been next to impossible. Of the country we 
have, from the same reason, seen httle, and the people we are only 
acquainted with in full dress, which is not the way to judge of them 
truly. One morning, indeed, we dedicated to viewing the works of 
the Yntendente, the railroad, and the water-filterers. He and the 
Countess, and a party of friends, accompanied us. 

The country through which the railroad passes is flat and rather 
monotonous ; nevertheless, the quantity of ^vild flowers, which ap- 


peared for the most part of the convolviihis species, as we glanced 
past them — the orange-trees, the clumps of palm and cocoa, the 
plantain with its gigantic leaves, the fresh green cofFee-plant, 
the fields of sugar-cane of a still brighter green, the half-naked 
negroes, the low wooden huts, and, still more, the scorcliing sun in 
the month of November, — all was new to us, and sufficient to remind 
us of the leagues of ocean we had traversed, though this is but a 
halt on our voyage. 

At the village where the cars stopped, we listened with much 
amusement to the story of a fat, comfortable-looking individual, who 
was cured by lightning in the following manner. He Avas in the 
last stage of a decline, when, one hot July morning, he was Icnocked 
down by a thunderbolt, a ball of fire, wlaich entered his side, ran all 
through his body, and came out at his arm. At the place where the 
ball made its exit, a large ulcer was formed, and when it dispersed 
he found himself in perfect health, in which he has continued ever 
since! In such cases the " bottled lightning," demanded by Mrs. 
Nickleby's admirer, might be a valuable remedy. 

Of course, I could not leave Havana without devoting one morn- 
ing to shopping. Tlie shops have most seducing names — Hope, 
Wonder, Desire, &c. The French modistes seem to be wisely im- 
proving their time, by charging respectable prices for their work. 
The shopkeepers bring their goods out to the volante, it not being 
the fashion for ladies to enter the shops, though I took the privilege 
of a foreigner to infringe this rule occasionally. Silks and satins 
very dear — lace and muslin very reasonable, was, upon the whole, 
the residt of my investigation ; but as it only lasted two hours, and 
that my sole purchases of any consequence were an indispensable 
mantilla, and a pair of earrings, I give my opinion for the present 
with due diffidence. 

I can speak with more decision on the subject of a great ball 

given us by the Countess F a, last evening, which was really 

superb. The whole house was thrown open — there was a splendid 
supper, quantities of refreshments, and the whole select aristocracy 
of Havana. Diamonds on all the women, jewels and orders on all 
the men, magnificent lustres and mirrors, and a capital band of music 
in the gallery. 

The Captain-General was the only individual in a plain dress. He 
made liimself very agreeable, in good French. About one hundred 
couple stood up in each country-dance, but the rooms are so large 
and so judiciously hghted, that we did not feel at all warm. Waltzes, 
quadrilles, and these long Spanish dances, succeeded each othei\ 
Almost all the girls have fine eyes and beautiful figures, but without 
colour, or much animation. The finest diamonds were those of the 
Countess F a, jDarticularly her necklace, which was undeniable. 

Walking through the rooms after supper, we were amused to sec 
the negroes and negresses helping themselves plentifully to the 
sweatmeats, uncorking and drinking fresh bottles of Champagne, 


and devouring everything on the supper tables, without tlic sHgh test 
concern for the presence either of their master or mistress ; in fact, 
behaxnng hkc a multitude of spoilt childi-en, who are sure of meet- 
ing with indulgence, and presume upon it. * * * 

Towards morning we were led down stairs to a large suite of 
rooms, containing a library of several thousand volumes ; where cof- 
fee, cakes, &c., were prepared in beautiful Sevres porcelain and 
gold plate. We left the house, at last, to the music of the national 
hymn of Spain, which struck up as we past through the gallery. 

Should the north wind, the dreaded Norte, not blow, we sail to- 
morrow, and have spent the day in recei^dng farewell \dsits. We 
also went to the theatre, where every one predicts we shall not get 
off to-morrow. The play was " Le Gamin de Paris," translated. 

After our return, I paid a very late visit to the P r family, who 

live close by us, and now, at two in the morning, I finish my letter 
sleepily. Many beautiful souvenirs have been sent us, and amongst 

others, the Count de S V has just sent C n a model 

of the palace of Madrid, one of the most beautiful and ingenious 
pieces of workmanship possible. It is carved in wood, with asto- 
nishing accuracy and dehcacy. 

My next letter will be dated on board the Jason. 


Departure in the Jason — Spanish Captain and Officers — Life on board a j\Ian- 
of-War — "Balances'^ — Fishing — '■'■ Le petit tambour''^ — Cocoa-nuts — A Norte 
— Spanish proverb — Peak of Orizava — Theory and practice — Norte chocola- 
tero — Contrary winds — Chain of Mountains — Goleta. 

Jason, 24th November. 

This morning, at six o'clock, we breakfasted, together with Captain 

Estrada, the commander of the Jason, at the Casa H a ; and the 

wind being fair, repaired shortly after in volantes to the wharf, ac- 
companied by our hospitable host, and several of our acquaintances ; 
entered the boat, looked our last of the Palace and the Yntendencia, 
and of Havana itself, where we had arrived as strangers, and which 
now, in fifteen days, had begun to assume a famihar aspect, and to 
appear interesting in our eyes, by the mere force of human spnpathy ; 
and were transported to the ship, where a fine of marines, di'awn up 


to receive us, presented arms as we entered. The morning was beau- 
tii'ul; little wind, but fair. We took leave of our friends, waved 
our handkerchiefs to the balconies in return for signals from 
scarcely-distinguishable figures, passed beneath the red-tinted Ca- 
bana and the stately Morro, and were once more upon the deep, 
■with a remembrance behind, and a hope before us. Our Btrgantina 
is a handsome vessel, with twenty-five guns, five officers, a doctor^ 
chaplain, and purser, and one hundred and fifty men. 

We find the commander very attentive, and a perfect gentleman, 
like almost all of his class, and though very young in appearance, 
he has been twenty-nine years in the service. 

25th. — The weather dehghtful, and the ship going at the rate of 
five knots an hour. The accommodations in a brig not destined for 
passengers are of course limited. There is a large cabin for the 
officers, separated by a smaller one, belonging to the captain, which 
he has given up to us. 

At seven o'clock C n rises, and at eight, a marine sentinel, 

transformed into a lady's page, whom we are taking to Mexico as 
Porter, brings us some very dehcious chocolate. He is followed by 
the Captain's familiar, an unhappy-looking indi^ddual, pale, lank, 
and lean, with the physiognomy of a methodist parson, and in 
general appearance like a weed that has grown up in one night. 
He tremblingly, and Avith most rueful countenance, carries a small 
plate of sugar-biscuits. These originals having vacated the cabin, I 
proceed to dress, an operation of some difficulty, wliich being per- 
formed tant Men que mal, I repair up stairs, armed with book and 
fan and sit on deck till ten o'clock, when the famihar's lamentable an- 
nouncement of breakfast, takes us do^wn again. The cook being 
!French, the comestibles are decidedly good, and were the artist a little 
less of an oil and more of a water painter, I individually would 
prefer his style. We have every variety of fish, meat, fowl, fruit, 
dulces and wines. 

A very long interval has to be filled up by reading, writing, 
sitting, or walking upon deck, as suits the taste of the individual, or 
by drinking orangeade, or by sleeping, or by any other ingenious 
resource for killing time. At five, dinner, at which no one joins 
us but the captain and one officer ; and after dinner on deck till 
bedtime, walking about, or gazing on the sky or sea, or listening 
to the songs of the sailors. 

26th. — Little wind, but a day of such abominably cruel " ba- 
lances" as they call them, that one is tempted to ffiid rest by 
jmnping overboard. Every thing broken or breaking. Even the 
cannons disgorge their balls, which fall out by their own weight. 

28th. — We have had two days of perfect weather though very 
warm ; the sky blue, without one cloud. To-day we are on the 
sound, and have lain to, about noon, to let the sailors fish, thereby 
losing an hour or so of fair wind, and catching a preposterous 
number of fish of immense size. The water was so clear, that we 


could see tlie fisli rush and seize the bait as fast as it was tlirown in. 
Sometimes a huge shark would bite the fish in two, so that the poor 
finny creature was between Scylla and Charybdis. These fish are 
called cherne and pargo^ and at dinner were pronounced good. At 
lengtli a shark, in its wholesale greediness, seized the bait, and feel- 
ing the hook in his horrid jaw, tugged most fiercely to release him- 
self, but in vain. Twelve sailors hauled him in, when, with dis- 
tended jaws, he seemed to look out for the legs of the men, where- 
upon they rammed the butt-end of a harpoon down his tliroat, 
wliich put a stop to all further proceedings on liis part. He was 
said to be quite young, perhaps the child of doting parents. The 
juvenile monster had, however, already cut three rows of teeth. 

We are sometimes amused in the evening, when upon deck, by a 
little drummer, who invariably collects all the sailors round liim, 
and spins them long, endless stories of his own invention, to which 
they listen with intense interest. On he goes, without a moment's 
liesitation, inventing every tiling most improbable and wonderful ; 
of knights and giants and beautiful princesses, and imprisoned 
damsels, and poor peasants becoming great kings. He is a Httle 
ugly, active fellow, with a turned-up nose, a merry eye and a laugh- 
in*T mouth. Amonfjst his axioms is the foUowin"^ verse, which he 
sings with great expression. 

Hasta los palos del monte 
Tienen su destinacion 
Unos nacen para santos 
Y otros para liacer carbon. 

whicli may be translated so : 

Even the mountain-trees 
Have tlieir allotted goal. 
For some are born for saints 
Whilst others serve for coal. 

29th. — Beautiful day, fair wind, great heat, and more fishing. At 
least thirty large fish were cauglit this morning, also an infant shark, 
a grandchild who had wandered forth to nibble, and met an un- 
timely grave. We have seen several alacrans or scorpions on board, 
but these are said not to be poisonous. Tlie ship is the perfection 
of cleanness. No disagreeable odour afiects the olfactory nerves, in 
which it has a singular advantage over all packets. This, and 
having it all to ourselves, and the officers being such perfect gentle- 
men and all so kind and attentive, makes our voyage so far a mere 
pleasure trip. 

We had some of the Countess do V 's cocoa-nuts, of wlucli 

she sent us a great supply, pierced this morning, each containing 
three tiuiiblers of fresh and dehcious water. 

1st December. — We arc now about thirty leagues from Vcra- 
Cruz, and if the wind blows a Httle fresher, may reach it to- 
morrow. This is Sunday, but the chaplain is too sick to say mass, 
and the heat is intense. 


2d. — An unpleasant variety — a Nortel I knew it was coming 
on, only by the face of tlie first lieutenant wlien he looked at the 
barometer. His countenance fell as many degrees as the instrument. 
It is very slight, but our entry into port will be delayed, for, on the 
coast, these winds are most devoutly dreaded. It has rained all day, 
and, notwithstanding the rolling of the ship, we attempted a game at 
chess, but after having tried two games, abandoned it in despair, a 
" balance" having, at the most interesting period of each, overturned 
the board, and left the victory undecided, somewhat after the fashion 
of Homer's goddess, when she enveloped the contending armies in 
a cloud. 

4th. — Yesterday evening a south wind, and the Spanish proverb 
says truly 

" Siir duro, 
Norte segiiro." 

"A south wind strong, 
The norther ere long." 

This morning the sky is covered with watery clouds, yet we can 
see the Cofre de Perote and the peak of Orizava, which are thirty 
leagues inland ! The latter, called by the Mexicans, Citlal Tppetl, 
or the mountain of the star, from the fire which used to burn on its 
lofty summit, rises nineteen thousand five hundred and fifty-one 
feet above the level of the sea. Covered with perpetual snows, and 
rising far above clouds and tempests, it is the first mountain which 
the navigator discovers as he approaches these shores. 

But the south -wind continues and wc are obhged to turn our 

back to the coast. There is much impatience on board. A 

was taken ill, and declared she had got the yellow fever. The 
doctor was sent for, who, very sick himself, and holding by the 
table to keep liimsclf from falling, told her, -without looking at 
her very particularly, that there was nothing the matter, only to 
keep herself " quite quiet and still;" and the ship rolling at the same 
moment, he pitched head-foremost out of the cabin, showing prac- 
tically how much easier precept is than example. As we shall no 
doubt have a norther after this, which may last three days, our pro- 
mised land is still at som^e distance. 

5 th. — The weather is charming, but the south-west wind holds 
most implacably, and the barometer has fallen five or six degrees, 
which, added to other signs of the times known to navigators, causes 
all hands to prepare for the dreaded enemy. 

6th. — Job never was on board a ship. A norther, not a very 
severe one, but what they call a Norte ckocolatero, that is, its shock 
tore a sail in two, as I tear this sheet of paper. The most ingenious 
person I see is the " master of the sails." He sews most excessively 
quick and well. Towards evening the wind cahned, but the ship, 
tossed upon a horribly swelled sea, became a mortal pm-gatory. Still 
the wind is lulled, though Humboldt and others say that a Norte 



must last forty-eiglit hours, and we have only had it for twenty- 
four. We shall see. 

7tli. — A most horrible night ! My hammock, which I had 
foolishly preferred to a bed, not having room to swing in, threw me 
furiously against the waU, till fearing a broken head, I jumped out 
and lay oii^ the floor. To-day there is a comparative calm, a famt 
continuation of the Norte, which is an air with variations. Every 
thing now seems melancholy and monotonous. We have been 
tossed about during four days in sight of Vera Cruz, and are now 
further from it than before. The officers begin to look miserable ; 
even the cook with difficulty preserves his equihbrium. 

Sunday, 8th. — A Norte ! The sky is watery, and covered with 
shapeless masses of reddish clouds. This is a great day amongst all 
Spanish Cathohcs, Le Virgen de la Concepcion, the patroness of 
Spain and the Indies ; but no mass to-day ; the padre sick and the 
Norte blowing. What a succession of long faces — walking baro- 
meters ! 

9th — Yesterday evening the wind held out false hopes, and every 
one brightened up with caution, for the w4nd, though faintly, blew 
from the right quarter. The rain ceased, the weather cleared,^ and 
" hope, the charmer," smiled upon us. The greater Avas our disap- 
pointment when the breeze died away, when the wind veered to the 
north, and when once more the most horrible rolhng seized the un- 
fortunate Jason, as if it were possessed by a demon. Fmdmg it 
impossible to He in my hammock, I stretched myself on the floor, 
where, during a night that seemed interminable, we were tossed up 
and down, knocked against the furniture, and otherwise mal- 

This morning there is httle wind, but that little from the north, 
so that the termination of our voyage appears as far off now as it did 
eight days ago. The faces of all on board are cahnly lugubrious. 
Little said. A few Spanish shrugs interchanged with ominous 
significance. _ ... 

10th. — As there is only one particular wind dimng which it is 
not dangerous to approach the coast, namely, " la brisa" the breeze 
which usually follows the norther, we may spend our Christmas 
here. The weather is beautiful, though very sultry, especially 
during the calms wliich intervene between the nortes. With books 
one might take patience, but I have read and re-read backwards and 
forwards every thing I possess, or can find — reviews, magazines, a 
volume of Humboldt, even an odd volume of the " Barber of Paris" 
— " Turkish IjoUqx^,'' purporting to be the translation of a continu- 
ation of Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes, and in wliich the hero, 
disguised as a gardener, brings the Visicr's daughter a bouquet, 
wliich she condescendingly receives, lying_ in bed a I'Espagnole ! I 
am now reduced to a very serious Spanish work on the truth of 


This evening,^ to tlie joy of all on board, arose tlie long-desired 
breeze. The ship went slowly and steadily on her course, at first 
four, then eight knots an hour. The captain, however, looked 
doubtingly, and, indeed, towards morning, the wind changed to the 
south, and our hopes died away. 

11th.— Contrary wind. A south, expected to be followed by a 
" norte seguro."^ But now, at eleven, a. m., it is quite calm, and 
very sultry, whilst to increase, if possible, our weariness, a lono- 
range of lofty mountains stretches alono- the horizon, from Punta 
Delgada to the Cofre de Perote, and on till they seem to sink in the 
ocean. ^ Behind the Cofre rises Orizava, now hke a white cloud 
but this morning tinged with a rosy light by the rays of the risinc^ 
sun. The sea is tranquil and the horizon clear, nevertheless the 
enemy is looked for. There are a few white and feathery clouds 
flickering about in the sky, and there is an uneasy swell in the 

waves At three o'clock, out burst the norther, which, like the 

flaming sword, guarding the issues of paradise, 

" Waved over by that flaming; brand, the gate 
With dreadful faces throng'd and fiery arms," 

seems to warn ofi" all vessels from approaching these iron-bound 
shores. Eleven days witliin a few hours' distance of the coast ! 

16th. — Five days more passed with a continuation of contrary 
winds and constant rolHng. We are further from hope than we 
were fourteen days ago. Captain, officers, sailors, all seem nearly 
disheartened. This morning they caught the most beautiful fish I 
ever beheld, of the dolphin species — the Cleopatra of the ocean, 
about four feet long, apparently entirely composed of gold, and 
studded with turquoises. It changed colour in dying. There is a 
proverb, which the sailors are repeating to each other, not very 
encouraging: " Este es el viage del Orinoco. Que el que no se 
murio, se volvi6 loco." " Tliis is the voyage of the Orinoco, in 
which he who did not die, became crazy." 

17th. — Spoke a goleta, which came close up by our vessel, and 
seemed to have a miserable set on board, amongst others, a worthy 
pair from Havana,^ who have just come out of prison, havino- been 
accused of murdering a negro. The wind continues contrary. I 
shall fold up this sea-scrawl, and write no more till we reach Vera 




Distant View of Vera Cruz— Pilots— Boat from the City— Mutual Salutes- 
Approach to Vera Cruz— Crowd on the wharf— House of Dionisio V o — 

Guard of Honour— German Piano— Supper— Madonna— Aspect of the City 
Ao;:)i/o^es— Deliberations— General Guadalupe Victoria— Two-headed Eagle 
—Dilapidated Saint— Harp— Theatre— Donna Inocencia Martinez— Invi- 
tation from General Santa Anna. 

Vera Cruz, 18th. 

This morning, the sanguine hoped and the desponding feared, for 
the wind, though indining to la brisa, seemed imlikely to prove 
sufficiently strong to enable us to reach Vera Cruz — this being the 
twenty-fifth day since we left Havana ; a voyage that, with a 
steamer, might be performed in three days, and with a sailing-vessel 
and a fair wind, is made in six or seven. About noon, the aspect 
of things became more favourable. The breeze grew stronger, and 
with it our hopes. 

At last appeared in view, faintly, certain spires beside the low 
sandy land, which for some time we had anxiously watched, and at 
length we could distinguish houses and churches, and the fort 
of San Juan de Ulua, of warhke memory. By slow but _ siu'e 
degrees, we neared the shore, until Vera Cruz, in all its ugliness, 
became visible to our much-wearied eyes. We had brought a pilot 
from Havana to guide us to these dangerous coasts, but though a 
native of these parts, it seemed that a lapse of years had blunted his 
memory, for we had nearly run upon the rocks. _ A gun was there- 
fore fired, and another pilot came out, who at sight of the Spanish 
flag waxed enthusiastic, and pointing out the castle to our ignorant 
friend, exclaimed, alluding to the desperate struggle made by the 
Spaniards to defend this their last stronghold at the end of the war, 
" fVe, although but a handful of men, defended ourselves for years 
like soldiers, mid now these Frenchmen took it in three days !"_ and, 
walkiniT about in a transport of patriotic despair, he seemed to forget 
his actual duty in the tide of remembrances which the sight of 
Spanish colours and a Spanish crew had called forth. 

Any thing more melancholy, delabre and forlorn, than the whole 
appearance of things as we drew near, cannot well be imagined. On 
one side, the fort,°with its black and red walls : on the other, the 
miserable, black-looking city, with hordes of large black birds, called 
sopilotes, hovering over some dead carcass or flying heavily along m 
search of carrion. Stifl, as the goal of om- voyage, even its dreary 
aspect was welcome, and the very hills of red sand by which it is 


surrounded, and which look like the deserts of Arabia, appeared 

inviting. ^ ■ r xi 

A boat, full of cocked hats was now seen approachnig trom the 
city, containing the Consul in full uniform, and other authorities. 

0— ^ n having sent for and obtained permission from the Governor, 

to permit the' Jason, contrary to established usages, to anchor 
beneath the castle, a salute of twenty guns was fired from our ship. 
Being upon deck, I was nearly suffocated with smoke and powder. 
A salute of the same number of cannon was then fired from the 
castle, in honour of the first Spanish man-of-war that has appeared m 
this port since the Revolution. 

And now wc prepared, before the sun went down, to leave our 
watery prison; and the captain's boat being manned, and having 

taken leave of the officers, we, that is, C n, the commander, and 

I, and my French maid and her French poodle, got into it. Then 
came a salute of twenty guns from the Jason in our honour, and we 
rowed off" amidst clouds of smoke. Then the fort gave us welcome 
with the same number of guns, and, amidst all this cannonading, we 
were landed at the wharf. 

A singular spectacle the wharf presented. A crowd, as far as 
the eye c'ould reach, of all ages and sexes of Vera Cruzians (and a 
very curious set they seemed to be), were assembled to witness his 
Excellency's arrival. Some had no pantaloons ; arid others, to 
make up for their neighbours' deficiencies, had two pair— the upper 
sHt up the side of the leg, Mexican fashion. All had large hats, 
with silver or bead rolls, and every tinge of dark complexion, from 
the pure Indian, upwards. Some dresses were entirely composed of 
ra"-s, clinging together by the attraction of cohesion ; others had 
only a few holes to let in the air. All were crowding, jostling, and 
nearly throwing each other into the water, and gazing with faces of 
intense curiosity. 

But a plume of coloured feathers was seen towering above the 
copper-coloured crowd, and immediate passage was rnade^ for an 
aide-de-camp from the Governor, General Guadalupe Victoria. He 
was an immensely tall man, in a showy uniform all covered with 
gold, with colossal epaulets and a towering plume of rainbow- 
coloured feathers. He brought to C n the welcome and con- 
gratulations of the General, and those Spanish offers of service and 
devotion which soimd agreeably, whatever be their true value. 

We now began to move through the crowd, which formed a 
line on either side to let us pass, and entered the streets of Vera 
Cruz, which were crowded, balconies and all, and even roofs, with 
curious faces. The guard formed as we passed, and struck up a 
inarch. The principal street is wide and clean, and we reached the 

house of Senor V o, a rich merchant, formerly consul, where 

we are to reside, followed to the door by the whole population. 
We were received with great hospitahty, and found excellent rooms 




prepared for us. Tlie liouse is immensely large and airy, built in a 
square as tliey all are, but with that unfurnished, melancholy look, 
which as yet this style of house has to me, though admirably 
adapted to the chmate. 

A guard of honour, sent by General Victoria, trotted into the j 

courtyard,^ whose attendance C n dechned with thanks, observ- I 

ing that his mission had for object to terminate the coohiess hitherto 
existing between two famihes of brothers ; that between members 
of the same family there was nothing to fear, and all compHments 
were unnecessary. 

I found a German piano in the drawing-room, on which I was 
glad to put my fingers after a month's abstinence. A number of 
gentlemen came in the evening to visit C n. "We were re- 
ceived by this family with so much real kindness, that we soon found 
ourselves^ perfectly at home. We had a plentiful supper — fish, 
meat,^ wine, and chocolate, frait and sweetmeats ; the cookery, 
Spanish Vera-Ctuzijied. A taste of the style was enough for me, 
garhc and oil enveloping meat, fish and fowl, with pirnentos and 
plantains, and all kinds of curious fruit, which I cannot yet endure. 
Bed was not unwelcome, and most confortable beds we had, with 
mosquito curtains, and sheets and pillows all trimmed with rich lace, 
so miiversal in Spanish houses, that it is not, as ^vith us, a luxurv. 
But the mosquitoes had entered in some unguarded moment, and 
they and the heat were inimical to sleep. 

19ih. — I opened my eyes this morning on the painting of a very 
lovely Madonna, which hung unvalued and ill-framed, in one 
corner of the apartment. At eight, rose and dressed, and went to 
breakfast. Here, when there are two guests whom they wish to 
distinguish, the gentleman is placed at the head of the table, and 
Ms lady beside liim. 

To me nothing can exceed the sadness of the aspect of tliis city 
and of its environs — ^mountains of moving sand, formed by the 
violence of the north winds, and wlaich, by the reflection of the 
sun's rays, must greatly increase the sufibcating heat of the atmo- 
sphere. The scene may resemble the ruins of Jerusalem, though 
without its subHmity. The houses seem blackened by fire ; there 
is not a carriage on the streets — nothing but the men with the wide 
trousers sht up the side of the leg, immense hats, and blankets, or 
sarapes, merely a closed blanket, more or less fine, with a hole 
for the head to go tlirough ; and the women with rebosos, long 
coloured cotton scarfs, or pieces of ragged stuff, thrown over the head 
and crossing over the left shoulder. Add to tlris, the sopilotes cleaning 
the streets, disgusting, but useful scavengers. These valuable birds 
have black feathers, with gray heads, beaks, and feet Theyflyin troops, 
and at night perch upon the trees. They are not repubhcan, nor do 
they appear inchned to declare their independence, having kings, 
to whom it is said they pay so much respect, that if one of the 


royal species arrives at tlie same time witli a plebeian sopllote, In sl^lit 
oi a dead body, tbe latter luimbly waits till the sovereign has 
devom-ed his share, before he ventures to approach 

A fcAV ladies in black gowns and mantillas called this morning, 
and various men. We find the weather sultry. In summer with 
greater heat and the addition of the vomito, it must be a chosen 
city I The principal street, where we live, is very long and wide, 
and seems to have many good houses in it. Nearly opposite is one 
which seems particularly weU kept and handsome, and where we 
saw beautiful flowers as we passed. I find it belongs to an 
lish merchant. . 

Tliere is much dehberation as to the mode m which we are to 
travel to Mexico. Some propose a coach, others a litera; others 
advise us to take the dihgence. While in this indecision, we had 
a visit tliis morning from a remarkable-loolang character, Don 

Miguel S , agent for the difigence oflice m Mexico a taU, 

dark, energetic-looking person. He recommends the diho-ence, 
and offers, by accompanying us, to ensure our safety from accidents. 
He appears right. The dihgence goes in four days, if it does not 
break down. The coach takes any time we choose over that ; the 
literas nine or ten days, going slowly on mules mth a sedan- 
chair motion. The dihgence has food and beds provided lor it at 
the mns— the others nothing. I am in favour of tlie dihgence. 

The couple from Havana, whom we passed m the goleta, have 
very coolly requested permission to accompany us to Mexico " under 
the protection of the Embajador de Espahar We should set off 
in select company. . , . . 

C ^n called tills morning on General Victoria. ± ouncL his 

excellency in a large haU mthout furnitm-e or ornament of any 
sort, without even chairs, and altogether in a style of more than 
repubhcan simplicity. He has just retm-ned the visit, accompanied 
by his colossal aide-de-camp. . 

General Guadalupe Victoria Is perhaps the last man m a crowd 
whom one would fix upon as being the owner of the_ above high- 
sounding cognomen, which in fact is not Ins oriomal, but his 
assumed name, G'^a^aZ^^pe bemg adopted by him m honour oi the 
renowned hnage of the virgin of that name, and Vtctoria, with less 
humihty, to commemorate his success in battle He is an honest, 
plam, down-looking citizen, lame and tah, somewhat at a loss lor 
conversation, apparently, amiable and good-natured, but certainly 
neither courtier nor orator ; a man of undeniable bravery, capable 
of supportino- almost Incredible hardships, humane, and who has 
always proved himself a sincere -lover of what he considered hberty, 
without ever ha\4ng been actuated by ambitious or interested mo- 
tives. P 1 X- A 

It is said that Ills defects were Indolence, want oi resolution, ana 
too much rehance on his own knowledge. He is the only Mexican 
president who finished as chief magistrate, the term prescribed by 


the laws. It is aUeged, in proof of his simpHcitj, thouo-h I think 
It is too absurd to be true, that having received a despatch with the 
two-headed eagle on riae seal, he remarked to the astonished envoy 
who dehvered it-" Our arms are very much ahke, only I see that 
his majesty s eagles have two heads. I have heard that some of 
that species exist here, in tierra caliente, and shall have one sent 

_ The general is not married, but appears rather desirous of enter- 
mg tlie umted state. He strongly recommends us to avoid broken 
bones by going in hteras, at least as far as Jalapa. Having stumbled 
about for some time m search of his cocked-hat, it was handed to 
liim by his aide-de-camp, and he took leave. 

We walked out in the evening to take a look of the emdrous, 
with benor V— — o the commander of the Jason, and several 
youno' ladies of the house. We walked in the direction of an old 
church, where it is or was the custom for young ladies desirous of 
bemg married to throw a stone at the saint, their fortune dependino- 
upon the stones hitting him, so that he is in a lapidated and dila- 
pidated conchtion. Such environs ! the surrounding houses black 
^vith smoke of powder or with fire— a view of bare red sandhills all 
round— not a tree, or shrub, or flower, or bird, except the horrid 
black sopilote, or police-officer. All looks as if the prophet Jere- 
miah had passed through the city denouncing wo to the dweUers 
thereof feuch a melancholy, wholly deserted-looking burial-ground 

as we saw 

-..^^'T ^^ ^evolutions have no doubt done their work, yet I find 
chfhculty in beheving those who speak of Vera Cruz as having been 
a gay and delightful residence in former days, though even now, 
those who have resided here for any length of time, even foreigners, 
almost invariably become attached to it; and as for those born here, 
they are the truest of patriots, holding up Vera Cruz as superior to 
all otherparts of the world. 

The city was founded by the Viceroy, Count de Monterey, at the 
end ol the seventeenth century, and oiight not to be confounded, as 
It sometimes IS, with either of the two colonics founded by the first 
Spaniards. _ Built in front of the island of San Juan de Ulua, it has 
one interesting recollection attached to it, since on these same arid 
shores, Cortes disembarked more than three centuries ago. Unhke 
the green and fertile coast which gladdened the eves of Columbus, 
the Spanish conqueror beheld a bleak and burning desert, whose 
cheerless aspect might well have deterred a foebler mind from going 
lurtlier m search of the paradise that existed behind. 

VVe returned to the house, and heard some ladies play upon a 
harp so called, a smaU, light instrument in that form, but without 
pedals, so ig-ht, that they can hft it Avith one hand ; and yet the 
music they bring from it is surprising ; one air after another," a Httle 
monotonously, but with great ease and a certain execution, and with 
the additional merit of being self-tauo-ht. 


I imagine tliat tliere must be a great deal of musical taste thrown 
away lie^e. There are pianos in almost every house, and one lady 
who came to see me to-day, and whose mother was Enghsh, had 
been extremely well taught, and played mth great taste. They at- 
tempted dancino-, but having no masters, can only learn by what 
they hear. On'the balcony this evening, it was delightiul, and the 
moon is a universal beautifier. . . 

21st.— We walked abo^^t the city yesterday, and returned visits. 
Tlie streets arc clean, and some few churches tolerably handsome. _ 

The Comicos came in the morning to offer us the centre box m 
the theatre, it being the benefit night of Doiia Inocencia Martinez 
from Madrid, a favourite of the pubhc, and, in fact, a pretty wo- 
man, and good comic actress. The theatre is small, and, they say, 
generally deserted, but last night it was crowded. The drop-scene 
represents the fine arts, who are so fat, that their conchtion here 
must be flourishing. We were, however, agreeably disappointed 
in the performance, which was the " Segunda Dama Duende, 
nearly a translation from the " Domhio Noir;' and very amusing ; 
full of excellent coups-de-theatre. Doiia Inocencia m her various 
characters, as domino, servant-girl, abbess, &c., was very handsome, 
and acted with great spirit. Moreover, she and her sister, with two 
Spaniards, danced the Jota Aragonesa in perfection, so that we spent 
a pleasant evening, upon the whole, within the precincts of the city 

of the True Cross. n n .. i 

To-morrow is the day fixed for our departmre, and we shaii not be 
sorry to leave this place, although this house is excellent, a whole 
suite of rooms given to us, and neither ceremony nor cfene ol any 
sort The weather is certainly beautiful. The heat may be a iittie 
oppressive in the middle of the day, but the evenings are cool and 

delightful. ^ ■,. I IT- 1 1 

We had a visit yesterday from the Enghsh and French consuls. 

M cle m-ophesies broken arms and dislodged teeth, il we 

persist in our plan of taking the diUgence, but all things balanced, 
we think it preferable to every other conveyance. General Victoria 
returned to see us this morning, and was very civil and amiable, 
offerino- very cordially every service and assistance m his power. 
We are to rise to-morrow at two, being invited to breakfast with 
General Santa Anna, at his country-seat Manga de Clavo, a few 
leao-ues from this. . . , 

We have been sitting on the balcony till very late, enjoying the 
moonhght and refreshing breeze from the sea, and as we rise before 
daybreak, our rest will be but short. 



Departure from Vera Cruz— Sandhills— Oriental scene— Manga de Clavo— 
General Santa Anna— Breakfast— Escort and diligence— Santa Fe— Puente 
Nacional— Bridge sketched by Mrs. Ward— Country in December— Don 
Miguel— First impressions — Fruit— Plan del Rio — German musicians- 
Sleeping Captain— Approach to Jalapa— Appearance of the City— Cofre de 
Perote— Flowers— House and rock— Last viewof Jalapa— Change ofscenery 
— Sau Miguel de los Soldados— Perote— Striking scene before'' daybreak— - 
Kon-arrivai of escort— Yankee coachman— Dispute— Departure— Company 
of Lancers— Alcalde— Breakfast at La Ventilla— Pulque— Double escort— 
Crosses— Brigand-looking tavern-keeper- Ojo de Agua— Arrival at Puebla 
—Dress of the peasants— Christmas-eve— Inn— "iS^'aamiewio." 

Jalapa, 23d December. 

Yesterday morning at two o'clock we rose by candleligiit, with 
the pleasant prospect of leavino- Vera Cruz and of seeing Santa 
Anna. Two boxes, called carriages, drawn by mules, were at the 

door, to convey us to Manga de Clavo. Senor V o, C n 

the commander of the Jason, and I being encased in them, we set 
off half-asleep. By the laint hght, we could just distingiiish as we 
passed the gates, and the carriages ploughed their way along, no- 
thing but sand — sand — as far as the eye could reach ; a fcAv leagues 
of Arabian desert. 

At length we began to see symptoms of vegetation ; occasional 
palm-trees and flowers, and by the time we had reached a pretty In- 
dian village, where we stopped to change mules, the hght had broke 
in, and we seemed to have been transported, as if by enchantment, 
from a desert to a garden. It was altogether a picturesque and 
striking scene ; the liuts composed of bamboo, and thatched with 
palm-leaves, the Indian women with their long black hair standino- 
at the doors' with their half-naked cliildren, the mules rolhno- then^ 
selves on the ground, according to their favourite fashion^ snow- 
white goats browzing amongst the palm-trees, and the air so soft 
and bahny, the first fresh breath of morning ; the dew-drops still 
ghttering on the broad leaves of the banana and palm, and aU around 
so silent, cool, and still. 

The huts, though poor, were clean ; no windows, but a certain 
subdued hght makes its way through the leafy canes. We procured 
some tumblers of new milk, and having changed mules, pursued our 
journey, now no longer through hills of sand, but across the country, 
through a wilderness of trees and flowers, the glowing productions 
of tierra caliente. We arrived about five at Man^a de Clavo, after 


passing through leagues of natural garden, tlic property of Santa 
Anna. . . 

The house is pretty, slight-looking, and kept ni nice order. W e 
were received by an aide-de-camp in uniform, and by several 
officers, and conducted to a large, cool, agreeable apartment, with 
little furniture, into which shortly entered the Sehora de Santa 
Anna, tall, thin, and, at that early hour of the mprning, di-essedto 
receive us in clear white mushn, with wliite satin shoes, and with 
very splendid diamond earrings, brooch, and rings. _ She was very 
polite, and introduced her daughter Guadalupe, a miniature of her 
mamma, in features and costume. 

In a httle while entered General Santa Anna himself ; a gentle- 
manly, good-looking, quietly-dressed, rather mplancholy -looking 
person, with one leg, apparently somewhat of an invahd, and to us 
the most interesting person in the group. He has a sallow com- 
plexion, fine dark eyes, soft and penetrating, and an interesting 
expression of face. KnoAving nothing; of his past liistory, one would 
have said a philosopher, living in dignified retirement, one who 
had tried the world, and found that all was vanity, one who had 
suffered ingratitude, and who, if he were ever persuaded to emerg;e 
from his retreat, would only do so, Cincinnatus-like, to benefit his 
country. It is strange, how frequently this expression of philosophic 
resignation, of placid sadness, is to be remarked on the countenances 

of 5ie deepest, most ambitious, and most designing men. C- n 

gave him a letter from the Queen, written under the supposition ot 
his bemg still President, with which he seemed much pleased, but 
merely made the innocent observation, " How very well the Queen 

writes 1 " • . „ , . 

It was only now and then, that the expression of his eye was 
starthng, especially when he spoke of his leg, which is cut off below 
the kn?e. He speaks of it iVequently, hke Sir John Ramorny of 
his bloody hand, and when he gives an account of his wound, and 
alludes to the French on that day, his countenance assumes that air 
of bitterness which Ramorny's may have exliibited when speaking 
of " Harry the Smith." 

Otherwise, he made himseff very agreeable, spoke a great deal oi 
the United States, and of the persons he had known there, and in 
his manners was quiet and gentlemanhke, and altogether a more 
pohshed hero than I had expected to see. To judge from the past, 
he will not long remain in his present state of inaction, besides 
having within him, according to Zavala, " a principle of action for 
ever impelhng him forward." 

En attendant, breakfast was announced. The Seiiora de Santa 

Anna led me in. C n was placed at the head of the table, I on 

his right, Santa Anna opposite, the Sehora on my right. The 
breakfast was very handsome, consistmg of innumerable Spanish 
dishes, meat and vegetables, fish and fowl, fruitsand sweetmeats, 
aU served in wliite and gold French porcelain, with coffee, wines, 


&c. After breakfast, tlie Senora having despatched an officer for 
her cigar-case, which was gold, with a diamond latch, offered me a 
cigar, which I having dechned, she lighted her own, a Httle paper 
" cigarito," and the gentlemen followed her good example. 

We then proceeded to look at the out-houses and offices; at the 
General's favourite war-horse, an old white charger, probably a 
sincerer philosopher than his master; at several game-cocks, kept 
with especial care, cock-fighting beino- a favourite recreation of Santa 
Anna's; and at his lltera, wliich is handsome and comfortable. 
There are no gardens, but, as he observed, the Avhole comitry, which 
for twelve leagues square belongs to him, is a garden. The ap- 
pearance of the family says httle for the healthiness of the locale ; 
and indeed its beauty and fertihty will not compensate for its 

As we had but a fcAv hours to spare, the General ordered round 
two carriao-es, both very handsome, and made in the United States, 

one of which conveyed him and C n, the Senora and me. In 

the other were the little girl and the officers, in wliich order we 
proceeded across the country to the high-road, where the diligence 

and servants, with our guide, Don Miguel S , were to ov^take 

us. The diho-ence not having arrived, Ave got down and sat on a 
stone bench, in front of an Indian cottage, Avherc we talked, Avliile 

the young lady amused herself by eating apples, and C n and 

the General remained moralizing in the carriage. 

Shortly after, and just as the sim was beginning to give us a 
specimen of his power, oui- lumbering escort of Mexican soldiers 
galloped up (orders haying been given by the government that a 
fresh escort shall be stationed every six leagues) and announced the 
approach of the diligence. We Avere agreeably disappointed by the 
arrival of a handsome neAV coach, made in the United States, drawn 
by ten good-looking mules and driven by a smart Yankee coachman. 
Our party consisted^ of ourselves, Don Miguel, the captain of the 
Jason and his first heutcnant, who accompany us to JNlexico. The 
day Avas delightful, and every one apparently in good humour. We 
took leave of General Santa Anna, liis lady and daughter, also of 

our hospitable entertainer, Seiior V o ; got into the dihgence — 

doors shut — all right — lash up the mules, and noAv for Mexico ! 

Gradually, as in Dante's Commedia, after leaving Pui-gatory, 
typified by Vera Cruz, Ave seemed to draw nearer" to Paradise. 
The road is difficult, as the approach to Paradise ought to be, and 
the extraordinary jolts were sufficient to prevent us from beino- too 
much enraptured by the scenery, which increased in beauty as we 
advanced. At Santa Fe and Sopilote we changed horses, and at 
Tolome, one of the sites of the civil Avar, came to the end of Santa 
Anna's twelve leagues of property. 

We arrived at Puciite A^acional, formerly Puente del Key, cele- 
brated as the scene of' many an engagement dming the Revolution, 
r and by occupying Avhich, Victoria frequently prevented the passage 


of the Spanish troops, and tliat of the convoys of silver to the port. 
Here we stopped a short time to admire the beautiful bridge thrown 
over the river Antigua, with its stone arches, which brought Mrs. 
Ward's sketch to my recollection, though it is very long since I saw 
the book. We were accompanied by the commander of the fort. 
It is now a peaceful-looking scene. We walked to the bridge, 
pulled branches of large white flowers, admired the rapid river 
dashing over the rocks, and the fine, bold scenery that surroimds it. 
The village is a mere collection of huts, with some fine trees. 

It was difficult to behove, as we journeyed on, that we were now 
in the midst of December. The air was soft and bahny. The heat, 
without being oppressive, that of a July day in England. The 
road through a succession of woody country; trees covered with 
every variety of blossom, and loaded with the most deHcious tropical 
fruits; flowers of every colour filHng the air with fragrance, and the 
most fantastical profusion of parasitical plants intertwining the 
branches of the trees, and flinging their bright blossoms over every 
bough. Palms, cocoas^ oranges, lemons, succeeded one another, 
and at one tm-n of the road, down in a lovely green valley, wc 
caught a glimpse of an Indian woman, with her long hair, resting 
under the shade of a lofty tree, beside a running stream — an Oriental 
picture. Had it not been for the dust and the jolting, nothing could 
have been more dehghtful. As for Don Miguel, with his head out 
of the window, now desiring the coachman to go more quietly, now 
warning us to prepare for a jolt, now pointing out every thing worth 
looking at, and making light of all difficulties, he was the very best 
conductor of a journey I ever met with. His hat of itself was a 
curiosity to us ; a white beaver ■with immense brim, hned with 
thick silver tissue, with two large silver rolls and tassels round it. 

One circumstance must be observed by all who travel in INIexican 
territory. There is not one human being or passing object to be 
seen that is not in itself a picture, or which Avould not form a good 
subject for the pencil. The Indian women with their plaited hair, 
and Httle children slung to their backs, their large straw hats, and 
petticoats of two colours — the long strings of arrieros with their 
loaded mules, and swarthy, wild-looking faces — the chance horseman 
who passes with his sarape of many colours, his high ornamented 
saddle, Mexican hat, silver stirrups and leathern boots — all is pic- 
turesque. Salvator Rosa and Hogarth might have travelled here to 
advantage, hand-in -hand; Salvator for the sublime, and Hogarth 
taking him up where the subhme became the ridiculous. 

At La Calera, we had a distant view of the sea. Occasionally we 
stopped to buy oranges fresh from the trees, pineapples, and grana- 
ditas, which are like Brobdinagian gooseberries, the pulp enclosed 
in a very thick, yellow, or green rind, and very refreshing. 

It was about seven in the evening, when very dusty, ratlicr tired, 
bvit very much enchanted with all we had seen, we arrived at Plan 
del Rio. Here the dihgence passengers generally stop for the night, 


tliat is, sleep a few hours on a hard bed, and rise at midnight to go 
on to Jalapa. But to this arrangement, I for one made vociferous 
objections, and strongly insisted upon the propriety and feasibihty 
of sleeping at Jalapa that night. Don Miguel, the most obsequious 
of Dons, declared it should be exactly as the Senora ordered. 

Accordingly it was agreed that we should wait for the moon, and 
then pursue our joiirney, and meanwliile we walked out to a short 
distance, to see the bridge, the river, and the wood. The bridge 
consists of a single lar^e arch thrown over the river, and commimi- 
cating with a great high-road, formerly paved, but now goiiig to 

We returned to the inn, a long row of small rooms, built of brick 
and prettily situated, not far from the water. Here we had the 
luxury of water and towels, which enabled us to get rid of a certain 
portion of dust before we went to supper. 

The diligence from Jalapa had just deposited at the inn, a 
German with his wife and child, he bearing so decidedly the stamp 
of a German musician, that we at once guessed liis calling. They 
are from Mexico, from whence the fine arts seem to be taking their 
flight, and gave a most woful account of the road between this and 

We had a very tolerable supper; soup, fish, fowls, steak, and 
frijoles, all well seasoned ^vith garhc and oil. The jolting had 
given me too bad a headach to care for more than coftee.^ We 
were strongly advised to remain the night there, but lazy people 
know too well what it is to rise in the middle of the night, espe- 
cially when they are much fatigued; and when the moon° rose, we 
packed ourselves once more into the dihgence, sufiiciently refreshed 
to encounter new fixtigues. The moon was very bright, and most 
of the party prepared themselves for sleep with cigars in their 
mouths; not a very easy matter, for the roads were infamous, a 
succession of holes and rocks. As we were gradually ascending, the 
weather became cooler, and from cool began to grow cold, for'cino- 
us to look out for cloaks and shaAvls. We could\ow discern some 
change in the vegetation, or rather a minghng of the trees of a 
colder chmate with those of the tropics, especially the Mexican oak, 
wliich begins to flourish here. Fortunately, at one part of the road' 
the moon enabled us to see the captain of the escort lying on the 
ground fast asleep, his horse standing quietly beside him, lie ha\ang 
fallen oft^ wliile asleep, and contmued his nap. The soldiers shook 
him up with some difficulty. 

At Corral falso we changed mules, and from the badness of the 
road, continued to go slowly. 

^ The cold increased, and at last by the moonhght, we had a dis- 
tinct view_ of the Peak of Orizava, with his wliite nightcap on (ex- 
cuse the simile, suggested by extreme sleepiness), the very sight 
enough to make one shiver. ' " ^ 

As we approached Jalapa, the scene was picturesque. The escort 


had put on tlieir sarapes, and with their high hehnets and feathers, 
went galloping along and dashing amongst the trees and slirubs. 
Orizava and the Cofre de Perote shone white in the distance, wliile'a 
dehcious smell of flowers, particularly of roses, gave token of the 
land through wliich we were passing. 

It was nearly two in the morning when we reached Jalapa, tired 
to death, and shivering with cold. Greatly we rejoiced as we 
rattled through its mountainous streets, and still more when we 
found ourselves in a nice clean inn, vnth. brick floors and decent 
small beds, and every thing prepared for us. The sight of a fire 
would have been too much luxury ; however, they gave us some 
hot tea, and very shortly after, I at least can answer for myself, that 
I was in bed, and enjoying the most dehghtful sleep that I have 
had since I left New York. 

Tlois morning the dihgence being at our disposal we did not rise by 
break of day, but on the contrary, continued to sleep till eight o'clock. 
I was waited on by such a nice, civil, clean little old woman, that 
I shovild like to carry her ofl" with me. Meanwhile, various autho- 
rities of the town were stationed at the door to give C n welcome 

when he should appear. 

Our breakfast was dehcious. Such fresh eggs, and fresh butter, 
and good cofiee and well-fried chickens ; moreover, such good bread 
and pecuharly excellent water, that we feU very much in love with 

After breakfast we walked out, accompanied by various gentle- 
men of the place. The town consists of httle more than a few steep 
streets, very old, with some large and excellent houses, the best as 
usual belonging to Enghsh merchants, and many to those of Vera 
Cruz, who come to hve in or near Jalapa, during the reign of the 
" Vomitor There are some old churches, a very old convent of 
Franciscan monks and a well-supphed market-place. Everywhere 
there are flowers — roses creeping over the old walls, Indian ghls 
making green garlands for the virgin and saints, flowers in the 
shops, flowers at the mndows, but, above all, everywhere one of the 
most splendid moimtain views in the world. 

The Cofre de Perote, ^vith its dark pine forests and gigantic chest 
(a rock of porphyry wliich takes that form), and the still loftier 
snow-white peak of Orizava, tower above all the others, seeming hke 
the colossal guardians of the land. The intervening mountains, the 
dark chfls and fertile plains, the thick woods of lofty trees clothing 
the hiUs and the valleys ; a glimpse of the distant ocean ; _ the sur- 
rounding lanes shaded by fruit trees: aloes, bananas, cliirimoyas, 
mingled°mth the green hquidambar, the flowering myrtle, and huii- 
dreds of plants and shrubs and flowers of every colour and of deh- 
cious fragrance, all combine to form one of the most varied and 
beautiful scenes that the eye can behold. 

Then Jalapa itself, so old and gray, and rose-becovered, with_ a 
sound of music issuing from every open door and w^indow, and its 


soft and agreeable temperature, presents, even in a few hours, a 
series of agreeable impressions not easily effaced. 

But we are now returned to our inn, for it is near noon, and the 
veil of clouds, that earlier in the morning enveloped Orizava, has 
passed away, leaving its white summit environed by a flood of light. 
I shall probably have no opportunity of writing until we reach 

PUEBLA, 24th. 

Yesterday morning we took leave of the Jalapenos, and once more 
found ourselves en route. Such a view of the movmtains as we 
ascended the steep road ! and such flowers and blossoming trees on 
all sides ! Large scarlet blossoms, and hanging purple and wlrite 
flowers, and trees covered with fragrant bell-shiaped flowers like 
lihes, which the people here call the fioripundw, together with a 
profusion of double pink roses that made the air fragrant as we 
passed; and here and there a church, a ruined convent, or a white 
hacienda. We had the advantage of clear weather, not always to 
be found at Jalapa, especially when the north wind, bio win o- at 
Vera Cruz, covers this city and its environs with a dense fog. 

We stopped at a small village to change horses (for on leaving 
Jalapa, our mules were exchanged for eight strong white horses), 
and here Don Miguel made us enter a very pretty liouse belonging 
to some female friends of his, one of whom was very handsome, with, 
a tasteful white turban. The curiosity of this place is a rock behind 
the house, covered with roses, clove-carnations, and every variety of 
bright flower-tree, together with oranges, lemons, limes, and cedrats, 
all growing out of the rock. The ladies were very civil, though I 
dare say surprised at our admiration of their December flowers, 
and gave us orangeade and cake, with large cedrats and oranges 
from the trees; but above all, the most delicious bouquet of roses 
and carnations; so that, together with the unknown scarlet and 
purple blossoms which the captain of the escort had gathered for 
me, the diligence inside looked hke an arbour. 

We continued our journey, the road ascending towards the table- 
land, and at one striking point of view we got out and looked back 
upon Jalapa. and round upon a panorama of mountains. Gradually 
the vegetation changed: fine, fresh-looking European herbage and 
trees succeeded the less hardy though more brilliant trees and 
flowers of the tropics ; the banana and chirimoya gave place to the 
strong oak, and higher still, these were interspersed with the dark 
green of the pine. 

At San Miguel de los Soldados we stopped to take some refresh- 
ment. The country became gradually more bleak, and before 
arriving at the village of Las Vigas, nearly all trees had disappeared 
but the hardy fir, which flourishes amongst the rocks. The groimd 
for about two leagues was covered with lava, and great masses of 
black calcmed rock, so that we seemed to be passing over tha crater 
of a volcano. This part of the country is deservedly called the Mai 


Pais, and the occasional crosses with their faded garlands, that 
gleam in these bleak, volcanic regions, give token that it may have 
yet other titles to the name of " Evil Land." The roses and carna- 
tions that I had brought from Jalapa were still mi withered, so that 
in a few hours wc had passed through the whole scale of vege- 

The road became'stecp and dreaiy, and after passing Cruz Blanca, 
excepting occasional cornfields and sombre pine forests, the scene 
had no objects of interest sufficient to enable us to keep our eyes 
open. The sun was set — it grew dusk, and by the time we reached 
Perote, where we were to pass the night, most of us had fallen into 
an uncomfortable sleep, very cold and quite stupified, and too sleepy 
to be hungry, in spite of folding a large supper prepared for us. 

The inn was dirty, very unlike that at Jalapa, the beds miserable, 
and Ave were quite ready to get up by the hght of an unhappy spe- 
cimen of tallow which the landlord brought to our doors at two in 
the morning. 

There are some scenes which can never be effaced from our 
memory, and such a one was that which took place this morning at 
Perote at two o'clock, the moon and the stars shining bright and 

Being dressed, I went into the kitchen, where C n, the 

officers of the Jason, Don Miguel, and the Mexican captain of the 
last night's escort, were assembled by the hght of one melancholy 
sloping candle, together with a suspicious-looking landlord, and a 
few sleepy Indian women -with bare feet, tangled hair, copper faces 
and rebosos. They made us some chocolate Avitli goat's milk, horrid 
in general, and rancid in particular. 

It appeared that all parties Avere at a stand-still, for by some mis- 
take in the orders, the ncAV escort had not arriA'ed, and the escort of 
the preceding night could go no further. Don Miguel, Avith his 
SAwarthy face and great sarape, was stalking about, rather out of 
humour, Avhile the captain was regretting, in very jioHte tones, with 
his calm, Arab-looking, impassiA-e face, that his escort could proceed 
no further. He seemed to think it extremely probable that Ave should 
be robbed, belicA^cd, indeed had just heard it asserted, that a party 
of ladrones were looking out for el Seiior Ministro, regretted that he 
could not assist us, though c|uite at our serAace, and recommended us 
to Avait until the next escort should amA^e. 

To this adA'ice our conductor would by no means listen. He AA-as 
piqued that any detention should occur, and yet aAvare that it Avas 
unsafe to go on. He had promised to couA'-ey us safely, and in four 
days, to Mexico, and it was necessary to keep his word. Some one 
proposed that two of the men should accompany the diligence upon 
mules, as probably a couple of these animals might be procured. The 
captain observed, that though entirely at our disposal, tAvo men could 
be of no manner of rise, as in case of attack, resistance, except Avith a 
large escort, was Avorse than useless. Nevertheless it was remarked 



Tby some ingenious person, that tlie robbers seeing two, miglit ima- 
gine that there were more beliind. In short there were various 
opinions. One proposed that they should go on the coach, another 
that they should go in it. Here I ventured to interpose, beo-ging 
that they might ride on mules or go outside, but by no means within. 
As usual, it was as the Senora pleased. 

At length we all cohected before the door of the inn, and a queer 
oToup we must have made by the Hght of the moon, and a nice cari- 

catm-e, I thought to myself, our friend Mr. G woidd have made 

of us, had he l3een there. 

The diHgence with eight white horses and a Yankee coaclmian, 
originahy no doubt cahed Brown, but now answering to the melh- 

fluous appellation oi Bruno ; A with her French cap, and loaded 

with simdry mysterious-looking baskets ; I with cloak and bonnet ; 

C n with Greek cap, cloak and cigar; thecaptain of the Jason also 

with cloak and cigar, and very cold; the lieutenant in his navyimi- 
form, taking it co'olly; Don Miguel, with his great sarape and silver 
hat — (six people belonging to five difterent comitries); the Mexican 
captain, with his pale impassive face and moustaches, enveloped in a 
very handsome sarape, and surromaded by the sleepy escort of the 
preceding night; dirty-looking soldiers lounging on the ground, 
wrappedln their blankets; the Indian women and the host of the inn, 
and a bright moon and starry sky Hghting up the whole— the figures 
in the foreground, and the lofty snow-clad mountains, and the dismal 
old town of Perote itself, that looked gray and sulky at being disturbed 
so early, with its old castle of San Carlos, and cold, sterile plains. 

Meanwhile, two soldiers with cloaks and arms had climbed up 
outside of the coach. The captain remarked that they could not sit 
there. Brimo made some reply, upon which the captain very cooUy 
drew his sword, and was about to put a very decided impediment to 
our journey by stabbing the coachman, when Don Migtiel, his eyes 
and cigar all sliining angrily, rashed in between them. 

Hi oil words ensued between him and the captain, and the extreme 
coohiess and precision with which the latter spoke, was very amusing. 
It was as if he were rehearsing a speech from a play. " I always 
speak frankly," said Don Miguel, in an angry tone. " And I," said 
the captain, in a pohtc, measured voice, " am also accustomed to 
speak my mind with extreme frankness. I regret, however, that I 
did not at the moment perceive the Senora atthe door, otherwise,^' &c. 
At length the two Httle men, who with their arms and sarapes 
looked hke bundles of ammunition, and who, half asleep, had been by 
some zealous person, probably by our friend Bruno, tumbled upon the 
clihgence Hke packages, were now roUed off it, and finally tumbled 
upon mules, and we got into the coach. Don Miguel, with his head 
out of the window, and not very easy in his mind, called uj) the two 
bundles and gave them directions as to their fine of conduct in a stage 
whisper, and'they trotted off, primed with valour, while we very cold 
and (I answer for myself) rather frightened, proceeded on our way. 


The earliness of tlie hour was probably our salvation, as we started 
two hoiu's before the usual time, and thus gained a march upon the 
gentlemen of the road. 

We were not sorry, however, when, at our first halting-place, and 
whilst we were changing horses, we desciied a company of lancers at 
full gallop, with a very good-looking officer at their head, coming 
along the road, though when I first heard the sound of horses' hoofs 
clattering along, and, by the faint light, discerned the horsemen, en- 
veloped as they were in a cloud of dust, I felt sure that they were a 
party of robbers. The captain made many apologies for the delay, 
and proceeded to inform us that the alcaldes of Tepeyagualco, La 
Ventilla, and of some other villages, whose names I forget, had for 
twenty days prepared a breakfast in expectation of his Excellency's 
arrival ; — -whether twenty breakfasts, or the same one cold, or rcchaufft^ 
we may never know. 

The captain had a very handsome horse, which he caused to 
caracolear by the side of the diUgence, and put at my disposal with a 

low bow, every time I looked at it. He discoursed with C n 

of robbers and wars, and of the different sites wliich these gentry most 
affected, and told him how his first wife had been shot by follo'v\dng 
him in some engagement, yet how his second wife invariably followed 
him also. 

Arrived at Tepeyagualco, after having passed over a succession of 
sterile plains covered with scanty pasture, an alcalde advanced to meet 
the diligence, and hospitably made C n an offer of the before- 
mentioned twenty days' entertainment, which he with many thanks 
declined. ^Ylio ate that brcakfest, is buried in the past. ^Vliether 
the alcalde was glad or sorry, did not appear. He vanished with a 
profusion of bows, and was followed by a large, good-looking Indian 
woman, who stood beliind him while he made his discourse. Perhaps 
they eat together the long-prepared feast; wliich was at least one of 
the many tributes paid to the arrival of the first messenger of peace 
firom the mother-country. 

At La VentiUa, however, we descended with a good appetite, and 

found several authorities waiting- to aive C n a welcome. Here 

they gave us dehcious cliirimoyas, a natui'al custard, which we hked 
even upon a first trial, also gTanaditas, bananas, sapotes, &c. Here 
also I first tasted pulque ; and on a first impression it appears to me, 
that as nectar was the drink in Olympus, we may fairly conjecture 
that Pluto cultivated the maguey in his dominions. The taste and 
smell combined took me so completely by surprise, that I am afraid 
my look of horror musthave given mortal offence to the worthy alcalde, 
who considers it the most delicious beverage in the world ; and, in 
fact, it is said, that when one gets over the first shock, it is very 
agreeable. Tlie difficulty must consist in getting over it. 

After a tolerable breakfast, hunger making chile and garlic sup- 
portable, we continued our route ; and were informed that the robbers, 
having gTown very darinc;, and the next stage beinc; very dangerous, 



our escort was to be doubled. Since we left Perote, the country bad 
gradually become more dreary, and we had again got into the " mal 
pais,'' where nothing is to be seen but a few fir-trees and pines, dark 
and stunted, black masses of lava, and an occasional white cross to 
mark either where a murder has been committed, or where a cele- 
brated robber has been buried. Of each, Don Miguel gave us a suc- 
cinct accoimt. Some Hues of Cliilde Harold suit this scene as if 
written for it : 

" And here and there, as up the crags you spring, 
Mark many rude-carved crosses near the path : 
Yet deem not these devotion's offering — 

These are memorials frail of murderous wrath, 
For wheresoe'er the shrieking victim hath 

Pour'd forth his blood beneatli the assassin's knife 
Some hand erects a cross of mouldering lath ; 

And grove and glen with thousand such are rife, 
Throughout this purple land, where law secures not life." 

The whole scene was wild and grand, yet dreary and monotonous, 
presenting the greatest contrast possible to our iirst day's journey. 
The only'signs of hfc to be met with were the long strings of arrieros 
with their droves of mules, and an occasional Indian hut, with a few 
miserable half-naked women and children. 

At one small, wild-looldng inn, where, very cold and miserable, 
Ave stopped, some hot wine was brought us, which wasvery accept- 
able. The tavern-keeper, for it was no more than a spirit-shop, if not 
a robber, had all the appearance of one; wild, melancholy, and with 
a most sinister expression of countenance. Salvator ^ never drew a 
more bandit-looking figure, as he stood there mtli his blanket and 
slouched hat, and a knife in his belt, tall and thin and muscular, with 
his sallow visage and his sad, fierce eyes. However, he showed us 
the marks on his door, where a band of twenty robbers had broken 
in one nisht, and robbed some travellers, who were sleeping there, of 
a large sum of money. 

C n asked him how the robbers treated the women when they 

fell into their power. " Las saludan,'' said he, '' and sometimes 
carry them off to the mountains, but rarely, and chiefly when they 
are afraid of their giving information against them." 

At Ojo de Ar/ua, where we changed horses, we saw the accommo- 
dations which those who travel in private coach or litera must sub- 
mit to, unless they bring their own beds along; with them, and 
a stock of provisions besides — a common room like a barn, where 
all must herd together ; and neither chair, nor table, nor food to 
be had. It was a sohtary-looking house, standing lonely on the 
plain, with a few straggling sheep nibbling the brown grass in the 
%acinity. A fine spring of water from which it takes its name, and 
Orizava, which seems to have travelled forward, and stands in bold 
outline against the sapphire sky, were all that we saw there worthy 

We changed horses at Nopaluca, Acagcte and Amosoque, aU 


small villages, with little more than the posada, and a few poor 
houses, and all very dirty. The coimtry, however, improves in 
cultivation and fertility, though the cliief trees are the sombre pines. 
Still accompanied by our two escorts, which had a very grandilo- 
quent effect, we entered, by four o'clock, Puebla de los Angeles, 
tlie second city to Mexico (after Guadalajara) in the repubhc, 
where we found very line apartments prepared for us in the inn, and 
where, after a short rest and afresh toilet, we went out to see what we 
could of the city before it grew dusk, before it actually became 
what it now is, Christmas-eve ! 

It certainly does require some time for the eye to become 
acccustomed to the style of building adopted in the Spanish colo- 
nies. There is somethinix at first sioflit excecdino-ly desolate-look- 
mg in these great wooden doors, Hke those of immense barns, the 
great iron-barred windows, the ill-paved courtyards, even the flat 
roofs ; and then the streets, where, though this is a fete-day, we 
see notliing but groups of peasants or of beggars — the whole gives 
the idea of a total absence of comfort. Yet the streets of Puebla 
are clean and regular, the hovises large, the cathedral magnificent, 
and the plaza spacious and handsome. 

The cathedral v/as shut, and is not to be opened till midnight 
mass, which I regret the less as we must probably return here some 

The dress of the Poblana peasants is pretty, especially on fete- 
days. A wliite muslin chemise, trimmed with lace round the skirt, 
neck, and sleeves, which are plaited neatly ; a petticoat shorter than 
the chemise, and divided into two colours, the lower part made 
generally of a scarlet and black stuff", a manufacture of the -country, 
and the upper part of yellow satin, with a satin vest of some bright 
colour, and covered with gold or silver, open in front, and turned back. 
Tliis vest may be worn or omitted, as suits the taste of the wearer. 
It is "without sleeves, but has straps ; the hair plaited in two behind and 
the plaits turned up, and fastened together by a diamond ring ; long 
earrings, and all sorts of chains and medals and tinkhng things 
worn round the neck. A long, broad, coloured sash, something 
like an officer's belt, tied behind after o-oino; twice or thrice round 
the waist, into which is stuck a silver cigar-case. A small coloured 
handkerchief Hke a broad ribbon, crossing over the neck, is 
fastened in front with a brooch, the ends trimmed with silver, and 
going through the sash. Over all is thrown a reboso, not over 
the head, but thrown on hke a scarf ; and they wear silk stock- 
ings, or more commonly no stockings, and white satin shoes 
trimmed with silver. 

This is on hohdays. On common occasions, the dress is the same, 
but the materials are more common, at least the vest with silver is 
never worn ; but the chemise is still trimmed with lace, and the 
shoes are satin. 

Christmas-eve in Puebla ! The room is filled ^^dth visiters, who 


have come to congratulate C n on liis arrival, and a wonder- 
fully liandsome room it is, to do it justice, with cliairs and sofas of 
scarlet stuff. But I was anxious to see something. As we are to 
leave Puebla very early, I am prohibited from going to the mid- 
night mass. I proposed the theatre, where there is to be a 
Nacimiento., a representation in figures of various events connected 
with the Birth of Christ ; such as the Anntmciation, the Holy 
Family, the Arrival of the Wise Men of the East, &c. But after 
some deHberation, it was agreed^that this would not do; so find- 
ing tliat there is nothing to be done, and tired of polite conversa- 
tion, I betake myself to bed. 


It is now about three o'clock, but I was awakened an hour ago 
by the sounds of the hjanns Avhich ushered in Christmas morning; 
and looking from the window, saw, by the faint hght, bands of 
girls dressed in wliite, singing in chorus through the streets. 

We have just taken chocolate, and amidst a profusion of bows 
and ci^dlities from the landlord, are preparing to set off for 


Departure from Puebla — Chirimojas — Rio Frio — Indian Game — Black Forest 
—Valley of Mexico — Recollections of Tenochtitlan — Mexican Officer — Re- 
ception — Scenery — Variety of Dresses — Cheers — Storm of Rain — Entry to 
Mexico — Buenavista — House of Daylight — Sights from the windows — Visits 

— Mexican Etiquette — Countess C a — Flowers in December — Serenade 

— Patriotic Hymn. 

Mexico, 26th December. 

We left Puebla between four and five in the morning, as we 
purposely made some delay, not wishing to reach Mexico too early, 
and in so doing, acted contrary to the ad\'ice of Don Miguel, who 
was generally right in these matters. The day was very fine when 
we set oft", though rain was predicted. Some of the gentlemen had 
gone to the theatre the night before, to see the Nacimiento, and the 
audience had been composed entirely of Gentuza, the common 
people, who were drinking brandy and smoking ; so it was fortunate 
that we had not shown our faces there. 

The country Avas now flat but fertile, and had on the whole more 
of a European look than any we had yet passed tlirough. 


At Rio Prieto, a small village where we clianged horses I found 
that I had been sitting very conrfortably with my feet m ^ basket of 
chirimoyas, and that my brodeqmns, wlnte gown, ^^-^^-^^ ^f 
been aU drenched with the milky juicc, and then made black by the 
floor of the dihgence. , ^ i 4.1 

With no small difficulty a trunk was brought do^^m, and another 
dress procured, to the great amusement of the Inchan women ^ro 
beo-ged to knoW if my gown was the last fasJuon and said it was 
' SSaj guapa,- very pretty. Here we found good hot coftee and 
it being Christmas-cky, every one was cleaned and dressed foi 

"^ At Rio Frio, which is about thirteen leagues from Mexico and 
where there is a pretty good posada in a valley surrounded by 
woods, we stopped to cW The inn was kept by a Bordelaise and 
her husband, lio wish themselves in Bordearix twenty times a day 
In front of the house some Indians were plajang at a curious and 
veryrncient game-a sort of swing, resembling " El Juego clclos 
vldores " "The Game of the Flyers," much m vogue amongst the 
ancient Mexicans. Our French hostess gave us a good dinner, es- 
pecahy excellent potatoes, and jelly of various sorts, regahno- u 
S plenty of stories of robbers and robberies and horrid murders 
S the while On leaving Rio Frio, the road became more hi ly 
Jnd tw with woods, ?nd we shortly entered the fact Wn by 
the name of the Black Forest, a great haunt ^r banchti and a 
beautiful specimen of forest scenery, a succession of lofty oaks, pines 
and cedar, with wild flowers lighting up their gloomy green But 
I conii that the impatience which I fUt to see Mexic., the idea 
that in a few hours we should actually be ^^f -, l---nted me W 
enjoying the beauty of the scenery, and made the road appeal m- 

*' B^t1;ngth we arrived at the heights looldng dowri upon the 
m-eat valley,%elebrated in aU parts of the world, wrth its frame- 
work of everlasting mountains, its snow-crowned Ylcanoes, g^^^^^ 
lakes, and fertile plains, all surrounding the iavoured c y of Mon- 
tezuma, the proudest boast of his conqueror, once of ^P^^^ ^^ ^^^^ 
diadems the brightest. But the day had overcast, nor 1 this the 
most favourable^road for entering Mexico. The innumerable spire 
of the distant city were faintly seen. . Tl- - -noes were enve^^^^^^^^ 
in clouds, all but their snowy summits, which seemed hke maxble 
domes to;ering into the sky. But as we strained our eyes to look 
intothe valley, it all appeared to me rather hke a vision of the Past 
then the actud breatHiig Present. The curtam of Ti-e seemed ^^^ 
roll back, and to discover to us the great panorama that bu ^t upon 
the eye of Cortes when he first looked down upon the tabie-land , 
the kino-loving, God-fearing conqueror, liis loyalty and rehgion so 
llended after Si'e fashion of°ancient Spain, that it were W to ^^ 
which sentiment exercised over him the greater sway, iiie city 01 
Tenochtitlan, standing in the midst of the five great iake^ 




verdant and flower-covered islands, a western Venice, witli thou- 
sands ot boats gliding swiftly along its streets, long Knes of low 
houses, diversified by the multitudes of pyramidal temples, the Teo- 
caih, or houses of God— canoes covering the mirrored lakes— the 
loity trees, the flowers, and the profusion of water now wanting to 
the landscape— the whole fertile valley enclosed by its eternal hills 
and snow-cro^vnedvolcanoe^-what scenes of wonder and of beauty 
to burst upon the eyes of these wayfiirino- men ! 

Then the beautiful gardens surrounding the city, the profusion of 
flowers and f\-uit, and birds- the mild bronze-coloured Emperov 
himseh advancing m the midst of liis Indian nobihty, with rich 
dress and unshod feet, to receive his unbidden and unwelcome e-uest 
— the s aves and the gold and the rich plumes, all to be laid at the 
feet of His most sacred Majesty"— what pictures are called up by 
the recollection of the simple narrative of Cortes, and how forcibly 
they return to the mmd now, when, after a lapse of three centuries, 
we behold for thefirst time the city of palaces raised upon the ruins 
of the Inchan capital. It seemed scarcely possible that we were in- 
deed so near the conclusion of our journey, and in the midst of so 
dilterent a scene, only two months minus two days since leaving New 
York and stepping aboard the Norma. How much land and sea we 
fiad passed over since then ! How much we had seen ! How many 
different chmates, even in the space of the last four days ' 

But my thoughts which had wandered three centuries into the 
past, were soon recalled to the present by the arrival of an officer in 
full uniform at the head of his troop, who came out by order of the 
government to welcome the bearer of the oHve-branch from ancient 
bpam, and had been on horseback since the day before, expectino- 
our arrival. As it had begun to rain, the officer, Colonel Miguel 
Andrade, accepted our offer of talcing shelter in the dihgence. We 
had now a great troop galloping along with us, and had not gone far 
before we perceived that in spite of the rain, and that it already he<ron 
to grow dusk, there were innumerable carriages and horsemen f^m- 
ing an immense crowd, all coming out to welcome us. Shortly after the 
chhgence wasstopped,and we were requested to get into a very splendid 
carriage all crimson and gold, with the arms of the republic, the 
eagle and nopal, embroidered in gold on the roof inside, and drawn 
by foui" handsome white horses. In the midst of this immense pro- 
cession of troops, carriages, and horsemen, we made our entry into 
tire city of Montezuma. 

The scenery on this side of Mexico is arid and flat, and where the 
waters ol the_ Lagunas, covered with their gay canoes, once sur- 
rounded the city forming canals through its streets, we now see me- 
lancholy marshy Imuls. httle enhvened by great flights of wild duck 
and waterfowl. But the bleakness of the natural scenery was con- 
cealed by the gay appearance of the procession— the scarlet and ffold 
miiforms, the bright-coloured sarapes, the dresses of the gentlemen 
(most, I beheve, Spaniards), with their handsome horses, hi^vh 


Mexican saddles, gold-embroidered anqiicras generally of black fur, 
tlieir Mexican bats ornamented witb gold, ricbly-furred jackets, 
pantaloons witb banging silver buttons, stamped-leatber boots, silver 
stirrups, and graceful mangas -witb black or coloured velvet capes. _ 

At tbe gates of Mexico" tbe troops baited, and tbree entbusiastic 
cbeers were given as tbe carriage entered. It was now nearly dusk, 
and tbe rain was faUing in torrents, yet Vv^e met more carriages full 
of ladies and gentlemen, wbicb joined tbe otbers. We found tbat a 
bouse, in tbe subm-bs at Buenavista, bad been taken for us jjrovisoire- 
vient by tbe kindness of tbe Spaniards, especially of a ricb mer- 

cbant wbo accompanied us in tbe carriage, Don M 1 M z 

del C o ; consequently we passed all tbrougb Mexico before 

reacliing our destination, always in tbe midst of tbe crowd, on account 
of wbicb and of tbe ill-paved streets we went very slowly. 
Tbrougb tbe rain and tbe darkness we got an occasional faint 
lamp-bgbt gbmpse of bigb buildings, cburcbes, and convents. Ar- 
rived at lengtb in tbe midst of torrents of rain, C ngot out of 

tbe carriage and returned tbanks for bis reception, giving some 
omices to tbe sergeant for tbe soldiers. We tben entered tbe bouse, 
accompanied by" tbe Mexican officer, and by a large party of 

We found tbe bouse very_ good, especially considering tbat it bad 
been furnisbed for ns in eigbt-and-forty bours, and we also found 
an excellent supper smoking on tbe table, after doing justice to 
wbicb we took leave of our" friends, and, very tired, prepared for 

Tbe servants and luggage arrived late. Tbey bad been left witb 
tbe diHgence, under the guardianship of Don Miguel, and it ap- 
peared tbat tbe robbers had mingled witb tbe crowd, and followed 
in hopes of plunder, insomuch tbat be bad been obHged to procure 
two carriages, one for the servants, while into another he put the 
luggage, mounting in front himself to look out. Tired enough tbe 
po"or man was, and drenched witb rain, and we found tbat much of 
this confusion and difficulty, which was chiefly caused by the storm 
and darkness, would have been avoided had we left Puebla some 
hours sooner. 

However, ' ' All's well that ends well." I thought of Christmas m 
" Merrie Eno-land," and of our family gatherings in tbe olden time, 
and as if one"had not travelled enough in tbe body, began travelhng 
hi the mind, away to far diffisrent, and distant, and long gone-by 
scenes, fell asleep at length witb my thoughts in Scotland, and 
wakened in Mexico ! 

By dayhght we find our house very pretty, with a large garden 
adjoining, full of flowers, and rosebushes in the courtyard, but 
being all" on the ground-floor, it is somewhat damp, and tbe weather, 
though beautifid, is so cool in the morning, tbat carpets, and I some- 
times think even a soupgon of fire, would not be amiss. Tbe former 
•we shall soon procure, but there are neither chimneys nor grates, and 


I have no doubt a fire %Yoiild be disagreeable for more than an hour 
or so in the morning. The house stands alone, "with a large court 
before it, and opposite to it passes the gTeat stone aqueduct, a mag- 
nificent work of the Spaniards, though not more so, probably, than 
those which supphed the ancient Tenochtitlan with water. Beliind 
It we see nothing but several old houses, with trees, so that we seem 
almost in the country. To the right is one large building, with 
garden and ohve-groimd, where the Enghsh legation formerly Hved, 
a palace in size, since occupied by Santa Anna, and wliich now be- 
longs to Seiior Perez Galvez ; a house which we shall be glad to 
have, if the proprietor "will consent to let it. 

But what most attracts our attention are the curious and pic- 
turesque groups of figures which we see from the "windows — men 
bronze-colour, "with nothing but a piece of blanket thrown round 
them, carrying hghtly on their heads earthen l:>asins, precisely the 
colour of their 0"wn skin, so that they look altogether Hke figtires of 
terra cotta : these basins filled with sweetmeats or white pyramids of 
grease {mantequilla); women Avith robosos, short petticoats of two 
colours, generally all in rags, yet with a lace border appearing on 
their under garment: no stockings, and dirty white satin shoes, 
rather .shorter than their small brown feet ; gentlemen on horseback 
with their Mexican saddles and sarapes; lomiging Zeperos, moving 
bundles of rags, coming to the windows and begging with a most 
piteous but false sounding wliine, or lying under the arches and 
lazily inhahng the air and the smishine, or sitting at the door for 
hours basking in the sun or luider the shadow of the wall; Indian 
women, with their tight petticoat of dark stuff and tangled hair, 
plaited "with red ribbon, laying down their baskets to rest, and mean- 
while dehl^erately examining the hair of their copper-coloured off- 
spring. We have enough to engage our attention for the present. 

Several "visiters came early — gentlemen, both Spaniards and Mex- 
icans. Senor A z, decidedly the ugHest man I ever beheld, 

"with a hump on his back, and a smile of most portentous hideosity, 

yet celebrated for his bonnes foitancs ; Senor cle G a, Ex- 

Minister of the Treasury, extremely witty and agreeable, and "with 
some celebrity as a chamatic Avriter; Count C a, formerly at- 
tached to the bedchamber in Spain, married to a pretty Andalusian, 
and entirely Mexicanized, his heart where his interests are. He is 
very gentlemanlike and clistinguished-looking, Avith good manners, 
and extremely eloquent in conversation. I hear him called 

^^inconsecimite,'" and capricious, but he has welcomed C ^n, 

who knew him intimately in Madrid, with all the warmth of ancient 

AV^e are told that a great serenade has been for some time in con- 
templation, to be given to C n, the words, music, and perform- 
ance by the young Spaniards resident here. 

27th. — A day or two must elapse before I can satisfy my cmiosity 
by going out, wliile the necessary arrangements are making con- 


cernino- carriao-e and liorses, or mules, servants, &c.; our^ velilcles 
from tfie Unifed States not having yet arrived, nor is it difficult to 
foresee, even from once passing througli tlie streets, tliat only tlie 
more soHd-built Englisli carriages will stand tlie wear and tear of a 
Mexican life, and Siat the comparatively flimsy coaches v^hich roll 
over the well-paved streets of New York, wiU not endure for any 
length of time. 

Meanwliile we have constant visits, hut chiefly from gentlemen 
and from Spaniards, for there is one piece of etiquette, entirely 
Mexican, nor can I imagine from whence derived, by wliich it is 
ordained that all new arrivals, whatever be their rank, foreign 
Ikiinisters not excepted, must in solemn print give notice to every 
family of any consideration in the capital, that they have arrived, 
and offer themselves and their house to their" disposicion ;' failing in 
vdiich etiquette, the newly-arrived family mil remain unnoticed and 
unknomi. Our cards to this effect are consequently being printed 

under the auspices of Coimt C a. I have, however, received 

the visits of some ladies who have kmdly waved this ceremony m 
my favoiu-; and amongst others, from the Dowager and the young 

Coimtess of C a; the eldest a very distingmshed woman, of great 

natiu-al talent, one of the true ladies of the old school, of whom 
not many specunens now remain in Mexico; the other extremely 
pretty, hvely, and amiable, a true Andalusian both in beauty and 
mt. The old Countess was dressed in black velvet, black blonde 
mantilla, diamond earrings and brooch— her daughter-in-law alsoin 
black, with a mantilla, and she had a pretty httle daughter with 
her, whose eyes will certainly produce a kindling effect on the next 

They were both extremely kind and cordial; if there are many 
such persons in Mexico, we shall have no reason to complain. I 
hope I am not seeing the cream before the milk ! ^ 

Some Mexican ^dsits appear to me to surpass in duration all that 
one can imagine of a Aasit, rarely lasting less than one hour, and 
sometimes extending over a gTcat part of the day. And gentlemen, 
at least, arrive at no'particidar tune. If you are going to breakfast, 
they go also— if to dinner, the same— if you are asleep, they wait 
till you awaken— if out, they call again. An indifferent sort of man, 
whose name I did not even hear, arrived yesterday a Uttle after 
breakfast, sat still, and walked in to a late dinner with us ! These 
shotdd not be called visits, but visitations, though I trust they do 
not often occiu' to that extent. An open house and^ an open table 
for yomr friends, wliich includes every passing acquaintance ; these 
are merely Spanish habits of hospitahty transplanted. 

Had a visit from Senor and his wife, very civil and obHging 

people, always agreeing with each other, and with you, and 
with ah the world, almost to the extent of Polonius to Hamlet. 
Our conversation reminded me of that the whole time they 
were here. 


I have jiist brought from the garden a lapful of pink roses, clove- 
carnations, and sweet-peas. Rosetta could not sing here — 

" For June and December will never agree." 

The weather is lovely, the air fresh and clear, the sky one vast 
expanse of bright blue, without a single cloud. Early this morning 
it was cool, but now, by ten o'clock, the air is as soft and balmy as 
on a summer-clay with us. 

28th. — Day of the memorable serenade. After dinner some ladies 
paid me a visit, amongst others the wife and daughter of the Spanish 

consul, Seiior M y, who were accompanied by the sister of 

Coimt A a. They and a few gentleinen arrived about six 

o'clock, and it was said that the serenade would not begin till twelve. 
It may be supposed that our conversation, however agreeable it 
might be, would scarcely hold out that time. In fact, by nine 
o'clock, we were all nearly overcome by sleep, and by ten I beheve 
we were already in a refreshing slumber, when we were awakened 
by the sound of crowds assembhng before the door, and of carriages 
arriving and stopping. Not knowing who the occupants might be, 
we could not invite them in, which seemed very inhospitable, as the 
night, though fine, was cold and chilly. About eleven Count and 

Comitess C a arrived, and the Senora de G a, a remarkably 

handsome woman, a Spaniard, looking nearly as young as her 
daughters ; also the pretty daughters of the proprietress of tliis house, 
who was a beauty, and is married to her third husband ; and a lively 

little talkative person, the Senora de L n, all Spanish; and who, 

some on that account, and others from their husbands having been 

former friends of C n's, have not waited for the ceremony of 

receiving cards. Gradually, however, several Mexican ladies, whom 
we had sent out to invite, came in. Others remained in their car- 
riages, excusing themselves on the plea of their not being en toilette. 
We had men a discretion^ and the rooms were crowded. 

About midnight arrived a troop of Mexican soldiers, carrying 
torches, and a multitude of musicians, both amateur and professional, 
chiefly the former, and men carrying music-stands, violins, violon- 
cellos, French horns, &c., together with an immense crowd, min- 
gled ^vith nmnbers of leperos, so that the great space in front of the 
house as far as the aqueduct, and all beyond and along the street as 
far as we could see, was covered with people and carriages. "We 
threw open the windows, which are on a level with the ground, with 
large balconies and wide iron gratings, and the scene by the torch 
light was very curious. The Mexican troops holding lights for the 
musicians, and they of various countries, Spanish, German, and 
Mexican ; the leperos, with their ragged blankets and wild eyes, that 
gleamed in the light of the torches ; the ladies witliin and the crowd 
without, all formed a very amusing spectacle. 

At length the musicians struck up in full chorus, accompanied by 
the whole orchestra. The voices were fine, and the instrumental 


music so good, I could liardly believe tliat almost all were amateur 

A hymn, wliicli had been composed for the occasion, and of 
which we had received an elegantly-bound copy in the morning, 
was particularly effective. The music was composed by Senor Retes, 
and the words by Sefior Covo, both Spaniards. Various overtures 
from the last operas were played, and at the end of what seemed to 
be the first act, in the midst of deafening applause from the crowd, 
Q n made me return thanks from the window in beautiful im- 
promptu Spanish ! Then came shouts of "Viva la Espana !" " Viva 
Ysabel Se^-unda ?' " Viva el Ministro de Espana !" Great and con- 
tinued cheerino-. Then C n gave in return, " Viva la Republica 

Mcxicana!" "Viva Bustamante !'^ and the shouting was tremen- 
dous. At last an Andalusian in the crowd shouted out, "Viva 
todo el Mundo !'' (Long Hve every body), which piece of wit was 
followed by general laughter. 

After hot pimch and cigars had been handed about out of doors, 
a necessary refreshment in this cold night, the music recommenced, 
and the whole ended with the national hymn of Spain, _ with appro- 
•iDriate words. A young Spanish girl, whose voice is celebrated 
here, was then entreated by those mthin, and beseeched by those 

without, to sing alone the hymn composed in honour of C -n, 

which she naturally felt some hesitation in doing before such an im- 
mense audience. However, she consented at last, and in a voice 
hkc a clarion, accompanied by the orchestra, sung each verse alone, 
joined in the chorus by the whole crowd. I give you a copy: 

Himno Patriotico que varies Espafioles, Residentes en Mexico, dedican al 

Esmo. Sr. Don A C de la B , Ministro Plenipotenciario de 

S. M. C. en la Republica, con Motivo de su Llegada a dicha Capital. 

Musica del Sr. J. N. de Retes ; Palabras del Sr. Dn. Juan Covo. 


Triunfamos, amigos, 
Triiintamos enlin, 
Y libre respir 
La Patria del Cid. 

La augusta Crlstina, 
De Espana embeleso, 
El mas tierno beso 
Iniprime a Ysabel: 
Y " Reina," le dice, 
" No ia sobre esclavos ; 
Sobre Iberos braves, 
Sobre un pueblo fiel." 

Triunfamos, amigos, &c, 

Donde esta de Carlos 
La perfida hueste ? 
Un rayo celeste 
Polvo la tornu. 


Rayo que al malvado 
Hiuidio en el abismo— 
Rayo que al Carlismo 
Libertad lauzo. 

Triunfamos, amigos, &c. 

Al bravo Caudillo, 
Al biieno, al valiente, 
Ciiiamos la frente 
De mirto y laurel. 
Tu dicstra animosa, 
Heroico guerrero, 
Tu diestra, Espartero, 
Sojuzgo al infiel. 

Triunfamos, amigos, &c. 

Veranse acatadas 
Nuestras santas leyes ; 
Temblaran los Reyes 
De Espana al poder. 

Y el cetro de oprobrio. 
Si empuna un tirano, 
De su infame mano 
Le haremos casr. 

Triunfamos, amigos, &c. 

Salud a Ysabela, 
Salud a Cridina, 
Que el cielo destina 
La patria a salvar. 

Y el libre corone 
La Candida frente 
Deaquella inocente 
Que juro amparar. 

Triunfamos, amigos, &c. 

Y tu, mensagero 
De paz y ventura, 
Oye la voz pura 
De nuestra lealtad. 
Oye los acentos 

Que al cielo elevamos, 
Oye cual gritamos, 
F atria ! Libertad ! 

Triunfamos, amigos, &c. 

Tu el simbolo digno 

Seras, C n, 

De grata reunion, 
De eterna amistad, 
Que ya, en ambos mundosj 
La insana discordia 
Trocose en concordia 

Y fraternidad. 

Triunfamos amigos, &c. 



Patriotic Hymn which various Spaniards, resident in Mexico, dedicate to his 

Excellency Senor Don A C de la B , Minister Plenipotentiary 

and Envoy Extraordinary from H. C. M. to the Republic, to celebrate his 
arrival in this Capital. 

The music by Sefior Don J. N. de Retes ; the words by Seuor Don J uan Covo. 


Let us triumph, my friends. 
Let us triumph at length, 
And let the country of the Cid 
Breathe freely again. 

The august Christina, 
The ornament of Spain, 
Imprinted the most tender kiss 
On the cheek of Isabel. 
And " Reign," she said to her, 
" Not now over slaves, 
But over brave Iberians, 
Over a faithful people I" 

Let us triumph, my friends, &:c. 

Where is the perfidious 

Army of Carlos ? 

A celestial thunderbolt 

Has turned it to dust — 

A thunderbolt which plunged 

The wicked one into the abyss — 

A thunderbolt which Libcriij 

Launched against Carlism. 

Let us triumph, my friends, &;c. 

Of the brave chief. 

Of the good, the valiant. 

Let us gird the forehead 

With myrtle and laurel. 

Thy brave right hand, 

Heroic warrior. 

Thy right hand, Esj^artero, 

Subd'jed the disloyal one. 

Let us triumph, my friends, &c. 

Our holy laws 
W^ill be acknowledged. 
And kings will tremble 
At the power of Spain ; 
And should a tyrant grasp 
The sceptre of opprobrium, 
From his infamous hand 
We shall cause it to fall. 

Let us triumph, my friends, kc. 

Health to Isabel/a, 
Health to Christina, 
Wliom Heaven has destined 
To save the country ; 


And may he freely crown 
The white forehead 
Of the innocent princess 
He swore to protect. 

Let us triumph, my friends, See. 

And thou, messenger 

Of peace and joy. 

Hear the pure voice 

Of our loyalty ; 

Hear the accents 

Whicli we raise to Heaven ; 

Hear what we cry, 

Count?-!/ ! Liber fi/ ! 

Let us triumph, my friends, &;c. 

Thou, C n, shalt be 

Tiie worthy symbol 

Of grateful reunion. 

Of eternal friendship, 

^^ hich already has clianged, 

In both worlds. 

Insane discord 

Into concord and fraternity. 

Let us triumph, my friends, &:c. 

Tlio air 'was rent witli vivas ! and bravos ! as the Seiiorita cle F 

conckided. Her voice was beautifnl, and, alter the first moment of 
embarrassment, slie sang with much spirit and entliusiasm. Tliis 
was the finale of the serenade, and then the serenaders were invited 
in, and were in such numbers that the room would scarcely hold 
them all. More cigars, more punch, more giving of thanks. About 
three o'clock the crowd began to disperse, and at length, after those 
Spanish leave-takings, which are really no joke, had ended. Captain 

E , C n, and I, all three excessively cold and shivering, 

having passed the night at the open windows, consoled ourselves 
"vvdth hot chocolate and punch, and went to dream of sweet-sounding 
harmonies. Altogether, it was a scene which I would not have 
missed for a great deal. 

The enthusiasm caused by the arrival of the first minister from 
Spain seems gradually to increase. The actors are to give him a 
a ^''funcion exiraordinaria,'' ' theatre — the matadors a bull-fight 

extraordinary, with fireworks But in all this you must not 

suppose there is any personal compliment. It is merely intended as 
a mark of good will towards the first representative of the Spanish 
monarchy who brings from the mother-country the formal acknow- 
ledgment of Mexican independence. 



Debut in Mexico — Cathedral — Temple of the Aztecs — Congregation — Stone of 
Sacrifices — Palace — Importunate Leperos — Visit to the President — Countess 
C a — Street-cries — Tortilleras — Sarlur liesarlus. 

I MADE my debiii in Mexico by going to mass in tlie cathedral. 
We drove throngli tire Alameda, near which we live, and admired 
its noble trees, flowers, and fountains, all sparlding in the sun. We 
met but few carriages there, an occasional gentleman on horseback, 
and a few sohtary-looking people resting on the stone benches, also 
plenty of beggars, and the for(;afs in chains, Avatering the avenues. 
We passed through the Calle San Francisco, the handsomest street 
in Mexico, both as to shops and houses (containing, amongst others, 
the richly-carved but now hali'-ruined palace of Yturbide), and 
which terminates in the great square where stand the cathedral and 
the palace. The streets were crowded, it being a hoHday; and the 
purity of the atmosphere, with the sun pouring down upon the 
bright-coloured groups, and these groups so picturesque, whether of 
soldiers or monks, peasants or veiled ladies; the very irregularity of 
the buildings, the number of fme churches and old couA'ent.-, and 
every thing on so grand a scale, even though touched by the iinger 
of time, or crushed by the iron heel of revolution, that the attention 
is constantly kept ahve, and the interest excited. 

The carriage drew up in front of the cathedral, built upon the site 
of part of the ruins of the great temple of the Aztecs; of that 
pp-amidal temple, constructed by Aliuitzotli, the sanctuary so cele- 
brated by the Spaniards, and which comprehended Avith all its 
different edifices and sanctuaries, the ground on which the cathedral 
now stands, together with part of the plaza and streets adjoining. 

We are told, that within its enclosure were five hundred dwelhngs, 
that its hall was built of stone and Hme, and ornamented with stone 
serpents. We hear of its four great gates, fronting the four cardinal 
points of its stone-paved court, great stone stairs, and sanctuaries 
dedicated to the gods of war; of the square destined for religious 
dances, and the colleges for the priests, and seminaries for the 
priestesses; of the horrible temple, whose door was an enormous 
serpent's mouth ; of the temple of mirrors and that of shells ; of the 
house set apart for the emperor's prayers ; of the consecrated 
foimtains, the birds kept for sacrifice, the gardens for the holy 
flowers, and of the terrible towers composed of the skulls of the 
victims — strantre mixture of the beautiful and the horrible ! We 


are told that five tlioiisand priests clianted niglit and day in the 
Great Temple, to the honour and in the service of the monstrous 
idols, who were anointed thrice a day with the most precious per- 
fumes, and that of these priests the most austere were clothed in 
black, their long hair dyed with ink, and their bodies anointed with 
the ashes of burnt scorpions and spiders ; their chiefs were the sons of 

It is remarkable, by the way, that their god of war, Mejitli, was 
said to have been born of a woman, a Holy Virgin^ who was in the 
serAace of the temple, and that when the priests, having knowledge 
of her disgrace, would have stoned her, a voice was heard, saying, 
" Fear not, mother, for I shall save thy honour and my glory," upon 
which the god was born, with a shield in liis left hand, an arroAV in 
his right, a plume of green feathers on his head, his face painted blue, 
and his left leg adorned with feathers ! Thus was his gigantic 
statue represented. 

There were gods of the Water, of the Earth, of Night, Fire, and 
Hell; goddesses of Flowers and of Corn; there were oblations 
offered of bread and flowers and jewels, but we are assured that 
from twenty to fifty thousand hmuan idctims were sacrificed annually 
in Mexico alone ! That these accounts are exaggerated, even though, 
a bishop is among the narrators, we can scarcely doubt, but if the 
tenth part be the truth, let the memory of Cortes be sacred, who, 
with the cross, stopped the shedding of innocent blood, founded the 
cathedral on the ruins of the temple which had so often resounded 
with human groans, and in the place of these blood-smeared idols 
enshrined the mild form of the Virgin. 

Meanwhile we entered the Christian edifice, which covers an im- 
mense space of ground, is of the Gothic form, with two lofty orna- 
mented tOAvcrs, and is still immensely rich in gold, silver, and jewels. 
A balustrade running through it, which was brought from China, is 
said to be very valuable, but seems to me more curious than beautiful. 
It is a composition of brass and silver. Not a soul was in the sacred 
precincts this morning but miserable Uperos, in rags and blankets, 
mingled with womeil in ragged rcbosos — at least a sprinkHng of 
ladies with mantillas was so very slight, that I do not think there 
were half a dozen in all. The floor is so dirty that one kneels with a 
feehng of horror, and an inward determination to efiect as speedy a 
change of garments afterwards as possible. Besides, many of my 
Indian neighbours were engaged in an occupation which I must leave 
to your imagination ; in fact, relieving their heads from the pressure 
of the colonial system, or rather, eradicating and slaughtering the 
colonists, who swarm there like the emigrant Irish in the United 
States. I was not sorry to find myself once more in the pure air 
after mass ; and have since been told that, except on pecuhar occasions, 
and at certain hours, few ladies perform their devotions in the 
cathedral. I shall learn all these particulars in tune. 

We saw, as we passed out, the Aztec Calendar, a round stone 


coYcrcd with liierogl3rpliics, wliicli is still preserved and flistened on 
the outside of the cathedral. We afterwards saw the Stone of 
Sacrifices, now in the courtyard of the imivcrsity, with a hollow in 
the middle, in which the victim was laid, while six priests, dressed in 
red, their heads adorned with plumes of green feathers (they must 
have looked hke macaws), with gold and green earrings, and blue 
stones in their upper hps, held him down, while the chief priest cut 
open his breast, threw his heart at the feet of the idol, and afterwards 
put it into his mouth with a golden spoon. They then cut off his 
head, to make use of it in building the tower of skulls, eat some parts 
of him, and either burnt the rest, or threw it to the wild beasts who 
were maintained in the palace. 

These interesting particulars occurred to us as we looked at the 
stone, and we were not sorry to think that it is now more ornamental 
than useful. 

After leaving the cathedral, C n fastened on his orders in the 

carriage, as tliis day was appointed for his presentation to the Presi- 
dent, and we drove to the palace, where I left him, and returned 
home. He was received with great etiquette, a band of music 
plaving in the court, the President in full uniform, surrounded by 
all his ministers and aides-de-camp, standing before a throne, under 
a velvet dais, his feet upon a tabouret, tlie whole being probably the 

same as was used by the viceroys Viva la Rej^ublica ! C n 

made a discourse to him, and he made one in return, both of which 
may be found by those who are curious in tlrese matters, in the 
Z)zano of the 31st December 

Whilst I am writing a horrible lepero, with great leering eyes, is 
looking at me through the windows, and performing the most ex- 
traordinary series of groans, displaying at the same time a hand with 
two long fingers, probably the other three tied in. " Senorita ! 
Senorita ! For the love of most Holy Virgin ! For the sake of the 
most pure blood of Christ ! By the miraculous Conception ! — " 
The wretch ! I dare not look up, but I feel that his eyes arc fixed 
upon a gold Avatch and seals lying on the table. That is the worst 
of a house on the ground floor. . . , There come more of them ! 
A paralytic woman mounted on the back of a man with a long 
beard. A sturdy-looking lndi\ddual, who looks as if, were it not for 
the iron bars, he would resort to more effective measures, is holding 
lip a deformed foot, which I verily beheve is merely fastened back in 
some extraordinary way. What groans ! what rags ! what a chorus 
of whining ! This concourse is probably owing to our having sent 
them some money yesterday. I try to take no notice, and write on 
as if I were deaf. I must walk out of the room, without looking 
beliind me, and send the porter to disperse them. There are no 
bell-ropes in these parts. . . . 

I come back aijain to write, hardly recovered from the start that 
I have just got. l had liardly written the last words, when I heard 
a footstep near me, and, looking up, lo ! there was my friend with 



the foot, standing witliin a yard of me, liis hand stretched out for 
alms ! I was so frightened, that for a moment I thought of giving 
him my watcli, to get rid of him. However, I ghded past him with 
a few unintelhgible words, and rushed to call the servants ; sending 
him some money by tlic first person who came. The porter, who 
had not seen him pass, is now dispersing the crovfd. What voci- 
ferous exclamations ! A has come in, and drawn the curtains, 

and I think they are going oif. 

Yesterday evening, I was taken to visit the President. The 
palace is an immense building, containing, besides the apartments of 
the President and his ministers, all the chief courts of justice. It 
occupies one side of the square, but is no way remarkable in its 
architecture. At the end of every flight of steps that we mounted, 
we came upon lounging soldiers, in their yellow cloaks, and women 
in rebosos, standing about. We passed through a hall filled with 
soldiers, into the antechamber, where we were received by several 
aides-de-camp, who conducted us into a very well-furnished room, 
where we sat a few minutes, till an officer came to lead us into the 
reception-room, which is a handsome apartment, about a hundred 
feet long, and fitted up with crimson and gold, also well lighted. 
General Bustamante, now in plain clothes, gave us a very cordial 

He looks like a good man, with an honest, benevolent face, frank 
and simple in his manners, and not at all like a hero. His conver- 
sation v/as not brilliant, indeed I do not know apropos to Avhat, I 
suppose to the chmate, but it chiefly turned on medicine. There 
cannot be a greater contrast, both in appearance and reahty, than 
between him and Santa Anna. There is no lurking de"\dl in his 
eye. All is frank, open, and unreserved. It is impossible to look 
in his face without liclie^'int!- him to be an honest and well-intcn- 

O ... 

tioned man. An unprincipled but clever writer has said of him, 
that he has no great capacity or superior genius; but that, whether 
from reflection or from slowness of comprehension, he is always ex- 
tremely calm in his determinations : that before entering into any 
project, he inqidres and considers deeply as to whether it be just or 
not ; but that once convinced that it is or appears to be so, he sus- 
tains his ground with firmness and constancy. He adds, that it suits 
him better to obey than to command; for which reason he was 
always so devoted a servant of the Spaniards and of Yturbide. 

He is said to be a devoted friend, is honest to a proverb, and 
personally brave, though occasionally deficient in moral energy. He 
is therefore an estimable man, and one who will do his duty to the 
best of his abihty, though whether he has severity and energy suffi- 
cient for those evil days in which it is his lot to govern, may be 

Having made a sufficiently long visit to his Excellency, we 

Avent to return that of the Countess C a, who has a magnificent 

house, with suits of large rooms, of which the di'awing-room is par- 


ticularly handsome, of immense size, the walls beautifully painted, 
the subjects religious, and where I found one of Broaclwood's finest 
grand pianos. But although there are cabinets inlaid with gold, 
fine paintings, and hundreds of rich and curious things, our Euro- 
pean eyes are struck with numerous inconsistencies in dress, servants, 
Sec, in all of which there is a want of keeping very remarkable. 
Yet this house, and the one adjoining, which also belongs to the 
family, are palaces in vastness, and the Countess receives me more 
as if I were her daughter, than a person with whom she has been 
acquainted but a few days. 

There are an extraordinary number of street-cries in IMexico, 
which begin at dawn and continue till night, performed by hundi'eds 
of discordant voices, impossible to iinderstand at first^ ; but Scnor 

has been giving me an explanation of them, until I begni to 

have some distinct idea of their meaning. At dawn you are 
awakened by the shrill and desponding cry of the Carbonero, the 
coal-men, " Carbon! Scnor," which, as he pronoimces it, sounds 
like " Carbosiu !" Then the grease-man takes up the song, " Man- 
tequiUa ! lard ! lard ! at one real and a half" " Salt beef! good 
salt beef !" (" Cecina buena !") interrupts the butcher m a hoarse 
voice. " Hay cebo-o-o-o-o-o ?" This is the prolonged and melan- 
choly note of the woman who buys kitchen-stufi; and stops before 
the door. Then passes by the camhista, a sort of Indian she-trader 
or exchanger, who sings out, " Tejocotes por venas de chile ?" a 
small fruit which she proposes exchanging for hot peppers. No 
harm in that. 

A kind of ambulating pedler drowns the shrill treble of the 
Indian cry. He calls aloud upon the pubhc to biiy needles, pins, 
thimbles, shirt-buttons, tape, cotton-balls, small mirrors, &c. He 
enters the house, and is quickly surrounded by the women, young 
and old, offering liim the tenth part of what he asks, and winch, 
after much hag^-hng, he accepts. Behind him stands the Indian 
with his tempting baskets of fruit, of which he calls out all the 
names, till the cook or housekeeper can resist no lono-er, and puttmg 
her head over the balustrade, calls liim up Avith his bananas, and 
oranges, and granaditas, &c. 

A sharp note of interrogation is heard, indicating somethmg that 
is hot, and must be snapped up quickly before it cools. " Gorditas 
de horna cahente ?' " Little fat cakes from the oven, hot ?" This is 
in a female key, sharp and shrill. Follows the mat-seller. " Who 
w^ants mats from Puebla ? mats of five yards?" These are the most 
matinal cries. 

At midday the beggars begin to be particularly importunate, and 
their' cries, and prayers, and long recitations, form a running accom- 
paniment to the other noises. Then above all rises the cry of 
*' Honey-cakes !" " Cheese and honey ?" " Requeson and good 
honey ?" {Requeson being a sort of hard curd, sold in cheeses.) 
Then come the dulce-men,"the sellers of sweetmeats, of meringues, 


■which are very good, and of all sorts of candy. " Caramelos de 
esperma ! bocadillo de coco !" Then the lottery -men, the messeno-ers 
of Fortune, with their shouts of " The last ticket, yet unsold, for 
half a real !' a tempting announcement to the lazy beggar, who linds 
it easier to gamble than to work, and who may have that sum hid 
about his rags. 

Towards evening rises the cry of " Tortillas de cuajada ?" " Curd- 
cakes ?" or, " Do you take nuts ?" succeeded by the night-cry of 
" Chestnuts hot and roasted !" and by the affectionate venders of 
ducks ; " Ducks, oh my soul, hot ducks !" " ]Maize-cakes," &c. &c. 
As the night wears away, the voices die off, to resume next morning 
in fresh vigour. 

Tortillas, which are the common food of the people, and which 
are merely maize cakes mixed "with a Httle Hme, and of the form 
and size of what we call scones, I find rather good when very hot 
and fresh-baked, but insipid by themselves. They have been in use 
all tlirough tliis country since the earliest ages of its history, without 
any change in the manner of baldng them, excepting that, for the 
noble Mexicans in former days, they used to be kneaded with various 
medicinal plants, supposed to render them more wholesome. They 
are considered particularly palatable with chile, to endure wliich, m 
the quantities in which it is eaten here, it seems to me necessary to 
have a throat lined with tin. 

In unpacking some books to-day, I happened to take iip " Sartor 
Resartus,^^ which, by a curious coincidence, opened of itself, to my 
great dehght, at the following passage : 

" The simplest costume," observes our Professor, " whicli I any- 
where find alluded to in history, is that used as regimental by 
Bolivar's cavalry, in the late Columbian wars. A square blanket, 
twelve feet in diagonal, is provided, (some were wont to cut off the 
corners, and make it circular;) in the centre a sht is effected, eighteen 
inches long; through this the mother-naked trooper introduces his 
head and neck ; and so rides, shielded from all weather, and in battle 
from many strokes (for he rolls it about his left arm) ; and not only 
dressed, but harnessed and draperied." Here then we fuid the true 
" Old Roman contempt of the superfluous," which seems rather to 
meet the approbation of the illustrious Professor Teufelsdroch. 



Ball in nreoaration- Agreeable Family-Fine Voices -Tlieatre-Smoking- 
Ca tie of Sul epec-Viceroy Galvez-Mo 

^yaleyoMexicLNew Year's Day-Opening of Cons.;ess-y>sus rom 
the Diplomatic Corps-Poblana Dress-'.' Func.on eKtraovd.nana -Tl^ Jre 
Visit to the Cathedral of Pamtu> 
Mosquitoes' Eggs. 

A GEEAT ball is to be given on tbe 8tla of January in tlie tlieatre 
for tbe benefit of tbe poor, wbicb is to be under tbe if j^o^^S^ «^ 
tbe most distinguisbed ladies of Mexico. After mucb clebbeiation 
amongst tbe pat" onesses it is decidedtbat it sball be a bal co^ime 
and fbave some tbougbts of going m tbe Poblana dress, wbidr I 

before described to you. As I am told tbat tbe Senora G ^a wore 

it at a ball in London, wben ber busband was mmister tbere, I bave 
sent my maid to learn tbe particulars from ber 

We called to-day on a family nearly related to tbe C as, and 

wbo have been already excessively lund to us; Senor A d who 

is married to a daugbter of Don Francisco Tagle, a very 
guisbed Mexican. We found a very large, very bandsome bouse, 
fbe walls and roof painted in tbe old Spanisb style, wbicb, wben 
well executed, lias L admirable effect. Tbe kdy of tbe bouse, wbo 
Sonly ninete n, I took a fancy to at first sig-^it. Sbe is not regu- 
larly iautiful, 'but bas lovely dark eyes and 7^ --^^^^J^^^ 
complexion and fair bair, and an expression of tbe_ mos pei ect 
goodness, witb very amiable manners. I was surprised ^7 ^^^^i- 
fno- ber sing sevei4 very difiicult Itaban songs witb great ex- 
p^?.sion and" wonderful faciUty. Sbe bas a fine contralto, wbicb 
C teen cultivated ; but some Spanisb ballads, and bttle songs of 
tbe country, sbe sang so debgbtfuUy, and witb so mucb good^n^^^^^^^^ 
and readiniss, tbat bad it not been a first visit, I sbould bave begged 
ber to continue during balf tbe morning. Fine J^^^^^^^J^^^f ^,^*^ 
be extremely common, as is natura m a country Peopled f^o^ 
Spain, and tbe opera, wbile it lasted, contributed greatly to tbe 
cultivation of musical taste. ^i + ^ 1 -Hovl- 

In tbe evening we went to tbe tbeatre. Sucb a tbeatie Dark 
dirty, redolent oi bad odours; tbe passages leading to the ^^^^^^^^ 
iU-bgbted, tbat one is afraid in tbe dark to pick one s « fps tlnou^b 
tbem. T be acting was nearly of a piece. Tbe first actre s wbo is 
alavourite, and wbo dresses'well, and bears a bigb repu ation for 
good conduct, is perfectly wooden, and never frigbtened out ol iier 



proprieties^ the most tragical scenes. I am sure there is not a fold 
deranged m her dress when she goes home. Besides, she has a 
most remarkable trick of pursing up her mouth in a smile, and 
frowning at the same time with tears in her eyes, as if personifyino- 
an April day. I should like to hear her sino- ° 

" Said a smile to a tear." 
There was no applause, and half the boxes were empty, whilst 
those who were there seemed merely to occupy them from the effect 
of habit, and because this is the only evening amusement. The 
prompter spoke so loud, that as 

" Coming events cast their shadows before," 
every word Avas made known to the audience in confidence, before 
It came out upon the stage officially. The whole pit smoked, the 
galleries smoked, the boxes smoked, the prompter smoked, a lon^ 
stream of smoke curling from his box, gi^dng somethino- oraculax 
and Delphic to his prophecies. 

" The force of smoking could no further go." 
The theatre is certainly im worthy of this fine city. 

31st.— We have spent the day in visitin!:^^ the castle of Chapultepec, 
a short league from Mexico, the most haunted by recollections of 
all the traditionary sites of Avhich Mexico can boast. Could these 
hoary cypresses speak, what tales might they not disclose, standing 
there with their long gray beards, and outstretched venerable arms, 
century after century: already old when Montezuma was a boy, and 
still vigorous m the days of Bustamante ! There has the last of the 
Aztec emperors wandered with his dark-eyed harem. Under the 
shade of these gigantic trees he has rested, perhaps smoked his 
' tobacco mingled with amber," and fallen to sleep, Ms dreams un- 
haunted by visions of the stern traveller from the far-east, whose 
sails even then might be within sight of the shore. In these tanks 
he has bathed. Here were liis gardens, and his a\aaries, and his 
fish-ponds. Through these now tangled and deserted woods, he 
may have been carried by his young nobles in his open fitter, 
under a splendid dais, stepping out upon the rich stuffs which his 
slaves spread before him on the green and velvet turf. 

And from the very rock where the castle stands, he may have 
looked out upon his fertile valley and great capital, with its canoe- 
covered lakes and outspreading villages and temples, and gardens of 
liowers,^ no care for the future darkening the bright vision ! 

Tradition says, that now these caves and tanks and woods are 
haunted by the shade of the conqueror's Indian love, the far-famed 
L>ona Marina, but I think she would be afraid of meetino- with the 
wrathful spirit of the Indian emperor. ° 

The castle itself, modern though it be, seems fike a tradition! 
Ihe Viceroy Galvez, who built it, is of a by-i^one race ! The apart- 
ments are lonely and abandoned, the walls fklling to ruin, the glass 
ot the wmdoAVB and the carved work of the doors have been sold- 


and standing at tliis great lieiglit, exposed to every wind tliat 
blows, it is rapidly falling to decay. We were accompanied by 

Count C a, and received by a Mexican governor, who rarely 

resides there, and wdio very civilly conducted us everywhere. But 
Chapultepec is not a shoiv-place. One must go there early in the 
morning, when the dew is on the grass, or in the evening, when the 
last rays of the sun are gilding with rosy Uglit the snowy summits 
of the volcanoes; and dismount from your horse, or step outof yoiu' 
carrian-e, and w^ander forth without guide or object, or fixed time 
for return. 

We set off early, passing over a fine paved road, divided by a 
great and soHd aqueduct of nine hundred arches, one of the two 
great aqueducts by which fresh water is conveyed to the city, and 
of Avhich the two sources are in the hill of Chapultepec, and in that 
of Santa Fe, at a much greater distance. When we arrived, the 
sleepy soldiers, who were lounging before the gates, threw them 
open to let the carriage enter, and we drew up in front of the great 
cypress, known by the name of " Montezuma's Cypress," a most 
stupendous tree — dark, solemn, and stately, its branches unmoved as 
the light wind played amongst them, of most majestic height, and 
forty-one feet in circumference. A second cypress standing near, 
and of almost equal size, is even more graceful, and they, and all the 
noble trees which adorn these speaking solitudes, are covered with a 
creeping plant, resembhng gray moss, hanging over every branch 
like long gray hair, giving them a most venerable and ch-uidical 

We wandered through the noble avenues, and rested under the 
trees, and walked through the tangled shrubberies, bright with 
flowers and coloured berries, and groped our way into the cave, and 
stood by the large clear tank, and spent some time in the old garden; 
and then got again into the carriage, that we might be dragged up 
the precipitous ascent on which stands the castle, the construction o£ 
which aroused the jealousy of the government against the young 
count, whose taste for the picturesque had induced him to choose 
this elevated site for liis summer palace. 

The interior was never finished; yet, even as it stands, it cost the 
Spanish government three hundred thousand dollars.^ When we 
look at its strong mihtary capabihties and commanding position, 
fortified with sahent walls and parapets towards Mexico, and con- 
taining on its northern side great moats and subterranean vaults, 
capable of holchng a vast supply of provisions, the jealousy of the 
government and their suspicions that it was a fortress masked as a 
summer retreat, are accountable enough. 

The Vice-Queen Galvez was celebrated for her beauty and goodness, 
and was universally adored in Mexico. A sister of hers, who stdl 
survives, and who paid me a visit the other day, says that her beauty 
chiefly consisted in the exceeding fairness of her complexion, very 
few blondes having then been seen in this part of the world. 

58 NEW year's day. 

From tlie terrace tliat runs round tlie castle, the view forms tlie 
most magnificent panorama that can be imagined. The whole 
valley of Mexico lies stretched out as in a map ; the city itself, with 
its innumerable chiu-ches and convents ; the two great aqueducts 
whicli cross the plain; the avenues of elms and poplars which lead 
to the city; the villages, lakes and plains which sm-round it. To 
the north, the magnificent cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe — 
to the south, the villages of San Augustin, San Angel, and Tacu- 
baya, which seem imbosomed in trees, and look like an immense 
garden. And if in the |)lains below there are many -uncultivated 
fields and many buildings falHng to ruin, yet with its glorious 
enclosure of mountains, above which tower the two mighty vol- 
canoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, the Gog and Magog of the 
valley, oiF whose giant sides great volmnes of misty clouds were 
rolling, and with its torquoise sky for ever smihng on the scene, the 
whole landscape, as viewed from this height, is one of nearly un- 
paralleled beauty. 

1st January, 1840. — New Year's Day! Tlie birth of the young 
year is ushered in by no remarkable signs of festivity. IMore 
ringing of bells, more chanting of mass, gayer dresses amongst the 
peasants in the streets, and more carriages passing along, and the 
ladies within rather more dressed than apparently they usually are, 
when they do not intend to pay ^4sits. In passing through the 
Plaza this morning, our carriage suddenly drew up, and the servants 
took off their hats. At the same moment, the whole population, 
men, women, and children, venders and buyers, peasant and seiiora, 
priest and layman, dropped on their knees, a pictm^esque sight. 
Presently a coach came slowly along through the crowd, with the 
mysterious Eye painted on the panels, drawn by piebald horses, 
and with priests within, bearing the divine symbols. On the bal- 
conies, in the shops, in the houses, and on the streets, every one 
knelt while it passed, the little bell giving warning of its approach. 

We were then at the door of the palace, where we went tliis 
morning to see the opening of Congress, the two houses being in- 
cluded in this building. The House of Representatives, though not 
large, is handsome, and in good taste. Opposite to the presidential 
chair is a full-length representation of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 
All round the hall, which is semicircular, are inscribed the names 
of the heroes of independence, and that of the Emperor Augustin 
Ytiu'bide is placed on the right of the presidential chair, with his 
sword hanging on the wall ; while on the left of the cliief magistrate's 
seat there is a vacant space ; perhaps destined for the name of another 
emperor. The multitude of priests Avith their large shovel-hats, and 
the entrance of the president in full uniform, announced by music 
and a flourish of trumpets, and attended by his staff, rendered it as 
anti-republican-looking an assembly as one could wish to see. The 
utmost decorum and tranquilHty prevailed. Tlie president made a 
speech in a low and rather monotonous tone, wliich in the diplomutes, 


seat, wliere we were, was scarcely aucliLlc. No ladies were in the 
house, myself excepted; which I am glad I was not aware of before 
o-oino-, or I should perhaps have staid away. 

^ Yesterday I received visits from the gentlemen of the diplomatic 
corps, who are not in great numbers" here. England, Belgium, 
Prussia, and the United States, are the only countries at present 
represented, Spain excepted. The French minister has not arrived 
yet, but is expected in a few days. I was not sorry to hear Enghsh 
spoken once more, and to meet with so gentlemanly a persoii as the 
minister who for the last fourteen years has represented our island m 
the Repubhc. His visit and a large packet of letters just received 
from Paris and from the United States, have made me feel as if the 
distance from home were diminished by one half. 

Tliis morning a very handsome dress was forwarded to me with 
the comphments of a lady whom I do not know, the wife of General 

; with a request that, if I should go to the fancy ball as a 

Poblana peasant, I may wear this costume. It is a Poblana dress, 
and very superb, consisting of a petticoat of maroon - colom-ed 
merino, with gold fringe, gold bands and spangles ; an under-petti- 
coat, embroidered and trimmed with rich lace, to come below it. 
The first petticoat is trimmed with gold up the sides, which are 
sHt open, and tied up Avith coloured ribbon. With tins must be 
worn a chemise, richly embroidered round the neck and sleeves, 
and trimmed mth lace ; a satin vest, open in front, and embroidered 
in ^-old; a silk sash tied behind, the ends fringed with gold, and a 
small siilv handkerchief which crosses the neck, with gold fring-e. 
I had already another dress prepared, but I think tins is the hand- 
somer of the two. 1 • , /• 

The actors have just called to inform C n, that their '^ jiamon 

extraordmana" in his honour, is to be given on the third that a box 
is prepared for us, and that the play is to be " Don John of Austria. 

4th.— Having sat through five acts last evenmg m the theatre, we 
came home very tired. The play was aiafuU>/ long lasting from 
eight o'clock till one in the morning. At the end of the first act, 
the prefect and other dignitaries came round with much precipita- 
tion and carried oft^ C n to a large box in the centre, intended 

for him ; for, not knowing wliich it was, we had gone to that of 

the Counters C a. The theatre looked much more decent than 

before; being fighted up, and the boxes hung with silk draperies m 
honom- of the occasion. The ladies also were m fuU dress, and the 
boxes crowded, so that one covild scarcely recognise the house. 
Tliis morning we drove out to see the cathedral of Um Lady ot 

Guadalupe : C^ n in one carriage with Count C a, and the 

Sefiora C a and I in another, driven by Seiior A— — d, who is 

a celebrated whip ; the carriage open, with handsome wlute horses, 
frisones as they here call the northern horses, whether from JLng- 

* Translated from the French of Casimir Delavigne. 


land or the United States, and which are much larger than the 
spirited Httic horses of the country. As usual, we were accom- 
panied by four armed outriders. 

We passed through miserable suburbs, ruined, dirty, and with a 
comminghng of odours which I could boldly challenge those of 
Cologne to rival. After leaving the town, the road is not par- 
ticularly pretty, but is for the most part a broad, straight avenue, 
bounded on either side by trees. 

At Guadalupe, on the hill of Tepayac, there stood, in days of 
yore, the Temple of Tonantzin, the goddess of earth and of corn, 
a mild deity, who rejected human victims, and was only to be pro- 
pitiated by the sacrifices of turtle-doves, swallows, pigeons, &c. 
She was the protectress of the Totonoqui Indians. The spacious 
church, which now stands at the foot of the mountain, is one of 
the ricliest in Mexico. Having put on veils, no bonnets being 
permitted within the precincts of a church, we entered this far- 
famed sanctuary, and were dazzled by the profusion of silver with 
which it is ornamented. 

The divine painting of the virgin of Guadalupe, represents her 
in a blue cloak covered with stars, a garment of crimson and gold, 
her hands clasped, and her foot on a crescent, supported by a 
cherub. The painting is coarse, and only remarkable on account 
of the tradition attached to it. 

We afterwards visited a small chapel, covered by a dome, built 
over a boihng spring, whose waters possess miraculous quahties, 
and bought crosses and medals which have touched the holy image, 
and pieces of white ribbon, marked with the measure of the 
Virgin's hands and feet. We climbed (albeit very warm) by a steep 
path to the top of the hill, where there is another chapel, from 
which there is a superb view of Mexico ; and beside it, a sort of 
monument in the form of the sails of a ship, erected by a grateful 
Spaniard, to commemorate his escape from shipwreck, which he 
behoved to be owing to the intercession of Our Lady of Guada- 
lupe. We then went to the village to call on the bishop, the 
Ylustrisimo Sefior Campos, whom v/e found in his canonicals, and 
who seems a good httle old man, but no conjurer ; although I 
beheve he had the honour of bringing up his cousin, Senor Posada, 
destined to be Archbishop of Mexico. We found him cxuietly 
seated in a large, simply-lurnished room, and apparently buried 
over some huge volumes, so that he was not at first aware of our 

A pictm-e _ of the Virgin of Guadalupe hung on the wall, which 

9 f-n having noticed, he observed that he could not answer for 

its being a very faithful resemblance, as Our Lady did not appear 
often, not so often as people supposed. Then folding his hands, 
and looking down, he proceeded to recount the history of the 
miraculous apparition, pretty much as follows: 

In 1531, ten years and four months after the conquest of Mexico, 



the fortunate Indian wliosc name was Juan Diego, and who was 
a native of Cuatitlan, went to tlie suburb of Tialtelolco to learn tlie 
Christian doctrine Avhich the Franciscan monks taught there As 
he was passino- by the mountain of Tepeyac, the Holy Virgm 
suddenly appeared before him and ordered hnn to go, m her name, 
to the bishop, the Ylustrisimo D. Fr. Juan de Zuraarraga, and to 
make known to liim that she desired to have a place of worship 
erected in her honour, on that spot. The next day_ the Indian 
passed by the same place, when again the Holy Virgin appeared 
before him, and demanded the result of his commission. Juan 
Dieo-o rephed, that in spite of his endeavours, he had not been 
abk to obtain an audience of the bishop. '' Return, said the 
Viro-in " and say that it is I, the Virgm Mary, the Mother ot 
Gocf, who sends thee." Juan Diego obeyed the divine orders, yet 
still the bishop would not give him credence, merely desiring him 
to bring some sign or token of the Virgin's will. He returned 
with th?s message on the twelfth of December, when for the third 
time, he beheld the apparition of the Virgin. She now com- 
manded him to chmb to the top of the barren rock of Tepeyac, to 
o-ather the roses which he should find there, and to brmgthem to 
her The humble messenger obeyed, though well knowing, that 
on 'that spot were neither flowers nor any trace of veg-etation. 
Nevertheless, he found the roses, which he gathered and brou-ht 
to the A%f^in Mary, who, throwing them into his tdma, said, 
" Return show these to the bishop, and tell him that these are the 
credentials of thy mission." Juan Diego set out for the episcopal 
house, which stood on the ground occupied by the hospital, now 
called San Juan de Dios, and when he found himself m the pre- 
sence of the prelate, he unfolded his tihna to show him the roses, 
when there appeared imprinted on it the miraculous image winch 
has existed for more than three centuries. , 

When the bishop beheld it, he was seized with astonisnment 
and awe, and conveyed it in a solemn procession to his own oratory, 
and shortly after this splendid church was erected m honour of the 
patroness of New Spain. " From allparts of the country con- 
tinued the old bishop, "people flocked m crowds to see Our Lady oi 
Guadalupe, and esteem it an honour to obtain sigh, oi her. VV hat 
then must be my happiness, who can see her ^^'^c.on. m^^^.tj 
every hour and every minute of the day I would not quit Guada- 
lupe for any other part of the world, nor for any temptation that could 
be held out to me;" and the pious man remanied lor a few minutes 
as if wrapt in ecstasy. That he was sincere in his assertions, there 
could be no doubt. As evening prayers were about to begin, we 
accompanied him to the cathedral. An old woman opened the 
door for us as we passed out. " Have my chocolate ready when I 
return," said the bishop. "Si padrecito !" said the_ old woman, 
droppin- upon her knees, in which posture she remained for some 
minvLs? As we passed along the street, the sight of the reverend 


man liacl tlie same effect ; all fell on tlieir knees as lie passed, pre- 
cisely as if tlie liost were carried by, or the shock of an earth- 
quake were felt. Arrived at the door of the cathedral, he gave us 
his hand, or rather his pastoral amethyst, to Idss. 

The organ sounded fine as it pealed through the old cathedral, 
and the setting sun poured his rays in through the Gothic windows 
with a ricli and glowing liglit. The church was crowded with peo- 
ple of the village, but especially mth Uperos, counting their beads, 
and suddenly in the midst of an " Ave Maria Purisima," flinging 
themselves and their rags in our path with a " Por el amor de la San- 
tisima Virgen!" and if this does not serve their purpose, they appeal 
to your domestic sympathies. From men they entreat rehef " By" the 
life of the Sefiorita." From women, " By the life of the httle child !" 
From 'children it is " By the hfe of your mother!" And a mix- 
ture of piety and superstitious feehng makes most people, Avomen at 
least, draw out their purses. 

Count C a has promised to send me to-morrow a box of mos- 
quitoes' eggs, of which tortillas are made, which are considered a 
great dehcacy. Considering mosquitoes as small winged cannibals, I 
ivas rather shocked at the idea, but they pretend that these which are 
from the Laguna, are a superior race of creatures, which do not 
sting. I» fact the Spanish historians mention that the Indians 
used to eat bread made of the eggs which the fly called agayacatl 
laid on the rushes of the lakes, and wliicli they (the Spaniards) 
found very palatable. 


Visits from Spaniards— Visit from the President— Disquisition— Poblana Dress 
—Bernardo the Matador — Bull-tight extraordinary— Plaza de Toros— 

Fireworks — Portrait of C n— Fancy Ball— Dress — Costume of the 

Patronesses— Beauty in Mexico— Doctor's Visit— Cards offaire ;j«r-f— Mar- 
quesa de San Roman— Toilet in Morning Visits of Ceremony— Attempt at 
Robbery— Murder of a Consul— La Giiera Rodrisruez— Dr. Plan— AI. de 
Humboldt— Anecdote— Former Customs. 

5th January. 

Yesterday (Sunday), a great day here for visiting after mass is 

over. "We had a concourse of Spaniards, all of whom seemed anxious 

to knovf whether or not I intended to wear a Poblana dress at the 

flmcy ball, and seemed wonderfully interested about it. Two 


yoimo; ladies or women of Puebla, introduced by Senor_ came 

to profler their services in giving me all tlie necessary particulars, and 
dressed tire liair of Josefa, a little Mexican girl, to show me how 
it should be arranged ; mentioned several tilings still wanting, and 
told me that every one was much pleased at the idea of my going in a 
Poblana dress. I was rather surprised that every one should trouble 
themselves about it. About twelve o'clock the president, in full 
tmiform, attended by his aides-de-camp, paid me a \asit, and sat 
about half an hour, very amiable as usual. Shortly after came 
more visits, and just as we had supposed they were all concluded, 
and we were going to dinner, we were told that the secretary of 
state, the ministers of war and of the interior, and others, were in 
the drawing-room. And what do you think was the purport of 
their visit ) To adjure me by all that was most alarming, to dis- 
card the idea of making my appearance in a Poblana dress! 
They assured us that Poblanas generally were femmes de Hen, that 
they wore no stockings, and that the wife of the Spanish minister 
should by no means assrmae, even for one evening, such a costume. 
I brought in my dresses, showed their length and their propriety, 
but in vain ; and, in f ict, as to their being in the right, there could 
be no doubt, and nothing but a kind motive could have induced 
them to take this trouble ; so I yielded wth a good grace, and 
thanked the cabinet council for their timely warning, though fear- 
ing, that in this land of procrastination, it would be difficult to 
procure another dress for the fancy ball ; for you must know, that 
our luggage is still toihng its weary way, on the backs of mules, 
from Vera Cruz to the capital. They had scarcely gone, when 

Seuor brought a message from several of the principal ladies 

here, whom we do not even know, and who had requested, that as 
a stranger, I should be informed of the reasons which rendered the 
Poblana dress objectionable in tliis country, especially on any pub- 
lic occasion like this ball. I was really thankful for my escape. 

Just as I was dressing for dinner, a note was brought, marked 
reservada (private), the contents of which appeared to me more odd 
than pleasant. I have since heard, however, that the writer, Don 
Jose Arnaiz, is an old man, and a sort of privileged character, who 
interferes in every thing, whether it concerns him or not. I translate 
it for your benefit. 

" The dress of a Poblana is that of a woman of no character. The 
lady of the Spanish minister is a lady in every sense of the word. 
However much she may have compromised herself, she ought nei- 
ther to go as a Poblana, nor in any other character but her own. So 

says to the Senor de C n, Jose Arnaiz, who esteems him as 

much as possible." 

gth.— Early this morning, tliis being the day of the " bull-fight 
extraordinary," placards were put up, as I understand, on all the 
corners of the streets, announcing it, accompanied by a portrait of 
C n ! Count C a came soon after breakfast, accompanied 


by Bernardo, the first matador, -whom lie brought to present to us. 
I send you the white satin note of invitation, with its silver lace and 
tassels, to show you how beautifully they can get up such tilings 
here. The matador is a handsome but heavy-looking man, thouo^h 
said to be active and skilful. To-morrow I shall write you an 
account of iwyjirst hull-Jiglit. 

7th. — Yesterday, towards the afternoon, there were great fears 
of rain, which would have caused a postponement of the combat; 
however, the day cleared up, the bulls little knowing how much 
their fate depended upon the clouds. A box in the centre, with a 
carpet and a silver lamp, had been prepared for us; but we went 

with our friends, the C as, into their box adjoining. The scene, 

to me especially, who have not seen the magnificence of the Madrid 
arena, was animating and brilhant in the liighest degree. Fancy 
an immense amphitheatre, with four great tiers of boxes, and a 
range of xmcovered seats in front, the whole crowded almost to 
suffocation ; the boxes filled -with ladies in full dress, and the seats 
below by gaily-di'essed and most enthusiastic spectators ; two mihtary 
bands of music, playing beautiful airs from the operas; an extraor- 
dinary variety of brilhant costumes, all lighted up by the eternally 
deep blue sky; ladies and peasants, and officers in fuU uniform, and 
you may conceive that it must have been altogether a varied and 
curious spectacle. 

About half-past six, a flourish of trumpets announced the presi- 
dent, who came in uniform with his staff, and took his seat to the 
music of " Guerra ! Guerra ! I belHci trombi." Shortly after the 
matadors and picadors, the former on foot, the latter on horseback, 
made their entry, saluting all round the arena, and were received 
with loud cheering. 

Bernardo's dress of blue and silver was very superb, and cost him 
five hundred dollars. The signal was given — the gates were throwTi 
open, and a bull sprang into the arena ; not a great, fierce-lookino- 
animal, as they are in Spain, but a small, angry, wild-lookino- beast, 
-with a troubled eye. 

" Thrice sounds the clarion ; lo ! the signal falls, 

The den expands, and expectation mute 
Gapes round the silent circle's peopled walls. 

Bounds with one lashing spring the miglit}' brute, 
And, wildly staring, spurns with sounding foot 

The sand, nor blindly rushes on his foe ; 
Here, there, he points his threatening front, to suit 

His first attack, wide waving to and fro 
His angry tail ; red rolls liis eye's dilated glow." 

Apicture equally correct and poetical. That first pose of the 
bull is superb ! Pasta, in her Medea, did not surpass it. Mean- 
while the matadors and the handerilleros shook their coloured scarfs 
at him — the picadoi-s poked at him with their lances. He rushed 
at the first, and tossed up the scarfs which they threw at him, vrhile 


tliey sprung over tlie arena ; galloped after the otliers, striking tlie 
horses, so that along T^ath their riders they occasionally rolled in the 
dust ; both, however, almost instantly recovering their equilibrium, 
in which there is no time to be lost. Then the matadors would 
throw fireworks, crackers adorned with streaming ribbons, which 
stuck on his horns, and as he tossed his head, enveloped him in a 
blaze of fire. Occasionally the picador would catch hold of the 
bull's tail, and passing it under his own right leg, wheel his horse 
round, force the bullock to gallop backwards, and throw him on his 

Maddened A\'ith pain, streaming with blood, stuck full of darts, 
^nd covered with fireworks, the unfortunate beast went galloping 
round and round, plunging blindly at man and horse, and fre^ 
qucntly trying^ to leap the barrier, but driven back by the waving 
hats and shouting of the crowd. At last, as he stood at bay, and 
nearly exhausted, the matador ran up and gave him the mortal 
blow, considered a pecuHar proof of sldll. The bull stopped, as if 
he felt that his hour were come, staggered, made a few plunges at 
nothing, and fell. A finishing stroke, and the bull expired. 

The trumpets sounded, the music played. Four horses galloped 
in tied to a yoke, to which the bull was fastened, and swiftly 
dragged out of the arena. This last part had a fine effect, remind- 
ing one of a Roman sacrifice. In a similar manner, eight bulls were 
done to death. ^ The scene is altogether fine, the address amusing, 
but the wounding and tormenting of the bull is sickening, and as 
here the tips of his horns are blunted, one has more sympathy with 
him than with his human adversaries. It cannot be good to accus- 
tom a people to such bloody sights. 

Yet let me confess, that though at first I covered my face and 
could not look, httle by httle I grew so mucli interested in the 
scene, that I could not take my eyes oft'' it, and I can easily under- 
stand the pleasure taken in these barbarous diversions, by those 
accustomed to them from childhood. 

The bull-fight haA^ng terminated amidst loud and prolono-ed 
cheering from the crowd, a tree of fireworks, erected in the midst 
of the arena, was Hghted, and amidst a blaze of coloured light, 
appeared, first the Arms of the Republic, the Eagle and Nopal ; 

and above, a full-length portrait of C n ! represented by a 

figure in a blue and silver uniform. Down fell the Mexican eao-le 
Avith a crash at his feet, while he remained burning brightly, and 
lighted up by fireworks, in the midst of tremendous shouts and 
cheers. Thus terminated this '■'■funcion extroMrdinaria ;'' and when 

all was over, we went to dine at Countess C a's, had some music 

in the evening, and afterwards returned home tolerably tired. 

10th. — The fimcy ball took place last evening in the theatre, and 
although, owing either to the change of cHmate, or to the damp- 
ness of the house, I have been obliged to keep my room since the 



day of tlic bull-figlit, and to decline a pleasant dinner at tlie Englisli 
Minister's, I tliouglit it advisable to make my appearance there. 
Having discarded tlie costume of the light-headed Poblamanas, I 
adopted that of a virtuous Roman Contadina, simple enough to be 
run up in one day ; a wrhite skirt, red bodice, with blue ribbons, 
and lace veil put on square behind ; a propos to wliich head-dress, it 
is very common amongst the Indians to wear a piece of stuff folded 
square, and laid flat upon the head, in tliis Italian fashion ; and as 
it is not fastened, I cannot imagine how they trot along, without 
letting it fall. 

Wc went to the theatre about eleven, and found the ejitree, 
though crowded with carriages, very quiet and orderly. The coup 
(Tceil on entering was extremely gay, and certainly very amusing. 
The ball, given for the benefit of the poor, was under the patronage 

of the ladies C a, G a, Guer— -— a, and others, but such 

was the original dirtiness and bad condition of the theatre, that to 
make it decent, they had expended nearly all the proceeds. As it 
was, and considering the various drawbacks, the arrangements were 
very good. Handsome lustres had superseded the lanterns with their 
tallow candles, the boxes were hung with bright silk draperies, and 
a canopy of the same drawn up in the form of a tent, covered the 
whole ball-room. The orchestra also was tolerably good. The boxes 
were filled with ladies, presenting an endless succession of China crape 
shawls of every colour and variety, and a monotony^ of diamond ear- 
rings ; while in the theatre itself, if ever a ball might be termed a 
fancy-ball, this was that ball. Of Swiss peasants, Scotch peasants, and 
aU manner of peasants, there were a goodly assortment; as also of 
Turks, Highlanders, and men in plain clothes. But being pubhc, 
it was not, of course, select, and amongst many well-dressed people, 
there were hundreds who, assuming no particular character, had 
exerted their imagination to appear merely fanciful, and had suc- 
ceeded. One, for example, would have a scarlet satin petticoat, and 
over it a pink satin robe, with scarlet ribbons to match. Another, 
a short blue satin dress, beneath which appeared a handsome purple 
satin petticoat ; the whole trimmed with yellow bows. They looked 
like the signs of the zodiac. All had diamonds and pearls ; old and 
young, and middle-aged ; including little children, of whom there 
were many. 

The lady-patronesses were very elegant. The Seiiora de Gu a, 

wore a head-dress in the form of a net, entirely composed of large 

pearls and diamonds ; in itself a fortune. The Sehora de C -a, 

as Madame de la ValHere, in black velvet and diamonds, looking 
pretty, as usual, but the cold of the house obhged her to muffle up 

in furs and boas, and so to hide her dress. The Sehora de G ^a, 

as Mary, Queen of Scots, in black velvet and pearls, with a splendid 
diamond necklace, was extremely handsome ; she wore a cap, intro- 
duced by the Albini, in the character of the Scottish Queen, but 


whicli,tlio-agli pretty in itself, is a complete deviation from tlic 
beautifvil simplicity of the real Queen-Mary cap. She certainly 
looked as if she had arrived at her prime without knowing Fother- 

Various ladies were introduced to me who are only waiting to 
receive our cards of faire part before they call. Amongst the 

girls, the best dresses ^that I observed were the Seiioritas de F d, 

the one handsome, with the figure and face of a Spanish peasant ; 
the other much more graceful and intelhgent-looking, though with 
less actual beauty. However, so many of the most fashionable 
people were in their boxes, that I am told this is not a good occasion 
on which to judge of the beauty or style of toilette of the JMexican 
women ; besides which, these fancy balls being uncommon, they 
would probably look better in their usual costume. Upon the 
whole, I saw few striking beauties, httle grace, and very Httle good 
dancing. There was too much velvet and satin, and the dresses 
were too_ much loaded. The diamonds, though superb, were fre- 
quently ill-set. The dresses, compared with the actual fashion, were 
absurdly short, and the feet, naturally small, were squeezed into 
shoes still smaller, which is destructive to grace, whether in walking 
or dancing. 

I saw many superb pairs of eyes, and beautiful hands and arms, 
perfect models for a sculptor, the hands especially ; and very few 
good complexions. 

There was a young gentleman pointed out to me as being in the 
costume of a Highlander ! How I wished that Sir Wilham Gum- 
ming, Macleod of Macleod, or some veritable Highland chieftain 
could suddenly have appeared to anniliilate him, and show the 
people here what the dress really is ! There were various mifortu- 
nate cliildren, bundled up in long satin or velvet dresses, covered 
with blonde and jcAvels, and with artificial flowers in their hair. 

The room was excessively cold, nor was the ancient odour of the 
theatre entirely obhterated ; nor indeed do I think that all the per- 
fumes of Arabia would overpower it. Having walked about, and 
admired all the varieties of fancy costumes, I, "being nearly frozen, 

went to the Countess C a's box on the pit tier, and enveloped 

inyself in a cloak. They pointed out the most distinguished persons 

in the boxes, amongst others the family of the E s, who seem 

very handsome, with brilliant colours and fine teeth. We remained 
until tliree in the morning and dechned all oiFers of refreshment, 
though, after all, a cup of hot chocolate would not have been amiss. 
There was supper somewhere, but I behevc attended only by gentle- 
men. I had the satisfaction in passing out to see numerous ladies on 
their partners' arms, and all bedizened as they were with finery, stop 
under the lamps, and fight their cigars, — cool and pretty. 

16th. — I have passed nearly a week in a shght fever ; sliivering 
and hot. I was attended by a doctor of the country, who seems the 
most harmless creatm-e imaginable. Every day he ielt my pulse, and 



gave me some little innocent mixture. But Avliat he especially gave 
me was a lesson in polite conversation. Every clay \re had the fol- 
lowing dialogue, as he rose to take leave : 

" Madam ! (this by the bedside) I am at your service." 

" Many thanks, sir." 

" Madam ! (this at the foot of the bed) know me for your most 
humble servant." 

" Good morning, sir." 

" Madam ! (here he stopped beside a table) I kiss your feet." 

" Sir, I kiss your hand." 

" Madam ! (this near the door) my poor house, and all in it, myself, 
though useless, all 1 have, is yours." 

" Many thanks, sir." 

He turns round and opens the door, again turning round as he 
does so, 

" Adieu, madam ! your servant." 

" Adieu, sir." 

He goes out, partly reopens the door, and puts in his head, 

" Good morning, madam !" 

Tills civihty, so"" lengthened out, as if parting were such " sweet 
sorrow," between doctor and patient, seems rather misplaced. It is 
here considered more polite to say Seiiorita than Seiiora, even to 
married women, and the lady of the house is generally called by her 
servants, " La Niiia,'^ the httle girl, even though she be over eighty. 
This last custom is still more common in Havana, where the old 
negresses, who have always hved in the family, and are accustomed 
to call their young mistress by tins name, never change, whatever 
be her age. 

I have received a packet of letters which have done me more 
good than the old doctor's visits. The captain left us yesterday, and 
took charge of a box of chocolate stamped with various figiires, and 
of some curious dulces for you. Our cards, giving the Mexicans the 
tardy information of our arrival, were sent out some days ago. I 
copy one, that you may have a specunen of the style, which looks 
for all the world like that of a shop-advertisement, purporting that 

Don makes wigs, dresses hair, and so forth, while Doiia 

washes lace, and does iip fine Hnen. 

" Don A C de la B , Enviado Extraordinario_ y 

Ministro Plenipotenciario de S. M. C. cerca de la Republica 

Mexicana; y su Esposa, Dona F E C de la B— ; 

Participan a su Llegada a este Capital, y se ofrecen a su disposicion, 
en la PkyAiela de Buenavista, No. 2."* 

18th. — Eor these last few days our rooms have been filled with 
visiters, and my eyes are scarcely yet accustomed to the display of 

* Don A C de la B , Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Pleni- 
potentiary from H. C. M. ; and his Lady, Dona F E C • de la 

B ; Inform you of their arrival in this capital, and put themselves at your 

disposal, in the street of Buenavista, No. 2. 



diamonds and pearls, silks, satins, blondes and velvets, m wlncli tlie 
ladies liave paid tlicir first visits of etiquette. A few of the dresses i 
shall record for your benefit, not as being richer than the others, but 
that I happen to recollect them best.— The Marquesa de San Koman, 
an .old lady who has travelled a great deal in Europe, and is very 
distino-ixished for talents and information. She has the Grand Cross 
of Mana Louisa of Spain, is of a noble Venetian family, and aunt to 
the Duke of Canizzaro. Her dress was a very rich black Crenoa 
velvet, black blonde mantilla, and a very splendid pariu^e of diamonds. 
She seems in exceedingly dehcate health. She and her contempo- 
raries are fast fading away, the last records of the days of Viceroyalty. 
In their place a new race have started up, whose manners and appear- 
ance have little of the vieille co?<r about them ; chiefly, it is said, 
wives of mihtary men, sprung from the hotbeds of the Revolutions, 
ignorant and fidl of pretension, as jmrvenus who have risen by chance 
and not by merit must be. I continue my hst after the fashion of 
the Court Journal. . n i i 

Countess de S o. Under di-ess of rich violet satm, gown of black 

blonde, mantiUa of black blonde, diamond earrings, five or six large 
diamond brooches fastening the mantilla, necklace of large pearls and 

diamond sevigne. The Senora S . Dress of white satm, gown 

of white blonde, wliite blonde mantilla, pearls, diamonds, and white 

satin shoes. Madame S r, black velvet dress, white blonde 

mantilla, pearls, diamonds, short sleeves, and white satm shoes, ihe 

Seiiora de A d. Fawn-coloured satin dress, black blonde mantilla, 

diamonds, and black satin shoes. , • i j 

The Sefiora B a, the wife of a General, extremely rich, and 

who has the handsomest house in Mexico. Dress of purple velvet, 
embroidered all over with flowers of wliite silk, short sleeves, and em- 
broidered corsage; white satin shoes and bas a jour; a deep flounce 
of Mechhn appearing below the velvet dress, which was short. A 
mantilla of black blonde, fastened by three diamond aigrettes. Dia- 
mond earrings of extraordinary size. A diamond necklace of im- 
mense value, and beautifully set. . A necklace of pear pearls, valued 
at twenty thousand dollars. A diamond sevigne. A gold chain 
going three times round the neck, and touching the knees. Un 
every fino-er two diamond rings, like httle watches. As no_ other 
di-ess was^equally magnificent, with her I conclude my description, 
only observing that no Mexican lady has yet paid me her first morn- 
ino- visit without diamonds. They have few opportumties for dis- 
playing their jewels, so that were it not on the occasion of some such 
morning visit of etiquette, the diamonds would fie m their cases, 
wasting their serene rays in darkness. 

Last night an attempt was made to break into the house, but our 

fine fittle bull-dog Hercules, a present from Senor A d, kept his 

ground so weU, and barked so furiously, that the servants were 
awakened, even the porter, the soundest slumberer amongst them; 
and the robbers escaped without doing further mischief than infiict- 



ing a severe wound on the poor animars paw, wliicli has made liim 
for the present quite lame. 

Apropos to which matters, a most cruel murder, of wliich I have 
just been hearing the particulars, was committed not very lono- ao-o 

in tliis neighbourhood, upon Mr. M , the Swiss Consul. H? w°as 

also a leather-merchant, and one morning ha\^ng sent out his porter 
on some commission, a carriage drove up to the°loor, and three gen- 
tlemen presented themselves to Mr. M , requesting to speak to 

him on busmess. He begged them to walk in; and there entered a 
general m uniform, a young officer, and a monk. Mr. M re- 
quested to be informed of their business, when suddenly the general, 
seizing hold of him, whilst the others went to secure the door, ex- 
claimed, " We have not come to hear about your goods, we want 
your money." The poor man, astounded at perceiving the natirre of 
his customers, assured them he kept but Httle money in the house, 
but proceeded instantly to open his pri^^ate drawers, and empty their 
contents, amounting, in fact, to a trifle of some few hundred dollars. 
Finding that he had indeed no more to give them they prepared to 
depart, when the monk said " We must kill him, or he will recognise 
us." " No," said the officers, " leave liim and come along. Acre 
is no danger." " Go on," said the monk, " I follow;" and, turning 
back, stabbed the Consul to the heart. The three then re-entered the 
carriage, and drove off at full speed. A few minutes afterwards the 
porter returning found his master bathed in blood, and mshing out 
to a neighbouring gambhng-house gave the alarm. Several gentle- 
men ran to his assistance, but he died an hour after, having given all 
the particidars of the dress and appearance of his murderers', and that 
of their carriage. By these tokens they were soon afterwards dis- 
covered, and by the energy of the Governor, then Count C a, 

they were arrested and hanged upon the trees in front of our house, 
together with a real Mexican Colonel, who had Idndly lent the 
ruffians his carriage for the occasion. It is seldom that crime here 
meets mth so prompt a punishment. 

Our friend. Count C a, when Governor of Mexico, was cele- 

bratedforliis energyin "■ el persiguhnientode las /«f/ro72e5," (persecuting 
the robbers,) as it is called. It is said upon one occasion his ze3 
carried him rather far. Various robberies ha\ung been committed 
in the city, he had received a hint from the government, that the 
escape of the perpetrators was considered by them as a proof that he 
had grown lukewarm in the pubHc service. A few days afterwards, 
riding in the streets, he perceived a notorious robber, who, the 
moment he observed himself recognised, darted do-^vn another street 
with the s\%aftness of an arrow. The Governor pursued him on 
horseback; the robber made all speed towards the Square, and rushed 
into the sanctuary of the Cathedral. The Count galloped in after 
him, and dragged him from his place of refuge near the altar. Tliis 
^aolation of the church's sanctity was, of course, severely repri- 


mancled, but, as the Governor remarked, tliey could no longer ac- 
cuse liim of want of zeal in tlie discharge of his duty. 

He took as his porter the captain of a gang of robbers, orderuig him 
to stand at the door, and to seize any of his former acquamtanccs who 
mio-ht pass, his own pardon depending on his conduct mtliis respect. 
Riding out one day to his country place with his lady, this man ac- 
companyino- them as a servant, they were overtaken by a messenger, 
who desired the return of the Count to the city, upon some ui'gent 
and important business. It was already dusk, yet the Count, trust- 
ing to the honour of the robber, ordered him to conduct his lady to 
the hacienda, and she alone on horseback, with this alarming guide, 
performed her joui'iiey in safety. , 

Before I conclude this letter, I must tell you that 1 received a 
visit this morning from a very remarkable character, well knovm 
here by the name of La Guera (the fair) Rodriguez, said to have 
been many years ago celebrated by Humboldt as the most beautilul 
woman he had seen in the whole course of his travels. Considering 
the lapse of time which has passed since that distingvushed traveller 
visited these parts, I was almost astonished when her card was sent 
up with a request for admission, and still more so to find that in 
spite of years and of the furrows which it pleases Time to plough m 
the lovehest faces, La Gliera retains a profusion of fair cm-Is without 
one gray hair, a set of beautiful white teeth, very fine eyes, and 
great vivacity. . . 

Her sister, the Marquesa de Juluapa, lately dead, is said to liave 
been also a woman of great talent and extraordinary conversational 
powers; she is another of the ancient noblesse who has dropped o±L 
The physician who attended her in her last ilhiess, a Frenchman ot 
the name of Plan, in great repute here, has sent in a bill to her exe- 
cutors of ten thousand dollars, which, although it does not excite any 
great astonishment, the family refuse to pay, and there is a lawsuit m 
consequence. The extortions of medical men in Mexico, especially^ 
of foreign physicians, have arrived at such a height, that a person ot 
moderate fortune must hesitate before putting himself into their 
hands.* A rich old lady in dehcate health, and with no particular 
complaint, is a surer fund for them than a silver-mine. 

I foimd La Gliera very agreeable, and a perfect h^ang clironicle 
She is married to her third husband, and had three daughter, all 
celebrated beauties; the Countess de Regla, who died m New York, 
and was bm-ied in the cathedral there; the Marquesa de Guadalupe, 

also dead, and the Marquesa de A a, now a handsome widow. 

We spoke of Humboldt, and talking of her self as of a tliird person, 

* The Mexican Government has since taken this matter into consideration, 
and is makin- re-ulations which render it necessary for a medical man to possess 
a certain de^^ree of knowledge, and to have resided a specified time in the city, 
before he is permitted to practise ; they are also occupied in hxing a certain sum 
for medical attendance. 


she related to me all the particulars of his first visit, and his admira- 
tion ol her; that she was then very young, though married, and the 
mother of two children, and that when he came to visit her mother 
she was sitting sewing in a corner where the Baron did not perceive 
her;_until tallan- very earnestly on the subject of cochineal, he 
inqmrcd if he could visit a certain district where there was a plant- 
ation of nopals -To be sure," said La Guera from her comer; 
_ we can take M. do Humboldt there;" whereupon he first perceiv- 
ing her, stood amazed and at length exclaimed, " Valgame Dios ! 
who IS that gir r Afterwards he was constantly witli her, and 
more captivated it is said, by her wit than by her beautv; consider- 
ing her a sort of western Madame de Stael; aU which "^leads me to 
suspect that the grave traveller was considerably imder the influence 
ot her fascinations, and that neither mines nor mountains, ffeoffra- 
phy nor geology, petrified shells nor alpenkalkstein, had occupied him 
to the exclusion of^ a shght stratum of flirtation. It is a comfort ta 
think that sometimes even the great Humboldt nods " 

One of La Guera's stories is too original to be lost. A lady of hi-h 
rank having diecl m Mexico, her relatives undertook to commit her 
to her last resting-place, habited according to the then prevailing 
fashion m her most magmficent di-ess, that which she had worn at 
her wedding This dress was a wonder of luxury, even in Mexico. 
It was entirely composed of the finest lace, and the flounces were 
made of a species of point which cost fifty doUars a vara (the Mex- 
ican yard). Its equal was unkno^vn. It was also ornamented and 
looped up at certain intervals with bows of ribbon very richly em- 
broidered m gold. In this dress, the Condesa de was laid in 

iier coffan, thousands of dear friends crowdino- to view her beautiful 
costume de mort, and at length she was placed in her tomb, the key 
ot which was intrusted to the sacristan. 

From the tomb to the opera is avciy abrupt transition ; neverthe- 
less, both have a share m this story. A company of French dancers 
appeared 111 Mexico a twentieth-rate ballet, and the chief danseuse 
was a httle French damsel, remarkable for the shortness of her robes 
her coquetry and her astonishing pirouettes. On the nioht of a 
favourite ballet, Mademoiselle PauHne made her aitree in a'^succes- 
sion of pirouettes and poising on her toe, looked round for approba- 
tion, when a sudden thrill of horror, accompanied by a munmir of 
indignation, pervaded the assembly. Mademoiselle PauHne was 
eqmpped in the very dress in which the defunct countess had been 
buried! Lace point flounces, gold ribbons; impossible to mistake 
It. llardly had the curtain dropped, when the little danseuse found 
herself surrounded by competent authorities, questioning her as to 
where and how she had obtained her dress. She replied that she 
had bought It at an extravagant price from a French modiste in the 
city. She had rifled no tomb, but honestly paid down golden 
ounces, m exchange for her lawful property. To the modiste's went 
the officers of justice. She also pleaded innocent. She had bouoht 


it of a man who liad brought it to lier for sale, and had paid him 
much more than ci poids d'or, as indeed it was worth. By dint of 
further investigation, the man was identified, and proved to be the 

sacristan of San . Short-sighted sacristan ! He was arrested 

and throAvn into prison, and one benefit resulted from his cupidity, 
since in order to avoid throwing temptation in the way of future 
sacristans, it became the custom, after the body had lain in state for 
some time in magnificent robes, to substitute a plain dress previous 
to placing the coffin in the vault. A poor vanity after all. 

I was told by a lady here, that on the death of her grandchild, he 
was not only enveloped in rich lace, but the diamonds of three 
Condesas and four Marquesas were collected together and put on 
him, necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches, and tiaras, to the value of 
several hundred thousand dollars. The street was hung with drape- 
ries, and a band of music played, whilst he was visited by all the 
titled relatives of the femily in his dead splendour, poor little baby ! 
Yet his mother mourned for him as for all her bhghted hopes, and 
the last scion of a noble house. Grief shows itself in different ways; 
yet one might think that when it seeks consolation in display, it 
must be less profound than when it shuns it. 


San Fernando— House of Perez de Galvez— A Removal— Size of the Houses 
—Old xMonastery— View by Sunset— Evening Visits— Mexican Etiquette— 
A Night-view from the Azotea—Tacubaya—Magueys— Making of Pulque 
— Organos and Nopal— Environs of Mexico— Miracle— Hacienda— View 

from the Countess C a's House— Arzobispado— Anecdote— Comparative 

View of Beauty— Indians— Rancheritas— Mexican Cordiality— Masses for 
the Dead— San Augustin— Form of Invitation— Death of a Senator— A 

San Fernando, 25tli February. 

We have been engaged for some time past in the disagreeable 
occupations, first of finding, then of furnishing, and lastly of enter- 
inf into a new house. We were very anxious to liire that of the 
Marquesa de Juluapa, which is pretty, well situated,_ and has a gar- 
den; but the agent, after making us wait for his decision more than 
a fortnight, mformcd us that ho had determined to sell it. House- 
rent is "extremely Ifigh ; nothing tolerable to be ^ had under two 
thousand five hundred dollars per ammm, unfurnished. There is 


also an extraordinary custom of paying a sum called traspaso, some- 
times to tlie amount of fourteen thousand dollars, taking your 
chance of having the money repaid you by the next person who 
takes the house. We next endeavoured to procure a house not far 
from our present residence, a palace in fact, which I mentioned to 
you before as having been occupied at one time by Santa Anna, and 
at another by the English Legation, but the present proprietor can- 
not be prevailed upon to let it. It has a beautiful garden and oHve- 
ground, but is not a very secure abode, except with a guard of 
soldiers. AV^e at length came to the determination of taking up our 

quarters here. It is a handsome new house, built by General G , 

and has the fault of being only too large. Built in a square like all 
Mexican houses, the ground floor, which has a stone-paved court 
with a fountain in the middle, contains about twenty rooms, besides 
outhouses, coach-house, stables, pigeon-house, garden-house, &c. The 
second story where the principal apartments are, the first-floor being 
chiefly occupied by servants, has the same number of rooms, with 
coal-room, wood-room, bath-room, and water everywhere, in the 
court below, in the garden, and on the azotea, which is very spa- 
cious, and where, were the house our own, we might build a mira- 
dor, and otherwise ornament it ; but to build for another is too 
heroic. The great defect in all these houses is their want of finish ; 
the great doors that will not shut properly, and the great mndows 
down to the ground, which in the rainy season will certainly admit 
water, making these residences appear something Hke a cross-breed 
between a palace and a barn ; the splendour of the one, the discom- 
fort of the other. I will not inflict upon you the details of all our 
petty annoyances caused by procrastinating tradesmen. Suffice it to 
say, that the Mexican manana (to-morrowj, if properly translated, 
means never. As to prices, I conclude we pay for being foreigners 
and diplomates, and will not believe in a fiirst experience. However, 
we are settled at last, and find the air here much purer than in the 
heart of the city, while the maladies and epidemics so common 
there, are here almost unknown. Behind tliis house is a very small 
garden, bounded on one side by the great wall which encloses the 
orchard of the old monastery of San Fernando, within whose vast 
precincts only seven or eight monks now hnger. It is an immense 
building, old and gray, and time-worn, with church adjoining, and 
spacious lands appertaining to it. At all times it is picturesque, but 
by moonlight or sunset it forms a most olden-time ^^sion. 

At that hour, standmg alone in the high-walled garden when the 
convent bells are tolhng, and the convent itself, with its iron-barred, 
Gothic windows, and its gray-green ohve-trees that look so unreal 
and hfeless, is tinged by the last rays of the sun, the whole seems 
like a vision, or a half-remembered sketch, or a memory of ro- 

Then the sim sets behind the snow-crowned mountains with a 
bright fiery red, covering their majestic sides Avith a rosy glow, 


wliile great black clouds come sailing along liketlie wings of niglit ; 
and tlieu is tlie liom' for remembering that this is Mexico, and in 
spite of all tbe evils that bave fallen over it, tbe memory of tbe ro- 
mantic past bovers tbere still. But tbe dark clouds sail on, and en- 
velop tbe crimson tints yet Hngering and blusliing on '_^tbe lofty 
moimtains, and like monstrous nigbt-birds brood tbere in silent 
watcb, and gradually tbe wbole landscape ; — mountains and sky, 
convent and obve-trees, look gray and sad, and seem to melt away 
in tbe dim twiligbt. 

Tben tbe brigbt moon rises and ilmgs ber silver veil over tbe 
mountains, andligbts up tbe plains, gbttering and quivering^ upon 
tbe old gray stones, and a sound of mibtary music is beard in tbe 
distance far and faint. And all tbe bells are toUing ; from old San 
Fernando tbat repeats bimself bke a sexagenarian ; from tbe towers 
of tbe catbedral, from many a distant cliurcb and convent ; and 
above tbe rmnbbng of carriages and tbe bum of tbe city, are beard 
tbe notes of a bymn, now rising, now falling on tbe ear as a rebgious 
procession passes along to some neigbbormno- temple. But it grows 
late — a carriage enters tbe coirrtyard — a visit. Tbere is no ro- 
mance bere. Men and women are tbe same everywbere, wbetber 
enveloped in tbe graceful mantilla, or wearing Herhault's last, 
wbetber wrapt in Spanisb cloak, or Mexican sarape, or Scottisb 
plaid. Tbe manners of tbe ladies bere are extremely kind, but 
Spanisb etiquette and compbments are beyond measure tiresome. 
After baving embraced eacb lady wbo enters, according to tbe 
fasbion, wliicb after all seems cordial to say tbe least of it, and seated 
tbe lady of most consequence on tbe rigbt side of tbe sofa, a point 
of great importance, tbe following dialogue is de rigueur. " How 
are you ? Are you well ?" " At your service, and you ?" 
" Witbout novelty (sin novedad) at yoiu' service." " I am rejoiced, 
and bow are you, Senora ?" " At your disposal, and you ?" _ "A 
tbousand tbanks, and tbe Senor ?" " At your service, ^atbout 
novelty," &c. &c. &c. Besides, before sitting down, tbere is " Pray be 
seated." " Pass first, Seiiorita.'^ " No, madam, pray pass first." " Vcaja, 
well, to obbge you, witbout fLu:tber ceremony ; _ I disbke compb- 
ments and etiquette." And it is a fact tbat tbere is no real etiquette 
but tbe most perfect laissez aller in tbe world. All tbese are mere 
words, tokens of good wiU. If it is in tbe morning, tbere is tbe 
additional question of " How bave you passed tbe nigbt ?" And 
tbe answer, " In your ser\dce." Even in Mexico tbe weatber affords 
a legitimate opening for a conversation battery, but tliis cbiefly wben 
it rains or looks dull, wbicb, occasioning surprise, gives rise to obser 
vation. Besides, a sbgbt cbangein tbe degree of beat or cold wbicb 
we would not observe, tbey comment upon. 

Tbe -visit over, tbe ladies re-embrace, tbe lady of _ tbe bouse fol- 
lowing ber guest to tbe top of tbe staircase, and again compbrnents 
are given and received. " Madam, you know tbat my bouse is at 
your disposal." " A tbousand tbanks, madam. Mine is at yours, 


and tliougli useless, know me for your servant, and command me in 
every tiling that you may desire." " Adieu, I hope yon may pass a 
good night," &c. &c. &c. At the bottom of the first land- 
ing-place the visiters again turn round to catch the eye of the lady 
of the house, and the adieus are repeated. All this, which struck 
me at first, already appears cpite natural, and woidd scarce be worth 
mentioning, but as alibrding a contrast to our shght and indifferent 
manner of receiving and taking leave of our guests. All the ladies 
address each other, and are addressed by gentlemen, by their Christian 
names, and those who have paid me more than one or two visits, 
use the same familiar mode of address to me. Amongst women I 
rather like this, but it somewhat startles my ideas of the fitness of 
things to hear a young man address a married women as Maria, An- 
tonia, Anita, &c. However, things must be taken as they are 
meant, and as no familiarity is intended, none should be sup- 

But these visiters are gone, and into the open court the consola- 
tory moon is shining. All clouds have passed away, and the blue 
sky is so blue, as to dazzle the eyes even in the moonlight. Each 
star shines out bright, golden, and distinct, and it seems a sin to 

sleep and to lose so lovely a night But for a true night 

view, mount upon the Azotea, and see all Mexico sleeping at your 
feet ; the whole A^alley and the city itself floating in moonlight ; the 
blue vault above gemjned with stars, and the mountains all bathed 
in silver, the white volcanoes seeming to join earth and sky. Here 
even Salvator's genius Avould fail. We must evoke the ghost of 
Byron. The pencil can do nothing. Poetry alone might give a 
faint idea of a scene so wondrously beautiful. 

26th. — Wc went yesterday with Mr. M , his wife and 

daughter and a padre to visit the archbishop's palace at Tacubaya, 
a pretty village about four miles from Mexico, and a favourite ride 
of ours in the morning. The country round Mexico, if not always 
beautiful, has the merit of being original, and on the road to Tacu- 
baya, which goes by Chapultepec, you pass large tracts of country, 
ahnost entirely uncultivated, though so near the city, or covered by 
the mighty maguey plant, the American agave, which will flourish 
on the most arid soil, and, like a fountain in a desert place, furnishes 
the poorest Indian with the beverage most grateful to his palate. 
It seems to be to them what the reindeer is to the Esquimaux, fitted 
by nature to supply all his wants. The maguey and its produce, 
pulque^ were known to the Indians in the most ancient times, and 
the primitive Aztecs may have become as intoxicated on their fa- 
vourite octU^ as they called it, as the modern Mexicans do on their 
beloved pxflque. 

It is not often that we see the superb flower with its colossal stem, 
for the plant that is in blossom is a useless beauty. The moment the 
experienced Indian becomes aware that his maguey is about to flower, 
he cuts out the heart, covers it over with the side leaves of the 


plant, and all tlie juice whicli slionld have gone to the great stem of 
the flower, runs into the empty basin thus formed, into which the 
Indian, thrice a day, and during several months in succession, inserts 
his acojote or gourd, a kind of syphon, and applying his moutli to 
the otlier end"^ draws ofi" the Hquor by suction ; a curious-looking 
process. First it is called honey- water, and is sweet and scentless; 
but easily ferments when transferred to the skins or earthen vases 
where it is kept. To assist in its fermentation, however, a little old 
pulque, Madre pulque, as it is called, which has fermented for many 
days, is added to it, and in twenty-four hours after it leaves the 
plant, you may imbibe it in all its perfection. It is said to be the 
most wholesome drink in the world, and remarkably agreeable when 
one has overcome the first shock occasioned by its rancid odour. At 
all events, the maguey is a source of unfaiHng profit, the. consumption 
of pulque being enormous, so that many of the richest families in the 
capital owe their fortune entirely to the produce of their magueys. 
When the owners do not make the pulque themselves, they fre- 
quently sell tlieir plants to the Indians; and a maguey, which costs 
a real when first planted, mil, when ready to be cut, sell for twelve 
or eighteen dollars; a tolerable profit, considering that it grows in 
ahnost any soil, requires Httle manure, and, unlike the vine, no very 
special or periodical care. They are planted in rows, hke hedges, 
and though the individual plant is handsome, the general effect is 
monotonous. Of the fibres is made an excellent strong thread called 
pita, of which pita they make a strong brownish paper, and might 
make cloth if they pleased. There is, however, httle improvement 
made by the Mexicans upon the ingenmty of their Indian ancestors, 
in respect to the maguey. Upon paper made of its fibres, the ancient 
Mexicans painted their hieroglyphical figures. The strong and 
pointed thorns, which terminate the gigantic leaves, they used as 
nails and pins; and amongst the abuses, not the uses of these, the 
ancient sanguinary priests were in the habit of piercino- their breasts 
and tearing their arms with them, in acts of expiation. Besides, 
there is a very strong brandy distilled from pulque, which hap the 
advantage of producing intoxication in an infinitely shorter period. 

Together with the maguey, grows another immense production of 
nature, the organos, which resembles the barrels orpipes of an organ, 
and being covered with prickles, the plants growing close together, 
and about six feet lugh, makes the strongest natural fence imagin- 
able, besides being covered with beautiful flowers. There is also 
another species of cactus, the nopal which bears the tuna, a most 
refreshing fruit, but not ripe at this season. The plant looks Hke cT, 
series of flat green pincushions fastened together, and stuck full of 
diminutive needles. 

But though the environs of Mexico are flat, though^ there are few- 
trees, Httle cultivation, uninhabited haciendas, and ruined churches 
in all directions, still, with its beautiful climate and ever-smiHng sky, 
the profusion of roses and sweet-peas in the deserted gardens, the 


occasional clmnps of fine trees, particularly tlie graceful Arbol de 
Peru {schinum molle, the Peru-vaan pepper-tree), its bending branches 
loaded with bunches of coral-coloured berries, the old orchards with 
their blossoming fruit-trees, the conviction that every thing necessary 
for the use of man can be produced with scarcely any labour, all 
contributes to render the landscape one which it is impossible to pass 
through Avith indifference. 

A magnificent ash-tree (the Mexican fresno), the pride of Tacu- 
baya; which throws out its luxuriant branches, covering a laro-e 
space of ground, was pointed out to us as ha^ang a tradition attached 
to it.^ It had nearly withered away, when the Ylustrisimo Sefior 
Fonti, the last of the Spanish archbishops, gave it his solemn bene- 
diction, and prayed that its vigour might be restored. Heaven 
heard his prayer; new buds instantly shot forth, and the tree has 
since continued to thrive luxuriantly. 

Tacubaya is a scattered village, containing some pretty country- 
houses and some old gardens with stone'' fountains. The word 
country-house must not, however, be understood in the EngKsh 
acceptation^ of the Avord. The house, which is in fact merely used 
as an occasional retreat during the siuaimer months, is generally a 
large empty building, with innumerable lofty rooms, communicating 
with each other, and containing the scantiest possible supply of 
furniture. One room will have in it a deal table and a few chairs; 
you will then pass through five or six quite empty; then you will 
arrive at two or three, with green painted bedsteads and a bench ; 
the walls bare, or ornamented with a few old pictures of Saints and 
Virgins, and bare floors ornamented with nothing. To tliis add a 
kitchen and outhouses, a garden running to waste and overrunning 
with flowers, with stiff stone walks and a fountain in the middle, an 
orchard and an olive -ground ; such are most of the haciendas that I 

have yet seen. That of the Countess C a, which seems to be 

the handsomest in Tacubaya, is remarkable for commanding from its 
windows one of the most beautifvd views imaginable of Mexico, the 
volcanoes and Chapultepec. From her azotea there is also a splendid 
view of the whole valley ; and as her garden is in good order, that 
she has an excellent bilhard-table, a piano, but above all, a most 
agreeable society in her own family, and that her house is the very 
centre of hospitaHty, one may certainly spend many pleasant hours 
there, without regretting the absence of the luxurious fiu-niture, 
which, in Mexico, seems entirely confined to the to-wn houses. The 
Countess herself assured us that she had twice completely fm-nished 
her house, but as, in two revolutions, every thing was thrown out of 
the windows and destroyed, she was resolved in future to confine 
herself to le striate necessaire. 

We went to see a house and garden which has fallen, in chance 
succession, to a poor woman, who, not being able to occupy her 
unexpected inheritance, is desirous of seUing it. The garden and 
grounds are a deserted wilderness of sweets. We were joined by 


several monks from a nciglibouriiio- convent, and witli tlieni went to 
visit the archbishop's palace. Chemin faisant, the padre informed 
us that he was formerly a merchant, a married man, and a friend of 
Ytnrbide's. He failed, liis ^\afe died, his_ friend was shot, and he 
joined a small community of priests who live retired in the convent 
of La Profesa, which, with its chm'ch, is one of the richest in 
Mexico. . . 

The Arzohispado is a large, handsome, but deserted building, 
commanding the same fine view as from the house of the Countess, 
and with a garden and fine olive-ground, of wliich the trees were 
brought from Europe. The garden was filled with large double pink 
roses, and bimches of the mille-fleur-rose, which are disposed in 
arches, a favourite custom here, also with a profusion of sweet-peas 
and jessamine, and a few orange-trees. The gardener gave ris some 
beautiful bouquets, and we fingered here till^ smiset, admiring the 
view. There is no point from which Mexico is seen to such adyan- 
tao-e. It is even a finer prospect than that from Chapultepec, since 
it 'embraces the castle itself, one of the most striking features in the 
landscape. But just as the sun sunk behind the mountains, a sudden 
change took place in the weather. The wind rose, great masses of 
dark clouds came driving over the sky, and the rain fell in torrents, 
forcing us to make a hasty retreat to our carriages, and having 
omitted to take any precautions, and tliis road not being particularly 
safe at night, we were probably indebted for our safe return more to 
" ^ood luck than good guidance;" or, perhaps, we owed it in part 
to^he jJadre, for the robbers are shy of attacldng either soldiers or 
priests, the first from fear, and the second from awe. 

Talking of robbers and robberies, rather a fertile themeof cou- 

versation°Senor told me the other day that in the time of a 

former president, it came to pass, that a certain gentleman went to 
take his leave at the palace, previous to setting off for Vera Cruz. 
He was received by the president, who was alone with lus aide-de- 
camp. General , and mentioned to him in confidence that he 

was about to take a considerable sum of money with liim, but^ that 
it was so well concealed in the fining of a trunk, which he described, 
that even if attacked by robbers, it was impossible they should dis- 
cover it, and that therefore he did not think it necessary to take an 
escort with him. The next day this confidential gentleman left 
Mexico, in the diligence. Not iar from the gates the coach was 
attacked, and, strange to say, the robbers singled out the very trunk 
which contained the money, opened it, ripped up the fining, and 
ha^fing possessed themselves of the sum therein concealed, peaceably 
departed. It was a singular coincidence, that the captain of the 
robbers, though somewhat disguised, bore a striking general resem- 
blance to the president's aide-de-camp! Tliese coincidences will 

happen . . . ^ 

My chief occupation, lately, has consisted in returning visits; and 
it is certain that, according to oiu- views of the case, there is too 


wide a distinction between the full-dress style of toilet adopted by 
the ladies when they pay visits, and the undress in which they 
receive their visiters at home. To tliis there are some, nay many 

exceptions, but ere masse this is the case 

On first arriving from the United States, where an ugly woman 
is a phoenix, one cannot fail to be struck at the first glance mth the 
general absence of beauty in Mexico. It is only by degrees that 
handsome faces begin to dawn upon us; but, however, it must be 
remarked that beauty without colour is apt to be less striking and to 
make less impression on us at first. The brilhant complexion and 
fine figure of an Englishwoman strike every eye. The beauty of 
expression and finely-chiselled features of a Spaniard steal upon us 
hke a soft moonhght, while a Frenchwoman, however plain, has 
so graceful a manner of saying agreeable things, so charming a 
tournure, such a piquant way of managing her eyes and even her 
mouth, that we think her a beauty after half an hour's acquaintance, 
and even lose our admiration for the quiet and high-bred, but less 
graceful Anglaise. The beauty of the women here consists in superb 
black eyes, very fine dark hair, a beautiful arm and hand, and small, 
well-made feet. Their defects are, that they are frequently too 
short and too fat, that their teeth are often bad, and their complexion 
not the clear ohye of the Spaniards, nor the glowing brown of the 
Itahans, but a biHous-looking yellow. Their notion "of inserting the 
foot into a shoe half an inch shorter, ruins the foot and destroys 
their grace in walking, and, consequently, in every movement. 

This fiishion is, fortunately, beginning to fall into disuse It 

is therefore evident that when a Mexicana is endowed with white 
teeth and a fine complexion, when she has not grown too fat, and 
when she does not torture her small foot to make it smaller, she must 

be extremely handsome The general carelessness of their 

dress in the morning is, however, another great drawback to beauty. 
A Avoman without stays, with uncombed hair and rehoso, had need 
to be very lovely, if she retain any attraction at all. Tliis indolence, 
indeed, is going out_ of fashion, especially among the younger part of 
the community, owing, perhaps, to their more frequent intercourse 
with foreigners, though it will probably be long before the morning 
at home is not considered a privileged time and place for dishabille! 
Notwithstanding, I have made many visits where I have found the 
whole family in a perfect state of order and neatness, but I have ob- 
served that there the fathers, and what is more important, the 
mothers, had travelled in Europe, and estabHshed a new order of 
things on their return. 

Upon the whole, the handsomest women here are not Mexicans, 
that is, not born in the capital, but in the provinces. From Puebla, 
and Jalapa and Vera Cruz, we see many distinguished by their biil- 
liant complexions and fine teeth, and who are taller and more graceful 
than those born in the city of Mexico; precisely as in Spain, where 
the handsomest women in Madrid are said to be those born out of it. 

FOOD. 81 

The common Indians, whom we see every day brhiging in their 
fruit and vegetables to market, are, generally speaking, very plain, 
with a humble, mild expression of countenance, very gentle, and 
wonderfully polite in their manners to each other; but occasionally, 
in the lower classes, one sees a face and form so beautiful, that we 
might suppose such another was the Indian who enchanted Cortes; 
■with eyes and hair of extraordinary beauty, a complexion dark but 
glowing, with the Indian beauty of teeth hke the driven snow, 
together with small feet and beautifully-shaped hands and arms, 
however imbrowned by sun and toil. In these cases it is more than 
probable that, however Indian in her appearance, there must have 
been some intermarriages in former days between her progenitors and 
the descendants of the conquerors. We also occasionally observe 
very handsome Rancheritas^ wives or daughters of the farmers, riding 
in front of their farm-servants on the same horse, with the white 
teeth and fine figures which are preserved by the constant exercise 
that country women must perforce take, whatever be their natural 
indolence, while the early fading of beauty in the liigher classes, the 
decay of teeth and the over-corpulency so common amongst them, are 
no doubt the natural consequences of want of exercise and of inju- 
dicious food. There is no country in the world where so much 
animal food is consumed, and there is no country in the world where 
so Httle is reqiiired. The consumers are not the Indians, who cannot 
afiTord it, but the better classes, who generally eat meat three times a 
day. Tliis, with the quantities of cliile and sweetmeats, in a climate 
which every one complains of as being irritating and inflammatory, 
probably produces those nervous complaints which are here so 
general, and for which constant hot baths are the universal and 
agreeable remedy. 

In point of amiabihty and warmth of manner, I have met -with no 
women who can possibly compete with those in Mexico, and it 
appears to me that women of all other countries will appear cold and 
stiff by comparison. To strangers this is an unfailing charm, and it is 
to be hoped that whatever advantages they may derive from their 
intercoiu'se with foreigners, they may never lose this graceful cor- 
diaHty, which forms so agreeable a contrast with Enghsh and 
American frigidity 

C n received an invitation some time ago to attend the Jioiiras 

of the daughter of the Marquis of S a, that is, the celebration 

of mass for the repose of her soul. M was observing to-day, 

that if this Catholic doctrine be firmly bcUeved, and that the 
prayers of the church are indeed availing to shorten the sufferings 
of those who have gone before us; to relieve those whom we 
love from thousands of years of torture, it is astonishing how the 
rich do not become poor, and the poor beggars, in furtherance of 
tliis ol)ject; and that if the idea be purely human, it showed a 
wonderful knowledge of human nature, on the part of the inventor, 
as what source of profit coidd be more sure ? . . . . 


Certainly no expense was spared on tliis occasion. San Augustin, 
in itself a beautiful cliurcli, was fitted up with extraordinary splen- 
dour. The walls and pillars were covered with draperies of rich 
crimson velvet. Innumerable wax candles were hghted, and an in- 
visible band of music played during the intervals of the deep-rolling 
organ. All the monks of San Augustin, with theu' white hoods 
and sandalled feet, and carrying hghted tapers, were ranged near the 
altar. All the male relatives of the family, dressed in deep mourning, 
occupied the liigh-backed chairs placed along one side of the church, 
the floor of which was covered with a carpet, on which various 
veiled and mourning figures were kneeling, whom I joined. The 
whole service, the chanting, the solemn music, and the prayers, were 
very Impressive, yet more joyous than sad, perhaps from^ the per- 
vading feehng that each note, as it rose to heaven, carried some 
alleviation to the spirit of the young and beloved one for whose 
repose they prayed, and brought her nearer to the gates of the Holy 

She was but twenty when she died; and our first house is close to 

that of the Marquis de S a, her father, so that we were shocked 

to leani that she had expired on the night of oiu' great serenade (we, 
of course, not aware of her illness), actually to the sound of that gay 
music, and amidst the shouting and clapping of hands of the multi- 
tude. Wlien the service was over the procession passed out, every 
one kissing the hand of the bishop as he went along, and we found 
some difficulty in making our way through the crowds of leperos, 
who, though not allowed to enter the church on tliis occasion, were 
swarming at the gates. Our carriage, as we returned home, formed 
one of a file of at least one hundred. 

We found on our table another invitation to a very splendid mass, 
which is to be performed in San Francisco, on account of the death 
of a friend of ours, a senator of distinguished family. The style of 
these invitations is as follows : — A device is engraved on the paper, 
such as a tomb and cypress, and below is printed, 

" Jose Maria A , 

Jose G de la C a, and Basiho G , 

brothers and uncle of the 

Senator Don Augustin T , 

who died on the twenty "eighth of last month, 
request you to assist at the suffrage of the funeral honours, which, by 

the desire of his wife. Dona J A , will be celebrated in the 

church of San Francisco on the morning of the eighth of this month 
of February, 1840, at nine o'clock." 

Beside this im-itation, was a piece of information of a different 
description : 

" General A and Anna R beg to inform you that they 

have contracted matrimony, and have the honour of offering them- 
selves to your disposal. 

" M Street, No. 24. Mexico, 1840." 


Here, as in Spain, a lady, after her marriage, retains her maiden 
name ; and though she adds to it that of her husband, she is more 
commonly known by her own. 

From ignorance of another Mexican custom, I made rather an 
awkward blunder the other day; though I must observe, in my 
justification, that I had lately been in the agonies of searching for 
servants, and had just filled all the necessary departments pretty 
much to my satisfaction. Therefore, when the porter of the Senora 

de brought me tlic comphments of his mistress, and that she 

begged to inform me that she had another servant at my disposal 
(otra criada a mi disposicion), I returned for answer, that I was 
greatly obliged, but had just hired a recamerera (chambermaid). 
At this the man, stupid as he was, opened his great eyes with a 
slight expression of wonder. Fortunately, as he was turning away, 
I bethought me of inquiring after the senora's health, and his reply, 
that " she and the baby were coming on very well," brought the truth 
suddenly before me, that the message was merely the etiquette used 
on informing the friends of the family of the birth of a child — a 
conviction which induced me slightly to alter the style of my answer. 
Experientia docet ! 


Calle de Tacuba — The Leap of Alvarado — The " Noclie Triste" — Sale of a 
Curate's Goods — Padre Leon — Leprosy — Pictures — The Annunciation — The 
Alameda — Paseo de Bucarelli — The Viga — Indians in Canoes — A Murder — • 
A Country Fete — Visit to the Colegia Vizcaino — The Jota Arragonesa — Old 

The street in wliich we hve forms part of the Calle de Tacuba, the 
ancient Tlacopan, one of the great causeways by which ancient 
Mexico communicated "with the continent. The other two were 
Tepeyayac (now Guadalupe) and Iztapalapan, by which last the 
Mexican emperor and his nobles went out to receive Cortes on his 
entrance to Tenochtitlan. Tlie ancient city was divided into four 
districts, and this division is still preserved, with a change from the 
Indian names to those of San Pablo, San Sebastian, San Juan, and 
Santa Maria. The streets run in the same direction as they did in 
former times. The same street frequently changes its name in each 
division, and this part of the Calle de Tacuba is occasionally called 
the " Plazuela del Sopilote," " San Fernando," and the " Puente 



de Alvarado," wliicli is the more classic of tlie three, as celebrating 
tlie valour of a hero ; while a ditch, crossed by a small bridge near 
this, still retains the name of " el SaUo de Alvarado," in memory of 
the famous leap given by the vahant Spaniard, Pedro de Alvarado, 
on the memorable night called the " noche triste" of the 1st of July, 
1520, when the Spaniards were forced to retreat from Mexico to the 
mountains of Tepeyayac. 

On that "sad night," the rain faUing in torrents, the moon and 
the stars refusing their light, the sky covered with thick clouds, 
Cortes commanded the silent march of his troops. Sandoval, the 
unconquerable captain, led his vanguard; and the stern hero, Pedro 
de Alvarado, brought up the rear. A bridge of wpod was carried 
by forty soldiers, to enable the troops to pass the ditches or canals, 
which must otherwise have impeded their retreat. It is said that in 
choosing the night for this march Cortes was guided by the counsels 
of an astrologer. 

Be that as it may, the first canal was happily passed by means of 
the portable bridge. The sentinels who guarded that point were 
overcome ; but the noise of the struggle attracted the attention of 
the vigilant priests, who in the silence' of the night were keeping 
watch in the temple. They blew the holy trumpets, cried to arms, 
and awakened the startled inhabitants from their slumbers. 

In a moment the Spaniard were surrounded by water and by land. 
At the second canal, which they had already reached, the combat 
was terrible. All was confusion, wounds, groans, and death; and 
the canal became so choked wth dead bodies, that the rear-guard 
passed over them as over a bridge. We are told that Cortes him- 
self swam more than once over the canal, regardless of danger, 
cheerinf>- on his men, giving out his orders, every blow aimed in the 
directiori of his voice, yet cool and intrepid as ever, in the midst of 
all the clamour and confusion and darkness. But arrived at the 
third canal, Alvarado finding himself alone, and^ surrounded by 
furious enemies, against whom it was in vain for his single arni to 
contend, fixed his lance in the bottom of the canal, and leaning 
against it, gave one spring to the opposite shore. 

An Aztec author, and contemporary of Cortes, says that Avhen 
the Indians beheld this marvellous leap, and that their enemy was 
safe, they bit the dust {cornier on fierr a); and that the children of 
Alvarado, who was ever after known as " Alvarado of the leap," 
proved in the course of a lawsuit before the judges of Tezcuco, by 
competent witnesses, the truth of this prowess of their father. 

In a hitherto unpubhshed manuscript which has come to light tliis 
year, in an annual called the " Mosaico Mcxicano," there are some 
curious particulars concerning the " Jioche triste." It is said that the 
alarm was given by an old woman who kept a stall ; and mention is 
made of the extraordinary valour of a lady called Maria de Estrada, 
who performed marvellous deeds with her sword, and who was after- 
wards married to Don Pedro Sanchez Farfan. It Is also said that 



when the Indians bclield tlie leap tliey called out, " Truly tlus man 
is the oiFspring of the sun;" and that tliis manner of tearmg up the 
crround, and eating earth by handlhls, was a common Indian mode 
Sf expressing admiration. However, Mexico is so rich m traditions, 
that when f particularize this one it is only because we hvc on the 
site where the event took place. ... r i 

We went a few days ago to see some effects which are lor sale, 
belonging to a cura who died lately, having heard that he has left 
some o-ood paintings amongst them. We went in the evening, and 
found°no one but°the agent (an individual in the Daniel Lambert 
stvle), an old woman or two, and the Padre Leon, a Jesmt, capellan 
of the Capuchin nuns, and Avhose face, besides being handsome, 
looks the very personification of all that is good, and mild, and holy. 
"V^liat a fine study for a painter his head would be ! The old priest 
who died, and who had brought over various valuables from bpam, 
had a sister who was a leper, and who died m the hospital of ban 
Lazaro. This dreadful scourge is by no means wholly unknown 
here ; and thouo-h it is ordained that all who are afilicted by it shaU 
be shut up in this hospital, I have met two persons, and one of these 
in society, who have the disease. 

For tlus house, which is very large, the executors ask a prepos- 
terous rent. Tlie goods of the defunct, wliich were for sale, were 
rano-ed on long tables in a very large apartment. There were virgins 
and" saints, surpHces, candlesticks and snuffer-trays ; boxes of all 
sorts and sizes ; an ill-set parure of emeralds and diamonds ; several 
n-ood paintings, especially one of the Annunciation. There was the 
death of San Jose, various saints, &c., all rehgious subjects, as may 

be supposed. Two C n bought; one I greatly coveted. There 

were also two large pieces of embroidered velvet, on which were the 
arms of Castile, said to have been hung on a portrait of Queen Cristma 

when she entered Madrid. The agent begged C n to buy them, 

askino- at the same time an impossible price therefor. 

There was moreover a large box full of rehcs from Jerusalem, 
wliich the padre told me could not be sold, but that I might choose 
whatever I hked ; so that I returned home with various Agnus Deis, 
crucifixes, and rosaries. The next day a messenger from Padre 
Leon brought me the painting of the Annunciation, which 1 had 
admired so much, and wliich is a sketch of Bayeu, _ a Valencian 
painter, from liis own painting of the Annimciation m the royal 
chapel of Aranjuez; also the embroidered velvet, begging my 
acceptance of both. We have since Avished to show our sense of the 
padi-e's politeness ; but he will neither accept presents, nor will he 
visit any one but such as in the hour of need require his spiritual 
services. In the house of sickness and by the bed of death he is ever 
to be found, but chiefly if it is also the abode of poverty. In the 
house of the rich man he rarely visits, and then only when his pre- 
sence has been requested— when he has been called in to administer 
spiritual consolation to the sick or the dying. But in the dwelhng 


of the lowly, in the meanest and most wi-etclied hovels, he has never 
to be sought. The guardian and friend of the poor, his charities 
are equally extensive and judicious 

Yesterday, being a fete-day, the Pasto was very full of carriages, 
and consequently more brilliant and amusing than usual. Tiois Paseo 
is the Mexican Prado or Hyde-Parh, while the Viga may be reckoned 
the Kensington Gardens of the metropohs, only however as succeed- 
ing to the other, for there is no walking, wliich in Mexico is consi- 
dered wholly imfashionable ; and though a few ladies in black gowns 
and mantillas do occasionally venture forth on foot very early to shop 
or to attend mass, the streets are so ill kept, the pavements so nar- 
row, the crowd so great, and the multitude of leperos in rags and 
blankets so annoying, that all these inconveniences, added to the 
heat of the sim in the middle of the day, form a perfect excuse for 
their non-appearance on the streets of Mexico. 

In the Alameda, however, which is so pretty and shady, it is 
very agreeable to w^alk; but though I have gone there frequently iu 
the morning, I have met but three ladies on foot, and of these, two 
were foreigners. _ After all, every one has feet, but ladies alone have 
carriages, and it may be a mixture of aristocracy and indolence 
which prevents the Mexican Doiias from profaning the soles of their 
feet by a contact with their mother earth. 

The Paseo called de Bucarelli, after a viceroy of that name, is a 
long and broad avenue boLmded by the trees which he planted, and 
where there is a large stone fountain, whose sparkhng waters look 
cool and pleasant, ornamented by a gilt statue of victory. Here, 
every evening, but more especially on Sundays and fete-days, wliich 
last are nearly iimumerable, may be seen two long rows of carriages 
filled with ladies, crowds of gentlemen on horseback riding down 
the middle between these carriages, soldiers at intervals attending 
to the preservation of pubhc order, and multitudes of common 
people and leperos, mingled with some well-di'essed gentlemen on 
foot. The carriages are for the most part extremely handsome- 
European coaches with fine horses and odd hveries, mingled with 
carriages made in the country, some in the old Mexican fashion, 
heavy and covered with gilding, or a modern imitation of an 
English carriage, strong, but somewhat clumsy and ill-finished. 
Various haclvney-coaches, drawn by mules, are seen among the finer 
equipages, some very tolerable, and others of extraordinary form 
and dimensions, which bear tokens of having belonged in former 
days to some noble Don. 

Horses, as being more showy, are more fashionable in these pubhc 
promenades than mules, but the latter animal requires less care, and 
is capable of undergoing more fatigue than the horse. Most famihes 
have both mules and horses in their stable, and for those who visit 
much tliis is necessary. The carriages, of which the most fiisliion- 
able seems to be the carratela, open at the sides, with glass windows, 
are filled with ladies in full toilet, without mantillas, their heads 


uncovered, and, generaUy, coiffks witli flowers or jewels; but tlie 
o-enerality being close coaclics, afford but an mdistmct view of the 
fnmates, as tbey pass along saluting each otlier witli tlieir fuigers or 
fan The whole scene, on the evening of a fete, is exceedingly bril- 
Hant, but very monotonous. The equestrians, with their fine horses 
and handsome Mexican dresses, apparently take no notice of the 
ladies as they pass, rarely salute them, and never ventm-e to enter 
into conversation with them. But they are weU aware to whom 
each carriage belongs, and consequently ^dien it behoves them to 
make their horses cmwet, and otherwise show off their horseman- 
ship to advantage. Black eyes are upon them, and they know it 
When the carriages have made two or three turns, they draw up at 
different stations in a semicii'cle a Httle off the road, and there the 
inmates sit and ^-iew the passers by. Occasional streams of smoke 
may be seen issuing from the carriages, but cliiefly, it must be con- 
fessed, from the most old-fashioned eqmpages, and from the hackney- 
coaches. Smoking amongst ladies in the higher classes is going 
very much out of fashion, and is rarely practised openly except by 
elderly, or at least by married ladies. In a secondary^ class indeed, 
young and old inhale the smoke of their cigantos without hesita- 
tion, but when a custom begins to be consldered_^;^^Z5rar it will 
liardly subsist another generation. Unfemimne as it is, i do not 
think it looks ungraceful to see a pretty woman smoke. 

ThisTaseo commands a fine view of the mountains but i greatly 
prefer the Viga, which now begins to be the fashionab e promenade. 
It is bordered by a canal shaded by trees which leads to the Chz- 
nampas, and is constantly covered with Indians m their canoes, 
bringino- in fruit and flowers and vegetables to the Mexican market. 
Early iS the morning it is a pretty sight to see them m tiiese canoes 
ghding along in a perfect bower of green branches and flowers. 
Yesterday! on returning from an evemng di'ive there ha.ang left 

C n and several gentlemen who had clmed with us taking coffee 

and smoking upon the balcony, I found that by good fortune I had 
escaped bei^g witness of a murder winch took place before our door. 
These gentkmen had observed, for some time a group of persons, 
male and female, of the lower class, talking and apparently amusing 
themselves; sometimes laughing, and at other times disputmg and 
giving each other blows. Suddenly, one of the nuniber, a man, 
darted out from amongst the others, and tried to escape by clamber- 
ing over the low wall wliich supports the arches of the aqueduct 
Inltantly, and quite coolly, another man followed him, drew his 
knife, and stabbed Hm in the back. The man fe 1 backwards with 
a groan, upon wliich a woman of the party, probably themurderer s 
wife, drew out her knife, and stabbed the man several times to tire 
heart, the others, meanwliile, neither speaking nor interfering;, but 
looking on Avith folded arms, and their usual placid smile of mdit- 

At tire same time, some soldiers appeared in the distance, ridmg 
down the street, seeing which, the man and woman who had com- 


mittecl tlie mm-der, endeavoured to take shelter in our house. The 
porter had, fortunately, barred the doors, and the soldiers riding up, 
took them both into custody. No sensation was excited by this 
which IS an cvery-day occurrence. Yesterday I saw a dead man 
lying near the Longa (the Exchange) and nobody took any notice 
ot lum Y ou have been engaged in a disagreeable business," said 

i to Colonel -, who had come to jDay us a visit, and was still en 

grancle tenue, having just returned from the execution of one of liis 
own soichers, who had stabbed a comrade. " Yes," said he with 
an air of pecuhar gaiety ; "we have just been shooting a' little 

tambour We were invited, lately, to a " dia de campo" (a 

day m the country), a very common amusement here, in wliich, 
without any pecuhar arrangement or etiquette, a number of people 
go out to some country place in the environs, and spend the day in 
dancing, breakfasting, walking about, &c. This was given at 

Tacubaya byDonB oG a, a senator, and was amusing 

enough. The music consisted of a band of guitars, from which the 
performers common men, and probably self-taught, contrived to 
draw wonderfully good music, and, in the intervals of dancing, 
played airs from the Straniera and Puritani. The taste for music is 
certainly universal, the fecilities wonderful, the science nearly at 
zero. -^ 

The ladies in g;encral wore neither diamonds nor pearls, but a sort 
ot demi-toilet, which would have been pretty if their dresses had 
been longer and their shoes not so tight. Some wore bonnets, which 

are considered full dress. The E flimily, and the young Seiiora 

de L, , were beautifully dressed. IMexican women, when they 

sit have a^ air of great dignity, and the most perfect repose of 
feature. They are always to be seen to most advantage on their 
sofas m their carriages, or in their boxes at the theatre. 

Ihere were immensely long tables, covered with Mexican 
cooljery, which I begin to get accustomed to ; and a great many 
toasts were given and a great quantity of champagne drank. We 
danced a greatdea , quadrilles, waltzes and Spanish country-dances, 
walked about m the garden and orchard in the evening, and re- 
turned to dance again to the music of the indeflitigable guitars, so 
that It was dusk when all the carriages set off, much about the same 
time, to bear each other company. 

The foUowing day, the Counters' C a having been kind 

enough to procure an order for permission to visit t\xQ Colegio Viz- 
caino, which I was anxious to see, we went there with a large party. 
Ihis coUege, founded by the gratuitous charities of Spaniards, 
chiefly fi-om the province of Biscay, is a truly splendid institution. 
It is an immense building of stone, in the form of a square, on the 
model, they say of the palace of Madrid, and possesses in the 
lughest degree that air of sohchty and magnificence which distin- 
guishes the Mexican edifices, and which, together with the mdth 
and regularity of tlie streets, the vastness of the pubKc squares, the 
total absence of all paltry ornament, the balccoiies with their balus- 


trades and window-gratings of solid iron and bronze, render Mexico, 
in spite of its inefficient police, one of the noblest-looking cities in 
the world. The object of this college is to provide for the educa- 
tion of the children of Spaniards, especially for the descendants of 
Biscayans, in Mexico ; a certain number being admitted upon apph- 
cation to the directors. Tliere are female teachers in all the neces- 
sary branches, such as reading, writing, se™g, arithmetic, &c.; 
but besides this, there is a part of the building with a separate en- 
trance, where the children of the poor, of whatever country, are 
educated gratis. These spend the day there, and go home in the 
evenino-. ^The others are kept upon the plan of a convent, and 
never leave the institution while they belong to it ; but the building 
is so spacious and airy, with its great galleries, and vast court and 
fine fomitains, garden and spacious azotea, that the children are per- 
fectly well off. There are portieres and sisters, pretty much as in a 
convent ; too-ether with an old respectable Rector a; and the most 
perfect o'rde? and cleanhness prevails through the whole estabhsh- 

We first visited the poor scholars, passing thi'ough the large halls 
where they sat with their teachers, divided into classes, sewmg, writ- 
ino-, readino-, embroidering, or casting up accounts, wliich last ac- 
comphshmSit must, I think, be sorely against the Mexican _ genius. 
One of the teachers made a little girl present me with a hair chain 
which she had just completed. Great order and decorum prevailed. 
Amongst the permanent scholars in the upper part of the institu- 
tion, there are some who embroider astonishingly well— surphces, 
altar-hangings, in short, all the church vestments m gold or silk. In 
the room°where these are kept are the confessionals for the pupils. 
The priests are in a separate room, and the pemtents kneel before 
the o-rating which separates the two apartments. All the sleepmg- 
rooms are scrupulously neat and clean, with two green painted beds 
in each, and a smaU parlour oft^ it, and frequently ornamented with 
flowers and birds. The girls are taught to cook and iron, and make 
themselves generally useful, thus being fitted to become excellent 
wives to respectable men in their own rank of hie. 

We visited the chapel, which is extremely rich and handsome, 
incrusted with gilding, and very large. The pupils and their 
teachers attend mass in the gallery above, which looks down upon 
the chapel and has a grating before it. Here tney have the organ, 
and various shrines, saints, nacimientos, &c. We were afterwards 
shown into a great hall devoted to a different purpose, containing at 
one end a small theatre for the pupils to act plays m. All the walls oi 
the loner galleries are covered with old paintings on holy subjects, 
but many of them lalhng to pieces from damp or want ol care.^ ihe 
building seems interminable, and after wandering al through it i or 
several houi-s, and visiting every thing-from the old g;arden below 
where they gave me a large bunch of roses and carnations, to the 
azotea above, which looks down upon every street and chiu-ch and 


convent in Mexico — we were not sorry to rest on the antique, 
higli-backed cliairs of a handsome apartment, of which the walls 
were hung with the portraits of the different Spanish directors of 
the college in an ancient court costume. Here we found that the 
directors had prepared a beautiful collation for us — fruit, ices, cakes, 
custards, jelhes, wines, &c., in great profvision. 

Rested and refreshed, we proceeded to \dsit the pupils at their 
different classes. At the -v\Titing-class various specimens of that po- 
lite art were presented to us. That of the elder girls was generally 
bad, probably from their having entered the college late in Hfe. 
That of the yormger ones was much more tolerable. We saw some 
really beautiful specimens of embroidery. Ha\dng returned to the 
hall where there was a piano, some of our party began to sing and 

play. The Seiiora G o sang an Itahan air beautifully. She is 

evidently a scientific musician. The Seiiorita H s played one 

of Herz's most difficult combinations with great execution, and a 
pretty girl, who is hving in a convent, ha\4ng been placed there by 
her novio, to keep her out of harm's way till he is prepared to give 
her his hand, sang a duet with another young lady, wliich I accom- 
panied. Both had fine voices, but no notion of what they were 

singing. My friend the Seiiora C dehghted us with some of 

the iimmnerable and amusing verses of the Jota Arragonesa, which 
seem to have neither end nor beginning, all gay and all imtranslat- 
able, or at least losing their point and wit when put into an Enghsh 
dress. Such as 

A poor man met with a sixpence. 
And for joy he gave up the ghost, 

And in the troubles of death, 
Even his sixpence was lost. 

The woman who loves two at once, 
Knows what is discreet and right, 

Since if one of her candles goes out, 
Still the other remains alight, &c. . 

It is impossible to see any building of tliis size kept more per- 
fectly clean and neat ; generally the case here in all estabhshments 
which are under petticoat government. These old Spanish institu- 
tions are certainly on a magnificent scale, though now for the most 
part neglected and falling to ruin ; nor has any work of great con- 
sequence been attempted since the independence. . . . 

After various alarms and rumours in our house concerning rob= 
bers, some true, some exaggerated, and some wholly false, we have 
at length procured two old Spanish soldiers of the Invaliclos, who 
have taken up their quarters down stairs, and spend their time in 
cleaning their grms, making shoes, eating and sleeping, but as yet 
have had no occasion to prove their valour. Perhaps the fact of 
there being soldiers in the house will be sufficient to keep off the 
more ordinary robbers. 



The Vi"-a during the Carnival— Variety of Equipages- The Millionaires— The 
Monks— Masked Ball— An alarming Sight— Medical Students— Dniner at 
the Prussian Minister's— Rides on Horseback— Indian Love of Flowers- 
Santa Anita— The Chinarnpas— Their Origin— Indians in Canoes— Song of 
" El Palomo"— Fighting— The Great Lakes— The Drain of Huehuetoca 
—The great Market of Tlatelolco. 

16th March. 
We are now in Lent in tlie midst of prayer, cliurcli-gomg, and 
fasting. The carnival was not very gay, with the exception^ of a 
few pubhc masked balls and very brilliant jjciseos. The Viga is one 
of the most beautiful promenades imaginable, though it might easily 
be rendered still more so; but even as it is, with its fine shady trees 
and canal, along wliich the lazy canoes are constantly ghdmg, it 
would be difficult, on a fine evening, just before sunset, especially 
on the evening of a fete-day, to find anywhere a prettier or more 
characteristic scene. Wliich rank of society shows the most taste 
in their mode of enjoyment, must be left to the scientific todeter- 
mine; the Indians, with their flower-garlands and guitars, lying m 
their canoes, and dancing and singing after their own fashion as 
they glide along the water, inhahng the balmy breezes ; or the 
ladies, who shut up in their close carriages, promenade along m full 
di-ess and silence for a given space of time, acknowledging by a 
gentle movement of their fan, the salutations of their fair friends from 
the recesses of their coaches, and seeming to dread lest the air of 
heaven shoidd visit them too roughly; though the soft breeze laden 
■with bahn, steals over the sleepy water, and the last rays ot the sun 
are gilding the branches of the trees wth a broken and flickering 

light. ... -Ill 

Then at certain Intervals of time each carriage slowly draws up 
beside its neighbour (as in the other paseo) ; the elegant carratela 
beside the plebeian hackney-coach; the splendid eqmpage ot^ the 
mimonaire beside the lumbermg and antique velncle whose fasxiion 
hath now departed. There sit the inmates m silence, as if the bu- 
siness of Hfe were over, and it was now their part to watch the busy 
world from the loopholes of their retreat, and see it rolhng along 
whilst they take their rest. The gentlemen also draw up their 
prancino- steeds, though not witliin hall of the carriages, but they 
in the fresh air and under the green trees have as much advantag-e 
over the Seiioras as the wandering friar has over the cloistered 


Yet enter the Viga about five o'clock, when freshly watered, and 
the soldiers have taken their stand to prevent disturbance, and two 
long fines of carriages are to be seen going and rctm-ning as far as 
the eye can reach, and hundreds of gay plebeians are assembled on 
the sidewalks with flowers and fruit and dulces for sale, and invu- 
lnerable equestrians in picturesque dresses, and with spirited horses, 
fiU up the interval between the carriages, and the canoes are cover- 
ing the canal, the Indians singing and dancing lazily as the boats 
steal along, and the whole under the blue and cloudless sky, and in 
that pure clear atmosphere; and could you only shut your eyes to 
the one disagreeable feature in the picture, the number of leperos 
busy in the exercise of their vocation, you would believe that 
Mexico must be the most flourislung, most enjoyable, and most 
peaceful place in the world, and moreover the wealthiest ; not a re- 
public, certainly, for there is no wefi-dressed people ; hardly a con- 
necting fink between the blankets and the satins, the poppies and 
the diamonds. As for the carriages, many would not disgrace Hyde 
Park, though there are some that would send a shiver all along Bond- 
street ; but the very contrast is amusing, and upon the whole, both 
as to horses and equipages, there is much more to admire than to 

There, for example, is the handsome carriage of the rich 

, who has one of the finest houses in Mexico ; his wife wears a 

velvet turban twisted with large pearls, and has at this moment a 
cigar in her mouth. She is not pretty, but her jewels are superb. 
How he made his fortune, partly by gambfing, and partly by even 
less honourable means, let some abler chronicler relate. Or look at 
this elegant carratela^ with its glass sides all opened, giving to view 
a constellation of fair ones, and dra^vn by handsome gray frisones. 
Tliese ladies are remarkable as having a more European air than 
most others, brighter colours, longer and simpler dresses, and Paris 
bonnets. Perhaps they have been in Europe. It is remarkable that 
the horses of the gentlemen all appear pecufiarly unmanageable every 
time they pass this carriage. Another handsome, plain carriage, 
containing the family of one of the ministers ; mother and daughters all 
beautiful, with Spanish eyes and dark glowing complexions, followed 
close by a hackney-coach containing women with rebosos, and little 

children, with their faces and fingers all bedaubed with candy 

Some of the coachmien and footmen wear Mexican dresses, and others 
have liveries. . . . . . But here come three carriages en suite y 

all with the same crimson and gold fivery, all luxurious, and all 
di'awn by handsome white horses. Is it the President ? Certainly 
not; it is too ostentatious. Even royalty goes in simpler guise, when 
it condescends to mingle in the anmsements of its subjects. In the 
first carriage appear the great man himself and his consort, rather 
withdrawing from the plebeian gaze. There is here much crimson 
and gold, much glass and well-stuffed cushions, much comfort and 
magnificence combined. Two handsome northern steeds, wlfite and 


prancing, draw tliis commodious equipage. The next is a splendid 
coacli, containing the children and servants, while in the third 
equally magnificent, are the babies and nurses. By the side of the 
first carriage rides an elderly gentleman, who, were his seat firmer, 
might be mistaken for a picador. He wears a rich Mexican dress, 
all covered with gold embroidery; his hat with gold rolls is stuck 
jauntily on one side, contrasting oddly enough with his uneasy 
expression of countenance, probably caused by the inward trepidation 
of which he cannot wholly repress the outward sign while managing 
his high-bred steed, and with his feet pressing his silver stirrups, 
cautiously touching him with a whip_which has a large diamond in 
the handle. 

But the chief wonder of his equipment, and that which has _ pro- 
cured him such a retinue of little ragged and shouting boys, is his 
saddle. This extraordinary piece of furniture, which cost the owner 
five thousand dollars, is entirely covered with velvet, richly embossed 
in massive gold; he sometimes appears with another, inlaid with 
pure silver. 

His whole appearance is the most singular imaginable, and the 
perturbation of spirit in which he must return when it begms to 
grow dusk, and he reflects at once upon his own value, and his 
countrymen's taste for appropriation, must balance the enjoyment 
which his vanity receives from the admiration of the Httle boys in 
the Paseo. 

Just as these millionaries pass by, an old hackney-coach, ni their 
wake, attracts our attention, exactly the sort of quaint old vehicle m 
which it sometimes pleases Lady Morgan to introduce her heroines. 
In it are six figures, closely masked, their faces covered with ^shawls. 
After many conjectures, it is impossible to guess whether they are 
men or women. It toas impossible, but as the carriages return, the 
wind suddenly blows aside the shawls of two of the party, and dis- 
closes the gowns and hoods of the — friars ! O temjjora! O mores ! 
There were three masked balls at the theatre, of which we only 
attended one. We went about ten o'clock to a box on the pit tier, 
and although a pronunciamiento (the fashionable term here for a re- 
volution) was prognosticated, we found every thing very quiet and 
orderly, and the ball very gay and crowded. As we came m, and 
were giving our tickets, a number of masks came springing by, 

shrieking out our names in their unearthly voices. _ Captain G-^ , 

brother of Lord , came to our box; also a scion of La jeune 

France, M. de C , who condescendingly kept his hat on during 

the whole evening. In a box directly above us were the French 
legation, who arrived lately. Amongst the women, the dresses were 
for the most part dominoes, adopted for greater concealment, as it 
was not considered very creditable to be there. 

There were also several in men's attire, chiefly French modistes, 
generally a most disreputable set here, and numerous men dressed as 
women. There were masked Poblanas without stockings, and with 


very short petticoats ; kniglats in armour ; innumerable dresses pro- 
bably borrowed from the theatre, and even more than the usual propor- 
tion of odd figures. The music was very good, and the dancers waltzed 
and galloped, and flew round the room hke furies. There was at 
least no want of animation. Hundreds of masks spoke to us, but I 
discovered no one. One in a domino was particularly anxious to 
direct my attention to the Poblana dress, and asked me if it woidd 
have done for me to attend the fancy ball in such a costume. Very 
angry at his absurdity, I began to explain how I should have dressed, 
when I recollected the folly of explaining any tiling to a creature whom 

I did not know. C n stepped out of the box, to walk amongst the 

crowd, at which various masks showed great signs of joy, surround- 
ing and shaking hands with him. 

The boxes were filled vn\h ladies, and the scene was very amusino-, 

Seiior M , whose box we occupied, ordered in cakes and wine, 

and about one o'clock w-e left the ball-room and returned home, one 

of our old soldiers acting as lackey 

I paid a visit the other day, which merits to be recorded. It was 

to the rich Senora , whose first visit I had not yet retm-ned. 

She was at home, and I was shown into a very large drawing-room, 
where, to my siirprise, I found the lamps, mirrors, &c., covered with 
black crape, as in cases of mourning here. I concluded that some 
one of the family was dead, and that I had made a very ill-timed 
first visit. However I sat down, when my eyes were instantly at- 
tracted by somethmg aivful, placed directly in front of the sofa where 
I sat. There were six chairs ranged together, and on these lay- 
stretched out a figure, apparently a dead body, about six feet long, 
enveloped in black cloth, the feet alone visible, from their pushing 
up the cloth. Oh,_ horror! Here I sat my eyes fixed upon this 
mysterious apparition, and lost in conjecture as to wdiose body it 
might be. The master of the house? He was very tall, and being 
in bad health might have died suddenly. My beingVeceived, argued 
notloino- against this, since the first nine days after a death, the house 
is invariably crowded with friends and acquaintances, and the widow, 
or orphan, or cliildless mother must receive the condolences of all 
and sundry, in the midst of her first bitter sorrow. There seems to 
be no idea of gTief wishing for sohtude. 

Pending^ these reflections, I sat uneasily, feehng or fancying a 
heavy air in the apartment, and wisliing, most sincerely, that some 
living person would enter. I thought even of shpping away, but 
feared to give ofience, and in fact began to grow so nervous, that 

when the Senora de entered at length, I started up as if I had 

heard a pistol. She wore a coloured muslin gown and a blue shawl; 
no signs of mourning ! 

After the usual compKmentary preface, I asked particularly after 
her husband, keeping a side glance on the mysterious figure. He 
was pretty well. Her family ? Just recovered from the smallpox, 
after being severely ill. " Not dangerously?" said I, hesitatingly, 


tliinlcino- she might have a tall son, and that she aUuded to the re- 
covery of the others, "No;" but her sister's children had been 
alarmino-ly iU. " Not lost any, I hope?"—" None." Well, so taken 
up wasl, that conversation llao-ged, and I answered and asked ques- 
tions at random, until, at last, I happened to ask the lady li she were 
o-oino- to the coimtry soon. " Not to remain. But to-morrow we 
are o?)ino- to convey a Smito Crista (a figure of the Crucifixion) there, 
which has just been made for the chapel ;" glancing towards the 
fioaire- " for Avliich reason this room is, as you see, hung w-ith black, 
lliever felt so relieved in my life, and thought of the Mysteries of 


The houses being so large, and the servants not drilled to announce 
visiters; besides thSt the entresols are frequently let to other families, 
it is a matter of no small difficulty for a stranger to pioneer him or 
her self into the presence of the people of the house. The mistakes 
that I have made ! for not being aware of this fact concermng the en- 
tresols, wliich are often large and handsome, and the porter haying 
be^cred me to walk up, I generally stopped at the first landing-place, 
anrfthen walked up to the first door that I saw. I did walk m one 
mornino- upon two gentlemen, who seemed marvellously startled by 
my visit They looked hke two medical students, and were engaged 
before a table, Heaven knows how ; dissecting, I imagine. I inquired 

for the Sefiora , which astonished them still more, as weU it 

mio-ht However, they were very civil, and rushed down stairs to 
calf up the carriage. After that adventure I never entered a house 
unaccompanied by a footman, imtil I had learnt my way through it. 

We had a pleasant dinner-party a few days ago at the I'russian 

Minister's, and met the C s family there. The Condesa de C 

has been a lono- while in Europe, and in the best society, and is now 
entirely devoted to the education of her daughters, giving them every 
advantao-e that Mexico can afford in the way of masters besides hav- 
ing at home a Spanish governess to assist her, an exceUtftit woman, 
whom they regard as a second mother. 

Thou-h there is very little going on m Mexico at present, I amuse 
myself very well; there is so much to see, and the people are so kind 
and friendly. Having got riding horses we have been making ex- 
cursions aU round the country, especially early m the momin-, before 
the sun is high, when the air is dehghtfuUy cool and refreslnng. 
Sometimes we go to the Viga at six in the morning, to see the 
Indians bringing in their flowers and vegetables by the canal, ihe 
m-ofusion of sweet-peas, double poppies, bluebottles, stock gilly- 
flower, and roses, I never saw equalled. Each Indian woman m her 
canoe looks as if seated in a floating flower-garden The same love 
of flowers distinguishes them now as in the time of Cortes; the same 
wliich Humboldt remarked centuries afterwards. In the evening 
the^^e Indian women, in their canoes, are constantly croAvned with 
garlands of roses or poppies. Those who sit in the' market, selling 
their fruit or their veo-etables, appear as if they sat m bowers termed 


of fresh green brandies and coloured flowers. In tlie poorest village- 
cliurcli the floor is strewed with flowers, and before the service begins 
fresh nosegays^ arc brought in and arranged upon the ahar. The 
baby at its christening, the bride at the ahar, the dead body in its 
bier, are all adorned with flowers. We are told that in the days of 
Cortes a bouquet of rare flowers was the most valuable gift presented 
to the ambassadors who visited the court of Montezuma, and it pre- 
sents a strange anomaly, this love of flowers having existed along with 
their sanguinary worship and barbarous sacrifices. 

We went the other evening on the canal, in a large canoe with an 
awning, as far as the httle village of Santa Anita, and saw, for the 
first time, the far-famed Chinampas, or floating gardens, which have 
now become flxtures, and are covered with vegetables, intermingled 
with flowers, with a few poor huts beside them, occupied by the 
Indians, who bring these to the city for sale. There were cauhflowers, 
chih, tomatoes, cabbages, and other vegetables, but I was certainly 
disappointed in their beauty. They are however curious, on account 
of their_ origin. _ So far back as 1245, it is said the wandering Aztecs 
or Mexicans arrived first at Chapultepec, when, being persecuted by 
the princes of Taltocan, they took refuge in a group of islands to the 
south of the lake of Tezcuco. Falhng under the yoke of the Tezcucan 
kings, they abandoned their island home and fled to Tezapan, where, 
as a reward for assisting the cliiefs of that country in a war against 
other petty princes, they received their freedom, and established 
themselves in a city to which they gave the name of Mexicalsmgo, 
from MejitH, their god of war — now a coUection of strong barns and 
poor huts. But they did not settle there, for to obey an oracle they 
transported themselves from this city to the islands east of Chapultepec 
to the western side of the lake of Tezcuco. An ancient tradition had 
long been current amongst them, that wherever they should behold 
an eagle seated upon a nopal whose roots pierced a rock, there they 
should found a great city. In 1325 they beheld this sign, and on the 
spot, in an island in the lake, founded the first house of God — the 
Teocalh, or Great Temple of Mexico. During aU their wanderings, 
wherever they stopped, the Aztecs cultivated the earth, and Hved 
upon what nature gave them. Surrounded by enemies and in the 
midst of a lake where there are few fish, necessity and industry com- 
peUed them to form floating fields and gardens on the bosom" of the 

They weaved together the roots of aquatic plants, intertwined with 
twigs and hght branches, until they had formed a foundation sufli- 
ciently strong to support a soil formed of the earth which they drew 
from the bottom of the lake; and on it they sowed their maize, their 
chih, and all other plants necessary for their support. These floating 
gardens were about a foot above the water, and in the form of a long 
square. Afterwards, in their natural taste for flowers, they not only 
cultivated the useful but the ornamental, and these small gardens 
multiplying were covered with flowers and aromatic herbs, which 

THE " PALOMO." 97 

■were used in the worship of tlie gods, or were sent to ornament the 
palace of the emperor. The Chinampas along the canal of the A^'iga 
are no longer floating gardens, but fixed to the main land in the 
marshy grounds lying between the two great lakes of Chalco and 
Tezcuco. A small trench full of water separates each garden ; and 
though now in this marshy land they give but a foint idea of what 
they may have been when they raised their flower-crowned heads 
above the clear waters of the lake, and when the Indians, in their 
barks, wishing to remove their habitations, could tow along their little 
islands of roses, it is still a pretty and a pleasant scene. 

We bought numerous garlands of roses and poppies from the 
Indian children, both here and at Santa Anita, ahttle village where 
we landed, and as we returned towards evening we Avere amused by 
the singing and dancing of the Indians. One canoe came close up to 
oui's, and kept beside it for some time. A man was lying lazily at 
the bottom of the boat tingling his guitar, and one or two women 
were dancing monotonously and surging at the same time to his music. 
Sundry jars of pulque and earthen dishes with tortillas and chiH and 
pieces of tasajo, long festoons of dried and salted beef, proved that 
the party were not "without their sohd comforts, in spite of the ro- 
mantic guitar and the rose and poppy garlands with which the 
dancing nymphs were crowned. Amongst others they performed the 
Palomo, the Dove, one of their most favom'ite dances. The music is 
pretty, and I send it you with the words, the music from ear; the 

words are given me by my friend the Seiiora A d, who sings all 

these Httle Indian airs in perfection. If we may form some judgment 
of a people's civiHzation by their ballads, none of the Mexican songs 
give us a very high idea of theirs. The words are generally a tissue 
of absurdities, nor are there any patriotic songs wliich their new-born 
freedom might have called forth from so musical a people. At least 
I have as yet only discovered one air of which the words bear reference 
to the glorious " Grito de Dolores," and which asserts in rhyme that 
on account of that memorable event, the Indian was able to get as 
drunk as a Christian ! The translation of the Palomo is as follows : 

" What are you doing, httle dove, there in the Avinc-shop? Wait- 
ing for my love until Tuesday, my Kfe. A dove in flying huj-t her 
httle wing. If you have your dove I have my Httle dove too. A 
dove in flying all her featliers fell off. Women pay badly; not all, 
but some of them. Little dove of the barracks, you will tell the 
ch'ummers when they beat the retreat to strike up the march of my 
loves. Little dove, what are you doing there leaning against that 
wall? Waiting for my dove till he brings me sometlaing to eat." At 
the end of each verse the chorus of " Palomita, palomo, palomo." 

Yet, monotonous as it is, the air is so pretty, the women sang so 
softly and sleepily, the music sounded so soothingly as we ghded along 
the Avatcr, that I felt in a pleasant half-dreamy state of perfect con- 
tentment, and was sorry when arriving at the landing-place, we had* 



to return to a carriage and civilized life, witli nothing but tlie garlands 
of flowers to remind us of tlie Cliinampas. 

Unfortunately these people generally end by too frequent applica- 
tions to the jarro of pulque, or what is worse to the pure spirit known 
by the name of chinguirite ; the consequence of wliich is, that from 
music and dancing and rose-becrowning, they proceed to quarrelUng 
and jealousy and drunkenness, which frequently terminates in their 
fighting, stabbing each other, or throwing each other into the canal. 
" Tlie end crowns the work." 

Noble as this present city of Mexico is one cannot help thinking 
how much more picturesque the ancient Tenochtitlan was, and how 
much more fertile its valley must have been, on accoimt of the great 
lakes. Yet even in the time of Cortes these lakes had no gTcat depth 
of water, and still further back, in the time of the Indian Emperors, 
navigation had been so frequently interrupted in seasons of drought, 
that an aqueduct had been constructed in order to supply the canals 
■\vith water. 

After this, the Spaniards, hke all new settlers, hewed down the 
fine trees in this beautiful valley, both on plain and mountain, 
leaving the bare soil exposed to the vertical rays of the sun. Then 
their well-founded dread of inundation caused them to construct 
the famous Desague of Huehuetoca, the drain or subterranean con- 
duit or channel in the mountain for drawing off the waters of the 
lakes, thus leaving marshy lands or sterile plains covered with car- 
bonate of soda, where formerly were silver lakes covered with 
canoes. Tliis last was a necessary evil, since the Indian emperors 
themselves were sensible of its necessity and had formed great works 
for draining the lakes, some remains of which works still exist in 
the vicinity of the Penon. The great Desaglle was begun in 1607, 
when the Marquis of Sahnas was viceroy of Mexico ; and the ope- 
rations were commenced with great pomp, the viceroy assisting in 
person, mass being said on a portable altar, and fifteen hundred 
workmen assembled, wliile the marquis himself began the excavation 
by giving the first stroke with a spade. From 1607 to 1830, eight 
nailhons of dollars were expended, and yet this great work was not 
brought to a conclusion. However, the hmits of the two lakes of 
Zmnpango and San Cristobal, to the north of the valley, were thus 
greatly reduced, and the lake of Tezcuco, the most beautiful of all 
the five, no longer received their contributions. Tlius the danger of 
inundations has dimlirished, but water and vegetation have diminished 
also, and the suburbs of the city, which were formerly covered Avith 
beautiful gardens, now present to the eye an arid expanse of efilo- 
rescent salt. The plains near San Lazaro especially, in their arid 
wliiteness, seem characteristic of the unfortunate victims of leprosy 
enclosed in the walls of that hospital. 

We rode out the other day by the barrio, or ward of Santiago, 
which occupies part of the ancient Tlatelolco, which once constituted 


a separate state, liad kings of its o-\\-ii, and was conquered by a 
Mexican monarch, Avho made a communication by bridges between 
it and Mexico. The great market mentioned by Cortes was held 
here, and its boundaries are still pointed out, whilst the convent 
chapel stands on the height where Cortes erected a battering engine, 
when he was bcsieo-ing the Indian Venice. 


Convent of San Joaquin — Mexico in the Morning — Taciiba — Carmelite Prior 
— Convent Garden — Hacienda of Los Morales— El Olivar — A Huacamcnja—^ 
Humming Birds — Correspondence — Expected Consecration— Visit to the 
Mineria— Botanic Garden— Arbol de las Manitas— The Museum— Eques- 
trian Statue — Academy of Painting and Sculpture — Disappointment. 

Eaely this morning we rode to the convent of San Joaquin, 
belonging to friars of the Carmehte order, passing through Tacuba, 
the ancient Tlacopan, once the capital of a small kingdom, and 
whose monarch, Tetlepanquetzaltzin (short and convenient name), 
Cortes caused to be limig on a tree for a supposed or real conspiracy. 
The number of carts, the innumerable Indians loaded Hke beasts of 
burden, their women with baskets of vegetables in their hands and 
children on their backs, the long strings of arrleros with their loaded 
mules, the cboves of cattle, the flocks of sheep, the herds of pigs, 
render it a work of some difficulty to make one's way on horseback 
out of the gates of Mexico at an early hour of the morning, but it 
must be confessed, that the whole scene is Hvely and '^cheerful 
enough to make one forget that there is such thing as care in the 
world. There is an indifierent, placid smile on every face, and the 
bright blue sky smiHng over them all ; dogs bark, and asses bray, 
and the Indian, with near a mule's load on his back, chags liis hat off 
to salute a bevy of his bronze-coloured coimtrymen, nearly equally 
laden with himself, and they all show their teeth and talk their hquid 
Indian and pass on. 

These plains of Tacuba, once the theatre of fierce and bloody 
conflicts, ancl where, during the siege of IMexico, Alvarado of the 
leap fixed his camp, now present a very tranquil scene. Tacuba 
itself is now a sniaU village of mud huts, with some fine old trees, 
a few very old ruined houses, a ruined church, and some traces of a 



building wliicli assured us liad been tlie palace of tbeir last 

monarcli; whilst others declare it to have been the site of the Spa- 
nish encampment. 

San Joaquin, also a poor village, contains the fine convent and 
immense walled garden and orchard belonofing to the rich monks of 

the Carmelite order. As C n knows the prior, he sent in our 

names, and I was admitted as far as the sacristy of the convent 
church. The prior received us with the utmost kindness : he is a good- 
looking man, extremely amiable and well-informed, and still young. 
The gentlemen were admitted into the interior of the convent, which 
they describe as being a very large handsome building, clean and airy, 
with a fine old library, chiefly composed of theological works ; to the 
garden, which is immensely large, and though not much cultivated, full 
of flowers; and to the great orchard, celebrated for the profusion and 
excellence of its fruit. There is a mirador in the garden which can 
be seen from the road, and from which there is a very extensive 
view. I was very anxious for admittance only to the garden, and 
pleaded the manhj appearance of my riding-hat, which would pre- 
vent all scandal were I seen from a distance ; but the complaisance 
of the good prior would not go quite so far as that, so I sat in the 
sacristy and conversed with a goodnatured old monk with a double 
chin, whilst the others wandered through the grounds. They after- 
wards gave us a very nice breakfast, simple but good ; fish from the 
lake, different preparations of eggs, riz-au-lait, coffee and fruit. 
The monks did not sit down with us, nor would they partake of 
any thing themselves. 

We went in the evening to see a pretty hacienda called Los Mo- 
rales (the mulberry-tree), belonging to a Spaniard, which has a nice 
garden with a bath in it, and where they bestowed a quantity of 
beautiful flowers on us. 

Tlie other day we set off early, together with the Belgian and 
French ministers and their families, in carriages, to visit a beautiful 
deserted hacienda, called el Olivm-, belonging to the Marquis of 
Santiago. The house is perfectly bare, with nothing but the walls; 
but the grounds are a Avilderness of tangled flowers and blossoming- 
trees, rose-bushes, sweet-peas, and all manner of fragrant flowers. 
We passed an agreeable day, wandering about, breakfasting on the 
provisions brought with us, arranging large bouquets of flowers, 
and firing at a mark, which must have startled the birds in this 
sohtary and uncultivated retreat. We had a pleasant family dinner 

at the E 's, and passed the evening at the Baron de 's. 

The gentlemen returned late, it being the day of a diplomatic din- 
ner at the English minister's. 

The Countess del V e has just sent me a beautiful bird with 

the most gorgeous plumage of the brightest scaidet and blue. It is 
called a huacamaya, and is of the parrot species, but three times as 
large, beinsf about two feet from the beak to the tip of the tail. It 
IS a superb creature but very wicked, gna^\ang not only its own 
pole, but all the doors, and committing great havoc amongst the 


plants, besides trying to bite every one who approaches it. It pro- 
nounces a few words very hoarsely and indistinctly, and has a most 
harsh, disagreeable cry. In fact it presumes upon its beauty to be 
as unamiable as possible. 

I prefer some beautiful little humming-birds {chvjximirtos as they 
are called here) which have been sent me, and which I am trying to 
preserve alive, but I fear the cold Avill kill them, for though we see 
them occasionally here, hanging by their beaks upon the branches 
of the flowers, Hke large butterflies, and shaking their brilhant 
Kttlc wings so rapidly that they seem to emit sparkles of coloured 
hght; still this is not their home; properly speaking, they belong to 
the tierra caliente. These little birds are of a golden green and 
purple, and are so tame, that whilst I am writing I have two^ on my 
shoulder and one perched on the edge of a glass, diving out its long 
tongue for sugar and water. Our live stock is considerable: we 
have Guinea fowls, who always remind me of old maiden ladies in 
half-mourning, and whose screaming notes match those of the huaca- 
maya; various little green parrots; a scarlet cardinal, one hundred 
and sixty pigeons in the pigeon-house, and three fierce dogs in con-« 
spicuous situations. 

I received a very polite letter to-day from the Seiiora de Santa 
Anna, and as it was enclosed in a few fines from Santa Anna himself, 
I send you his autoQraph, for I doubt much whether we have seen 
the last of that illustrious personage, or whether Ins philosophic 
retirement will endure for ever. 

I have been endeavouiing lately to procure permission from Senor 
Posada, who is shortly to be consecrated archbishop, to visit the 

convents of nuns in Mexico. Senor C o, secretary of state, our 

particular friend, has been kind enough to interest himself in the 
matter, though with indifferent hopes of success. A few days ago 
he sent me\is correspondence with Seiior Posada, who observes 
that the vice-queens alone had the privilege of the entree, and seems 
to hesitate a good deal as to the advisableness of granting a permisson 
which might be considered a precedent for others. However, I 
think he is too amiable to resist our united entreaties. I hold out 
as an argument, that C n, being the diqiUcado of the queen her- 
self, my visit is equal to that of the vice-queen, which argument 
has at least amused him. His consecration is fixed for the 31st of 

Don Pedro Fonti, the last archbishop named, in the time of the 
Spanish dominion, having renounced the mitre, three illustrious 
churchmen were proposed to fill the vacant place : this Don Manuel 
Posada, Don Antonio Campos, and Dr. Don Jose Maria de Santiago. 
The first was chosen by the Mexican government, and w^as after- 
wards proclaimed in the Roman Consistory last December, with the 
approbation of Gregory XVI. They are now only waitino- for the 
pontifical bulls, which are daily expected from Rome; and it is said 
that the ceremony, which will take place in the cathedi'al, will be 
very magnificent. 

102 MUSEUM. 

April 3cl. — Accompanied by tlie minister, we spent yester- 
day in visiting the Mneria, the Botanic Garden, the Museum, &c., 
all which leave a certain disagreeable impression on the mind, since, 
■without haying the dignity of ruins, they arc fine buildings neglected. 
The Mineria, or School of Mines, the work of the famous architect 
and sculptor Tolsa, is a magnificent building, a palace whose fine 
proportions would render it remarkable amongst the finest edifices of 
any European country. All is on a great scale, its noble rows of 
pillars, great staircases, large apartments, and lofty roofs, but it re- 
minds one of a golden aviary, containing a few common sparrows. 
Several rich Spaniards contributed more than six hundred thousand 
dollars to its construction. We were shown through the whole of this 
admirable building by the director, who occupies a very handsome 
house attached to it. But however learned the professors may be, 
and amongst them, is the scientific Senor del Rio, now very old, 
but a man of great learning and research ; the collection of minerals, 
the instruments and models, are all miserable and ill kept. 

The Botanic Garden, within the palace, is a small ill-kept en- 
closure, where there still remains some rare plants of the immense 
collection made in the time of the Spanish government, when 
great progress was made in all the natui-al sciences, four hundred 
tliousand dollars having been expended in botanical expeditions 
alone. Courses of botanical lectures were then given annually by 
the most learned professors, and the taste for natural history was 

El Arbol de las Manitas (the tree of the small hands) was the most 
curious which we saw in the garden. The flower is of a bright, scarlet 
in the form of a hand, with five fingers and a thumb; and it is said 
that there are only three of these trees in the republic. The gardener 
is an old Italian, who came over with one of the viceroys, and 
though now one hundred and ten years old, and nearly bent double, 
possesses all his faculties. The garden is pretty from the age of the 
trees, and luxuriance of the flowers, but melancholy as a proof of the 
decay of the science is Mexico. The palace itself, now occupied by 
the president, formerly belonged to Cortes, and was ceded by liis 
descendants to the government. In exchange they received the 
ground formerly occupied by the palace of the Aztec kings, and 
built on it a very splendid edifice, where the state archives are kept, 
and where the Monte Pio (the office where money is lent on plate, 
jewels, &c.) now is, the director of which is Don Francisco Tagle, 
whose apartments within the building are very elegant and spacious. 

The Museum within the University, and opposite the palace, in 
the plaza called del Volador, contains many rare and valuable works, 
many curious Indian antiqidties, but they are ill arranged. On the 
walls are the portraits of the vice-kings, beginning with Hernan 
Cortes. We spent a long while here examining these antiquities; 
but we have seen nothing in Mexico to equal the beauty of the 
colossal equestrian statue in bronze of Charles IV., placed on 
a pedestal of Mexican marble, which stands in the court of the 


University, but formerly adorned the middle of tlie square. It is a 
maonificent piece of sculptiue, the masterpiece of Tolosa, remarkable 
for "the noble simplicity and purity of its style, and was made at the 
expense of an ex-viceroy, the Marquis of Branciforte. We also saw 
the o-oddess of war lying in a corner of the court, beside the stone 
of sacrifices, which we had abeady been shown. 

To-day we have been visiting the Academy^ of painting and 
sculpture, called the Academy of Fine Arts, of which I unfortunately 
recollected having read Humboldt's brilhant account, in my forcibly 
prolonged studies on board the Jason, and that he mentions its 
having° had the most favourable influence in forming the national 
taste. He tells us, that every night, in these spacious halls, well 
illuminated by Argand lamps, hundreds of young men were as- 
sembled, some sketching from the plaster-casts, or from hfe, and 
others copying designs of furniture, candelabras and other bronze 
ornaments; and that here all classes, colours, and races, were mingled 
too-ether; the Indian beside the white boy, and the son_ of the 
po'crest mechanic beside that of the richest lord. Teaching was 
gi-atis, and not limited to landscape and figures, one of the principal 
objects being to propagate am_ongst the artists a general taste tor 
elegance and beauty of form, and to enhven the national industry. 
Plaster-casts, to the amount of forty thousand dollars, were sentout 
by the King of Spain; and as they possess in the Academy various 
colossal statues of basalt and porphyry, with Aztec hieroglyphics, it 
would have been curious, as the same learned traveller remarks, to 
have collected these monmuents in the courtyard of the Academy, and 
compared the remains of Mexican sculptm-e, monuments of a semi- 
barbarous people, with the graceful creations of Greece and Rorne.^ 

Let no one visit the Academy with these recollections or antici- 
pations" in his mind. . . . That the simple and noble taste which 
distinguishes the Mexican buildings, their perfection in the cutting 
and working of their stones, the chaste ornaments of the capitals and 
rehevoes, are owing to the progress they made in this very Academy, 
is no doubt the case. The remains of these beautiful but mutilated 
plaster-casts, the splendid engra^ungs which still exist, would alone 
make it probable; but the present'" disorder, the abandoned state of 
the building, the non-existence of these excellent classes of sculpture 
and painting, and, above all, the low state of the fine arts in Mexico, 
at the present day, are amongst the sad proofs, if any w^ere wanting, 
of the malancholy effects prodviced by years of civil war and unsettled 
government. ... 

The Holy Week is now approacliing, and already Indians are to 
be seen bringing in the pahu-branches and the flowers for the altars, 
and they are beginning to erect booths and temporary shops, and to 
make every preparation for the concourse of people who will arrive 
next Sunday from all the different villages and ranchoes, far and 



Palm Sunday— Holy Thursday— Variety of Costumes— San Francisco— Santo 
Domingo — Santa Teresa— Nuns— Stone Bust— The Academy— RelJcrious 
Procession— Pilgrimage to theChurches—SantaCiara— Nun's Voice— Oranf^e- 
trees and Rose-bushes— The Cathedral illuminated— Our Saviour in Chains- 
Good Friday— The great Square towards Evening— Dresses of men, women, 
and children— Approach of the Host— Jndas— Great Procession— iMiserere— 
1 he Square by Moonlight— A lonely Walk—Sabadu de gloria~BM in contem- 
plation—Weekly Soirees— Embroidered iMuslins— A Tertulia at home. 

21st April. 

On the morning of Palm Sunday, I went to tlae Cathedral, 

accompanied bj Mademoiselle de , daughter of the Minister, 

We found it no easy matter to make our way through the crowd, 
but at last, by dint of patience and perseverance, and changino- oxir 
place very often, we contrived to arrive very near the great altar; 
and there we had just taken up our position, when a disinterested 
man gave us a friendly hint, that as the whole procession, with their 
branches, must inevitably squeeze past the very spot where we were, 
we should probably be crushed or suifocated; consequently we fol- 
lowed him to a more convenient station, also close to the altar and 
defended by the railing, where we found ourselves tolerably well off. 
Two ladies, to whom he made the same proposition, and who re- 
jected It, we afterwards observed in a sad condition, their mantillas 
nearly torn off and the palm-branches sweeping across their eyes. 

In a short time, the whole cathedral presented the appearance of 
a forest of palm-trees, (« la Birnam wood) moved by a gentle wind; 
and under each tree a half-naked Indian, liis rags chnging together 
with wonderful pertinacity; long, matted, dirty black hair bSth in 
men and women, bronze faces and mild unspeaking eyes, or all with 
one expression of eagerness to see the approach of the priests. Many 
of them had probably travelled a long way, and the pahns were from 
tierra caliente, dried and plaited into all manner of ingenious ways. 
Each palm was about seven feet liigh, so as far to ov'ershadow the 
head of the Indian who carried it; and whenever they are blessed, 
they are carried home to adorn the walls of their huts. The priests 
^rived, at length, in great pomp; and also carrying palm-branches. 
± or four mortal hours, we remained kneehng or sitting on the floor, 
and thankful we were when it was all over, and we could make our 
way once more into the fresh air. 

From this day, during the whole week, all business is suspended, 
and but one tram of thought occupies all classes, from the highest to 


the lowest, The peasants flock from every quarter, shops are shut, 
churches are opened; and the Divine Tragedy enacted in Syria 
eiohteen hundred years ago, is now celebrated in land then undis- 
covered, and by the descendants of nations sunk in Paganism for 
centuries after that period. 

But amongst the lower classes, the worship is emphatically the 
worship of Her who Herself predicted, " From henceforth all nations 
shall caU me blessed." Before her shrines, and at all hours, thousands 
are kneelino-. With faces expressive of the most intense love and 
devotion, and with words of the most passionate adoration, they 
address the mild image of the Mother of God. To the Son their 
feehno-s seem composed of respectful pity, of humble but more dis- 
tant adoration; Avhile to the Virgin they appear to give all their 
confidence, and to look up to her as to a kind pnd bomitiful Queen, 
who, dressed in her magnificent robes and jewelled diadem, yet 
mourning in all the agony of her divine sorrows, has condescended 
to admit^the poorest beggar to participate in her woe, whilst in her 
turn she shares in the afflictions of the lowly, feels for their priva- 
tions, and grants them her all-powerful intercession. 

On Holy Thursday nothing can be more picturesque than the 
whole appearance of Mexico. No carriages are permitted, and the 
ladies being on foot, take the opportunity of displaying all the riches 
of their toilet. On this day velvets and satins are your only wear. 
Diamonds and pearls walk the streets. The mantillas are white or 
black blonde; the shoes white or coloured satin. The petticoats are 
still rather short, but it would be hard to hide such small feet, and 
such still smaller shoes. " II faut soutfrir pour etre belle," but 
a quoi hon etre helle? if no one sees it. As for me, I ventured upon 
a lilac silk of Palmyre's, and a black mantilla. 

The whole city was filled with picturesque figures. After the 
hio-her Seiioras were to be remarked the common women, chiefly m 
clear white, very stifily starched mushns, some very richly embroi- 
dered, and the petticoat trimmed with lace, white satin shoes, and 
the dresses extremely short, which in them looks very well. A 
reboso is thrown over all. Amongst these were many handsome 
faces, but in a still lower and more Indian class, with their gay- 
coloured petticoats, the faces were sometimes beautiful, and the 
figures more upright and graceful; also they invariably walk well, 
whilst many of the higher classes, from tight shoes and want of 
custom, seem to feel pain in putting their feet to the ground._ 

But none could vie with the ]iandsome Poblana peasants in their 
hohday dresses, some so rich and magnificent, that, remembering the 
warnino- of our ministerial friends, I am incHned to_ beheve them 
more showy than respoctable. The pure Indians, with whom the 
churches and the whole city is crowded, are as ugly as_ can be 
imao-ined; a gentle, dirty and much-enduring race. StiU with their 
babfcs at their backs, going along at their usual gentle trot, they add 
much to the general efiect of the coup-d'ceil 


We walked to San Francisco about ten o'clock, and the body of 
tbecburcli being crowded, went up stairs to a private gallery witli 
a gilded grating, belonging to tbe Coimtess de Santiago, and here 
we bad tbe advantage of seats, besides a fine view of tbe whole. 
Tbis cburcb is very splendid, and tbe walls were bung witb canvass 
paintings representing different passages of our Saviour's Hfe; bis 
entry into Jerusalem, tbe woman of Samaria at tbe well, &c., wliicb, 
witb tbe palm-trees, bad a cool and oriental effect. 

Before tbe altar, wbicb was dazzHng i\atb jewels, was a repre- 
sentation of tbe Lord's Supper, not in painting, but in sculptured 
figures^ as large as bfe, babited in tbe Jewisb dresses. Tbe bisbops 
and priests were in a blaze of gold and jewels. Tbey were assisted 
during tlic ceremony by tbe young Coimt of Santiago. Tbe music 
was extremely good, and tbe wbole effect impressive. We \asited 
several cburcbes in tbe course of tbe day, and continued walking 

until four o'clock, wben we went to dine witb our friends tbe A 's. 

After dinner, one of tbeir coacbmen, a bandsome Mexican, in a 
superb dress, all embroidered in gold, was called up stairs to dance 
ihxQJarabe to us witb a country girl. Tbe dance is monotonous, 
but tbey acquitted tbcmselves to perfection. 

We tben continued om- pilgrimage tlu'ougb tbe city, tbougb, as 
tbe sun bad not yet set, we reserved our cliief admiration imtil tbe 
cburcbes sbould be illuminated. One, bowever, we entered at smi- 
set, wbicb was wortby of remark — Santo Domingo. It looked bke 
a Httle Paradise, or a story in tbe Arabian Niglits. All tbe steps up 
tbe altar were covered witb pots of beautifuf flowers; orange-trees, 
loaded witb fruit and blossom, and rose-busbes in full bloom"^ glasses 
of coloured water, and all kinds of fruit. Cages full of birds, singin^ 
deligbtfully, bmig from tbe wall, and really fine paintings filled up 
tbe intervals. A gay carpet covered tbe floor, and in front of tbe 
altar, instead of tbe usual representation of tbe Saviour crucified, a 
Httle Infant Jesus, beautifully done in wax, was lying amidst flowers 
witb little angels surrounding bim. Add to tliis, tbe music of 
Romeo and Juliet, and you may imagine that it was more like a 
scene m an opera, tban any tbing in a cburcb. But certainly, as tbe 
rays of tbe setting sun streamed witb a rosy Hglit tbrougb tbe 
stained windows, throwing a glow over tbe wbole ; birds, and flowers, 
ancl^ fruit, paintings and angels, it was tbe jDrettiest and most fan- 
tastic scene I ever bebeld, bke sometlung expressly got up for tbe 
benefit of children. 

We did not kneel before each altar for more than three minutes, 
otherwise we should never have had time even to enter the innu- 
merable churches which we visited in the course of the night. We 
next went to Santa Teresa la JSTueva, a bandsome church, belonging 
to a convent of strict nuns, wluch was now brilhantly ilhuninatecf; 
and here, as in all the churches, we made oui- way through the crowd 
with extreme difiicidty. Tbe number of Uperos was astonishing, 
greatly exceeding that of well-di-essed people. Before each altar 


was a figure, dreadful in the extreme, of the Saviour, as large as life, 
dressed in purple robe and crown of thorns, seated on the steps ot 
the ahar, the hlood trickhng from his wounds.; each person, before 
leaving the church, devoutly kneehng to kiss his hands and feet. 

The nuns, amongst Avhom is a sister of Senor A- s, smig behind 

the grating in the gallery above, but were not visible. 

One of the chui-ches we visited, that of Santa Teresa, called the 
Antigua, stands upon the site formerly occupied by the palace of the 
father of the unfortunate IMontezuma. It was here tliat the Spaniards 
were quartered when they took Montezuma prisoner, and here 
Cortes found and appropriated the treasures of that family. In 1830 
a bust of stone was found in the yard of the convent, which the 
workmen were digging up. Don Lucas Alaman, then Minister of 
Exterior Relations, offered a compensation to the nuns for the 
curious piece of antiquity, which they gladly gave up to the govern- 
ment, on whose account he acted. It is said to be the idol goddess 
of the Indians, CenteotI, the goddess of medicine and medicmal herbs,^ 
also known by the name of Temaz calteci, or the " Grandmother of 
the Baths." A full account is given of her in one of the numbers of 
the " Mosaico Megicano," as also of a square stone found in the 
same place, beautifully carved, and covered with liieroglyplncal 

In the evening, towards the hour when the great procession was 
expected, we v/ent to the balconies of the Academia, which com- 
mand a fine view of the streets by which it was to pass. Till it 
arrived we amused ourselves by looking over the beaux rcstes of 
former days, the collections of painting and sculpture, the fine plas- 
ter-casts that still remain, and the great volumes of fine engravings. 
It was dark when the procession made its appearance, which ren- 
dered the effect less gaudy and more striking. The Virgin, the 
Saints, the Holy Trinity, the Saviour in different passages of his 
life, imprisonment and crucifixion, were carried past m succession, 
represented by figiu'es magnificently dressed, placed on lofty scaf- 
foldings of immense weight, supported by different bodies of men. 
One i? carried by the coachmen, another by the aguadores (water- 
carriers), a tliird by the cargadores (porters), a Herculean race. _ 

First arrived the favourite protectress of all classes, the Virgin of 
Dolores, sm-mounted by a velvet canopy, seated on a glittering 
throne, attired in her sable robes, her brow siu'mounted by ghttermg 
rays, and contracted with an expression of agony; of all represent- 
ations of the Virgin, the only one which is always lovely, however 
rudely carved, with that invariably beautiful face of terrible anguish. 
Then followed the Saviour bearing the cross; the Saviour crucified, 
the Virgin supporting the head of her dying son; the Trinity (the 
Holy Spirit represented by a dove) ; aU the apostles, from St. Peter 
with the keys to Judas with the money-bag ; and a long tram ot 
saints, all brilliantly illuminated and attended by an amazing cjowd 
of priests, monks, and laymen. However cliildish and superstitious 


all this may seem, I doubt whether it be not as well thus to impress 
certain rchgious truths on the minds of a people too ignorant to un- 
derstand them by any other process. By the time the last saint and 
angel had vanished, the hoiTr was advanced, and we had still to visit 
the illuminated churches. Being; recommended to divest ourselves 
of our ornaments before wandering forth amongst the crowd, a 

matter of some moment to the Senora A , who wore all her 

diamonds, we left our earrings, brooches, &c., in charge of the per- 
son who keeps the Academia, and recommenced our pilgrimage. 

Innumerable were the churches we visited that evening ; the Ca- 
thedral, La Ensenanza, Jesus jNIaria, Santa Clara, Santa Brigida, 
San Hipolito, La Encarnacion, the five churches of San Francisco, 
&c. &c., a list without an end, kneeling for a short space of time be- 
fore each blazing altar, for the more churches one visits, the more 
meritorious is the devotion. The cathedral was the first we entered, 
and its magnificence struck us with amazement. Its gold and silver 
and jewels, its innumerable ornaments and holy vessels, the rich 
di'esses of the priests, all seemed burning in almost intolerable bright- 
ness. The high altar was the most magnificent; the second, A^dth its 
pure white marble pillars, the most imposing. 

The crowd was immense, but we made our way slowly through it 
to the foot of each altar, where the people were devoutly kissing the 
Saviour's hand or the hem of his garment ; or beating their breasts 
before the mild image of Our Lady of Grief. Each church had 
vied Avith the other in putting forth all its splendour of jewellery, of 
lights, of di'CSses, and of music. 

In the church of Santa Clara, attached to the convent of the same 
name, small but elegant, with its pillars of white marble and gold, 
one voice of ansjelic sweetness was sinoinsr behind the sfrating; alone, 
and in the midst of a most deathlike stillness. It sounded like the 
notes of a nightingale in a cage. I could have listened for hours, 
but our time was limited, and we set off anew. Fortunately the 
evening Avas deHghtful, and the moon shining brightly. We visited 
about twenty churches in succession. In all the organ was peahng, 
the blaze of light overpowering themagnificenceof jewels and crim- 
son velvet and silver and gold dazzHng, the crowd suffocating, the 
incense blindino-. 

The prettiest effect in every cluirch was caused by the orange- 
trees and rose-bushes, Avliich covered the steps of the altars, up to 
where the magnificence of the altar itself blazed out ; and the most 
picturesque effect was prodviced by the different orders of monks in 
tlieir gowns and hoods, either lying on their faces or standing ranged 
"with torches hke figures carved in stone. 

In the passage leading to most of the churches Avas a table, at 
Avhich several ladies of the highest rank sat collecting alms for the 
poor. The fair queteuses had not been very successful, and that 
chiefly amongst the loAver classes. The fatigue was terrible, Avalking 
for so many hours on that bad pavement Avith tliin satin shoes, so 


that at lengtli our feet seemed to move mcclianically, and we 
dropped on our knees before each altar like machines touched by a 
spring, and rose again with no small effort. Of all the churches we 
entered that night, the cathedral was the most magnificent, but the 
most beautiful and tasteful was San Francisco. The crowd there 
Avas so dense, that we were almost carried off our feet, and were 
obliged, in defiance of all rule, to take the arms of our caballeros. 
Still it was worth the trouble of making our way through it to see 
such a superbly illuminated altar. It Avas now eleven o'clock, and 
the crowd were breaking up as the churches are shut before mid- 
night. In one corner of the middle aisle, near the door, was the 
representation of a prison from Avhich issued a stream of soft music, 
and at the window was a figure of Christ in chains, his eyes 
bandafjed, and a Jew on each side : the chains hangino; from his 
hands, and clanking as if v;ith the motion of his arms. The rush 
here was immense. Numbers of people were kneehng before the 
windoAV of the prison, and kissing the chains and beating their 
breasts with every appearance of contrition and devotion. This 
was the night before the Crucifixion, and the last scene of the Holy 

We reached home hardly able to stand. I never felt more dazzled, 
bewildered, and sleepy; but I was wakened by finding a packet oi 
letters from home, which brought back my thoughts, or rather car- 
ried them away to very different lands. 

On Good Friday, a day of sorrow and humiUation, the scene in 
the morning is very different. The great sacrifice is complete — the 
Immortal has died a mortal death. The ladies all issue forth in 
anourning, and the churches look sad and wan after their last night's 
brilliancy. The heat was intense. We went to San Francisco, again 
to the Tribuna of the Countess de Santiago, to see the Adoration 
and Procession of the Cross, which was very fine. 

But the most beautiful and original scene Avas presented toAA-ards 
sunset in the great square, and it is doubtful Avhether any other city 
in the AA'orld could present a cowp-cT < of equal brilHancy. HaA-mg 
been offered the entree to some apartments in the palace, avc took 
our seats on the balconies, AA-hich commanded a vicAV of the Avhole. 
The Plaza itself, even on ordinary days, is a noble square, and but 
for its one fault, a row of shops called the Parian, whicli breaks its 
uniformity, would be nearly unri Availed. EA'ery object is interesting. 
The eye Avanders from the cathedral to the house of Cortes (the 
Monte Pio), and firom thence to a range of fine buildings Avith 
lofty arcades to the west. From our elcAaited situation, wc could 
see all the different streets that branch out from the square, coA'cred 
with gay croAvds pouring in that direction to see another great pro- 
cession, Avhich Avas expected to pass in front of the palace. Booths 
filled with refreshments, and covered with green branches and gar- 
lands of flowers, were to be, seen in all directions, surrouiided by a 


croYfd wlio were quencliing tlieir thirst witli orgeat, chia,^ lemon- 
ade, or pulque. The whole square, from the cathedral to the Por- 
tales, and from the Monte Pio to the palace, was covered with, 
thousands and tens of thousands of figures, all in their gayest 
dresses, and as the sun poured his rays down upon their gaudy 
colours, they looked like armies of living tulips. Here was to be 
seen a group of ladies, some with black gowns and mantillas ; 
others, now that their church-going duty was over, equipped in vel- 
vet or satin, with their hair dressed, — and beautiful hair they have ; 
some leading their children by the hand, dressed . . . alas ! how 
they were dressed ! Long velvet gowns trimmed vnth blonde, dia- 
mond earrings, high French caps befurbelovrcd with lace and 
flowers, or turbans with plumes of feathers. Now and then the 
head of a Kttle thing that could hardly waddle alone, might have 
belonged to an English dowager-duchess in her opera-box. Some 
had extraordinary bonnets, also with flowers and feathers, and as 
they toddled along, top heavy, one would have thought they were 
little old women, till a ghmpse was caught of their lovely Httle 
brown faces and black eyes. Now and then a little girl, simply 
dressed with a short frock, and long black hair plaited doAvn and 
uncovered, woidd trip along, a very model of grace amongst the 
small caricatures. The childi-en here are generally beautiful, their 
features only too perfect and regular for the face " to fulfil the pro- 
mise of its spring." They have Httle colour, with swimming black 
or hazel eyes, and long lashes resting on the clear pale cheek, and 
a perfect mass of fine dark hair of tlie straight Spanish or Indian 
kind plaited down behind. 

As a contrast to the Seiioras, with their over-dressed beauties, 
were the poor Indian women, trotting across the square, their black 
hair plaited with dirty red ribbon, a piece of woollen cloth wrapped 
round them, and a little mahogany baby hanging behind, its face 
upturned to the sky, and its head going jerldug along, somehow 
without its neck being dislocated. The most resigned expression on 
earth is that of an Indian baby. All the groups we had seen pro- 
menading the streets the day before were here collected by hundreds ; 
the women of the shopkeeper class, or it may be lower, in their 
smart white embroidered gowns, with their wliite satin shoes, and 
neat feet and ankles, and rebosos or bright shawls thrown over their 
heads; the peasants and countrywomen, with their short petticoats of 
two colours, generally scarlet and yellow (for they are most anti- 
quakerish in their attire), thin satin shoes and lace-trimmed chemises, 
or bronze-coloured damsels, all crowned with flowers, stroUing along 
with their admirers, and tingling their light guitars. And above 
all, here and there a flashing Poblana, with a di'css of real value and 
much taste, and often with a face and figure of extraordinary beauty, 

* A drink made of the seed of the plant of that name. 


especially tlie figure; large, and yet elancee^ with a bold coquettish 
eye, and a beautiful little broAvn foot, shown oiF by the white satin 
shoe ; the petticoat of her dress frequently fringed and embroidered 
in real massive gold, and a reboso either shot with gold, or a bright- 
coloured China crape shawl, coquettishly tlirown over her head. 
We saw several whose dresses could not have cost less than five 
hundred dollars. 

Add to this motley crowd, men dressed a la 3Icxica?ne, with 
their large ornamented hats and scrapes, or embroidered jackets, 
sauntering along, smoking their cigars, leperos in rags, Indians in 
blankets, ofiicers in uniform, priests in their shovel hats, monks of 
every order; Frenchmen exercising their wit upon the passers-by; 
Enghshmen looking cold and philosophical ; Germans gazing through 
their spectacles, mild and mystical; Spaniards seeming pretty much 
at home, and abstaining from remarks; and it may be conceived that 
the scene at least presented variety. Sometimes the tinkling of the 
bell announced the approach of Nuestro Amo. Instantly the whole 
crowd are on their knees, crossing themselves devoutly. Two men 
who were fighting below the window suddenly dropped down side 
by side. Disputes were hushed, flirtations arrested, and to the busy 
hum of voices succeeded a profound silence. Only the rolhng of the 
coach-wheels and the sound of the little bell were heard. 

No sooner had it passed than the talkers and the criers recom- 
menced with fresh vigour. The venders of hot chestnuts and cool- 
ing beverages phed their trade more briskly than ever. A military 
band struck up an air from Semiramis ; and the noise of the innu- 
merable matracas (rattles), some of wood and some of silver, with 
wliich every one is armed during the last days of the holy week, 
broke forth again as if by magic, while again commenced the sale of 
the Judases, fireworks in the form of that arch-traitor, which are sold 
on the evening of Good Friday, and let ofi" on Saturday morning. 
Hundreds of these hideous figures where held above the crowd, by 
men who carried them tied together on long poles. An ugly mis- 
shapen monster they represent the betrayer to have been. When he 
sold his Master for thirty pieces of silver, did he dream that in the 
lapse of ages liis effigies should be held up to the execration of a 
Mexican mob, of an unknown people in undiscovered countries 
beyond the seas? — A secret bargain, perhaps made whisperingly in a 
darkened chamber with the fierce Jewish rulers; but now shouted 
forth in the ears of the descendants of Montezuma and Cortes ! 

But the sound of a distant hymn rose on the air, and shortly after 
there appeared, advancing towards the square, a long and pompous 
retinue of mitred priests, with banners and crucifixes and gorgeous 
imagery, conducting a procession in which fig-ures representing 
scenes concerning the death of our Saviour, were carried by on plat- 
forms, as they were the preceding evening. There was the Virgin in 
mourning at the foot of the cross — the Virgin in glory — and more 
saints and more angels — St. INIichael and the dragon, &c. &c., a- 


glittering and. innumerable train. Not a sound Avas heard as the 
figures were carried slowly onwards in their splendid robes, lighted 
by thousands of tapers, which mingled their unnatural glare with 
the fading hght of day. 

As the Miserere was to be performed in the cathedral late in the 
evening, we went here, though wdtli small hopes of making our way 
through the tremendous crowd. Having at length been admitted 
through a private entrance, per favour, we made our way into the 
body of the church; but the crowd was so intolerable, that we 
thought of abandoning our position, when we were seen and recog- 
nised by some of the priests, and conducted to a railed-off enclosure 
near the shrine of the Virgin, with the luxury of a Turkey carpet. 
Here, separated from the crowd, we sat down in peace on the 
ground. The gentlemen were accommodated with high-backed 
chairs beside some ecclesiastics ; for men may sit on chairs or 
benches in church, but women must kneel or sit on the ground. 
Why ? " Quien sabe .?" " Who knows?" is all the satisfaction I liave 
ever obtained on that point. 

Tlie music began with a crasli that wakened me out of an 
agreeable slumber into which I had gradually fallen; and such dis- 
cordance of instruments and voices, such confusion worse confounded, 
such inharmonious harmony, never before deafened mortal ears. 
The very spheres seemed out of tune, and rolling and crashing over 
each other. I could have cried Miserere I with the loudest ; and in 
the midst of all the undrilled band "was a music -master, with vioHn- 
stick uplifted, rushing desperately from one to the other, in vain en- 
deavouring to keep time, and frightened at the clamour he himself 
had been instrumental in raising, hkc Phaeton intrusted with his un- 
manageable coursers. The noise was so great as to be really alarm- 
ing; and the heat was severe in proportion. The calm face of the 
Virgin seemed to look reproachfully down. We were thankful 
when, at the conclusion of this stormy appeal for mercy, we were 
able to make oiu- way into the fresh air and soft moonhght, through 
the confusion and s([ueezing at the doors, where it was rumo\ired 
that a soldier had killed a baby with his bayonet. A bad place for 
poor little babies — decidedly. 

Outside, in the square, it was cool and agreeable. A military 
band was playing airs from the Norma, and the womankind were 
sittina; on the stones of the railinsf, or wanderinu' about and finishinor 
their day's work by a quiet flirtation au clair dc la lune. 

It was now eleven o'clock, and the pulquerais were thrown open 
for the refreshment of the f dthful, and though hitherto much order 
had prevailed, it was not likely to endure much longer; notwith- 
standing Avhich, we had the imprudence to walk unattended to our 
own house at San Fernando. In the centre of the city there 
seemed no danger. People were still walking, and a few still drink- 
ing at the lighted booths ; but when we arrived at the lower part of 
the Alameda, all was still, and as we walked outside, under the long 


shadows of tlie trees, I expected every moment to be attacked, and 
"wished we were anywhere, even on the silvery top of Popocatepetl ! 
We passed several crowded pulquerias, where some were drinking 
and others drunk. Arrived at the arches, we saw from time to time 
a suspicions blanketed figure half hid by the shadow of the wall. A 
few doors frona our own domicile was a pulque shop filled with 
leperos, of whom some were standing at the door, shrouded in their 
blankets. It seemed to me we should never pass them, but we 
walked fast, and reached our door in safety. Here we thundered in 
vain. The porter Avas asleep, and for nearly ten minutes we heard 
A^oices within, male and female, ineffectually endeavouring to per- 
suade the heavy-headed Cerberus to relinquisli his keys. It would 
liaA^e been a choice moment for our friends, had any of them wished 
to accost us; but either they had not observed vis, or perhaps they 

thought that C n walking so late must have been armed; or 

perhaps, more charitable construction, they had profited by the 
solemnities of the day. 

We got in at last, and I felt thankful enough for shelter and 
safety, and as Avearied of the day's performances as you may be in 
reading a description of them. 

Next morning, Sabado de Gloria, I could not persuade myself to 
go as far as the Plaza, to see the Iscariots explode. At a distance 
Avc hstcned to the hisslns: and cracklins; of the fireworks, the rinsf- 
mg of all the bells, and the thundering of artillery ; and knew by the 
hum of busy A^oices, and the rolhng of carriages, that the Holy 
A^^cek AA^as numbered AA'ith the past 

We hear that it is in contemplation amongst the English here, 
lieaded by their Minister, to giA'e a ball in the Mineria, to celebrate 
the marriage of Queen Victoria, which AA'ill be turning these splen- 
did halls to some account 

I haA'C some intention of giving a series of Aveekly soirees, but am 
assured that they A\'ill not succeed, because hitherto such parties have 
iailed. As a reason, is given the extravagant notions of the ladies 
in point of dress, and it is said that nothing but a ball AA'here they 
can wear jewels and a toilet therewith consistent Avill please them; 
that a lady of high rank Avho had been in Madrid, having proposed 
simple tertulias and Avhite muslin dresses, half the men in Mexico 
were ruined that year by the embroidered French and India muslins 
bought by their wiA'-es during this reign of simplicity ; the idea of a 
plain AA'hite mushn, a dress Avorn by any Icpera, never ha Aang struck 
them as possible. Ne\'ertheless Ave can but make the attempt. 

We propose going next Aveek to Tulansingo, Avhere our friends 

the liaA-e a country place, from thence Ave proceed to A-isit the 

mines of Real del Monte. 

23d. — On Monday Ave gaA-e a Tertulia, A\'hich, notwithstanding all 
predictions, went ofi^ remarkably well, and consisted of nearly all the 
pleasantest people in Mexico. We had music, dancing, and cards, 
and at three in the mornino: the German cotillon A\'as still in full 


vi"-our. Every one was disposed to be amused, and, moreover, tlie 
young ladies were dressed very simply; most of them in plain white 
muslins. There was but a small sprinkHng of diamonds,^ and that 
chiefly among the elderly part of the community. Still it is said 
that the novelty alone induced them to come, and^ that weekly 
soirees will not succeed. We shall try. Besides which, the Lady 
of the Minister proposes being At home on Wednesday even- 
in o-s; the Lady of the Minister takes another evening; I, a 

third, and we shall see what can be effected. 


Letter from the lirchbisbop— Visit to the " Encarnacion"— deception — De- 
scription—The Novices— Convent-supper— Picturesque Scene— Sonata on the 
Organ— Attempt at Robbery— Alarms of the Household— Visit to San Agus- 
tin— Anonymous Letter— the Virgin de hs Remedios— Visit to the Chapel — 
The Padre— The Image— Anecdote of the large Pearl— A Mine. 


The Archbishop has not only granted me permission to visit the 
convents, but permits me to take two ladies along with me, of which 

I have been informed by the Minister, Senor C- o, in a very 

amiable note just received, enclosing one from Senor Posada, which 
I translate for yoiu* edification. 

To His Excellency, Seiior Don J. de D. C o. 

Jpril24th, 1842. 
My dear Friend and Companion : 

The Abbess and Nuns of the Convent of the_ Encarnacion are 
now prepared to receive the visit of our three pilgrims, next Sunday, 
at half-past four in the afternoon, and should that day not suit them, 
let them mention what day will be convenient. 

Afterwards we shall arrange their visit to the Concepcion, En- 
seiianza Antigua, and Jesus Maria, which are the best, and I shall 
let you know, and we shall agree upon the days and hours most 
suitable. I remain your affectionate friend and Capellan, 

Manuel Posada. 

27th. — Accordingly, on Sunday afternoon, we drove to the 
Encarnacion, the most splendid and richest convent in Mexico, ex- 


cepting perhaps la Concepcion. If it Avere in any otlier comitry, I 
mig-lit mention the surpassing beauty of the evening, but as except 
in the rainy season, which has not yet begun, the evenings are ahvays 
beautiful, the weather leaves no room for description. The sky 
always blue, the air always soft, the flowers always blossoming, the 
the birds always singing; Thomson never could have written his 
" Seasons " here. We descended at the convent gate, were ad- 
mitted by the portress, and received by several nuns, their faces 
closely covered with a double crape veil. We were then led into a 
spacious hall, hung with handsome lustres, and adorned with various 
Virg^ins and Saints magnificently dressed; and here the eldest, a very 
dignified old lady, lifted her veil, the others following her example, 
and introduced herself as the Madre Vicaria ; bringing us many ex- 
cuses from the old Abbess, who having an inflammation in her eyes, 
was confined to her cell. She and another reverend mother, and a 
gi'oup of elderly dames, tall, thin, and stately, then proceeded to in- 
form us, that the Archbishop had, in person, given orders for our 
reception and that they were prepared to show us the whole esta- 

The dress is a long robe of very fine white casimere, a thick black 
crape veil, and long rosary. The dress of the no-saces is the same, 
only that the veil is white. For the first half-hour or so, I fancied, 
that along with their poHteness, was mingled a good deal of restraint, 
caused perhaps by the presence of a foreigner, and especially of an 
En^hsh woman. My companions they knew well; the Seiiorita 
ha\ang even passed some months there. However this may have been, 
the feeHng seemed gradually to wear away. Kindness or curiosity 
triumphed; their questions became miceasing; and before the visit 
was concluded, I was addressed as " mi vida,'' my hfe, by the whole 
estabhshment. Where was I born ? Where had I Hved ? What 
convents had I seen ? Wliich did I prefer, the convents in France, 
or those in Mexico ? Which were largest ? Wliich had the best 
garden ? &c. &c. Fortunately, I could, with truth, give the pre- 
ference to their convent, as to spaciousness and magnificence, 
over any I ever saw. 

The Mexican style of building is peculiarly advantageous for re- 
cluses; the great galleries and courts affording them a constant sup- 
ply of fresh air, wliile the fountains sound so cheerfully, and the 
garden m this chmate of perpetual spring affords them such a constant 
soiu'ce of enjoyment all the year round, that one pities their secluded 
state much less here than in any other country. 

This convent is in fact a palace. The garden, into which they 
led us first, is kept in good order, ^-ith its stone walks, stone 
benches, and an ever-playing and sparkhng fountain. The trees 
were bending with fruit, and they pulled quantities of the most 
beautiful flowers for us; sweat-peas and roses, with which all gardens 
here abound, carnations, jasmine, and heHotrope. It was a pretty 
picture to see them wandering about, or standing in groups in tliis 



high-walled garden, wliile the sun was setting l)chind the hills, and 
the noise of the city was completely excluded, every thing breathing 
repose and contentment. Most of the halls in the convent are noble 
rooms. We visited the whole, from the refectory to the hotica, and 
admired the extreme cleanness of every thing, especially of the im- 
mense kitchen, which seems hallowed from the approach even of a par- 
ticle of dust; this circumstance is partly accounted for by the fact that 
each nun has a servant, and some have two ; for this is not one of 
the strictest orders. The convent is rich ; each novice at her entrance 
pays five thousand dollars into the common stock. There are about 
thirty nuns and ten novices. 

The prevaihng sin in a convent generally seems to be pride; 

"Tlie pride that apes humility ;" 

and it is perhaps nearly inseparable from the conventual state. Set 
apart from the rest of the world, they, from their little world, are 
too apt to look do^vn with contempt which may be mingled with 
envy, or modified by pity, but must be unsuited to a true Christian 

The novices were presented to us — poor little entrapped things ! 
who really believe they will be let out at the end of the year if they 
should grow tired, as if they would ever be permitted to gTow tired ! 
The two eldest and most reverend ladies are sisters, thin, tall, and 
stately, with high noses, and remains of beauty. They have been 
in the convent since they were eight years old (which is remarkable, 
as sisters are rarely allowed to profess in the same establishment), and 
consider La Encarnacion as a small piece of heaven upon earth. 
There were some handsome faces amongst them, and one whose ex- 
pression and eyes were singularly lovely, but truth to say, these 
were rather exceptions to the general rule. 

Having visited the whole building, and admired one \argin's blue 
satin and pearls, and another's black velvet and diamonds, sleeping 
holy infants, saints, paintings, shrines, and confessionals, having even 
chmbed up the Azotea, which commands a magnificent view, we 
came at length to a large hall, decorated with paintings and fur- 
nished with antique high-backed arm-chairs, where a very elegant 
supper, lighted up and ornamented, greeted our astonished eyes ; 
cakes, chocolate, ices, creams, custards, tarts, jeUies, blancmangers, 
orange and lemonade, and other profane dainties, ornamented -with 
gilt paper cut into httle flags, &c. I was placed in a chair that 
might have served for a pope under a holy family ; the Senora 

and the Senorita on either side. The elder nuns in 

stately array, occupied the other arm-chairs, and looked hke statues 
carved in stone. A young girl, a sort of pensionnaire, brought in 
a little harp without pedals, and wliile we discussed cakes and ices, 
sung different bahads with a good deal of taste. The elder nims 
helped us to every thing, but tasted nothing themselves. The 
younger nuns and the no^dces were grouped upon a mat a la 


Turque, and a more picturesque scene altogetlier one coiilcl scarcely 


The young novices Avitli tlieir wHte robes, white veils and black 
eyes, the severe and dignified madres with their long dresses and 
mournful-looking black veils and rosaries, the veiled figures occa- 
sionally flitting along the corridor ; — om-selves in contrast, with our 
worldli/ dresses and coloured ribbons; and the great hall hghted by 
one immense lamp that hung from the ceiling — I felt transported 
tln-ee centmies back, and half afraid that the whole would flit away, 
and prove a mere vision, a waking dream. 

A gossiping old nun, who hospitably filled my plate with every 
thino-^ gave me the enclosed Jla(/ cut in gilt paper, which, together 
with her custarda and jelUes, looked less unreal. They asked many 
questions in regard to Spanish aftairs, and were not to be consoled 
for the defeat 5 Don Carlos, which they feared would be an end of 
the true rehgion in Spain. 

After supper we proceeded up stairs to the choir (where the nuns 
attend pubhc worship, and which looks, down upon the handsome 
convent church) to try the organ. I was set down to a Sonata of 
Mozart's, the servants blowing the bellows. It seems to me that I 
made more noise than music, for the organ is very old, perhaps as 
old as the convent, wlfich dates three centuries back. However, 
the nxms were pleased, and after they had sung a hymn, we returned 
below. I was rather sorry to leave them, and felt as if I could have 
passed some time there very contentedly ; but it was near nme 
o'clock, and we were obhged to take our departure ; so having been 
embraced very cordially by the whole community, we left the hos- 
pitable walls of the Encarnacion. ... • i i 

28th. — Last evening we were sitting at home very qmetly about 

ten o'clock, C n, Monsieur de , of the Legation, and 

I, when A rushed into the room all dishevelled. " Come 

quickly, sir ! Robbers are brealdng open the kitchen-door !" A 
succession of feminine shrieks in the distance, added efiect to her 

^ords. C n jumped up, ran for his pistols, gave one to Mon- 

sle^u- de , called up the soldiers, but no robbers appeared. The 

kitchen-door was mdeed open, and the trembhng galopina attested, 
that being in the kitchen alone, dimly hghted by one small lamp, 
three men, all armed, had entered, and had rushed out agaui on 
hearin'i- her give the alarm. We somewhat doubted her assertions, 
but the next morning found that the men had in fact escaped by the 
Azotea, a great assistance to all Llexican depredators. At the end 
of this row of houses the people ran out and fired upon them, but 

without effect. The house of the old Countess of S F 

has been broken into, her porter wounded, report says killed, and 
her plate carried off". In the mean time our soldiers Avatch iii the 
kitchen, a pair of loaded pistols adorn the table, a double-barrelled 
gun stands in the comer, and a bull-dog growls in the gallery. This 
Httle passing visit to us was probably caused by the arrival of some 



large boxes from London, especiallj of a very fine liarp and piano, 
both Erard's, wlucli I had the pleasure of seeing unpacked this 
morning, and which, in spite of joking and bad roads, have arrived 
m perfect condition. ... 

Thus far I had wiitten, it being now the evening, and I sitting 
alone, when a succession of shrieks arose, even more awful than 
those which alarmed us last night. At the same time the old galo- 
pma, her daughter, and a French girl who lives here, rushed shout- 
ing along the gallery; not a word they said comprehensible, but 
something concerning "a robber in black, with men at his back, 
who had burst open the door." At the noise the whole household 
had assembled. _ One ran this way, one ran that. A Httle French 
tetnturier, who it appeared had been paying the maids a poHte visit, 
seized the loaded gim ; the footman took a pistol and hid himself 

behind the porter; A , like a second Joan of Arc, appeared, 

with a rusty sabre ; the soldiers rushed up with their bayonets ; the 
coachman stood aloof with nothing ; the porter led up the rear, 
holding a large clog by the collar; but no robber appears; and the 
girls are all sobbing and crying because we doubt their having seen 
one. Galopina the younger shedding tears in torrents, swears to 
the man. Galopina the elder, enveloped in her reboso, swears to any 
number of men ; and the recamerera has cried herself into a fit be- 
tween fear and indignation. 

_ Such is the agreeable state of things about nine o'clock this eve- 
ning, for one real attempt to enter the house, invariably gives rise 
to a thousand imaginary attacks and fanciful alarms. ... 

After many attempts at walking, I have very nearly abandoned it, 
but take a great deal of exercise both on horseback and in the carriao-e; 
which last, on account of the ill-paved condition of the streets' 
afibrds rather more exercise than the former. I drove out this 

morning in an open carriage with the Senorita E to her 

country-house at San Agustin, the gambhng emporium. But the 
famous annual fete does not take place till Whitsimday, and the pretty 
coimtry villas there are at present abandoned. We walked in the 
garden till_ the_ sun became insupportable. The fragrance of the 
roses and jasmine was ahnost overpowering. There are trees of 
miUefleur roses; hehotrope and honeysuckle cover every pillar, and 
yellow jasmine trails over every thing. . . . 

Found on my return an anonymous letter, begging me to " be- 
ware of my cook !" and signed Fernandez. Having sho^vn it to 
some gentlemen who dined here, one thought it might be a plan of 
the robbers to get rid of the cook, whom they considered in their way; 
another, with more probability, that it was merely a plan of the at- 
tentive Senor Fernandez to get the cook's place for liimself. . . 

We went lately to pay a visit to the celebrated Virgen de los Re- 
medies, the Gachupina, the Spanish patroness, and rival of Our 
Lady of Guadalupe. This Virgin was brought over by Cortes, and 
when he displaced the Indian idols in the great Temple of Mexico, 


caused tliem to "be broken in pieces, and tlie sanctuary to be puri- 
fied, he solemnly placed there a crucifix and this image of the Vir- 
gin' then kneelino- before it, gave solemn thanks to Heaven, which 
had' permitted him thus to adore the Most High in a place so long 
profixned by the most cruel idolatries. 

It is said that this image was brought to Mexico by a soldier 
of Cortes's army called Villafuerte, and that the day succeeding 
the terrible Noche Triste, it was concealed by Mm in the plape 
where it was afterwards discovered. At all events, the image dis- 
appeared, and nothing further was known of it until, on the top of 
a barren and treeless mountain, in the heart of a large maguey,^ she 
was found by a fortunate Indian. Her restoration was joyiully 
hailed by the Spaniards. A church was erected on the spot. A 
priest was appointed to take charge of the miraculous image. Her 
fiime spread abroad. Gifts of immense value were brought to her 
shrine A treasurer was appointed to take care of her jewels 5 a 
camarista to superintend her rich wardrobe. No rich dowager died 
in peace until she had bequeathed to Our Lady of Los Remedios 
her laro-est diamond, or her richest pearl. In seasons of drought 
she is b'^-ouo-ht in from her dwelUng in the mountain, and carried 
in procession through the streets. The Viceroy himself on foot 
used to lead the holy train. One of the highest rank drives the 
chariot in which she is seated. In succession she visits the principal 
convents, and as she is carried through the cloistered precincts, the 
nuns are ranged on their knees in humble adoration, rientilul 

rains immediately follow her arrival. , who accompanied us, 

has on several occasions filled the office of hef coachman, by which 
means he has seen the interior of most of the convents m Mexico. It 
is true that there came a time when the famous curate Hidalgo the 
prime mover of the Revolution, having taken as his standard an 
imao-e of the Vir^^in of Guadalupe, a rivalry arose between her and the 
Spa?ii^h VirD-in° and Hidalgo having been defeated and forced to 
flv the ima|e of the Virgen de los Remedios was conducted to 
Mexico dressed as a general, and invoked as the Patroness of bpam. 
Later stiU, the Virgin herself was denounced as a Gachupma ! her 
general's sash boldly torn from her by the vahant General — — , who 
also sio-ned her passport, with an order for her to leave the Repubhc. 
However, she was again restored to her honours, and stiU retains her 
treasurers, her camarista, and sanctum sanctorum. 

Beino- desirous of seeing this celebrated image, we set oli one tine 

afternoSi in a carriage of 's, drawn by six unbroken horses 

accompanied by liim and his lady, and performed lour leagxies oi 
bad road in an incredibly short space of time. The horses them- 
selves were in an evident state of astomshment, for alter kicking and 
pluno-ing, and, as they imagined running away, they found them- 
selves d?iven much faster than they had the sHghtest intention ot 

going: so after a httle while they acknowledged, m s capital 

C0Q.Q\\m^n,unemaindemaUre. _ 

The mountain is barren and lonely, but the view from its sum- 



mit is beautiful, commanding the whole plain. The church is old 
and not veiy remarkable, yet a picturesque object, as it stands in. 
Its gray solitariness, with one or two trees beside it, of which one 
without leaves Avas entirely covered with the most brilHant scarlet 

flowers. Senor having been the Virgin's coachman, the 

Senpra being the daughter of her camarista, and C n the 

mmister from the land of her predilection, we were not astonished at 
the distinguished reception which we met with from the reverend 
padre, the guardian of tlie mountain. The church within is hand- 
some; and above the akar is a copy of the original Virgin. After 
we had remained there a httle while, we were admitted into the 
Sanctum, where the identical Virgin of Cortes, with a laro-e silver 
maguey, occupies her splendid shrine. The priest retiredlmd put 
on his robes, and then returning, and all kneehng before the altar, 
he recited the credo. This over, he mounted the steps, and opcnino- 
the shrine where the Virgin was encased, knelt down and removed 
her m his arms. He then presented her to each of us in succession, 
every one kissing the hem of her satin robe. She was afterwards 
replaced with the same ceremony. 

The image is a wooden doll about a foot high, holding in its arms 
an infant Jesus, both faces evidently carved with a rucfe penknife; 
two holes for the eyes and another for the mouth. This doll was 
di-essed m blue satin and pearls, with a crown upon her head and a 
quantity of hair fastened on to the crown. No Indian idol coidd be 
much ugher. As she has been a good deal scratched and destroyed 

m the lapse of ages, C n observed that he was astonished they 

had not tried to restore her a httle. To this the padi-e rephed, that 
the attempt had been made by several artists, each one of whom 
had sickened and died. He also mentioned as one of her miracles, 
thath^-ing on a sohtaiy mountain she had never been robbed; but I 
fear the good padre is somewhat oblivious, as this sacrilege has hap- 
pened more than once. On one occasion, a crowd of leperos beino- 
collected, and the image carried round to be kissed, one of thein, 
affecting intense devotion, bit off the large pearl that adorned her 
di;ess m front, and before the theft was discovered, he had mino-led 
with the crowd and escaped. When reminded of the circumstance, 
the padre said it was true, but that the thief was a Frenchman. 
After taking leave of the Virgin, we visited the padre in his own 
old house, attached to the church, where his only attendant, as usual 
among padi-es, is an old woman. 

We then made our way on foot down a steep hill, stoppino- to 
admire some noble stone arches, the remains of an aqueduct built 
by the Spaniards for conveymg water from one mountain to the 
other; and with an Indian for our guide, visited a newly-disco- 
vered, though anciently-opened mine, said to be of silver, and which 
had until lately been covered with rubbish. We o-roped through it, 

and found vaults and excavations and a deep pit of water. C n 

got some Indians to break off pieces of stone for him, which were 
put mto a sack and sent home for examination. We were so tu'cd 


of our walk down this steep and moiuitainous patli, tliat on our rc- 
tm-n, I mounted a liorse with a man's saddle belonging to one of the 
servants, and contrived to keep on, while it climbed up the perpen- 
dicular ascent. As this seemed rather a selfish proceeding while the 

others walked, I invited the Scfiora to mount also in front; 

wliich she did, and the path being almost perpendicular, my head 
nearly touched the ground, which certainly made the seat not over 
safe or easy. However, we reached the top of the mountain in 
safety, though somewhat exhausted with laughing, and were driven 
home with the speed of a rail-car. 


Mexico in May — Leave INIexico for Santiago — Coacli of Charles X. — Mexi- 
can Travelling — General Aspect of the Country — Village of Santa Clara — 
Robbers' House— Temples of the Sun and Moon— San Juan — Mexican Po- 
sada— School-house— Skulls— Hard Fare— Travelling-dress— Sopayuca—^1 Hi- 
lary Administrador — Santiago— Matadors and Picadors— Evenings in the 
Country — Dances— Mexican Songs— Cempoala — Plaza de Toros— Skill of 
the Horsemen — Omatusco — Accident — Tulausingo — Beautiful Garden — 
Mexican Dishes— Fruits— Horses— Games of Forfeits— Ranchera's Dress — 
Young Girls and their Admirers— Verses — Knowledge of simple Medicine- 
Indian Baths — Hidden Treasures — Anecdote. 

Santiago, May Gth, 

Befoke the setting in of the rainy season, we accepted of the 

invitation of our friciids the 's, to visit their different haciendas, 

as in a short tune the roads will become nearly impassable. The 
country in May is perhaps at its highest beauty, or even a httle 
earlier, as already the great blow of roses is nearly over; au reste 
there are roses all the year round, though more in December than 
in July. And this, by the way, is rather a source of disappointment 
to the unwary traveller. He arrives in December, and finds the 
gardens full of flowers. " If tliis be the case in December," says he 
to himself, what will it be in IMay ?" May comes — the roses are over, 
and the chief flowers in the gardens are daliHas and marigolds, our 
autumnal flowers — September, and these autumnal flowers, still 
bloom, and with them you have mignonette and roses, and then 
pinks and jasmine, and other flowers. In fact there seems to be no 
particular season for any thing. 

The weather at present is neither warm nor cold, but colder here 
than in Mexico, and when it does not rain it is lovely. Already 
there has been much rain, and the torrents are so sweUed, that there 
was some doubt as to whether our carriages could pass them. 


Yesterday, at five in tlie morning we left Mexico, in a coacli 
once the i^roperty of Charles X. " Sic transit," &c.; and a most 
luxurious traveUing-carriage is that of liis ex-majesty, entirely co- 
vered witli gilding, save where the HIies of France surmoimt the 
crown (sad emblems of the fallen dynasty !), lined with white satin 
with violet-coloui-cd binding, the satin cusliions most excellently 
stuffed : large, commodious, and with a movement as soft as that of 
a gondola. 

A Frenchman bought it on a speculation, and brought it here for 
sale. In former days, from its gilded and showy appearance, it 
would have brought any price; but the taste for gaudy equipages 
has gone by since the introduction of foreign, and especially of 
Enghsh carriages; and the present proprietor, who bought it for its 
intrinsic good quaHties, paid but a moderate sum for it. In this 
carriage, drawn by six strong horses, with two first-rate coaclnnen 
and several outriders well armed, we went along at great speed. 
The drivers, di^essed Mexican fashion, with all their accoutrements 
smart and new, looked very picturesque. Jackets and trousers of 
deerskin, the jackets embroidered in green, with hanging silver 
buttons, the trousers also embroidered and sht up the side of the 
leg, trimmed with silver buttons, and showing an under pair of 
unbleached linen : these, with the postiHons' boots, and great hats 
with gold rolls, form a dress which would f aire fureur, if some ad- 
venturous Mexican would venture to display 'it on the streets of 

We left the city by the gate of Guadalupe, and passed by the 
great cathedral, our road lying over the marshy plains once covered 
by the waters of Lake Tezcuco. 

To the east lay the great Lake, its broad waters shining like a 
sheet of molten silver, and the two great volcanoes : the risuig sun 
forming a crown of rays on the white brow of Popocatapetl. 
_ To describe once for all the general aspect of the country on this 
side of the valley of Mexico : suffice it to say, that there is a universal 
air of dreariness, vastness, and desolation. The country is flat, but 
always enlivened by the surrounding mountains, hke an uninterest- 
ing _ painting in a diamond frame; and yet it is not wholly iminte- 
resting. It has a character pecuhar to itself, gTcat plains of maguey, 
with its huts with uncultivated patches, that have once been gardens, 
stiU filled with flowers and choked with weeds ; the huts themselves, 
generally of mud, yet not unfrequently of sohd stone, roofless and 
windowless, mth traces of having been fine buildings in former 
days ; the complete sohtude, rmbroken except by the passing Indian, 
certainly as much in a state of savage nature as the lower class of 
Mexicans were when Cortes first traversed these plains — with the same 
character, gentle and cowardly, false and cunning, as weak animals are 
apt to be by nature, and indolent and improvident as men are in a 
fine climate; ruins everywhere — here a viceroy's country palace, 
serving as a tavern, where the mules stop to rest, and the drivers 
to drink pulque — there, a whole village crumbHng to pieces; roof- 

robbers' house. 123 

less liouses, broken down -walls and arclics, an old cliurcli — the 
remains of a convent. . . . For leagues, scarcely a tree to be seen ; 
tlien a clump of the graceful Arbol de Peru, or one great cypress — 
long strings of mules and asses, with their drivers — pasture-fields 
with cattle — then again whole tracts of maguey, as far as the eye 
can reach; no roads worthy of the name, but a passage made between 
fields of maguey, bordered by crumbHng-down low stone walls, 
causing a jolting from which not even the easy movement of 
Charles X.'s coach can save us. But the horses go at full gallop, 
accustomed to go through and over every tiling. 

The first village we saw was Santa Clara, to our left, lying at the 
foot of some dark hills, with its white church and flat-roofed or no- 
roofed houses. There being no shade, frequently not a tree for 
leagues, the sim and dust were disagreeable, and became more so 
as the day advanced. Here it came to pass, that, travelhng rapidly 
over these hot and dusty plains, the wheels of our carriage began to 
smoke. No house was in sight — no water within ken. It was a 

case of difficulty ; when suddenly recollected that not far from 

thence was an old rancho, a deserted farmhouse, at present occupied 
by robbers; and having ordered the coachman to drive to within a 
few hundred yards of this house, he sent a servant on horseback with 
a medio (fourpence) to bring some water, which was treating the 
robbers like honourable men. The man galloped oflP, and shortly 
returned with a can full of water, wliich he carried back when the 
fire was extinguished. 

ISIeanwhile we examined, as well as we could, the external 
appearance of the robbers' domicile, wdiich was an old half- ruined 
house, standing alone on the plain, with no tree near it. Several 
men, ^\ath guns, were walking up and down before the house — 
sporting-looking characters, but rather dirty — apparently either 
waiting for some expected game, or going in search of it. Women, 
with rebosos, were carrying water, and walking amongst them. 
There were also a number of dogs. The well-armed men who accom- 
panied us, and the name of , so well known in these parts, 

that once when his carriage was surrounded by robbers, he merely 
mentioned who he was, and they retreated with many apologies for 
their mistake, precluded all danger of an attack ; but woe to the 
sohtary horseman or unescorted carriage that may pass thereby! 

Nor, indeed, are they always in the same mood ; for Senor 's 

houses have been frequently attacked in his absence, and his hacienda 
at Santiago once stood a regidar siege, the robbers being at length 
repulsed by the bravery of his serv' ants. 

We set ofi^ again au grand galop, drivers and outriders giving, 
from time to time, the most extraordinary shrieks to encourage the 
horses and to amuse themselves, wild and shrill enough to frighten 
any civilized quadruped. The road grew more picturesque as we 
advanced, and at length our attention was arrested by the sight of 
the two great pyramids, which rise to the east of the to^vn of San 

124 SAN JUAN. 

Juan Teotiluiacan, wlaicli are mentioned by Humboldt, and have 
excited the curiosity and attention of every succeeding traveller. 
These huge masses were consecrated to the sun and moon, which, 
in the time of Cortes, were there represented by two vast stone idols, 
covered with gold. The conq-uerors made use of the gold, and broke 
the idols in pieces, by order of the first bishop of Mexico. Unfor- 
tunately, our time was too limited to give them more than a passing 
observation. Fragments of obsidian, in the form of knives and o^f 
arrows, with which the priests opened the breasts of their human 
victims, are still to be found there"; and numerous small idols, made 
of baked clay, are to be seen both there and in the plains adjoining. 
The Indians rather disHke to guide travellers to these pyramids, and 
their reluctance to do so has increased the popular behef of the ex- 
istence of great concealed treasures near or in them. 

The whole plain on which these great pyramids stand was formerly 
called Micoatl, or the Pathway of'tlie Dead; and the hundreds of 
smaller pyramids which surround the larger ones (the Temples of the 
Sun and Moon) are symetrically disposed in Avide streets, forming a 
great burial-plain, composed perhaps of the dust of their ancient war- 
riors, an Aztec or Toltec Pere-la-Chaise, or rather a roofless West- 
minster Abbey. So few of the ancient teocallis now remain, and 
these being nearly the only traces now existing of that extraordinary 
race, we regretted the more not being able to devote some time to 
their examination. Fanaticism and pohcy induced the Spanish con- 
querors to destroy these heathen temples ; and when we recollect 
that at the time of the Reformation in civilized England the most 
splendid Catholic edifices were made level with the groimd, in com- 
pliance with the ferocious edict of John Knox, " Ding down the 
nests, and the rooks will fly off," we can have Httle wonder or blame 
to bestow upon Cortes, who, in the excitement of a siege, gave 
orders for the destruction of these blood-stained sanctuaries.'' In the 
afternoon we arrived at San Juan, a pretty village, boasting of an 
inn, a school-house, an avenue of fine trees, and a stream of clear 
water. It is true that the inn is a Mexican posada, bearing as much 
resemblance to what is generally called an inn, as an hacienda does 
to an EngHsh country-house ; the school-house, a room with a mud 
floor and a few dirty benches, occupied by little ragged boys and 
girls ; but the avenue is pretty, the grass as green as emeralds, and 
the water crystal. "We walked out while they changed horses, of 

whicli Sefior had fresh relays of his own prepared all along 

the road ; and entered the school-house, attracted by the noise and 
the invitingly open door. The master was a poor, ragged, pale, care- 
worn looking young man, seemingly half-dinned with the noise, but 
very earnest in his work. The children, all speaking at once, were 
learning to spell out of some old bills of Congress. Several moral 
sentences were written on the wall in very independent orthography. 

C n having remarked to the master that they were ill-spelt, he 

seemed very much astonished, and even incHned to doubt the fact. 


I tlioug'lit it was one of tliose cases where ignorance is bliss, and fear 
the observation may have cost the young man a night's rest. 

A row of grinning skulls was ranged round the wall of the church- 
yard, and the sexton, who gave us admittance to the church, taking 
up one to show it off, it all crumbled into dust, which filled the air 
like a cloud. 

At the posada they gave us rancid sheep's milk, cheese, and biscuits 

so hard, that C n asked the host if they were made in the same 

year with the church ; at which he seemed mightily pleased, and 
could not stop laughing till we got into the carriage. 

Soon after leaving San Juan we were met by the Senora de , 

in an open carriage, coming with her children to meet us ; and 
though she had travelled since sunrise from her hacienda, she ap- 
peared as if freshly dressed for an evening party ; her dress, amber- 
coloured crape, trimmed with wliite blonde, short sleeves and decoltee; 
a set of beautiful Neapolitan strawberry- coral, set in gold, straw- 
coloured satin shoes, and a little China crape shawl, embroidered in 
bright flowers ; her hair dressed and uncovered. 

We stopped at their hacienda of Sopayuca, an old house, standing 
solitarily in the midst of great fields of maguey. It has a small 
deserted garden adjoining, amongst whose tangled bushes a pretty 
little tame deer was playing, Avith its half-startled look and full wild 
eye. We found an excellent breakfast prepared, and here, for the 
first time, I conceived the possibility of not disliking pulque. We 
visited the large buildings wliere it is kept, and found it rather 
refreshing, with a sweet taste and a creamy froth upon it, and with a 
much less decided odour than that which is sold in Mexico. 

This hacienda is under the charge of an administrador, to whom 

pays a large annual sum, and whose place is by no means a 

sinecure, as he lives in perpetual danger from robbers. He is cap- 
tain of a troop of soldiers, and as his Hfe has been spent in " perse- 
cuting robbers," he is an object of intense hatred to that free and 
independent body, and has some thoughts of removing to another 
part of the country, where he may be more tranquil. He gave us a 
terrible account of these night attacks, of the inefl?ectual protection 
afforded him by the government, and of the nearly insuperable 
difliculties thrown in the way of any attempt to bring these men to 
justice. He lately told the president that he had some thoughts of 
joining the robbers himself, as they were the only persons in the 
Republic protected by the government. The president, however, 
is not to blame in this matter. He has used every endeavour to 
check these abuses ; and difficulties have been thrown in Iris way 
from very unexpected sources. . . . 

A pro-pos to which, the consul told us the other day, that 

some time ago, having occasion to consult Judge upon an 

affair of importance, he was shown into an apartment where that 
functionary was engaged with some suspicious-looking individuals, 
or rather who were above suspicion, their appearance plainly indi- 


eating tlieir calling. On the table before him lay a number of 
guns, swords, pistols, and all sorts of arms. The Judge requested 

Monsieur de to be seated, observing that he was investigatino- 

a case of robbery committed by these persons. The robbers were 
seated, smoking very much at their ease, and the Judge was enjoy- 
ing the same innocent recreation ; when his cigar becoming extin- 
guished, one of these gentlemen taking lais from his mouth, handed 
it to the magistrate, who relighted his puro (cigar) at it, and re- 
turned it with a pohtc bow. In short, they were completely hand 
in glove. 

In the evening we reached Santiago, where we now are, about 
eighteen leagues from IMexico, a large house in a wild-looking 
country, standing in sohtary state, with hills beliind, and rocks be- 
fore it, and surroimded by great uncultivated plains and pasture- 
fields. Every thing is en gr ancle in this domain. There is a hand- 
some chapel and sacristy ; a plaza de toros ; hundreds of horses and 
mules ; and between de-pendientes and liangers-on, we sat down, 
tliirty or forty people, to dinner. 

7th. — The very day of our arrival, Bernardo the Matador, with 
his men, arrived from Mexico, bringing their superb dresses with 
them, for the purpose of giving us a country bull-fight. As an 
hacienda of this kind is an immense empty house, without furnitua-e 
or books, all the amusement is to be found either out of doors, or in 
large parties in the house ; and the imostentatious hospitahty which 
exists in tliis and some other of the old families, is a pleasing rem- 
nant of Spanish manners and habits, now falling into disuse, and 
succeeded by more pretension to refinement, and less of either real 
wealth or sociability. 

In the evening here, all assemble in a large hall ; the Senora de 

playing the piano ; while the whole party, agents, dependi- 

entes, major-domo, coachmen, matadors, picadors, and women- 
servants, assemble, and perform the dances of the country ; jarabes, 
aforrados, enanos, palomos, zapateros^ &c. &c. It must not be sup- 
posed that in this apparent minghng of ranks between masters and 
servants, there is the sHghtest want of respect on the part of the 
latter ; on the contrary, they seem to exert themselves, as in duty 
bound, for the amusement of their master and his guests. There is 
nothing repubhcan in it ; no feehng of equahty ; as far as I have 
seen, that feehng does not exist here, except between people of the 
same rank. It is more like some remains of the feudal system, 
where the retainers sat at the same table with their cliief, but below 
the salt. The dances are monotonous, with small steps and a great 
deal of shuffling, but the music is rather pretty, and some of the 
dancers were very gracefi;l and agile ; and if it were not invidious 
to make distinctions, we might particularize Bernardo the Matador, 
the head coachman, and a handsome peasant-girl, with a short 
scarlet and yellow petticoat, and a foot and ankle a la Vestris. 
They were all very quiet, but seemed in a state of intense enjoy- 


ment ; and some of the men accompanied tlie dancers on tlie 

First the player strikes up in quick time, and the dancer per- 
forms a quick movement ; then the musician accompanies the music 
with liis voice, and the dancer goes through some slow steps. Such 
is the case in the Aforrado or Lining, a curious nom de tendresse, 
expressive, I suppose, of something soft and well wadded. The 
words are as follow : 


Aforrado de mi vida ! 

Como esti'is, como te va ? 
Como has pasado la noche, 

No has teiiido novedad ? 


Aforrado de mi vida ! 

Yo te quisiera can tar, 
Pero mis ojos son tiernos, 

Y empazaran a Uorar. 

De Guadalajara vengo, 
Lideando con un soldado, 

Solo por venir a ver 
A mi jarabe aforrado. 

Y vente con migo, 

Y yo te dare 
Zapatos de raso 

Color de cafe. 

Of these poetical subhmities, a translation at once literal and 
metrical, would, we thmk, damp the spirit of a Coleridge. 


Lining of my life ! 

How are you ? how do you do ? 
How have you passed the night ? 

Have you met with nothing new ? 


Lining of my life ! 

To you I should like to sing ; 
But tliat my eyes are weak, 

And tears might begin to spring. 

From Guadalajara fighting, 
With a soldier I came on. 

My well-lined s^vcct si/rup '■ 
I came to see you alone. 



And come then with me, 

And I will give thee 
Such fine slices of satin. 

The colour of tea. 

It is coffee, but you will excuse the poetical licence. The music 
married to this " immortal verse," I have learned by ear, and shall 
send you. In the " enanos''' (the dwarfs) the dancer makes himself 
little, every time the chorus is simg. 

Ah ! que bonitos 

Son los enanos, 
Los chiquititos 

Y J\Jejicanos. 


Sale la linda, 
Sale la fea, 
Sale el enano, 
Con su zalea. 


Los enanitos 

Se enojaron, 
Porque a las en anas 

Les pellizcaron. 

There are many more verses, but I think you wall find these quite 
satisfactory. "Ah ! how pretty are the dwarfs, the little ones, the 
Mexicans ! Out comes the pretty one, out comes the ugly one, out 
comes the dwarf, -with his jacket of skin. The little he-dwarfs were 
angry, because some one pinched the she-dwarfs." There is another 
called the Toro, of which the words are not very interesting ; and 
the Zapatero, or shocinaker, was very well danced by a gentleman 
who accompanied himself, at the same time, on the guitar. 

Yesterday morning, we set oft' in a burning sun, over a perfect 
Egyptian desert, to visit the famous arches of Cempoala, a magnifi- 
cent work, wliich we are told had greatly excited the admiration of 
Mr. Poinsett when in this comitry. This aqueduct, the object of 
whose construction was to supply these arid plains with water, was 
the work of a Spanish Franciscan friar, and has never been entirely 
concluded. We travelled about six leagues, and sat there for 
hours, looking up at the great stone arches, which seem hke a work 
of giants. 

In the afternoon, we all rode to the Plaza de Toros. Tlie evenino- 
w^as cool, and our horses good, the road pretty and shady, and the 
plaza itself a most picturesque enclosure, surrounded by lofty trees. 
Chairs were placed for us on a raised platform ; and the bright 
green of the trees, the flasliing dresses of the toreadors, the roaring 

THE LASO. 129 

of the fierce bulls, the spirited horses, the music and the cries ; 
the Indians shouting from the trees up which they had climbed ; all 
formed a scene of savage grandeur, Avhich for a short time at least 
is interesting. Bernardo was dressed in blue satin and gold ; the 
picadors in black and silver ; the others in maroon-coloured satin 
and gold ; all those on foot wear knee-breeches and white silk stock- 
ings, a httle black cap with ribbons, and a plait of hair streaming 
doAvn behind. The horses were generally good, and as each new 
adversary appeared, seemed to participate in the enthusiasm of their 
riders. One bull after another was driven in roaring, and as here 
they are generally fierce, and their horns not blunted as in Mexico, 
It is a much more dangerous afiair. The bulls were not killed, but 
were sufficiently tormented. One stuck full of arrows and fire- 
works, all adorned with ribbons and coloured paper, made a sud- 
den spring oyer an immensely high wall, and dashed into the woods. 
I thought afterwards of this unfortunate animal, how it must have 
been wandering about all night, bellowing with pain, the con- 
cealed arrows piercing its flesh, and looking like gay ornaments ; 

" So, when the watchful shepherd, from the blind, 
Wounds with a random shaft the careless hind, 
Distracted with her pain, she flies the woods, 
Bounds o'er the lawn, and seeks the silent floods— 
With fruitless care ; for still the fatal dart 
Sticks in her side, and rankles in her heart." 

If tlie arrows had stuck too deep, and that the bull could not rub 
thein ofi:' against the trees, he must have bled to death. Had he 
remained, his fete would have been better, for when the animal is 
entirely exhausted they throw him down with a laso, and pulHno- 
out the arrows, put ointment on the wounds. ° 

The sldll of the men is surprising ; but the most curious part of 

the exhibition was when a coachman of 's, a strono-, handsome 

Mexican, mounted on the back of a fierce bull, which plunged and 
flung himself about as If possessed by a legion of demons, and forced 
the animal to gallop round and round the arena. The bull is first 
caught by the laso, and thrown on his side, strugghng furiously. 
The man mounts while he is still on the ground. At the same mo- 
ment the laso is withdrawn, and the bull starts up, maddened by 
feehng the weight of his unusual burden. The rider must dis- 
mount in the same way, the bull being first thrown doAvn, otherwise 
he would be gored in a moment. It is terribly dangerous, for 
if the man were to lose his seat, his death Is nearly certain ; 
but these Mexicans are superb riders. A monk, who is attached 
to the estabhshment, seems an ardent admirer of these sports, and 
his ^ presence is useful, in case of a dangerous accident occurring, 
which Is not unfrequent. 

The amusement was suddenly interrupted by sudden darkness, 
and a tremendous storm of rain and thunder, in the midst of which, 
we moimted our horses, and galloped home. 




Another bull-fight last evening ! It is Hke pulque ; one makes wry 
faces at it at first, and then begins to like it. One thing we soon dis- 
covered ; which was, that the buUs, if so inchned, could leap-iipon 
our platform, as they occasionally sprang over a wall twice as high. 
There was a part of the spectacle rather too horrible. The horse 
of one of the picadors was gored, his side torn up by the bull's 
horns, and in this state, streaming with blood, he was forced to 
gallop round the circle. 

We spent one day in visiting Omatusco, an hacienda belong- 
ing to the Senora T a, situated in the plains of Apan, and 

famous for the superior excellence of its pulque. The organas, 
the nopal, and great fields of maguey, constitute the chief vegeta- 
tion for many miles round. The hacienda itself, a fine large build- 
ing, stands lonely and bleak in the midst of magueys. A fine 
chapel, left unfinished since her husband's death, attracted our 
attention by its simple architecture and unpretending elegance. 
It is nearly impossible to conceive any thing more lonely than a 
residence here must be ; or in fact in any of the haciendas situated 
on these great plains of Otumba and Apan. 

This morning we set off* for Tulansingo, in foiu' carriages-and-six, 
containing the whole family, om'selves, maids, and children, padre 
and nursery governess ; relays being placed all along the road, 
which we traversed at full gallop. But in crossing some great 
pasture-fields, the drivers of two of the carriages began to race ; 
one of the horses fell and threw the postihon ; the carriage itself 
was overturned, and though none of the inmates were injured, the 
poor mozo was terribly wounded in liis head and legs. No assist- 
ance being near, he changed places with oae of the men on horse- 
back, and was brought on slowly. 

About three in the afternoon, we arrived at Tulansingo, rather 
an important city in its way, and which has been the theatre of 
many revolutionary events ; with various streets and shops, a hand- 
some church ; alcaldes, a prefect, &c. There appear to be some 
few good houses and decent fimihes, and clean, small shops, and 
there are pretty, shady walks in the environs ; and though there 
are also plenty of miserable dwellings and dirty people, it is alto- 
gether rather a civihzed place. The house of , which stands 

within a courtyard, and is tlte house par excellence, is very hand- 
some, with Httle furniture, but with some remnants of luxmy. 
The dining-hall is a noble room, with beautiful Chinese paper, 
opening into a garden, which is the boast of the repubHc, and is 
indeed singularly pretty, and kept in beautiful order, with gravel 
walks and fine trees, clear tanks and sparkhng fountains, and an 
extraordinary profusion of the most beautiful tiowers, roses espe- 
cially. There is something extremely oriental in its appearance, 
and the fountains are ornamented with Cliina vases and Chinese 
figures of great value. Walking along under arches formed by 

FRUITS. 131 

rose-bushes, a small column of water spouted forth from each bush, 
sprinkling us all over with its shower. But the prettiest thing in 
the garden is a great tank of clear water, enclosed on three sides by 
a Clainese building, roimd which runs a piazza with stone pillars, 
shaded by a drapery of white curtains. Comfortable well-cushioned 
sofas are arranged along the piazza, which opens into a large room, 
where one may dress after bathing. It is the prettiest and coolest 
retreat possible, and entirely surrounded by trees and roses. Here 
one may He at noonday, with the sun and the world completely 
shut out. Tliey call this an Enghsh garden, than wliich it rather 
resembles the summer retreat of a sultan. 

When we arrived, we found dinner laid for forty persons, and 
the table ornamented, by the taste of the gardener, with pyramids 
of beautiful flowers. 

I have now formed acquaintance with many Mexican dishes ; 
molt (meat stewed in red chile), boiled nopal, fried bananas, green 
clrile, &c. Then we invariably have /"/•yo/es (brown beans stewed), 
hot tortillas — and this being in the country, pulque is the universal 
beverage. In Mexico, tortillas and pulque are considered unfa- 
sliionable, though both are still to be met mth occasionally, in some 
of the best old houses. They have here a most delicious species 
of cream cheese, made by the Indians, and ate with virgin honey. 
I beheve there is an intermixture of goats' milk in it ; but the 
Indian famihes who make it, and who have been offered large sums 
for the receipt, find it more profitable to keep their secret. 

Every dinner has puchero immediately following the soup; con- 
sisting of boiled mutton, beef, bacon, fowls, garbanzos (a white 
bean), small gourds, potatoes, boiled pears, greens, and any other 
vegetables ; a piece of each put on your plate at the same time, and 
accompanied by a sauce of herbs or tomatoes. 

As for fruits, we have mameys, chirimoyas, granaditas, white 
and black zapotes ; the black, sweet, mth a green skin and black 
pulp, and with black stones in it ; the white resembhng it in out- 
ward appearance and form, but with a wliite pulp, and the kernel, 
wliich is said to be poisonous, is very large, round, and wloite. It 
belongs to a larger and more leafy tree than the black zapote, and 
grows in cold or teinperate chmates ; whereas the other is a native 
of tierra caliente. Then there is the chicozapote, of the same 
family, with a whitish skin, and a white or rose-tinged pulp; this 
also belongs to the warm regions. The capuhn, or Mexican 
cherry ; the mango, of which the best come from Orizaba and Cor- 
dova ; the cayote, &c. Of these I prefer the chirimoya, zapote 
bianco, granadjta, and mango ; but this is a matter of taste. 

12th. — We have spent some days here very pleasantly ; riding 
amongst the hills in the neighbom-hood, exploring caves, viewing 
waterfalls, and cHmbing on foot or on horseback, wherever foot or 
horse could penetrate. No habits to be worn in these parts, as I 
found from experience, after being caught upon a gigantic maguey, 

K 2 


and my gown torn in two. It is certainly always the wisest plan 
to adopt the customs of the country one lives in. A dress either of 
stuff, such as merino, or of musHn, as short as it is usually worn, a 
reboso tied over one shoulder, and a large straw hat, is about the 
most convenient costume that can be adopted. The horses are 
small, but strong, spirited, and well-made; generally unshod, Avliich 
they say makes the motion more agreeable ; and almost all, at 
least all ladies' horses, are taught the paso, which I find tiresome for 
a continuance, though a good paso-horse will keep up with others 
that gallop, and for a longer time. 

The great amusement here in tlie evening is playing at jverjos de 
prendas, games with forfeits, which I recommend to all who wish to 
make a rapid improvement in the Spanish tongue. Last night, 
being desired to name a forfeit for the padre, I condemned him to 
dance the jarabe, of which he performed a few steps in his long 
gown and girdle, with equal awkwardness and goodnature. We 
met to-day the prettiest little ranchera, a farmer's wife or daughter, 
riding in front of a viozo on the same horse, their usual mode, dressed 
in a short embroidered mushn petticoat, white satin shoes, a pearl 
necklace, and earrings, a reboso, and a large round straw hat. The 
ladies sit their horse on a contrary side to our fashion. They have 
generally adopted EngHsh saddles, but the farmers' wives frequently 
sit in a sort of chair, which they find much more commodious. 

Some country ladies, who attended mass in the chapel this 
morning, were dressed in very short clear white muslin gowns, very 
much starched, and so disposed as to show two under-pctticoats, also 
stiffly starched, and trimmed with lace; their shoes coloured satin. 
Considered as a costume of their own, I begin to tliink it rather 
pretty. The oldest women here or in Mexico never wear caps; 
nothing but their own gray hair, sometimes cut short, sometimes 
turned up with a comb, and not unusually tied behind in a pigtail. 
There is no attempt to conceal the ravages of time. . . . 

It appears to me, that amongst the young girls here there is 
not that desire to enter upon the cares of matrimony, which 
is to be observed in many other countries. The opprobrious 
epithet of " old maid" is unknown. A girl is not the less admired 
because she has been ten or a dozen years in society; the most 
severe remark made on her is that she is " hard to please." No one 
calls her passte, or looks out for a new face to admire. I have seen 
no courting of the young men either in mothers or daughters; no 
match-makino; mammas, or daughters looking out for their own in- 
terests. In tact, young people have so few opportunities of being 
together, that Mexican marriages must be made in heaven, for I 
see no opportunity of bringing them about upon earth ! The young 
men when they do meet with young ladies in society, appear devoted 
to and very much afraid of them. I know but one lady in Mexico 
who has the reputation of having manoeuvred all her daughters into 
great marriages; but she is so clever, and her daughters were such 


beauties, that it can have cost her no trouble. As for flirtation, the 
name is unknown, and the thing. 

I have been takins: lessons in the Indian dances from Dona 

K a; they are not ungraceful, but lazy and monotonous. . . . 

On every door in this house there is a printed paper to the fol- 
lowing eflect: 

" Quien a esta casa da luz? Jesus. 
Qui en la llena de alegria? Maria. 
Y quien la abraza en la fe? Jose. 
Luego bien claro se ve 
Que siempre habra contricion, 
Teniendo en la corazon, 
A Jesus, Maria, y Jose." 

" Who gives light to this house? Jesus. 

Who fills it with joy? Mary. 

Who kindles faith in it? Joseph. 

Then w^e see very clearly 

That there will always be contrition. 

Keeping in our hearts, 

Jesus, Slary, and Joseph." 
These are written in verse, and below: " The most illustrious 
Bishop of Montc-Rey, Don Fray Jose de Jesus Maria Balaunzaran, 
hereby ordains and grants, along with the Bishops of Puebla, Du- 
rango, Valladohd and Guadalajara, two hundred days of indulgence 
to all those who devoutly repeat the above ejaculation, and invoke 
the sweet names of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph." . . . The people here 
have certainly a poetical vein in their composition. Every thing is 
put into verse — sometimes doggerel, like the above (in which luz 
rhyming with Jesus shows that the z is pronounced here like an s), 
occasionally a little better, but always in rhyme. 

We went this evening to visit the Countess del , who has a 

house in the village. Found her in bed, feverish, and making use 
of simple remedies, such as herbs, the knowledge and use of which 
have descended from the ancient Indians to the present lords of the 
soil. The Spanish historians who have written upon the conquest 
of Mexico, all mention the knowledge which the Mexican physi- 
cians had of herbs. It was supposed by these last, that for every 
infirmity there w^as a remedy in the herbs of the field ; and to apply 
them according to the nature of the malady, was the chief science of 
these primitive professors of medicine. Much which is now used 
in European pharmacy is due to the research of Mexican doctors ; 
such as sarsaparilla, jalap, friars' rhubarb, viechoacan, &c.; also 
various emetics, antidotes to poison, remedies against fever, and an 
infinite number of plants, minerals, gums, and simple medicines. 
As for their infusions, decoctions, ointments, plasters, oils, &c., 
Cortes himself mentions the wonderful number of these which he 


saw in tlie Mexican market for sale. From certain trees tliey 
distilled balsams ; and drew a balsamic liquid both from a decoction 
of the branches, and from the bark steeped in water. Bleeding and 
bathing were their other favourite remedies. The country-people 
breathed a vein with a maguey-point, and when they could not find 
leeches, substituted the prickles of the American hedgehog. 

Besides bathing in the rivers, lakes, tanks, and fountains, they 
used a bath which is still to be seen in many Indian villages, and 
which they call the temezcaUi. It is made of unbaked bricks; its 
form is that of a baker's oven, about eight feet wide and six 
high ; the pavement rather convex, and lower than the surface 
of the soil. A person can enter this bath only on his knees. Op- 
posite the entry is a stone or brick stove, its opening towards the 
exterior of the bath, with a hole to let out the smoke. Before the 
bath is prepared, the floor inside is covered with a mat, on which 
is placed a jar of water, some herbs and leaves of corn. The stove 
is then heated until the stones which unite it with the bath become 
red-hot. When the bather enters the entry is closed, and the only 
opening left is a hole at the top of the vault, which, when the smoke 
of the oven has passed through, is also shut. They then pour water 
upon the red-hot stones, from which a thick vapour arises, which 
fills the temezcalH. The bather then throws himself on the mat, 
and drawing down the steam with the herbs and maize, wets them 
in the tepid water of the jar, and if he has any pain, apphes them to 
the part affected. This having produced perspiration, the door is 
opened and the well-baked patient comes out and dresses. For 
fevers, for bad colds, for the bite of a poisonous animal, this is said 
to be a certain cure; also for acute rheumatism. 

For the ciire of wounds, the Spaniards found the Mexican re- 
medies most efficacious. Cortes himself was cured by one of their 
doctors of a severe wound in the head, received at Otumba, through 
which we lately passed. For fractures, for humours, for every thing 
they had their remedy; sometimes pulverizing the seeds of plants, 
and attribiiting much of their efficacy to the superstitious ceremonies 
and prayers which they used while applying them, especially those 
which thev offered up to Tzapotlatenan^ the goddess of medicine. 

A great deal of this knowledge is still preserved amongst their 
descendants, and considered efficacious. For every illness there is an 
herb, for every accident a remedy. Baths are in constant use, al- 
though these temezcalhs are confined to the Indians. In every 
family there is some knowledge of simple medicine, very necessary 
in haciendas especially, where no physician can possibly be pro- 

There is a hill upon 's property, said to contain much buried 

treasure. There are many traditions here of this concealed Indian 
wealth, but very little gold has been actually recovered from these 
mountain-tombs. Buried gold has occasionally come to light; not 



by researches in the mountains, for few are rash enough to throw 
away their money in search of what would probably prove an 
imaginary treasure; but by accident — in the ruins_ of old houses, 
where the proprietors had deposited it for safety in some period 
of revolution; perhaps no later than at the time of the Spanish 

Some years ago, an old and very poor woman rented a house m 
the environs of Mexico, as old and wretched as herself, for four reals 
a week. It had an old broken-up stone patio (inner courtyard), 
which she used occasionally to sweep with a little old broom. One 
day she observed two or three stones in this patio larger and more 
carefully put together than the others, and the Httle old woman, 
being a daughter of Eve by some collateral branch, poked down 
and °worked° at the stones until she was able to raise them up — 
when lo and behold, she discovered a can full of treasure; no less 
than live thousand dollars in gold ! Her dehght and her fright were 
unbounded; and, being a prudent old lady, she determined, m the 
first place, to leave the house, and next to bring m her treasure, 
poquito u poquito (little by Httle), to a room in Mexico, keeping the 
old house as a sort of bank. She did so ; took a nice room, and 
instead of sleeping on a petate (mat), as she had hitherto done, 
bought herself a little bedstead, and even a mattress ; treated herself 
not only to chocolate, but to a few bottles of good wine ! Such ex- 
traordinary luxury could not fail to excite suspicion. She was 
questioned by her neighbours, and at length intrusted her secret to 
their keeping. History says, that notwithstanding this, _ she was 
not robbed, "and was allowed to enjoy her good fortune in peace. 
It is difficuh to credit such a miracle in this land of picking and 
steahnsf, but my authority is beyond impeachment. 

. . r ^Vliilst I write on these irrelevant matters, I am warned 
that the coaches are at the door, and that we are about setting off 

for Tepenacasco, another hacienda of Seiior 's, a few leagues 

from this. 



Arrival at Tepenacasco— Lake witli Wild-duck— Ruined Hacienda— Sunset or> 
the PJains-1 roop of Asses-I^ide by Moonlight-Leave Tepenacasco-San 
JMigue -Description— Thunderstorm— Guasco-Journey to Real del Monte 
-English Road-Scenery-Village of Real-Count de Regla-Director's 
House— English Breakfast— Visit to the Mines— Tlie Cascade— The Storm— 
Loneiiness~A Journey in Storm and Darkness— Return to Tepenacasco— 
Journey to Sopayuca— Narrow Escape— Famous Bull— Return to Mexico. 

This is a fine wild scene. Jhe house stands entirely alone ; not 
a tree near it. Great mountains rise behind it, and in every other 
direction, as flir as the eye can reach, are vast plains, over which the 
wind comes whistHng fresh and free, with nothing to impede its 
triumphant progress. In front of the house is a clear sheet of water, 
a great deep square basin for collecting the rain. These jarjueys, as 
they are called, are very common in Mexico, where there are few 
rivers, and where the use of machines for raising water is by no 
means general as yet._ There is no garden here, but there are a few 
shrubs and flowers in the inner courtyard. The house inside is 
handsome, with a chapel and a patio, which is occasionally used as 
a plaza de toros. The rooms are well fitted up, and the bedroom 
walls are covered with a pretty French paper, representing scenes of 
Swiss rural hfe. There are great outhouses, stables for the mules 
and horses, and stone barns for the wdieat and barley, which, toge- 
ther with pulque, form the produce of this hacienda. 

We took a long ride this morning to visit a fine lake where there 
are plenty of wild -duck and turtle. The gentlemen took their guns 
and had tolerable sport. The lake is very deep, so that boats have 
sailed on it, and several miles in circumference, with a rivulet flow- 
ing from it. Yet with all this water the surroimding land, not more 
than twenty feet higher, is dry and sterile, and the lake is turned to 
no account, either Irom want of means, or of hydrauhc knowledge. 

However,^ C n having made some observation on this subject, 

the proprietor of the lake, and of a ruined housq stt^ding near, 
which is the very picture of lonehness and desolation, remarked in 
reply ; that from this estate to Mexico, the distance is thirty-six 
leagues ; that a load of wheat costs one real a league, and moreover 
the alcaha, the duty which has to be paid at the gates of Mexico, so 
.that it would bring no profit if sent there; while in the surrounding 
district there is not sufiicient population to consume the produce^ 
so that these unnecessary and burdensome taxes, the thinness of the 


population, and tlie "want of proper means of transport, impede tlie 
prosperity of the people, and check the progress of agriculture. . . 

1 had a beautiful horse, but half-broke, and which took fright and 
ran off with me. I got great credit for keeping my seat so well, which 
I must confess was more through good fortune than skill. The day 
was delightful, the air exhilarating, and the blue sky perfectly cloud- 
less as we galloped over the plains ; but at length the wind rose so 
high that Ave dismounted, and got into the carriage. We sat by the 
shores of the lake, and walked along its pebbly margin, watching 
the wild-duck as they sldmmed over its glassy surface, and returned- - 
home in a magnificent sunset ; the glorious god himself a blood -red 
globe, surrounded by blazing clouds of gold and crimson. 

In the evening a troop of asses were driven across the plain, and 
led round to the back of the house ; and we were all called out in 
haste, and each desired to choose one of the long-eared fraternity for 
our particular use. Some had saddles, and some had none, but we 
moxuited to the number of thirty persons, followed by a cavalcade 
of Httle ragged boys armed "with sticks and whips. My ass was an 
obstinate brute, whom I had mistakenly chosen for his sleek coat 
and open countenance; but by dint of being lashed up, he suddenly 
set oft' at full gallop, and distanced all the others. Such screaming 
and laughing and confusion ! and so much difficulty in keeping the 
party together ! It was nearly dark when we set oft; but the moon 
rose, her silver disk Hghting up the hills and the plains ; the wind 
fell, and the night was calm and dchghtful. We rode about six 
miles to a pretty little chapel with a cross, that gleamed amongst 
the trees in the moonlight, by the side of a running stream. Here 
we dismovmted, and sat by the brink of the little sparkling rivulet, 
while the deep shadows came stealing over the mountains, and all 
around was still, and cool, and silent; all but the merry laughter of 
our noisy cavalcade. We returned about eleven o'clock, few acci- 
dents having occurred. Dona R a had fallen once. Dona 

M had crushed her foot against her neighbour's ass. The 

padre was shaken to a jelly, and a learned senator, who was of the 
party, declared he should never recover from that night's jolting. 
To-morrow we shall set oft" for Real del Monte. 

17th. — After mass in the chapel we left Tepenacasco about seven 
o'clock, and travelled (I bcHeve by a short cut) over rocks and walls, 
torrents and fields of maguey, all in a heavy carriage with six horses. 
Arri\'ing in sight of walls, the mozos gallop on and tear them do-mi. 
Over the mountain-torrents or barrancas, they dash boldly, encourag- 
ing the horses by the wildest shrieks. 

We stopped at San Miguel, a country-house belonging to the 
Count de Regla, the former proprietor of the mines wliich we were 
about to "vdsit; the most picturesque and lovely place imaginable, 
but entirely abandoned ; the house comfortless and out of repair. 
We wandered through paths cut in the beautiful woods, and by the 
side of a rivulet that seems to fertihze every thing througli v>hich it 


winds. We climbed the liills, and made our way tlirougli the 
tangled luxuriance of trees and flowers; and in the midst of hun- 
dreds of gaudy blossoms, I neglected them all upon coming to a 
grassy slope covered with daisies and buttercups. We even found 
some hawthorn-bushes. It might be Enghsh scenery, were it not 
that there is a richness in the vegetation unkno-wn in England. But 
all these beautiful sohtudes are abandoned to the deer that wander 
fearlessly amongst the woods, and the birds that sing in their 
branches. Whilewe were still far from the house, a thunderstorm 
came on. When it rains here, the windows of heaven seem opened, 
and the clouds pour down water in floods ; the lightning also ap- 
pears to me pecuHarly vivid, and many more accidents occur from 
It here than in the north. We were drenched in five minutes, and in 
this phght resumed our seats in the carriage, and set off for Guasco 
(a village where we were to pass the night) in the midst of the 
pelting storm. In an hour or two the horses were wading up to 
their knees in water, and we arrived at the pretty village of Guasco 
in a most comfortless condition. There are no inns in these parts, 
but we were hospitably received by a widow-lady, a friend of 


The Senora de -, in clear musHn and lace, \nt\\ satin shoes, 

was worse off than I in moussehne-de-laine and brodequins ; never- 
theless, I rnean to adopt the fashion of the country to-morrow, when 
we are to rise at four to go on to Real del Monte; and try the effect 
of travelhng with clear gown, satin petticoat, and shoes ditto ; be- 
cause, " when one is in Rome," &c. The storm continues with such 
unabated violence, that we must content ourselves with contemplat- 
ing the watery landscape from the windows. 


Rose in Guasco at four o'clock; dressed by candle-light, took 
chocolate, and set off for Real del Monte. After we had travelled a 
few leagues, tolerably cold, we rejoiced when the sun rose, and dis- 
pelHng the mist, tlirew his cheerful light over mountain and wood. 
The trees looked green and refreshed after their last night's bath; 
the very rocks were sparkhng with silver. The morning was per- 
fectly briUiant, and every leaf and flower was ghttering with the 
raui-drops not yet dried. The carriage ascended slowly the road cut 
through the mountains by the Enghsh company; a fine and useful 
enterprise; the first broad and smooth road I have seen as yet in the 
repubHc. Until it was made, hundreds of mules daily conveyed 
the ore from the mines over a dangerous mountain-path, to the 
hacienda of Regla, a distance of six or seven leagues. We overtook 
waggons conveying timber to the mines of Real, nine thousand feet 
above the level of the sea. 

The scenery was magnificent. On one side moimtains covered 
with oak and pine, and carpeted by the brightest-coloured fiowers; 

MINES. 139 

goats climbing up the perpendicular rocks, and looking down upon 
us from tlieir vantage-ground; fresh clear rivulets, flinging them- 
selves from rock to rock, and here and there Httle Indian huts 
perched amongst the cliffs; on the other, the deep valley with its 
bending forests and gushing river; while far above, we caught a 
glimpse of Real itself, with its sloping roofs and large church, 
standing in the very midst of forests and mountains. ^ We began to 
see people. with fair hair and blue eyes; and one individual, with a 
shock of fiery red hair and an undeniable Scotch twang, I felt the 
greatest incHnation to claim as a countryman. The Indians here 
looked cleaner than those in or near Mexico, and were not more 
than half naked. The whole country here, as well as the mines, 
formerly belonged to the Count de Regla, who was so wealthy, that 
when his son, the present coimt, was christened, the whole party 
walked from his house to the church, upon ingots of silver. The 
Countess having quarrelled with the Vice-Queen, sent her, in token 
of reconciliation, a white satin shpper, entirely covered with large 
diamonds. The Count invited the ICing of Spain to visit his 
Mexican territories, assuring him that the hoofs of his Majesty's 
horse should touch nothing but soHd silver from Vera Cruz to the 
capital. Tliis might be a bravado; but a more certain proof of his 
wealth exists in the fact, that he caused two ships of the line, of the 
largest size, to be constructed in Havana at his expense, made of 
mahogany and cedar, and presented them to the King. _ The present 
Count was, as I already told you, married to the beautiful daughter 
of the Guera Rodriguez. 

AVe arrived at Real del Monte aboiit nine o'clock, and drove to 
the director's house, which is extremely pretty, commanding a most 
beautiful and extensive view, and where we found a large fire bum- 
incv in the grate — very agreeable, as the morning was still somewhat 
chtll, and which had a look of home and comfort that made it still 
more acceptable. We were received with the greatest cordiality by 
the director, ]Mr. Rule, and his lady, and invited to partake of the 
most dehcious breakfast that I have seen for a long while; a happy 
melange of Enghsh and Mexican. The snow-wliite table-cloth, 
smoldng tea-urn, hot rolls, fresh eggs, cofiee, tea, and toast looked 
very much a VAnglaise, while there were numbers of substantial 
dishes a VEspagnole, and dehcious fresh cream-cheeses, to all which 
our party did ample justice. 

After breakfast, we went out to visit the mines, and _ it was 
curious to see Enghsh cliildren, clean and pretty, with their white 
hair and rosy cheeks, and neat straw bonnets, mingled with the 
httle copper-coloui-ed Indians. We visited all the different works; 
the apparatus for sawing, the turning-lathe, foundery, &c. ; but I 
regretted to find that we could not descend into the mines. We 
went to the mouth of the shaft cahed the Dolores, which has a 
narrow opening, and is entered by perpendicular ladders. Tlie 
men go down with conical caps on their heads, in Avhich is stuck a 



lighted tallow candle. In the great shaft, called Terreros, they 
descend, by means of these ladders, to the depth of a thousand feet, 
there being platforms at certain distances, on which they can rest. 
We were obhged to content ourselves with seeing them go down, 
and Avith viewing and admiring all the great works which EngKsh 
energy has estabhshed here; the various steam-engines, the builcfings 
for the separation and washing of the ore; the great stores, work- 
shops, offices, &c. Nearly all the workmen are British, and of these 
the Scotch are preferred. Most of the miners are Indians, who 
work m companies, and receive in payment the eighth part of the 
proceeds. The director gave us some specimens of silver from the 
great heaps where they he, sparkhng hke genii's treasure. 

Although I have not descended into tliese mines, I midit give 
you a clescription of them by what I have heard, and fill my paper 
with arithmetical figures, by which you might judge of the former 
and the present produce. I might tell you how Don Lucas Alaman 
went_ to England, and raised, as if by magic, the enthusiasm of the 
English; hoAv one fortune after another has been swallowed up in 
the dark, deep gulf of speculation; how expectations have been dis- 
appointed | and how the great cause of this is the scarcity of quick- 
silver, which has been paid at the rate of one hundred and fifty 
dollars per quintal in real cash, when the same quantity was given at 
credit by the Spanish government for fifty dollars; how heaps of 
silver he abandoned, because the expense of acquiring quicksilver 
renders it Avholly unprofitable to extract it; and I might repeat the 
opinion of those persons by whom I have heard the subject dis- 
cussed, who exjDress their astonishment that, such being the case, an 
arrangement is not made with the country which is tlie almost 'ex- 
clusive possessor of the quicksilver-mines, by which it might be pro- 
cured at a lower rate, and tliis great soui'ce of wealth not thrown 
away. But for all these matters I refer you to Humboldt and Ward, 
by whom they are scientifically treated, and will not trouble yon 
with superficial remarks on so important a subject. In fact, I must 
confess that my attention was frequently attracted from the mines, 
and the engines, and the works of man, and the discussions arising 
therefrom, to the stupendous natural scenery by wliich we were 
surrounded; the unexplored forests that clothe the mountains to 
their very summits, the torrents that leaped and sparkled in the sun- 
shine, the deep ravines, the many-tinted foHage, the bold and jutting 
rocks. All combine to increase our admiration of the bounties of 
nature to this favoured land, to which she has given " every herb 
bearing seed,_ and every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good 
for food," while her veins are rich with precious metals; the useful 
and the beautiful offered with unsparing hand. 

We were obhged to leave Real about two o'clock, having a long 
journey to perform before night, as we had the intention of return- 
ing to sleep at Tepenacasco. We took leave of our hospitable en- 
tertainers, and again resumed our joui-ney over these fine roads, 



many parts of wliicli are blasted from the great rocks of porpliyry; 
and as we looked back at the picturesque colony glistenino- in the 
sun, could hardly believe the prophecies of our more experienced 
drivers, that a storm was brewing in the sky, which would burst 
forth before evening. We were determined not to believe it, as it 
was impossible to pass by the famous hacienda and ravine of Regla 
without paying them at least a short visit. 

Tliis stupendous work of the Mexican miners in former days, is 
some leagues to the south of Real del Monte, and is said to"^ have 
cost many milHons of dollars. One should view it as we did, in a 
thunderstorm, for it has an air of vastness and desolation, and at the 
same time of grandeiu-, tliat shows well amidst a war of the elements. 
DoAvn in a steep_ barranca, encircled by basaltic cliffs, it lies; a 
mighty pile of building', wliich seems as if it might have been con- 
structed by some philosophical giant or necromancer; — so that one 
is not prepared to find there an EngKsh director and his wife, and 
the unpoetic comforts of roast mutton and potatoes ! 

All is on a gigantic scale : the immense vaulted storehouses for 
the silver ore; the great smelting-furnaces and covered buildino-g 
where we saw the process of amalgamation going on; the water- 
wheels; in short, all the necessary machinery for the smeltino- and 
amalgamation of the metal. We walked to see the great cascade, 
with its rows of basaltic columns, and found a seat on a piece of 
broken pillar beside the rushing river, where we had a fine view of 
the lofty clifis, covered with the wildest and most luxuriant veo'eta- 
tion:^ vines trailing themselves over every broken shaft; moss 
creeping over the huge disjointed masses of rock; and trees over- 
hanging the precipitous ravine. The columns look as if they might 
have been the work of those who, on the plains of Shinar, began*^to 
build the city, and the tower whose top was to reach to heaven. 

But, as we sat here, the sky suddenly became overcast ; great black 
masses of cloud collected over our heads, and the rumbling of thun- 
der in the distance gave notice of an approaching storm. We had 
scarcely time to get under shelter of the director's roof, when the 
thunder began to echo loudly amongst the rocks, and was speedily 
followed by torrents of rain. It was a superb storm : the hghtnino- 
flashed amongst the trees, the wind howled furiously, wloile 

" Far along 
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among 
Lea2it the live thunder." 

After resting and dining amidst a running accompaniment of 
plasliing rain, roaring wind, and deep-toned thunder, we found 
that it was in vain to wait for a favourable change in the wea- 
ther; and certainly, with less experienced diivers, it would have 
been any thing but safe to have set oft' amidst the darkness of 
tire storm, dowm precipitous descents and over torrents SAvelled 
by the rain. The Count de Regla, who, attracted by the plentiful 
supply of water in this ravine, conceived the idea of employing part 
of his enormous fortune in the construction of these colossal works, 


must have had an imagination on a large scale. Tlie English direc- 
tors, whose wives bmy themselves in such abysses, ought to feel 
more grateful to them than any other husbands towards their sacri- 
ficing better halves. For the men, occui^ied all day amongst their 
workmen and machinery, and returning late in the evening to dine 
and sleep, there is no great self-immolation; but a poor woman, 
living all alone, in a house fenced in by gigantic rocks, with no 
other sound in her ears from morning till night but the roar of 
thunder or the clang of machinery, had need, for her personal comfort, 
to have either a most romantic imagination, so that she may console 
herself with feehng hke an enchanted princess in a giant's castle, or 
a most commonj)lace spirit, so that she may darn stockings to the 
sound of the waterfall, and feel no other inconvenience from the 
storm, but that her husband will require dry Hnen when he comes 

As for us, we were drenched before reaching the carriage, into 
which the water was pomang, and when we set off once more amidst 
the rapidly-increasing darkness, and over these precipitous roads, we 
thought that our chance of reaching the proposed haven that night 
was very small. After much toil to the horses, we got out of the 
ravines and found ourselves once more on the great plains, where 
the tired animals ploughed their way over fields and ditches and 
great stones, and among trees and tangled bushes ; an occasional flash 
of hghtning our only guide. Great was om- joy, when, about eleven 
o'clock, a man riding on in advance shouted out that the Hghts of 
Tepenacasco were in sight; and stiU more complete our satisfaction 
when we drove romid the tank into the courtyard of the hacienda. 
We were received with great applause by the inmates, and were not 
sorry to rest after a very fatiguing yet agreeable day. 

Mexico, 21st. 

We left Tepenacasco the day before yesterday. Om- journey was 
very dangerous, in consequence of the great rains, which had 
swelled the torrents ; especially as we set off late, and most of it was 
performed by night. In these barrancas, carriages and horsemen 
have been frequently swept away and dashed in pieces over the pre- 
cipices. But to make our situation more disagreeable, we had 
scarcely set off, before a terrible storm of thimder and rain again 
came on with more violence than the night preceding. It grew 
perfectly dark,^ and we Hstened with some alarm to the roaring tor- 
rents, over which, especially over one, not many leagues from So- 
payuca, where we were to spend the night, it was extremely doubt- 
ful whether we could pass. The carriage was full of water, but we 
were_ too much alarmed to be uneasy about trifles. Amidst the 
howhng of the wind and the pealing of thunder, I no one could 
hear the other speak. Suddenly, by a vivid flash of hghtning, the 
cbreaded barranca appeared in sight for a moment, and almost before 
the drivers could stop them, the horses had plunged in. 

It was a moment of mortal fear such as I shall never forget. Tlie 

"ELCHATO." 143 

slirieks of the drivers to encourage tlie Horses, tlie loud cries of Ave 
Maria! tlie uncertainty as to whether our heavy carriage could be 
dragged across, the horses struggling and splashing in the boiling 
torrent, and the horrible fate that awaited us should one of them 

fall or falter ! . . . . The Seiiora and I shut our eyes 

and held each other's hands, and certainly no one breathed tiU we 
were safe on the other side. We were then told that we had 
crossed within a few feet of a precipice over wliich a coach had been 
dashed into fifty pieces during one of these swells, and of course 
every one kiUed ; and that if instead of horses we had travelled with 
mules, we must have been lost. You may imagine that we were 
not sorry to reach Sopa3mca; where the people ran out to the door 
at the sound of carriage- wheels, and could not beheve that we had 
passed the barranca that night ; as two or thiree horsemen who had 
rode in that direction had turned back, and pronounced it impass- 

Lights and supper were soon procured, and by way of interlude 
a monstrous buH, of great fame in these parts, was led up to the 
supper-table for our inspection with a rope through his nose ; a fierce 
brute, but famiharly called " el chato" (the flatnose), from the short- 
ness of his horns. The lightning continued very vivid, and they 
told us that a woman had been struck there some time before, while 
in the chapel by night. 

We rose at four o'clock the next morning and set off for Mexico 
The morning, as usual after these storms, was peculiarly fresh and 
beautiful; but the sun soon grew oppressive on the great plains. 
About tAvo o'clock we entered Mexico by the Guadalupe gate. We 
found our house in statu quo, — agreeable letters from Europe, — great 
preparations making for the Enghsh ball, to assist at which we have 
returned sooner than we otherwise should, and for wliich vaj femme- 
de-chamhre has just completed a dress for me, very much to her own 


English Ball — Dresses — Diamonds — Mineria — Arrival of the Pope's Bull — 
Consecration of the Archbishop — Foreign Ministers — Splendour of the Ca- 
thedral — Description of the Ceremony. 


The Enghsh ball at the jSIineria has passed off with great eclat. 
Nothing could be more splendid than the general effect of this 


noble building, brilliantly illuminated and filled witli a well-dressed 
crowd. The president and corps diplomatique were in full uniform, 
and the display of diamonds was extraordinary. We ladies of the 
corps diplomatique tried to flatter ourselves that we made up in 
elegance what we wanted in magnificence ! for in jewels no foreign 
ladies could attempt to compete with those of the country. The 

daughter of Countess , just arrived from Paris, and whose 

acquaintance I made for the first time, wore pale blue, with garlands 
of pale pink roses, and a parure of most superb brilhants. The 

Seiiora de A 's head reminded me of that of the Marchioness of 

Londonderry, in her opera-box. The Marquesa de Vivanco had a 
riviere of briUiants of extraordinary size and beauty, and perfectly 

well set. Madame S r wore a very rich blonde dress, garnie 

with plumes of ostrich feathers, a large diamond fastening each 

plume. One lady Avore a diadem which said could not be 

worth less than a hundred thousand dollars. Diamonds are always 
worn plain or with pearls; coloured stones are considered trash, 
which is a pity, as I think rubies and emeralds set in diamonds 
would give more variety and splendour to their jewels. There were 
a profusion of large pearls, generally of a pear shape. The finest 

and roundest were those worn by the Senora B a. There were 

many blonde dresses, a great fashion here. I know no lady ^vithout 
one. Amongst the prettiest and most tastefully-dressed girls, were 

the E s, as usual. Many dresses were overloaded, a common 

fault in Mexico; and many of the dresses, though rich, were old- 
fashioned; but the coup d'oeil was not the less brilHant, and it was 
somewhat astonishing, in such a midtitude, not to see a single 
objectionable person. To be sure the company were all invited. " 

On entering the noble court, which was brilHantly illuminated 
with coloured lamps, hung from pillar to pillar, and passing up the 

great staircase, we were met at the first landing by Mr. P^^ , in 

full uniform, and other Enghsh gentlemen, the directors of the ball, 
who stood there to receive the ladies. His Excellency led me up 
stairs to the top of the ball-room, where chairs were placed for the 
president, ladies of the diplotnafies, cabinet ministers, &c. The music 
was excellent, and dancing was already in full force. And though 
there were assembled what is called all Mexico, the rooms are so 
large, that the crowd was not disagreeable, nor the heat oppressive. 
Pictures of Queen Victoria were hung in the different large halls. 
The supper-tables were very handsome; and in fact the ball alto- 
gether Avas AYorthy of its object; for Messieurs les Anglais always do 
these things well when they attempt them. 

The president took me to supper. The company walked in to 
the music of " God save the Queen." After we had sat a Httle while, 
the president demanded silence, and, in a short speech, proposed the 
heahh of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, which was drank by all the 
company standing. After supper, we continued dancing till nearly 


SIX in the morning ; and when we got into the carriage it was broad 
dajhght, and all the bells were ringing for mass ! 

This IS the best ball we have seen here, without any exception ; 
and is said to have cost eleven thousand dollars. There were cer- 
tainly a great number of pretty faces at this iete, many pretty girls 
wdiom we had not seen before, and whom the Enghsh secretaries 
had contrived to wiearth. Fine eyes are a mere driu/ — every one 
has them ; large, dark, full orbs, with long silken lashes. As for 
diamonds, _ no man above the rank of a lepero marries in this 
country Avithout presenting his bride with at least a pair of diamond 
earrings, or a pearl necklace with a diamond clasp. They are not 
always a proof of wealth, though they constitute it in themselves. 
Their owners may be very poor in other respects. They are consi- 
dered a necessary of hfe ; quite as much so as shoes and stockings. 

June 2d.— On the 15th of April, the pontifical bulls arrived from 
Rome, confirming the election of the Senor Posada to the Archi- 
epispopal dignity ; and on Sunday last, the 31st of May, the conse- 
cration took place in the Cathedral with the greatest pomp. The 
presiding Bishop was the Senor Belaunzaran, the old Bishop of 
Linares ; the two assistant Bishops were the Schor Madrid, a yoimg, 
good-looking man, who having been banished from Mexico during 
the revolution, took refuge in Borne, where he obtained the favou? 
of the Pope, who afterwards recommended him to an episcopal see 
m Mexico ; and the Doctor JMorales, formerly Bishop of Sonora. His 
-padrino was the President, General Bustamante, who in his capacity 
presented his godson with the splendid pastoral ring, a soKtary 
diamond of immense size. All the diplomatic body and the cabinet 
went in full uniform ; chairs being placed for them on each side of 
<k<icrugia (the passage leading to the altar). A dispute upon the 
subject of precedence arose between an excellency of the diplomatic 
corps, and the secretary of state, which seems likely to have disagree- 
able consequences. I had the pleasure of kneehng beside these 
illustrious persons for the space of three or four hours, for no seats 
were placed for the wives either of the dii^lomates or of the 

But the ceremony, though long, was very superb, the music fine, 
the quantity of jewels on the dresses of the bishops and priests, and 
on the holy vessels, &c., enormous. The bishops were arrayed in 
w^hite velvet and gold, and their mitres were hterally covered with 
diamonds. The gold candlesticks and golden basins for holy water, 
and golden incensories, reminded me of the description of the orna- 
ments of the Jewish tabernacle in the days of Moses; of the 
" candlesticks of pure gold, with golden 'branches ;" and " the 
tongs and snuff-dishes of pure gold :" Or of the temple of Solomon, 
where the altar was of gold, and the table of gold, and the candle- 
sticks, and the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the 
censors were of pure gold. The pontifical vestments, destined for 
the elected primate, were all prepared ;— sandals, amice, sm-plice, 


eirclle, pectoral cross, stole, gown, vestment, with open sleeves (the 
dalmatica), crosier, mitre, pontifical ring, &c. Magnificent chairs 
were prepared for the hishops, near the akar, and the president m 
uniform took his place amongst them. The presiding Bishop took 
his seat alone, with his back to the altar, and the Senor Fosada was 
led in by the assisting bishops, they with their mitres, he with his 
priesf s cap on. Arnved before the presiding Bishop, he uncovered 
his head, and made a profomid obeisance. These three then took 
their places on chairs placed in front ; and the ceremony having 
beo-un in case you should msh to have some idea of it, I shall en- 
deavour to give it you, for I was so situated, that although the 
cathedral was crowded to excess, I could see and hear aU that 
passed. Let me premise, however, that there was not one lepero, 
as they are always excluded on such occasions. . , • ■, n 

Posada and his assistant bishops rose, and uncovered their heads ; 
and the Bishop Morales turning to the presiding Bishop, said, 
" Most reverend father, the holy Cathohc Mother Church requests 
you to raise this Presbyter to the charge of the archbishopric." 

" Have you an apostohcal mandate?" 

" We have." 

" Read it." 

An assistant priest then read the mandate in a loud voice ; upon 
which they all sat down, the consecrator saying, " Thanks be to 
God '" Then Posada kneehng before him, took an oath upon the 
Bible, which the Bishop held, concluding with these words— ''bo 
may God help me, and these his holy gospels. ^ Then all sittmg 
down and resuming their mitres, the examination _ of the future 
Archbishop took place. It was very long, and at its conclusion, 
Posada knelt before the presiding Bishop and kissed his hand, io 
this succeeded the confession, every one standing uncovered before 
the altar, which was then sprinkled with incense, ihen foUowed 

the mass, chanted. . r^ ~ t^ t x ^i t, i 

The a'=si^tant bishops then led out the Sen or Posada to the chapel, 
where they put on his sandals, and where he assumed the pectoral 
cross, amice, surphce, &c.; and arriving at the altar read the office 
of the mass He was then conducted again before the consecrating 
Bishop, who was seated with his mitre, and after saluting liim reve- 
rently, he sat down. Then the Bishop, addressing lum said : _lt 
is the duty of the Bishop^ to judge, interpret, consecrate, ordain, 
offer, baptize and confirm." i i . ^ 

All then rose, and the Bishop prayed that the ne^Yly-elected 
primate might receive the grace of heaven. All the bishops and 
priests theii prostrated themselves while the Litanies were sung. 
The presiding Bishop, rising, took the crosier, and prayed tliree 
times for a blessing on the Chosen One; thrice making on him the 
.io-n of the cross ; and they continued to sing the Litanies ; at the 
co°nclusion of which they all arose, took their seats and resumed 
their mitres, Posada alone kneeling before the Bishop. 


The Bible was then placed upon his shoulders, while he remained 
prostrated, and the Bishop rising up, pronounced a solemn benedic- 
tion upon liim, while the hymn of " Veni Creator Spiritus," was 
sung in full chorus. Then the Bishop, dipping his hand in tho 
holj chrism, anointed the'primate's head, making on it the sign of the 
cross, saying, " Let thy head be anointed and consecrated with the 
celestial benediction, according to the pontifical mandate." The 
Bishop then anointed his hands, making in the same manner the 
sign of the cross, and saying, " May these hands be anointed with 
holy oil; and as Samuel anointed David a king and a prophet, so 
be thou anointed and consecrated." This was followed by a solemn 

Then the crosier was blessed, and presented to the elected Arch- 
bishop with these words. " Receive the pastoral crosier, that thou 
may est be humanely severe in correcting vices, exercising judgment 
without wrath, &c." Tlie blessing of the ring followed with solemn 
prayer, and being sprinkled with holy water, it was placed on the 
third finger of the right hand, the Bishop sa3;dng, " Receive the 
ring, which is a sign of faith ; that, adorned with incorruptible 
faith, thou mayest guard inviolably the spouse of God, liis Holy 

The Bible being then taken off the shoulders of the prostrate 
prelate, was presented to liim with an injimction to receive and 
to preach the gospel. Finally, the Bishop bestowed on him the kiss 
of peace ; and all the other bishops did so in their turn. Posada 
then retired, and his head and hands being washed, he- soon after re- 
turned ■with the assistant bishops, carrying two Hghted wax tapers, 
which he presented to the presiding Bishop, together with two 
loaves and two small barrels of wine, reverently kissing his hand. 
After tliis, the presiding Bishop washed his hands and momited the 
steps of the altar, and the new primate received the sacrament. 

The mitre was then blessed and placed upon his head, with a 
prayer by the Bishop, that thus, with his head armed and with the staif 
of the gospels, he might appear ten-ible to the adversaries of the True 
Faith. The gloves were next consecrated and drawn on his hands, 
the Bishop praying that his hands might be surrounded by the 
purity of the new man ; and that as Jacob, when he covered his 
hands ^vith goat-skins, offered agreeable meats to his father, and re- 
ceived liis paternal benediction, so he, in offering the Holy Sacra- 
ment, might obtain the benediction of his Heavenly Father. The 
Archbishop was then seated by the consecrating Bishop on his pon- 
tifical tlirone, and at the same moment, the hymn " Te Demn lauda- 
mus" was chanted. During the hymn, the bishops, with their 
jewelled mitres, rose, and passing through the church, blessed the 
whole congregation, the new Archbishop still remaining near tho 
altar, and without liis mitre. When he retm'ned to his seat, the 
assistant bishops, including the consecrator, remained standing till 
the hymn was concluded. 



Tlic presiding Bisliop then advancing, without liis mitre, to the 
xio-lit hand of the Archbishop, said, "May thy hand be strengthened! 
May thy right hand be exaked ! May justice and judgment be the 
preparation of thy See !" Then the organ pealed forth, and tliey 
chanted the hymn of " Gloria Patri." Long and solemn prayer fol- 
lowed; and then, all uncovered, stood beside the gospels, at the altar. 

The Archbishop rose, and with mitre and crosier, pronounced a 
solemn blessing on all the people assembled. Then, while all knelt 
beside the altar, he said — "For many years." This he repeated 
thrice; the second time, in the middle of the altar, the third at the 
feet of the presiding Bishop. Then all rising, the Archbishop be- 
stowed on each the'kiss of peace, and the ceremony concluded. 

When every thing was over, our carriage not being visible amongst 

the crowd of vehicles, I returned home in that of the Minister, 

with him and his Attaches; after which, they and C n returned 

to dine with the new Archbishop in his palace. A dish of sweet- 
meats was sent me from his table, which are so pretty, (probably the 
chef d'oeuvre of the Nuns,) that I send them to you, to preserve as a 
memorial of the consecration of the first Mexican Archbishop — 
perhaps of the last ! 


[Mexican Servants — Anecdotes — Remedies — An unsafe Porter — Galopinas — 
The Reboso — The Sarape — ^^'oincn Cooks — Foreign Servants — Characteris- 
tics of Mexican Servants — Servants' Wages — Nun of tlie Santa Teresa — 
Motives for taking the Veil. 

June Sd. 

You ask me to tell you how I find the jMcxican servants. 
Hitherto I had avoided the ungrateful theme, from very weariness 
of it. The badness of the servants, is an imfailing source of com- 
plaint even amongst Mexicans; much more so amongst foreigners, 
especially on their fhst arrival. We hear of their addiction to 
stealing, their laziness, drunkenness, dirtiness, with a host of other 
vices. That these complaints are frequently just, there can be no 
doubt, but the evil might be remedied to a great extent. In the 
first place servants are constant!}" taken without being required to 
bring a recommendation from their last place; and in the next, re- 
commendations are constantly given, whether from indolence or mis- 


taken kindness, to servants -wlio do not deserve tkem. A sei-vant 
who has Hvcd in a dozen different houses, staying about a month in 
each, is not thought the worse of on that account. As the love of 
finery is inherent in them all, even more so than in other daughters 
of Eve, a girl will go to service merely to earn sufiicient to buy 
herself an embroidered chemise ; and if, in addition to this, she can 
pick up a pair of small old satin shoes, she will tell you she is tired 
of working, and going home to rest, '■'■para descansar." So httle is 
necessary, when one can contentedly live on tortillas and chile, sleep 
on a mat, and dress in rags ! 

A decent old woman, who came to the house to wash shortly after 
our arrival in this country, left us at the end of the month, '■'■ para 
descansar." Soon after, she used to come with her six children, 
they and herself all in rags, and beg the gardener to give her any 
odds and ends of vegetables he could spare. My maid asked her, 
why, being so poor,'she had left a good place, where she got twelve 
dollars a month. " Jesus I" said she, " if you only knew the plea- 
sure of doing nothing 1" 

I wished to bring up a little girl as a servant, having her tauo:ht 
to read, sew, &c. A child of twelve years old, one of a large family, 
who subsisted upon charity, was procured for me ; and I promised 
her mother that she should be taught to read, taken regularly to 
church, and instructed in all kinds of work. She was rather pretty, 
and very intelligent, though extremely indolent; and though she 
had no stockings, would consent to wear notliing but dirty white 
satin shoes, too short for her foot. Once a week, her mother, a 
tall, slatternly woman, Avith long tangled hair, and a cigar in her 
mouth, used to come to visit her, accompanied by a friend, a friend's 
friend, and a train of girls, her daughters. The hoiisekeeper would 
give them some dinner, after which they would all light their cigars, 
and, together with the httle Josefita, sit, and howl, and bemoan 
themselves, crying and lamenting her sad fate in being obhged to go 
out to service. After these visits, Josefita was fit for nothing. If 
desired to sew, she would sit looking so miserable, and doing so httle, 
that it seemed better to allow her to leave her work alone. _ Then, 
tolerably contented, she would sit on a mat, doing notlimg, her 
hands folded, and her eyes fixed on vacancy. 

According to promise, I took her several times to see her mothpr, 
but one day being occupied, I sent her alone in the carriage, with 
charge to the servants to bring her safely back. In the evening_ she 
returned, accompanied by her whole family, all crying and howhn^; 
'' For the love of the Most Holy Virgin, Senora mia ! For la puris- 
sima conception !" &c. &c. &c. I asked what had happened, and 
after much difficulty discovered that their horror was occasioned by 
my having sent her alone in the carriage. It happened that the 

Countess S was in the drawing-room, and to her I related the 

cause of the uproar. To my astonishment, she assured me that the 
woman was in this instance right, and that it was very dangerous to 


send a girl of t^\'elve years old from one street to another, in tlie 
power of the coachman and footman. Finding from such good 
authority that this was the case, I begged the woman to be contented 
with seeing her daughter once a month, when, if she could not come 
herself, I should send her under proper protection. She agreed ; but 
one day having given Josefita permission to spend the night at her 
mother's, I received next morning a very dirty note, nearly illegible, 
which, after calling down the protection of the Virgin upon me, 
concluded — " but with much sorrow I must take my cliild from the 
most illustrious protection of your Excellency, for she needs to rest 
herself, (es precise que descanse,) and is tired for the present of work- 
ing." The woman then returned to beg, wliich she considered 
infinitely less degrading. 

Against tliis nearly universal indolence and indifference to earning 
money, the heads of famihes have to contend; as also against thiev- 
ing and dirtiness ; yet I think the remedy much easier than it appears. 
If on the one hand, no one were to receive a servant into their house, 
without respectable references, especially from their last place, and 
if their having remained one year in the same house were considered 
necessary to their being received into another, unless from some 
peculiar circumstances ; and if on the other hand it were considered 
as unjust and dangerous, as it really is, to recommend a servant who 
has been guilty of steahng, as being " muy Iwnrado^'' very honest, 
some improvement might soon take place. 

A porter was recommended to us as " muy honrado ;" not from 
his last place, but from one before it. He was a well-dressed, sad- 
looking individual ; and at the same time we took his Avife as washer- 
woman, and his brother as valet to our attache, thus having the 
whole family under our roof, wisely taking it for granted that he 
being recommended as particularly honest, his relations were " all 
honouiable men." An English lady happened to call on me, and 
a short time after I went to return her visit ; when she informed me 
that the person who had opened the door for her was a notorious 
thief, Avhom the poHce had long been in search of ; that she had 
feared sending a servant to warn us of our danger, lest guessing the 
purport of her message, he might rob the house before leaving it. 
We said nothing to the man that evening, but he looked paler and 
more miserable than usual, probably foreseeing what would be the 

result of Mrs. 's visit. The next morning C n sent for him 

and dismissed him, giving him a month's wages, that he might not 
be tempted to steal from immediate want. His face grew perfectly 
livid, but he made no remark. In half an hour he returned and 

begged to speak with C n. He confessed that the crime of 

which he concluded he was accused, he had in fact committed ; that 
he had been tempted to a gambling house, while he had in his 
pocket a large sum of money belonging to his master. After losing 
his own money, he tried his fortune with what was not his own ; lost 
the whole sum, then pawned a valuable shawl worth several hundred 


dollars, witli wliicli also lie had been entrusted; and having lost 
every thing, in despair made his escape from Mexico. He remained 
in concealment for some time, till hearing that we wanted a porter, 
he ventured to present himself to the housekeeper mth his former 
certificate. He declared himself thoroughly repentant— that this 
was his first, and would be his last crime— but who can trust the 
good resolutions of a gambler ! We were obhged to send him away, 
especially as the other servants already had some suspicions concern- 
ing him; and everything stolen in the house would in futm-e have 
been attributed to him. The gentleman who had recommended 
him, afterwards confessed that he always had strong suspicions of 
this man's honesty, and knew liim to be so determined a gambler, 
that he had pawned all he possessed, even his wife's clothes, to ob- 
tain money for that purpose. Now as a porter in Mexico has pretty 
much at his disposal the property and even the hves of the whole 
family, it is certainly most blameable to recommend to that situation 
a man whose honesty is more than doubtful. We afterwards pro- 
cui-ed two soldiers from the Livalidos, old Spaniards, to act in that 
capacity, who had no other foiblesse but that of being constantly 
drunk. We at length found two others, who only got tipsy alter- 
nately, so that we considered ourselves very well off. 

We had a long series of galopinas, kitchen-maids, and the only 
one who brought a first-rate character with her, robbed the house- 
keeper. The money, however, was recovered, and was foimd to 
have been placed by the girl in the hands of a rich and apparently 
respectable coach-maker. He refunded it to the rightful owner, and 
the galopina was punished by a month's imprisonment, which he 
should have shared with her. One of the most disagreeable customs 
of the women-servants, is that of wearing their long hair hanging 
down at its full length, matted, uncombed, and always m the way. I 
cannot imagine how the Mexican ladies, who complain of this, per- 
mit it. Flowing hair sounds very picturesque, but when it is very 
dirty, and suspended over the soup, it is not a pretty picture. 

The reboso, in itself graceful and convenient, has the disadvantage 
of being the greatest cloak for all untidiness, uncombed hair and 
raggediiess, that ever was invented. Even in the better classes, it 
occasions much indolence in the toilette, but in the common people, 
its effect is overwhelming. When the reboso drops off], or is dis- 
placed by chance, we see what they would be without it ! As for 
the sarape, it is both convenient and graceful, especially on horse- 
back; but though Indian in its origin, the custom of covering the 
lower part of the face with it, is taken from the Spanish cloak; and 
the opportunity which both sarape and reboso afford for conceaHng 
large knives about the person, as also for enveloping both face and 
figure so as to be scarcely recognisable, is no doubt the cause of the 
niany murders which take place amongst the lower orders, m 
moments of excitement and drunkenness. If they had not these 
knives at hand, their rage would probably cool, or a fair fight would 

152 servants' wages. 

finisli tlie matter, and if tliey could not wear tlieso knives concealed, 
I presume they Avould be 23rohibited from carrjino- them. 

As for taking a woman-cook in Mexico, one^must have stronn- 
nerves and a good appetite to eat what she dresses, however palatabl?, 
alter havmg seen her. One look at her Howinj? locks, one glance at 
her reboso, e# cest Jini. And yet the Mexica^n servants have their 
good quahties, and are a thousand times preferable to the foreio-n 
servants one finds in Mexico; especially to the French. BringiSo- 
them with you is a dangerous experiment. In ten days they he^ 
to fancy themselves ladies and gentlemen— the men have Don tacked 
to their name; and they either marry and set up shops, or become 
unbearably insolent. A tolerable French cook may occasionally be 
had, but you must pay his services their weight in gold, and wink at 
his extortions and robberies. There are one or two French restau- 
rans, who will send you in a very good dinner at an extravagant 
price : and it is common in foreign houses, especially amongst°the 
-bnghsh, to adopt this jjlan whenever they give a lar (re ^enter- 
tainment. ° 

The Mexican servants have some never-failing good qualities. 
They are the perfection of civility— humble, obliging, excessively 
good-tempered, and very easily attached to those with whom they 
live; and if that rara avis, a good Mexican housekeeper, can be 
found, and that such may be with I from experience can testify, 
then the troubles of the menage rest upon her shoulders, and accus- 
tomed as she IS to the amiable weaknesses of her compatriotes, she is 
neitner surprised nor disturbed by them. 

As for wages, a good porter has from fifteen to twenty dollars per 
month; a coachman from twenty to thirty— many houses keep two 
or even three coachmen; one wlio drives from the box, one who 

ndes postihon, and a tliird for emergencies. Our friend , Avho 

has many horses, mules, and carriages, has four; and pays 'forty 
dollars per month to his head coachman; the others in proportion. 
A French cook has about thirty dollars— a housekeeper from twelve 
to fifteen; a major-domo about twenty or more; a footman six or 
seven; galopme and chambermaid five or six; a gardener from 
t\velve to fifteen. Sewing-girls have about three reals per diem. 
•Porter, coachman, and gardener, have their wives and Ihmilies in the 
house, which would be an annoyance, Vv-ere the houses not so large, 
-the men-servants generally are much cleaner and better dress'ed 
than the women. 

One circumstance is remarkable; that, dirty as the women- 
servants are, and notwithstanding the enormous size of ?»Iexican 
houses and Mexican famihes, the houses themselves are, generally 
speaking the perfection of cleanliness. This must be due either to 
a good housekeeper, which is rarely to be found, or to the care 
taken by the mistress of the house herself. That private houses 
shou d have this advantage over churches and theatres, only proves 
that ladies know how to manage these matters better than gentle- 


men, so tliatoneis Inclined to wish a la 3Iartineau, that tlie IMcxican 
police were entirely composed of" old women. 

12th. — I have formed an acquaintance with a very amiable and 
agreeable nun in the convent of the Santa Teresa, one of the strictest 
orders. I have only seen her twice, through a grating. She is a 
handsome woman of good family, and it is said of a remarkably 
joyous disposition; fond of music and dancing, and gay society, yet 
at the age of eighteen, contrary to the wishes of all her family, she 
took the veil, and declares she has never repented of it. Although 
I cannot see her, I can hear her voice, and talk to her tlirough a 
turning wooden screen, which has a very mysterious effect. She 
gives me an account of her occupations and of the little events that 
take place in her small world within; whilst I bring her news from 
the world without. The common people have the greatest vener- 
ation for the holy sisterhood, and I generally find there a number of 
women with baskets, and men carrying parcels or letters; some 
asking their advice or assistance, others executing their commissions, 
bringing them vegetables or bread, and listening to the sound of 
their voice with the most eager attention. My friend, the Madre 

, has promised to' dress a number of wax figures for me, in the 

exact costume of all the different nuns in Mexico, beginning with 
that of her own convent. 

I have now seen three nuns take the veil: and, next to a death, 
consider it the saddest event that can occur in this nether sphere; 
yet the frequency of these human sacrifices here is not so strange as 
might at first appear. A young girl, who knows nothing of the 
world, Avho, as it too frequently happens, lias at home neither amuse- 
ment nor instruction, and no society abroad, wdio from childhood is 
imdcr the dominion of her confessor, and who firmly believes that 
by entering a convent she becomes sure of heaven; who moreover 
finds there a niunber of companions of her own age, and of older 
women who load her with praises and caresses — it is not, after all, 
astonishinij that she should consent to insure her salvation on such 
easy terms. 

Add to this the splendour of the ceremony, of which she is the 
sole object; the cynosure of all approving eyes. A girl of sixteen 
finds it hard to resist all this. I am told that more girls are smitten 
by the ceremony, than by any thing else, and am incHned to beheve 
it, from the remarks I have heard made on these occasions by young 
girls in my vicinity. What does she lose? A husband and children? 
Probably she has seen no one who has touched her heart. Most 
probably she has hitherto seen no men, or at least conversed with 
none but her brothers, her uncles, or her confessor. She has perhaps 
also felt the troubles of a IMexican menage. The society of men ! 
She v/ill still see her confessor, and she will have occasional visits 
from reverend padres and right reverend bishops. 

Some of these convents are not entirely free from scandal. 
Amongst the monks, there are many who are openly a disgrace to 


tLeir calling, tliougli I firmly believe that by far the greater number 
lead a life of privation and virtue. Their conduct can, to a certain 
extent, be judged of by the ^vorld; but the pale nims, devout and 
pure, immured in the cloister for life, kneehng before the shrine, or 
chanting hymns in the silence of the night, a veil both truly and 
allegorically must shade their virtues or their faiHngs. The nuns of 
the Santa Teresa and of other strict orders, who hve sparingly, pro- 
fess the most severe rules, and have no servants or boarders, enjoy an 
universal reputation for virtue and sanctity. They consider the 
other convents worldly, and their motto is, " All or notliing; the 
world or the cloister." Each abbess adds a stricter rule, a severer 
penance than her predecessor, and in this they glory. My friend 

the Madre frequently says — " Were I to be born again, I 

should choose, above every lot in hfe, to be a nun of the Santa 
Teresa, but of no other convent." .... 

It is strange how, all the world over, mankind seems to expect from 
those who assume rehgion as a profession a degree of superhuman 
perfection. Their failings are insisted upon. Every eye is upon 
them to mark whatsoever may be amiss in their conduct. Their 
virtues, their learning, their holy lives — nothing will avail them, if 
one blot can be discovered in their character. There must be no 
moral blemish in the priesthood. In the CathoHc rehgion, where 
more is professed, still more is demanded, and the errors of one padre 
or one ecclesiastic seem to throw a shade over the whole community 
to wliich they belong. 


The Convent Entry — Dialogue — A Chair in Churcli — Arrival of the Nun — 
Dress — Jose Maria — Crowd — Withdrawal of the Black. Curtain — The Tak- 
ing of the Veil — The Sermon— A Dead Body — Another Victim — Convent of 
the Encarnacion — Attempt at a Hymn — Invitation— Morning Visit — The 
Nun and her Mother — Banquet — Taking Leave — Ceremony of the Veil-tak- 
ing — A beautiful Victim — The Last Look — Presentation to the Bishop — 
Reflections — V'erses. 

4th June. 

Some days ago, having received a message from my nun that a 

girl was about to take the veil in her convent, I went there about six 

o'clock, and knowing that the church on these occasions is apt to be 

crowded to suflfocatiou, I proceeded to the reja^ and speaking to an 


invisible witliin, requested to know in what part of tlie church I 
could have a place. Upon which a voice rephed — 

" Hermanita (my sister), I am rejoiced to see you. You shall have 
a place beside the godmother." 

" Many thanks, Hermanita. Which way shall I go?" 

Voice. — " You shall go through the sacristy. Jose Maria!" 

Jos^ Maria, a tlmi, pale, lank individual, with hollow cheeks, who 
was standing near like a page in waiting, sprang forward — " Maclre- 
cita, I am here !" 

Voice. — " Jose Maria — That lady is the Seiiora de C n. You 

will conduct her excellency to the front of the grating, and give her 
a chair." 

Alter I had thanked the voice for her kindness in attending to me 
on a day when she was so much occupied with other affairs, the 
obsequious Jose Maria led the way, and I followed him through 
the sacristy into the church, where there were abeady a few 
kneehng figm*es ; and thence into the railed-off enclosure destined 
for the relatives of the future nmi, where I was permitted to sit down 
in a comfortable velvet chair. I had been there but a httle while 
when the aforesaid Jose Maria reappeared, picking his steps as if he 
were walking upon eggs in a sick room. He brought me a message 

from the Madre that the mm had arrived, and that the madre- 

cita wished to know if I should hkc to give her an embrace before 
the ceremony began. I therefore followed my guide back into the 
sacristy, where the future nun was seated beside her godmother, and 
in the midst of her friends and relations, about thirty in all. 

She was arrayed in pale blue satin, with diamonds, pearls and a 
crown of Howers. She was Kte rally smothered in blonde and jewels; 
and her face was flushed as well it might be, for she had passed the 
day in taking leave of her friends at a fete they had given her, and 
had then, according to custom, been paraded through the town in 
all her finery. And now her last hour was at hand. When I came 
in she rose and embraced me with as much cordiaHty as if we had 
known each other for years. Beside her sat the Madrina, also in 
white satin and jewels; all the relations being Hkewise decked out in 
theu- finest array. The nun kept laughing every now and then in 
the most unnatm-al and hysterical manner, as I thought, apparently 
to impress us with the conviction of her perfect happiness ; for it is a 
great point of honom- amongst girls similarly situated to look as 
cheerful and gay as possible ; the same feehng, though in a difi erent 
degree, which induces the gallant highwayman to jest in the pre- 
sence of the multitude when the hangman's cord is witliin an inch of 
liis neck, the same which makes a gallant general, whose Hfe is for- 
feited, command his men to fire on him ; the same which makes the 
Hindoo widow mount the fimeral pile without a tear in her eye, or 
a sigh on her hps. If the robber were to be strangled in a corner of 
liis dungeon ; if the general were to be put to death privately in liis 
own apartment; if the widow were to be burnt quietly on her own 


heartli; if the ntin "were to be secretly smuggled in at tlie convent 
gate like a bale of contraband goods, — we might hear another tale. 
This girl was very young, but by no means pretty ; on the contrary, 
rather disgracice par la nature ; and perhaps a knowledge of her own 
want of attractions may have caused the world to have few charms 
for her. 

But Jose Maria cut short my train of reflections, by requesting me 
to return to my seat before the crowd arrived, which I did forthwith. 
Shortly after, the church-doors were thrown open, and a crowd burst 
in, every one strugghng to obtain the best seat. Musicians entered, 
carrying desks and music-books, and placed themselves in two rows, 
on either side of the enclosure where I was. Then the or^an struck 
up its solemn psalmody, and was followed by the gay music of the 
band. Rockets were let off outside the church, and, at the same 
time, the Madrina and all the relations entered and knelt down in 
front of the grating which looks into the convent, but before which 
hung a dismal black curtain. I left my chair and knelt down beside 
the godmother. 

Suddenly the curtain was withdrawn, and the picturesque beauty 
of the scene within batEes all description. Beside the altar, which Avas 
in a blaze of light, was a perfect mass of crimson and gold drapery; the 
walls, the antique chairs, the table before which the priests sat, all 
hung with the same splendid material. The Bishop wore his superb 
mitre and robes of crimson and gold ; the attendant priests also gUt- 
tering in crimson and gold embroidery. 

In contrast to these tive-and-twenty figures, entirely robed in black 
from head to foot, were ranged on each side of the room prostrate, 
their faces touching the ground, and in their hands immense hghted 
tapers. On the foreground was spread a purple carpet bordered round 
with a garland of freshly gathered flowers, roses and carnations and 
hehotrope, the only things that looked real and living in the whole 
scene; and in the middle of this knelt the novice, still arrayed in her 
blue satin, white lace veil and jewels, and also with a great hghted 
taper in her hand. 

The black nuns then rose and sang a hymn, every now and then 
fallino- on their faces and touchins; the floor with their foreheads. 
The whole looked Hke an incantation, or a scene in Robert le 
Diable. The novice was then raised from the ground and led to the 
feet of the Bishop, who examined her as to her vocation, and gave 
her his blessing, and once more the black curtain fell betvv'cen us 
and them. 

In the second act, she was lying prostrate on the floor, disrobed of 
her profane dress, and covered over with a black cloth, while the 
black figures kneeling round her chanted a hymn. She was now 
dead to the world. The sunbeams had faded away, as if they would 
not look upon the scene, and all the light was concentrated in one 
great mass upon the convent group. 

Again she was raised. All the blood had rushed into her face, and 


lier attempt at a smile was truly painful. Slic then knelt before the 
Bishop and received the benediction, with the sign of the cross, from 
a white hand with the pastoral ring. She then went round alone to 
embrace all the dark phantoms as they stood motionless, and as each 
dark shadow clasped her in its arms, it seemed hke the dead welcom- 
ing a new arrival to the shades. 

But I forget the sermon, which was delivered by a fat priest, who 
elbowed his way with some difficulty through the crowd to the 
grating, panting and in a prodigious heat, and ensconced himself in a 
great arm chair close beside us. He assured her that she " had chosen 
the good part, which could not be taken away from her ;" that she 
was now one of the elect, " chosen from amongst the wickedness and 
dangers of the world ;" — (picked out hke a plum from a pie). He 
mentioned with pity and contempt those who were " yet strugghng 
in the great Babylon;" and compared their miserable late with hers, 
the Bride of Christ, who, after suffering a few privations here during 
a short term of years-, should be received at once into a kingdom of 
glory. The whole discourse was well calculated to rally her fainting 
spirits, if fainting they were, and to inspire us with a great disgust 
for ourselves. 

When the sermon was concluded, the music again struck up — 
the heroine of the day came forward, and stood before the grating 
to take her last look of this wicked world. Down fell the black 
curtain. Up rose the relations, and I accompanied them into the 
sacristy. Here they coolly lighted their cigars, and very philoso- 
phically discoursed upon the exceeding good fortune of the new- 
made nun, and on her evident delight and satisfaction with her own 
situation. As we did not follow her behind the scenes, I could not 
give my opinion on this point. Shortly after, one of the gentlemen 
civilly led me to my carriage, and so it icas. 

As we were returning home, some soldiers rode up and stopped 
the carriaije, desirins; the coachman to take the other side of the 
aqueduct, to avoid the body of a man who had been murdered 
within a few doors of oin* house. 

In the Convent of the Licarnation, I saw another girl sacrificed 
in a similar manner. She was received there without a dowery, on 
account of the exceeding fineness of her voice. She Httle thought 
Vv'hat a fatal gift it would prove to her. The most cruel part of all 
was, that ■v\dshing to display her fine voice to the public, they made 
her sing a hymn alone, on her knees, her arms extended in the form 
of a cross, before all the immense crowd ; " Ancilla Christi sum," 
" The Bird of Christ I am." She was a good-lookino- o-irl, fat and 
comely, who would probably have led a comfortable Hfe in the 
world, for which she seemed well fitted ; most hkely without one 
touch of romance or enthusiasm in her composition ; but having 
the unfortunate honour of being niece to two chanoines, she was 
thus honourably provided for without expense in her nineteenth 
year. As might be expected, her voice faltered, and instead of sing- 


ing, she seemed inclined to cry out. Each note came slowly, 
heavily, tremblingly ; and at last she nearly fell forward exliausted, 
when two of the sisters caught and supported her. 

I had ahnost made up my mind to see no more such scenes, wliich, 
unlike pulque and bull-fights, I disHke more and more upon trial ; 
when we received an invitation, which it was not easy to refuse, but 
was the more painful to accept, being acquainted, though slightly, 
with the Aactim. I send you the printed note of invitation. 

" On Wednesday, the of this month, at six o'clock in the 

evening, my daughter, Dona Maria de la Concepcion, P e , 

will assume the habit of a nun of the choir and the black veil in the 
Convent of Our Lady of the Incarnation. I have the honour to 
inform you of this, entreating you to co-operate with your presence 
in the solemnity of tliis act, a favour which will be highly esteemed 
by your affectionate servant, who kisses yoiu: hand. 

" Maria Josefa de . 

" Mexico, June ,1840." 

Having gone out in the carriage to pay some visits, I suddenly 
recollected that it was the very morning of the day in which this 
young girl was to take the veil, and also that it was necessary to in- 
quire where I was to be placed ; for as to entering the church with 
the crowd on one of these occasions, it is out of the question ; 
particularly when the girl being, as in the present case, of dis- 
tinguished family, the ceremony is expected to be pecuharly mag- 
nificent. I accordingly called at the house, was sho^vn up stairs, 
and to my horror, found myself in the midst of a " goodlie 
companie," in rich array, consisting of the relations of the family, 
to the number of about a hundred persons ; the bishop liimself 
in his purple robes and amethysts, a number of priests, the fa- 
ther of the young lady in his general's] uniform ; she herself in 
purple velvet, with diamonds and pearls, and a crown of flowers ; 
the corsage of her gown entirely covered with little bows of ribbon 
of divers colours, which her friends had given her, each adding one, 
Hke stones thrown on a cairn in memory of the departed. She had 
also short sleeves and white satin shoes. 

Being very handsome, with fine black eyes, good teeth, and fresh 
colour, and above all with the beauty of youth, for she is but 
eighteen, she was not disfigured even by this overloaded dress. Her 
mother, on the contrary, who was to act the part of IMadrina, who 
wore a dress fac-simile, and who was pale and sad, her eyes 
ahnost extinguished with weeping, looked like a picture of 
misery in a ball-chess. In the adjoining room, long tables were 
laid out, on which servants were placing refreshments for the fete 
about to be given on this joyous occasion. I felt someAvhat 
shocked, and incHned to say with Paul Pry, " Hope I don't in- 
trude." But my apologies were instantly cut short, and I was 
welcomed with true Mexican hospitahty ; repeatedly thanked for 
my kindness in coming to see the nun, and hospitably pressed to 
join the family feast. I only got oiF upon a promise of retm-n- 


ing at half-past five to accompany them to the ceremony, wliich, in 
fact, I greatly preferred to gohig there alone. 

I arrived at the hour appointed, and being led up stairs by the 
Senator Don , found the morning party, with many ad- 
ditions, Hngering over the dessert. There was some gaiety, but 
evidently forced. It reminded me of a marriage feast previous to 
the departtire of the bride, who is about to be separated from her 
family for the first time. Yet how difierent in fact this banquet, 
where the mother and daughter met together for the last time on 
earth ! 

At stated periods, indeed, the mother may hear her daughter's 
voice speaking to her as from the depths of the tomb ; but she may 
never more fold her in her arms, never more share in her joys or in 
her sorrows, or nurse her in sickness ; and when her own last hour 
arrives, though but a few streets divide them, she may not give her 
dying blessing to the child who has been for so many years the 
pride of her eyes and heart. 

I have seen no country where famihes are so knit together as in 
Mexico, where the affections are so concentrated, or where such 
devoted respect and obedience are shown by the married sons and 
daughters to their parents. In that respect they always remain as 
Httle children. I know many fimiHes of wliich the married branches 
continue to five in their father's house, forming a sort of small 
colony, and li^dng in the most perfect harmony. They cannot bear 
the idea of being separated, and notliing but dire necessity ever 
forces them to leave their fatherland. To all the accounts which 
travellers give them of the pleasures to be met with in European 
capitals, they turn a deaf ear. Their famihes are in Mexico — their 
parents, and sisters, and relatives — and there is no happiness for them 
elsewhere. The greater therefore is the sacrifice which those pa- 
rents make, who from religious motives devote their daughters to a 
conventual Hfe. 

, however, was fiuious at the wdiole affair, wliich he said was 

entirely against the mother's consent, though that of the father had 
been obtained ; and pointed out to me the confessor whose influence 
had brought it about. The girl herself was now very pale, but 
evidently resolved to conceal her agitation, and the mother seemed 
as if she could shed no more tears — quite exhausted with weeping. 
As the hour for the ceremony drew near, the whole party became 
more grave and sad, all but the priests, who were smiling and talking 
together in groups. The girl was not still a moment. She kept 
walking hastily through the house, taking leave of the servants, and 
naming probably her last wishes about every thing. She was fol- 
lowed by her younger sisters, all in tears. 

But it struck six, and the priests intimated that it was tune to 
move. She and her mother went do^vn stairs alone, and entered 
the carriage wliich was to drive them through ah the principal 
streets, to show the nun to the pubhc according to custom, and to 


let tlicm take their last look, tiioy of her, and she of them. As 
they got in, we all crowded to the balconies to see her take leave 
of her house, her aunts saying, " Yes, child, de&pidcte de tucasa, take 
leave of your house, for you will never see it again !" Then came 
sobs from the sisters, and many of the gentlemen, ashamed of their 
emotion, hastily quitted the room. I Jiope, for the sake of huma- 
nity, I did not rightly interpret tlie look of constrained anguish 
which the poor girl threw from the window of the carriage at the 
home of her childhood. 

They drove off, and the relations prepared to walk in procession 

to the church. I walked with the Coimt S o, the others followed 

m pairs. The church was very brilliantly illuminated, and as we 
entered, the band was playing one of Strauss s Avaltzcs ! The crowd 
was so tremendous that we were nearly squeezed to a jelly in getting 
to our places. I was carried off my feet between two fat Senoras 
in mantillas and shaking diamond pendants, exactly as if I had been 
packed between two movable feather-beds. 

They gave me, however, an excellent place, quite close to the 

grating, beside the Countess de S o, that is to say, a place to 

kneel on. A great bustle and much preparation seemed to be going 
on within the convent, and veiled figures were flitting about, 
whispering, arranging, &c. Sometimes a skinny old dame would 
come close to the grating, and lifting up her veil, bestow upon the 
pensive public a generous view of a very haughty and very wrinkled 
visage of some seventy years standing, and beckon into the church 
for the major-domo of the convent (an excellent and profitable 
situation by the way), or for padre this or that. Some of the holy 
ladies recognised and spoke to me through the grating. 

But at the discharge of fireworks outside the church the curtain 
was dropped, for this was the signal that the nun and her mother 
had arrived. An opening was made in the crowd as they passed 
into the church; and the girl, kneeling down, was questioned by 
the bishop, but I could not make out the dialogue, which was car- 
ried on in a low voice. She then passed into the convent by a side 
door, and her mother, quite exhausted and nearly in hysterics, was 
supported through the crowd to a place beside us, in front of the 
grating. The music struck up; the ciu'tain Avas again drawn aside. 
The scene was as striking here as in the convent of the Santa Teresa, 
but not so lugubrious. The nuns, all ranged around, and carrying 
lighted tapers in their hands, were dressed in mantles of bright blue, 
with a gold plate on the left shoulder. Their faces, however, were 
covered with deep black veils. The girl, kneehng in front, and 
also bearing a heavy lighted taper, looked beautiful, with her dark 
hair and rich dress, and the long black lashes resting on her glowing- 
face. The chiu'chmen near the illuminated and magnificently-decked 
altar formed, as usual, a brilliant back-ground to the picture. The 
ceremony was the same as on the former occasion, but there was no 


TliG most torrible tiling to witness was the last, straining, anxious 
look wliick the motlier gave her daughter through the gratin'-^ She 
had seen her child pressed to the arms of strangers, and welcomed 
to her new home. She was no longer hers. All the sweet ties of 
nature had been rudely severed, and she had been forced to consign 
her, in the very bloom of youth and beauty, at the very age in which 
she most required a mother's care, and when she had but just fulfilled 
the promise of her childhood, to a living tomb. Still, as lono- as the 
curtain had not flillen, she could gaze upon her, as upon one on 
whom, though dead, the coffin-hd is not yet closed. 

But while the new-made nun was in a blaze of light, and distinct 
on the foreground, so that we could mark each varying expression 
of her face, the crowd in the church, and the comparative fuintness 
of the light, probably made it difficult for her to distinguish her 
mother; for, knowing that the end Avas at hand, she looked an:d- 
ously and hurriedly into the church, A\-ithout seeming able to fix her 
eyes on any particular object; while her mother seemed as if her 
eyes were glazed, so intently were they fixed upon her daughter. 

Suddenly, and \vithout any preparation, down fell the black cur- 
tain like a pall, and the sobs and tears of the family broke forth. 
One beautiful little child was carried out almost in fits. Water was 
brought to the poor mother; and at last, making our way with 
difficulty through the dense crowd, we got into the sacristy. " I 

declare," said the Countess to me, wiping her eyes, "it is 

worse than a marriage !" I expressed my horror at the sacrifice of 
a girl so young, that she could not possibly have known her own 
mind. Almost all the ladies agreed 'with me, especially all who had 
daughters, but many of the old gentlemen were of a different opinion. 
The young men were decidedly of my way of thinldng, but many 
young girls, who were conversing together, seemed rather to envy 
their friend, who had looked so pretty and graceful, and " so happy," 
and whose dress " suited her so well," and to have no objection to 
*' go, and do Hkewise." 

I had the honour of a presentation to the bishop, a fat and portly 
prelate, with good manners, and Avell besuiting his priestly garments. 
I amused myself, while we waited for the carriages, by lookino- over 
a pamphlet which lay on the table, containing the ceremonial of the 
veil-taking. When we rose to go, all the ladies of the highest rank 
devoutly kissed the bishop's hand; and I went home, tliinking by 
what law of God a child can thus be dragged from the mother who 
bore and bred her, and immured in a cloister for Hfe, amongst 
strangers, to whom she has no tie, and towards whom she owes no 
duty. That a convent may be a blessed shelter from the calamities 
of life, a haven for the unprotected, a resting-place for the weary, 
a safe and holy asylum, where a new family and kind friends aAvait 
those whose natural ties are broken and whose early friends are £;-one, 
I am wilhng to admit; but it is not in the flower of youth that the 
warm heart should be consigned to the cold cloister. Let the youno- 


162 VERSES. 

take their cliance of sunshine or of storm : the cahn and shady retreat 
is for helpless and nnprotected old age. 

, to whom I described one of these ceremonies, wrote some 

verses, suggested by my account of them, wliich I send you. 

In tropic gorgeoiisness, the Lord of Day 
To the bright chambers of the west retired, 

And with the glory of his parting ray 
The hundred domes of Mexico he fired, 

When I, with vague and solemn awe inspired, 
Entered the Incarnation's sacred fane. 

The vaulted roof, the dim aisle far retired. 
Echoed the deep-toned organ's holy strain. 
Which through the incensed air did mournfully complain. 

The veiling curtain suddenly withdrew, 

Op'ning a glorious altar to the sight. 
Where crimson intermixed its regal hue 

With gold and jewels that outblazed the light 
Of the huge tapers near them flaming bright 

From golden stands — the bishop, mitre-crowned, 
Stood stately near — in order due around 

The sisterhood knelt down, their brows upon the ground. 

The novice entered : to her doom she went, 
Gems on her robes, and flowers upon her brow. 

Virgin of tender years, poor innocent! 

Pause, ere thou speak th' irrevocable vow. 

What if thy heart should change, thy spirit fail ? 
She kneels. The black-robed sisters cease to bow. 

They raise a hymn which seems a funeral wail, 

While o'er the pageant falls the dark, lugubrious veil. 

Again the veil is up. On earth she lies, 

With the drear mantle of the pall spread o'er, 
The new-made nun, the living sacrifice, 

Dead to this world of our's for evermore ! 
The sun his parting rays has ceased to pour, 

As loth to lend his light to such a scene. . . 
The sisters raise her from the sacred floor. 

Supporting her their holy arms between ; 

The mitred priest stands up with patriarchal mien. 

And speaks the benediction ; all is done. 

A life-in-death must her long years consume. 
She clasped her new-made sisters one by one. 

As the black shadows their embraces gave 
They seemed like spectres from their place of doom. 

Stealing from out eternal night's blind cave, 

To meet their comrade new, and hail her to the grave. 

The curtain fell again, the scene was o'er. 

The pageant gone — its glitter and its pride. 
And it would be a pagennt and no more. 

But for the maid miscalled the Heavenly Bride. 
If I, an utter stranger, unallied 

To her by slightest ties, some grief sustain, 
What feels the yearning mother, from whose side 

Is torn the child whom she hath reared in vain. 

To share her joys no more, no more to sooth her pain ! 



San Agiistin— The Gambling Fete— The Beauties of the Village— The Road 
from Mexico— Entry to San Agustin— The Gambling Houses— San Antonio 
—The Pedregal— Last day of the Fete— The Cock-pit— The Boxes— The 
Cock-fight— Decorum— Comparisons — Dinner— Bail at Calvario— House of 
General Moran— View of the Gambling Tables— The Advocate— Ball at the 
Plaza de Gallos — Return to Mexico — Reflections— Conversation between 
two Ministers. 

15th June. 

Since my last letter we have been at San Agustin de las Cuevas, 
which, when I last saw it, was a deserted village, but which during 
three days in the year presents the appearance of a vast bee-liive or 
ant-hill. San Agustin! At the name how many hearts throb 
with emotion ! How many hands are mechanically thrust into empty 
pockets! How many visions of long- vanished golden ounces flit 
before aching eyes ! What iaint crowing of wounded cocks ! What 
tinkhng of guitars and blowing of horns come upon the ear ! Some, 
indeed, there be, who can look round upon their well-stored haci- 
enda and easy rolling carriages, and remember the day, when with 
threadbare coat, and stake of three modest ounces, they first courted 
Fortime's favom's, and who, being then indigent, and enjoying an 
indifferent reputation, found themselves, at the conclusion of a few 
successive San Agustins, the fortunate proprietors of gold, and land, 
and houses; and, moreover, with an unimpeachable fame; for he 
who can fling gold dust in his neighbour's eyes, prevents him from 
seeing too clearly. But these favourites of the bHnd goddess are few 
and far between ; and they have for the most part, with a view to 
greater security, become holders or sharers of banks at San Agustin, 
thus investing their fortune in a secure fund ; more so decidedly, if 
we may beheve the newspaper reports, than in the bank of the 
United States at tliis present -writing. 

Time, in its revolutions whirling all things out of their places, 
has made no change in the annual fete of San Agustin. Fashions 
alter. The graceful mantilla gradually gives place to the ungrace- 
ful bonnet. The old painted coach, moving slowly like a caravan, 
with Guido's Aurora painted on its gaudy panels, is dismissed for 
the London-built carriage. Old customs have passed away. The 
ladies no longer sit on the door-sills, eating roast duck vvrith their 
fingers, or with the aid of tortillas. Even the Chinampas have 
become stationary, and have occasionally joined the continent. But 
the annual fete of San Agustin is built on a more solid foundation 
than taste or custom, or floating soil. It is founded upon that love 

M 2 


of gambling, wliicli is said to be a passion inherent in our nature, 
and "vvhicli is certainly impregnated with the Mexican constitution, 
in man, woman, and child. The beggars gamble at the corners 
of the streets or under the arches; the little boys gamble in groups 
in the villages; the coachmen and footmen gamble at the doors 
of the theatre while waiting for their masters. 

But while their hand is thus kept in all the year round, there are 
three days sacredly set apart annually, in Avhich every accommoda- 
tion is given to those who are bent upon ruining themselves or their 
neighbours ; whilst every zest that society can afford, is held out to 
render the temptation more alluring. As religion is called in to 
sanctify every thing, right or wrong ; as the robber will plant a 
cross at the mouth of his cave, and the pulque shops do occasionally 
call themselves " Pulquerias of the Most Holy Virgin," so this 
season of gambling is lixed for the fete of Pascua (Whitsunday), 
and the churches and the gambling-houses are throAvn open simul- 

The village is In itself pretty and picturesque ; and, as a stone at 
its entry informs us, was built by the active Viceroy Revillagigedo, 
with the product, as assured us, of two lotteries. It is charm- 
ingly situated, in the midst of handsome villas and orchards, whose 
high w^alls, overtopped by fruit-trees, border the narrow lanes. At 
this season the trees are loaded with the yellow chabacano and the 
purple plum, already ripe ; while the pear trees are bending under 
the weight of their fruit. The gardens are full of flowers ; the 
roses in their last bloom, covering the ground wdth their pink leaves, 
•and jasmine and sweet-peas in profusion, making the air fragrant. 
The rainy season has scarce set in, though Ireqvient shoAvers have 
laid the dust, and refreshed the air. The country villas are filled 
with all that is gayest and most distinguished in INIexico, and every 
house and every room in the village has been hired for months in 
advance. The ladies are in their most elegant toilets, and looking 
forward to a deHghtful whirl of dancing, cock-fighting, gambling, 
dining, dressing, and driving about. 

The high-road leading from Mexico to San Agustin is covered 
■with vehicles of every description ; carriages, dihgences, hackney- 
coaches, carts, and carratelas. Those who are not fortunate enough 
to possess any wheeled conveyance, come out on horse, ass, or mide ; 
single, double, or treble, if necessary ; and many hundreds, with 
visions of silver before their eyes, and a few clacos (pence), hid 
under their rags, trudge out on foot. The President himself, in 
carriage and six, and attended by his aids-de-camp, sanctions by his 
presence the amusements of the fete. The Mexican generals and 
other officers, follow in his wake, and the gratifying spectacle may 
not imfrequently be seen, of the president leaning from his box in 
the plaza de ffallos, and betting upon a cock, with a coatless, boot- 
less, hatless, and probably worthless ragamuffin in the pit. Every 
one, therefore, however hmnble his degree, has the pleasure, while 


following liis speculative inclinations, of reflecting that lie treads in 
tlie steps of tlie magnates of the land ; and, as Sam Wellcr would 
gay, " Vot a consolation that must be to his feelings!" 

At all events, nothing can be gayer than the appearance of the 
village, as your carriage makes its way through the narrow lanes 
into the principal plaza, amidst the assembled crowd of coaches and 
foot-passengers; though the faces of the people bear evidence that 
pleasure alone has not brought them to San Agustin. All round, 
the square are the gambling-houses, where for three nights and 
three days every table is occupied. At the principal montes nothing' 
is played but gold, but as there is accommodation for all classes, so 
there are silver tables in the inferior houses, while outside are rows 
of tables on which are heaps of copper, covered with a rugged 
awning, and surrounded by leperos and blanketed Indians, playing 
monta in imitation of their betters, though on a scale more suited 
to their finances. 

Having left Mexico early in the morning, we stopped to break- 
fast at San Antonio, a noble hacienda, about four leagues from 
Mexico, belonging to the Dowager Marquesa de Vivanco, where we 
breakfasted with a large party. It is a fine sohd mass of building, 
and as you enter the courtyard, through a deep archway, the great 
outhouses, stables, and especially the granary, look Hke remains of 
feudalism, they are on so large and magnificent a scale. It is an. 
immense and valuable property, producing both maize and maguey, 
and the hospitality of the family, who are amongst our earhest 
friends here, is upon as large a scale as every thing that belongs to 
them. We had a splendid breakfast, in a fine old hall, and staid 
but a short time to visit the gardens and the chapel, as we were 
anxious to arri^'e at San Agustin in time for the cock-fight. 

It is singular, that while San Agustin is situated in the midst of 
the most fertile and productive country, there should lie opposite to 
it, and bounded as it were by the graceful Peruvian trees and silver 
poplars which surround a small church on the other side of the 
high-raad, a great tract of black lava, sterile, bleak, and entirely 
destitute of vegetation, called the Pedrcgal. This covers the country 
all along to San Agustin and to the base of the mountain of 
Ajusco, which lies behind it, contrasting strangely with the beauti- 
ful groves and gardens in its neighbourhood, and looking as if it 
had been cursed for some crime committed there. The high road, 
which runs nearly in a direct line from the hacienda to San Agustin, 
is broad and in tolerable repair ; but before arriving there, it is so 
little attended to, that during the rainy season it might be passed in 
canoes ; yet this immense formation of ferruginous lava and porphy- 
ritic rock lies conveniently in its vicinity. A large sum, supposed 
to be employed in mending the road, is collected annually at the 
toll, close to San Antonio. For each carriage two dollars are asked, 
and ibr carts and animals in proportion. The proprietor of this toll 
or postazf/o is also the owner of the plaza de gallos, where a dollar 


is paid for entry, tlie sums produced by -wliicli go exclusively to 
enrich the same individual. The government has no advantage 
from it 

The last day of the fete is considered the best, and it is most 
crowded on that day, botli by families from Mexico and by foreigners 
"who go solely for pleasure, though not imfrequcntly tempted to do 
a Kttle business on their own account. In fact, the temptations are 
great; and it must be difficult for a young man to withstand them. 

We went to the (jallos about three o'clock. The plaza was 
crowded, and the ladies in their boxes looked like a parterre of 
different coloured flowers. But whilst the Senoras in their boxes 
did honour to the fete by their brilliant toilet, the gentlemen prome- 
naded round the circle in jackets, high and low being on the same 
curtailed footing, and certainly in a style of dress more befitting the 
exliibition. The president and his suite were already there, also 
several of the foreign ministers. 

Meanwhile, the cocks crowed vahantly, bets were adjusted, and 
even the Avomen entered into the spirit of the scene, taking bets with 
the gentlemen sotta voce in their boxes, u23on such and such favour- 
ite animal. As a small knife is fastened to the leg of each cock, the 
battle seldom lasted long, one or other falling every few minutes in 
a pool of blood. Then there was a clapping of hands, mingled 
with the loud crowing of some unfortunate cock, who was giving 
himself airs previous to a combat where lie was probably destined 
to crow his last. It has a curious effect to European eyes, to see 
young ladies of good family, looking peculiarly feminine and gentle, 
sanctioning, by their presence, tlais savage diversion. It is no 
doubt the effect of early habit, and you will say that at least it is no 
worse than a bull-fight; which is certain — yet cruel as the latter is, 
I find something more en rjrande, more noble, in the 

" Ungentle sport that oft invites 
The Spanish maid, and cheers the Spanish swain ;" 

in the roaring of the " lord of lowing herds" — the galloping of the 
fine horses, the skill of the riders, the gay dresses, the music and 
the agile matador; in short, in the whole pomp and circumstances 
of the combat, than when one looks quietly on to see two birds peck 
each other's eyes out, and cut each other to pieces. Unhke cock- 
pits in other countries, attended by blacklegs and pickpockets and 
gentlemanly roues, by far the largest portion of the assembly in the 
pit was composed of the first young men in Mexico, and for that 
matter, of the first old ones also. There was neither confusion, nor 
noise, nor even loud talking, far less swearing, amongst the lowest 
of those assembled in the ring ; and it is this qiuet and orderly be- 
haviour which throws over all these incongruities a cloak of decency 
and decorum, that hides their impropriety so completely, that even 
foreigners who have Hved here a few years, and who were at first 
struck with astonishment by these things, are now quite reconciled 
to them. 


As far as the company went, it might have been the House of 
Representatives in Washington ; the hidies in the gallery hsten- 
ing to the debates, and the members in the body of the house sur- 
rounding Messrs. and , or any other two vehement orators ; 

applauding their biting remarks and cutting sarcasms, and encou- 
raging them to crow over each other. The president might have 
been the speaker, and the corps diplomatique represented itself. 

We had an agreeable dinner at the E s, and afterwards accom- 
panied them to the Calvario, a hill where there was a ball alfresco, 
wliich was rather amusing, and then paid a visit to the family of 
General Moran, who has a beautiful house and gardens in the 
neighbourhood. We found a large party assembled, and amongst 
them the president. Afterwards, accompanied by the minis- 
ter and the ladies of our party, we went to take a view of the gam- 
bhng-tables, and opened our eyes at the heaps of gold, which 

changed owners every minute. I saw C a, a milhonaire, win 

and lose a thousand ounces, apparently with equal indifference. A 
little advocate having won two thousand five hundred ounces, 
wisely ordered his carriage and set off for Mexico, with the best^^-e 
he had ever received in his life. Ladies do not generally look on at 
the tables, but may if they please, and especially if they be stran- 
gers. Each gambling-room was well fitted up, and looked Hke a 
private apartment. 

We then returned home and dressed for the ball, which is given 
in the evening in the plaza de gallos. We first went up stairs to a 

box, but I afterwards took the advice of M. de and came 

down to see the dancers. There were ladies in full dress, and 
gentlemen in white jackets — rather inconsistent. The company, 
though perfectly quiet and well-behaved, were not very select, and 

were, on that account, particularly amusing. Madame de and 

I walked about, and certainly laughed much more than we should 
have done in a more distinguished society. 

About two in the mornino- we returned to Mexico, and as I 
this moment receive a note from the American minister, informing 
me that the packet from Vera Cruz is about to sail, I shall send off 
my letters now ; and should we still be here next year, I shall then 
give you a more detailed description of the fete, of the ball, both at 
Calvario and in the cock-pit, and also of the " high Hfe below 
stairs" gambhng, at which the scenes are impayable. In one re- 
spect, the fasliions of San Agustin are altered from what they 
were a few years ago, when the Sefioras used to perform five 
elaborate and distinct toilettes daily ; the fhst in the morning, the 
second for the cock-fight, the third for the dinner, the fourth for 
the ball on the hill of Calvary, and the fifth for the ball in the 
evening. I am told that as they danced in the open air, on the 
hill, with all their diamonds and pearls on, in the midst of an im- 
mense concourse of people, a great many jewels were constantly 
lost, which the Uperos used afterwards to search for, and pick up 



from tlie grass ; a rich harvest. Though they still dress a great 
deal, they are contented with changing their toilet twice, or at the 
most, three tunes m the course of the day. 

Upon the whole, these three days are excessively amnsino-, and as 
all ranks and conditions are mingled, one sees much more' variety 
than at a ball m the city. 

On their way home, C n and Senor discussed the effects 

hkely to be produced on the morals of the people by this fete, 
henor , like nearly all the wisest men here, persists in con- 
sidering gambhng an innocent amusement, and declares, that at 
ali_ events, this fete ought never to be done away with. ' In his 
opinion, It conduces to the happiness of the people, gives them an 
annual pleasure to look forward to, and by the mingling of all ranks 
which then takes place, keeps up a goodfeehug between the hio-her 

and lower orders. C n asked him why, if such was the 

case, the government did not, at least, endeavour to draw some 
advantage from it, after the manner of the Count de ReviUao-io-edo 
—why, as the bank, by the nature of the game, has, besides a |reat 
capital, which swallows up all the smaller ones, an immense profit, 
amounting to twenty-five per cent., they do not make the bankers 
pay Ipur or five per cent., and charge half a dollar or more to each 
individual who enters to gamble ; with which money they mio-lit 
beautify the village, make a piibhc pasoe, a good road, a canal to 
Mexico, &c. 

_ I thoiight that whatever the government might feel on this sub- 
ject, neither the bankers nor the gamblers would reHsh the insinua- 
tion. I shall write in a few days by the Baron de , minister 

from , wdio leaves Mexico in a fortnidit. 


Countess C a— Gutierrez Estrada— Dinner at General Moran's— Dowager 

Marquesa— Feteat San Antonio— Approach of tlie Rainy Season— Diamonds 
and Plate— Great Ball— Night Travelling— Severe Storm— Cliapter of Acci- 
dents—Corpus Christi— Publana Dress— Book Chib— Ball— Mumming Bird 
—Franciscan Friar— Missions to Old and New Cahfornia- Zeal and E^ndur- 
ance of the Missionaries— Present Condition— Convent Gardener. 

17th June. 
As we dine nearly every Sunday with the Countess de la C- 

at Tacubay, where she keeps open house to all her friends, we have 


liad the pleasure of becoming intimately acquainted with her son- 
in-law, Seiior Gutierrez Estrada, who, with his amiable wife, has 
lately returned from Europe. 

A f^reat dinner was given us the other day by General Moran and 
his lady the Marquesa de Vivanco, at San Agustin. We went early 
that we might have time to walk about the garden, which is beautiful, 
and to visit an artificial cave there, which we found lighted up with 
coloured lamps, and where a most fascinating species of cold milk 
punch, with cakes, was served to the company. The dinner would 
certainly liave been superb in any country; the family have tra- 
veUed a great deal in Europe, {per force, the general having been 
exiled for several years,) and are amongst the oldest and richest in 
Mexico. The Dowager Marquesa has a most patriarchal family of 
daughters and grand^daughters, and of the large party assembled at 
table, nearly all were composed of its different members. In the 
evening we had a pleasant dance under the trees. 

20th. — Being invited yesterday to a fete at San Antonio, we 
left Mexico about eight o'clock, by the great causeway leading to San 
Agustin. The day was peculiarly brilhant, but the rainy season 
is "now announcing its approach by f}-equent showers towards even- 
ing. TVe found a large party assembled, and about twelve o'clock 
sat down to a most magnificent breakfast of about sixty persons. 
Every thing was solid silver; even the plates. A vast capital is 
sunk in diamonds and plate in this country, no good sign of the 
state of commerce. The ladies in general were dressed in Avhite 
embroidered mushns, over white or coloured satin, and one or two 
Paris dresses shone conspicuous. There was one specimen^ of real 

Mexican beauty ; the Senora , a face perhaps more Indian than 

Spanish, very dark, with fine eyes, beautiful teeth ,_ very long, dark 
hair, and fuU of expression. The house, which is immensely large, 
is furnished, or rather unfurnished, in the style of all Mexican 
haciendas. After breakfast, we had music, dancing, walking, and bil- 
hard-playing. Some boleros were very gracefully danced by a 
daughter of the Marquesa's, and they also showed us some dances 
of the country. The fete terminated with the most beautiful supper 
I almost ever sav\^. A great hall was hghted with coloured lamps, 
the walls entirely fined with green branches, and himg with fresh 
garlands of flowers most tastefidly arranged. There was a great 
deal of gaiety and cordiality, of magnificence without ceremony, 
and riches without pretension. 

Although warned by various showers that a bad night would 
probably set in, and although it was too hkely that the hopitafity 
within the house would be extended to our coachmen, and even 
though the whole party were strongly pressed by the Marquesa to 
pass the night there, so that it was with difficulty we resisted her 
entreaties to remain, we did, in the face of all this, set ofiT at twelve 
o'clock at night to return to Mexico ; about seven carriages together, 
with various gentlemen riding. Though very dark there Avas no 


rain, and we flattered ourselves it would keep fair till we reached 
the city. The minister of the interior, who is married to a daugliter 

of the Marquesa, C n and I, and la Guera liodriguez, set oif in 

one carriage. Some carriages had lamps, others had none. Some 
had six horses; we had six mules, and an escort of dragoons. We 
had not gone two miles before a thunderstorm came on; and the 
black clouds which had been gathering above our heads, burst forth 
in torrents of rain. The wind was tremendous. All the lamps were 
extinguished. The horses waded up to their knees in mud and 
water. Suddenly there was a crash, followed by loud cries. A 

carriage was overturned, in which were the Senora L and a 

party of gentlemen. In the midst of this awful storm, and perhaps 
still more bewildered by generous Hquor, their coachman had lost 
liis way, and lodged them all in a ditch. The poor senora was 
dreadfully bruised, her head cut, and her wrist dislocated. In the 
darkness and confusion she was extricated with difficulty, and placed 
in another carriage. 

Our mules stood still. As far as the noise of the storm would 
allow us to hear, we made out that our coachman also had lost the 
road. Two dragoons rode up to direct him. One fell, horse and 
all, into a deep ditch, where he remained till the next morning. 
Another carriage came ploughing its way behind us. Another 
exclamation in the darkness ! A mide had fallen and broken his 
traces, and plunged into the water. The poor animal could not be 
found. Never was there such a chapter of accidents. We were the 
only carriage-load which escaped entirely, owing chiefly to the 
sobriety of the coachman. Very slowly, and after sundry deten- 
tions, we arrived in Mexico towards morning, very tired, but with 
neither broken bones nor bruises. 

18th. — Day of the Corpus Christi, in which the host is carried 
through the city in great procession, at which the President, in full 
uniform, the Archbishop, and aU the ministers, &c., assist. In former 
days this ceremony took place on Holy Thursday; but finding that, 
on account of the various ceremonies of the holy week, it could not 
be kept with due solemnity, another day was set apart for its cele- 
bration. We went to a window in the square, to see the procession, 
which was very briUiant ; all the troops out, and the streets crowded. 
Certainly, a stranger entering Mexico on one of these days would be 
struck \nih surprise at its apparent wealth. Every thing connected 
with the church is magnificent. 

This evening the Seiiora A came after it was dark, in a 

Poblana dress, which she had just bought to Avear at a Jamaica^ 
which they are going to have in the country — a sort of lair, where 
all the girls disguise themselves in peasants' dresses, and go abovit 
selhng frmt, lemonade, vegetables, &c., to each other — a very ancient 
Mexican amusement. This dress cost her some hundred dollars. 
The top of the petticoat is yellow satin ; the rest, which is of scarlet 
cashmere, is embroidered in gold and silver. Her hair was fastened 


back with fi tlilck silver comb, and her ornaments were very hand- 
some, coral set in gold. Her shoes white satin, embroidered in 
gold; the sleeves and body of the chemise, which is of the finest 
cambric, trimmed with rich lace; and the petticoat, which comes 
below the dress, shows two flonnccs of Valenciennes. She looks 
beautiful in this dress, which will not be objected to in the country, 
though it might not suit a fancy ball in Mexico. 

June 27th. — I was awakenecl this morning by hearing that two 
boxes had arrived from New York, containing books, letters, &c. ; 
all very acceptable. We also received a number of old newspapers 
by post, for which we had to pay eighteen dollars !_ Each sheet 
costs a real and a half — a mistaken source of profit in a repubhc, 
where the general diffusion of knowledge is of so much importance; 
for this not only apphes to the introduction of French and Enghsh, 
but also of Spanish newspapers. Seiiors Gutierrez Estrada and Canedo 
used every efiort to reduce this duty on newspapers, but in vain. 
The post-office opposes its reduction, fearing to be deprived of an 
imaginary rent — imaginary, because so few persons, comparatively, 
thinlc it worth their while to go to this expense. 

There is but one daily newspaper in Mexico, " La Gazeta del 
Gobierno" (the government paper), and it is fillecl with orders and 
decrees. An 'opposition paper, the " Cosmopolita," is pubhshed 
twice a week; also a Spanish paper, the " Hesperia;" both (especi- 
ally the last) are well written. There is also the " Mosquito," so 
called from its stinging sarcasms. Now and then another with a new 
title appears, hke°a shooting star, but, from want of support, or 
from some other motive, is suddenly extinguished. 

EnHghtened individuals Hke Don Lucas Alaman and Count Cor- 
tina have pubhshed newspapers, but not for any length of time. 
Count Cortina, especially, edited a very witty and brilhant paper 
■caUed the '' Zurriago^' the "Scourge," and another called the 
" Mono^' the " Ape;" and in many of his articles he was tolerably 
severe upon the incorrect Spanish of his brother editors, of which 
no one can be a better judge, he having been a member of the 
" Academia de la Lengua," in Spain. 

The only kind of monthly review in Mexico is _ the " Mosaico 
Megicano," whose editor has made his fortune by_ liis own activity 
and exertions. Frequently it contams more translations than original 
matter; but from time to time it pubhshes scientific articles, said to 
be wi-itten by Don J. M. Bustamante, which are very valuable, and 
occasionally a brilliant article from the pen of Count Cortina . General 
Orbegoso, who is of Spanish origin, is also a contributor. Some- 
times'^ though rarely, it pubhshes"" documentos ineditos" (unedited 
documents), connected with Mexican antiquities, and Mexican natural 
liistory and biography, which are very important ; and now and 
then it contains a httlc poetical gem, I know not whether original 
or not, but exceedingly beautiful. So far as it goes, this re\dew is 
one great means of spreading Icnowledge, at least amongst the better 


classes; but I understand tliat the editor, Don Ygnaclo Cmnplido, a 
very courteous, intelligent man, complains tliat it does not pay. 

There are no circulating libraries in Mexico. Books are at least 
double the price that they arc in Europe. There is no diffusion of 
useful knowledge amongst the people ; neither cheap paniplilets nor 
cheap magazines written for their amusement or instruction ; but 
this is less owing to want of attention to their interests on the part 
of many good and enlightened men, than to the unsettled state of the 
country ; for the blight of civil war prevents the best systems from 

Fortunately, there is an English society here, a kind of book-club, 
who, with their minister, have imitcd in a subscription to order from 

England all the new publications, and as C n is a member of 

this society, we are not so arrieres in regard to the literature of the 
day as might be supposed. Like all English societies, its basis is a 
good dinner, which each member gives in turn, once a month, after 
■whicli there is a sale of the books that have been read, and proposi- 
tions for new books are given in to the President. It is an excellent 
plan, and I believe is in part adopted by other foreigners here. But 
Germans of a certain class do not seem to be suflS.ciently nmnerous 
for such an undertaking, and the French in IMexico, barring some 
distinguished exceptions, are apt to be amongst the very worst spe- 
cimens of that people which " le plaisant pays de France" can furnish 

We went lately to a ball given by a young Englishman, wdiich w^as 
very pretty, and where nearly all the English were collected. Of 
famihes there are not more than half a dozen resident here, the mem- 
bers of whom form a striking contrast in complexion to the Mexicanas. 
With very few exceptions (and these in the case of English vfomeu 
married to foreigners) they keep themselves entirely aloof from the 
Mexicans, live quietly in their own houses, into which they hav 
transplanted as much English comfort as possible, rarely travel, and 

naturally find Mexico the dullest of cities. C n has gone to dine 

with the English minister, and I am left alone in tliis large room, 
with nothing but a liumming bird to keep me company ; the last of 
my half dozen. It looks like a large blue fly, and is perfectly tame, 
but will not live many days. 

I was startled by a solemn voice, saying, " Ave Maria Purissima !" 
And looking up there stood in the door- way a " friar of orders gray," 

bringing some message to C n from the head of the convent of 

San Fernando, with which monks C n has formed a great inti- 
macy, chiefly in consequence of the interest which he has taken in 
the history of their missions to California. 

In fact, when we hear the universal cry that is raised against these 
communities for the inutihty of their lives, it is but just that excep- 
tions should be made in favour of those orders, who, like the monks of 
San Fernando, have dispersed their missionaries over some of the most 
miserable parts of the globe, and wdio, undeterred by danger, and by 


tKe prospect of cleatli,have carried liglit tothe most benighted savages. 
These institutions are of a very remote date. A learned Jesuit monk, 
Eusebio Kuhn, is said to have been the first "vvho discovered that 
Cahfornia was a peninsula. In 1683 the Jesuits had formed csta- 
l)lishments in Old Cahfornia, and for the first time it was made known 
that the country which had until then been considered an El Dorado, 
rich in all precious metals and diamonds, was arid, stony, and with- 
out water or earth fit for vegetation ; that where there is a spring of 
water it is to be found amongst the bare rocks, and where there is 
earth there is no water. A lew spots were found by these indus- 
trious men, uniting these advantages, and there they founded their 
first missions. 

But the general hatred with which the Jesuits were regarded, 
excited suspicion against them, and it was generally supposed that 
their accounts were false, and that they were privately becoming pos- 
sessed of much treasure. A visitador (surveyor) was sent to examine 
into the truth, and though he could discover no traces of gold or 
silver, he was astonished by the industry and zeal with which they 
had cultivated the barren and treeless waste. In a few years they 
had built sixteen villages, and when they were expelled in 1767, the 
Dominican friars of Mexico took their place. 

Until these missions were established, and in every part of the 
peninsula wliich is not included in the territory of the missions, the 
savages were the most degraded specimens of humanity existing. 
jMore degraded than the beasts of the field, they lay all day upon 
their faces on the. arid sand, basking in the heat; they abhorred all 
species of clothing, and their only rehgion was a secret horror that 
caused them to tremble at the idea of three divinities, belonging to 
three different tribes, and which divinities were themselves supposed 
to feel a mortal hatred, and to wage perpetual war against each other. 

Undeterred by the miserable condition both of human and of 
vegetable nature, these missionaries cultivated the ground, established 
colonies, made important astronomical observations, and devoted 
themselves to science, to agriculture, and to the aniehoration of the 
condition of these Avretched savages. 

In New Cahfornia, the missions were under the charge of thirty- 
six Franciscan friars, under whom the most extraordinary progress 
in clvihzation took place; since in little more than thirty years, up- 
wards of thirty-three thousand Indians were baptized, and eight 
thousand marriages had taken place. The soil being fertile and the 
climate more benign than in the other Cahfornia, in eighteen mis- 
sions estabhshed there, they cultivated corn, wheat, maize, &c., and 
introduced vegetables and irult trees from Spain ; amongst these the 
vine and the olive, from which excellent wine and oil were made, 
all through that part of the country. 

Amongst the monks destined to these distant missions were those 
of San Fernando. There, banished from the world, deprived of all 


the advantages of civilization, they devoted themselves to the task of 
taming the wild Indians, introduced marriage amongst them, taught 
them to cultivate the ground, together with some of the most simple 
arts; assisted their wants, reproved their sins, and transplanted the 
beneficent doctrines of Christianity amongst them, using no arms but 
the influence which religion and kindness, united with extreme pa- 
tience, had over their stubborn natures; and making what Humboldt, 
in speaking of the Jesuit Missions, calls " a pacific conquest" of the 

Many were the hardships which these poor men endured ; changed 
from place to place ; at one time ordered to some barren shore, where 
it was necessary to recommence their labours, — at another, recalled 
to the capital by orders of the prelate, in conjunction with the wishes 
of their brethren, among whom there was a species of congress, called 
by them a capitulo. No increase of rank, no reward, no praise, in- 
spired their labours; their only recompense was their intimate con- 
viction of doing good to their felloAV-creatures. 

In the archives of the convent there still exist papers, proving the 
hardships which these men underwent; the zeal with which they 
applied themselves to the study of the languages of the country; 
(and when we are informed that in the space of one hundred and 
eighty leagues, nineteen different languages are spoken, it was no 
such easy task,) and containing their descriptions of its physical and 
moral state, more or less well written, according to their different 
degrees of instruction or talent. 

It frequently happened that marketable goods and even provisions 
had to be sent by sea to those missionaries who lived in the most 
savage and uncultivated parts of the peninsula; and a curious anec- 
dote on this subject was related to C n by one of these men who 

is now a gardener by profession. It happened that some one sent 
to the monks, amongst other things, a case of fine IMalaga raisins; 
and one of the monks, whose name I forget, sowed a number of the 
dried seeds. In process of time they sprouted up, became vines, and 
produced fine grapes, from which the best wine in CaHfornia was 

When the independence was declared, and that revolutionary fury 
which makes a merit of destro3ang every establishment, good or bad, 
which is the work of the opposite party, broke forth ; the Mexicans, 
to prove their hatred to the mother coimtry, destroyed these benefi- 
cent institutions; thus committing an error as fatal in its results as 
when in 1828 they expelled so many rich proprietors, who were fol- 
lowed into exile by their numerous families and by their old ser- 
vants, who gave them in these times of trouble proofs of attachment 
and fidelity belonging to a race now scarcely existing here, except 
amongst a few of the oldest famihes. 

The result has been, that the frontiers, being now unprotected by 
the mihtary garrisons or presidios, wliich were estabHshed there, and 


deserted by tlic missionaries, the Indians arc no longer kept under 
subjection, either by the force of arms or by the good counsels and 
persuasive influence of their padres. The Mexican territory is, in con- 
sequence, perpetually exposed to their invasions — whole famihes are 
massacred by the savages, Avho exchange guns for rifles, which they 
already know how to use, and these evil consequences are occasionally 
and imperfectly averted at a great expense to the republic. Busta- 
mante has indeed been making an investigation lately as to the funds 
and general condition of these cstabhshments, -with the intention of 
re-establishing some similar institutions ; but as yet I beheve that 
nothing decisive has been done in this respect. . . . 

Near the convent there is a beautiful garden, where we sometimes 
walk in the mornin^, cultivated by an old monk, who, after spend- 
ing a laborious hfe in these distant missions, is now enjoying a con- 
tented old age among his plants and flowers. Perhaps you are tired 
of my prosing (caused by the apparition of the old lay-brother) and 
would prefer some account of him in verse. 

An aged monk in San Fernando dwells, 

An innocent and venerable man ; 
His earlier days were spent within its cells, 

And end obscurely as they first began. 
Manhood's career in savage climes he ran, 

On lonely California's Indian shore — 
Dispelling superstition's deadly ban. 

Or teaching (what could patriot do more ?) 
Those rudiments of peace, the gardener's humble store. 

Oft have I marked him, silent and apart. 

Loitering near the sunny convent-gate. 
Rewarded by tranquillity of heart 

For toils so worthy of the truly great ; 
And in my soul admired, compared iiis state 

With that of some rude brawler, whose crude mind 
Some wondrous change on earth would fain create ; 

Who after flatt'ring, harassing mankind, 
Gains titles, riches, pomp, with shame and scorn combined. 



The President — Ytiirbide — Visit from the Archbishop — Senor Canedo— Ge- 
neral Almonte — Senor Ciievas — Situation of an Arclibishop in Mexico — 
Of Seiior Posada — His Life — Mexican Charity — Wax Figures — Anecdote — 
Valuable Present — Education — Comparison — Sciiools — Opportunities — 
Natural Talent — Annual — Compliments to the Mexican Ladies by the 
Editor— Families of the Old School — Morals — Indulgence — Manners — Love 
of Country — Colleges. 

5th July. 

Yesterday morning we liad a visit from tlie President, witli two , 
of his officers. He was riding one of the handsomest black horses 
I ever saw. On going out we stopped to look at a wax figure of 
Ytnrbide on horseback, which he considers a good resemblance, 
and which was sent me as a present some time ago. He ought to 
be a good judge, as he was a most devoted friend of the unfor- 
tunate Agustin I., who, whatever were his faults, seems to have in- 
spired his friends with the most devoted and enthusiastic attachment. 
In the prime of life, brave and active, handsome and fond of show, 
he had all the qualities which render a chief j)opular with the mul- 
titude ; " but popularity, when not based upon great benefits, is 
transient; it is founded ujDon a principle of egotism, because a whole 
people cannot have personal sympathies." Ambition led him to de- 
sert the royal cause which he had served for nine years ; and vanity 
bfinded him to the dangers that surrounded him in the midst of his 
triumplis, even when proclaimed Emperor by the united voice of 
the garrison and city of Mexico — when his horses were taken from 
his carriage, and when amidst the shouts of the multitude, his coach 
was dragged in triumph to the palace. His great error, according to 
those who talk of him impartially, was. indecision in the most cri- 
tical emergencies, and his permitting himself to be governed by 
circumstances,' instead of dircctino; these circumstances as thev oc- 

I could not help thinking, as the general stood there looking at 
the waxen image of his friend, what a stormy life he himself has 
passed ; how httle real tranquilHty he can ever have enjoyed ; and 
wondering whether he will be permitted to finish his presidential 
days in peace, which, according to rmnour, is doubtful. 

8th. — I had the honour of a long visit this morning from his 
Grace the Arclibishop. He came about eleven o'clock, after mass, 
and remained till dinner time, sitting out all our Sunday visiters, 
who are generally numerous, as it is the only day of rest for employes. 


and especially for the cabinet. Amongst our visiters were Senor 
Cancdo, who is extremely agreeable in'conversation, and as an ora- 
tor famed for his sarcasm and cutting wit. He has been particularly 
kind and friendly to us ever since our arrival— General Almonte, 
Minister of War, a handsome man and pleasant, and an officer of 
great bravery— very unpopular with one party and especially di.4iked 
by the English, but also a great friend of ours. Senor Cuevas, 
Minister of the Interior, married to a daughter of the Marquesa de 
Vivanco, an amiable and excellent man, who seems generally liked, 
and IS also most friendly to us. All these gentlemen are praised or 
abused according to the party of the person who speaks of them ; 
but I not interfering in Mexican politics, find them amongst the 
most pleasant of our acquaintances. 

However, were I to choose a situation here, it would undoubtedly 
be that of Archbishop of Mexico, the most enviable in the world to 
those wlio would enjoy a hfe of tranquillity, ease, and universal 
adoration. He is a pope without the trouble, or a tenth part of 
the responsibility. He is venerated more than the Holy Father is 
m enlightened Rome, and, hke kings in the good old times, can do 
no wrong. His salary amounts to about one hundred thousand dol- 
lars, and a revenue might be made by the sweetmeats alone which 
are sent him from all the nuns in the republic. His palace in town, 
his well-cushioned carriage, well-conditioned horses, and sleek mules, 
seem the very perfection of comfort. In fact, comfort, which is un- 
known amongst the profane of I^vlexico, has taken refuge with the 
archbishop; and though many drops of it are shed on the shaven 
heads of all bishops, curates, confessors, and friars, still in his illus- 
trious person it concentrates as in a focus. He himself is a benevo- 
lent, good-hearted, goodnatured, portly, and jovial personage, with 
the most laissez-aller air and expression conceivable. He looks hke 
one on Avhom the good things of this world have fallen in a constant 
and benignant shower, which shower hath fallen on a rich and fertile 
soil. He IS generally to be seen leaning back in his carriage, dressed 
in purple, with amethyst cross, and giving his benediction to the 
people as he passes. He seems engaged in a pleasant reverie, and his 
countenance wears an air of the most placid and insouciant content. 
He enjoys a good dinner, good wine, and ladies' society, but just 
sufficiently to make his leisure hours pass pleasantly, without indi- 
gestion from the first, headachs from the second, or heartachs from 
the third. So does his hfe seem to pass on Hke a deep untroubled 
stream, on whose margin grow sweet flowers, on Avhose clear waters 
the bending trees are reflected, but on whose placid face no lasting 
impression is made. 

I have no doubt that his charities are in proportion to his large 
fortune ; and when I say that I have no doubt of this, it is because 
I firmly believe there exists no country in the world where charities, 
both puijhc and private, are practised on so noble a scale, especially 
by the women under tlie direction of the priests. I am inchncd to 


believe that, generally speaking, cliarity is a clistinguisliing attribute 
of a Catholic country. 

The archbishop is said to be a man of good information, and was 
at one time a senator. In 1833, being comprehended in the law of 
banishment, caused by the political disturbances which have never 
ceased to afflict this country since the independence, he passed some 
time in the United States, chiefly in New Orleans, but this, I be- 
lieve, is the only cloud that has darkened his horizon, or disturbed 
the tranquil current of his Hfe. His consecration, with its attendant 
fatigues, must have been to him a wearisome overture to a pleasant 
drama, a hard steppuig-stone to glory. As to the rest, he is very 
miostentatious, and his conversation is far from austere. On the 
contrary, he is one of the best-tempered and most cheerful old men 
in society that it is possible to meet with. . . . 

I send you, by the Mexican commissioners, who are kind enough 
to take charge of a box for me, the figure of a Mexican tortillera, 
by which you may judge a Httle of the perfection in wliich the 
commonest lepero here works in wax. Tire incredible patience 
wliich enabled the ancient Mexicans to work their statues in wood 
or stone with the rudest instruments, has descended to their poste- 
rity, as well as their extraordinary and truly Chinese talent for imi- 
tation. With a common knife and a piece of hard wood, an tm- 
educated man will produce a fine piece of sculpture. There is no 
imagination. Tliey do not leave the beaten track, but continue on 
the models which the Spanish conquerors brought out with them, 
some of which, however, were very beautiful. 

In wax, especially, their figures have been brought to great per- 
fection. Every thing that surrounds them they can imitate, and 
their wax portraits are sometimes little gems of art; but in this last 
branch, wMch belongs to a higher order of art, there are no good 
worlonen at present. 

Ajjropos to which, a poor artist brought some tolerable wax por- 
traits here for sale the other day, and, amongst others, that of a ce- 
lebrated general. C n remarked that it was fairer than the 

original, as far as he recollected. " Ah !" said the man, " but when 
his excellency toashes his face, nothing can be more exact." A va- 
luable present was sent lately by a gentleman here, to the Count de 

in Spain ; twelve cases, each case containing twelve wax 

figures ; each figure representing some Mexican trade, or profession 
or employment. There were men drawing the pulque from the 
maguey, Indian women selhng vegetables, tortilleras, venders of 
ducks, fruitmen, lard-seUers, the postman of Guachinango, loaded 
with parrots, monkeys, &c., — more of every tiling than of letters — 
the Poblana peasant, the rancherita on horseback before her farm- 
servant, the gaily-dressed ranchero, in short, a little history of Mex- 
ico in wax. ... 

You ask me how Mexican women are educated. In answering 
you, I must put aside a few brilhant exceptions, and speak en masse, 


tlie most difficult tiling in the world, for tliese exceptions arc always 
rising up before me like accusing angels, and I begin to think of in- 
dividuals, when I should keep to generahties. Generally spealdng, 
then, the Mexican Seiioras and Seiioritas write, read and play a 
little, sew, and take care of their houses and children. When I 
say they read, I mean they know how to read ; when I say they 
write, 1 do not mean that they can always spell; and when I say they 
play, I do not assert that they ha^-e generally a knowledge of music. If 
we compare their education with that of girls in England, or in the 
United States, it is not a comparison, but a contrast. Compare it with 
that of Spanish women, and we shall be less severe upon ih&iifarniente 
descendants. In the first place, the chmate inclines every one to in- 
dolence, both physically and morally. One cannot pore over a book 
when the blue sky is constantly smihng in at the open wiudovv'S ; then 
out of doors after ten o'clock, the sun gives us due warning of our 
tropical latitude, and even though the breeze is so fresh and pleasant, 
one has no incUnation to walk or ride far. Whatever be the cause, 
I am convinced that it is impossible to take the same exercise with 
the mind or with the body in. this country, as in Europe or in the 
northern states. Then as to schools, there are none that can deserve 
the name, and no governesses. Yomig girls can have no emulation, 
for they never meet. They have no pubhc diversion, and no private 
amusement. There are a few good foreign masters, most of whom 
have come to Mexico for the purpose of making their fortune, by 
teaching, or marriage, or both, and whose object, naturally, is to 
make the most money in the shortest possible time, that they may 
return home and enjoy it. The cliildren generally appear to have 
an extraordinary disposition for music and drav^ang, yet there are 
few girls who are proiicients in either. 

When very young, they occasionally attend the schools, where 
boys and girls leam to read in common, or any other accomphsh- 
ment that the old women can teach them; but at twelve they are 
already considered too old to attend these promiscuous assemblages, 
and masters are got for drawing and music to finish their educa- 
tion. I asked a lady the other day if her daughter went to school. 
" Good heavens !" said she, quite shocked, " she is past eleven years 
old !" It frequently happens that the least well-informed girls are 
the children of the cleverest men, who, keeping to the customs of 
their forefathers, are content if they confess regularly, attend church 
constantly, and can embroider and sing a httlo. Where there are more 
extended ideas, it is chiefly amongst families who have travelled in 
Europe, and have seen the different education of women in foreign 
countries. Of these the fathers occasionally devote a short portion 
of their time to the instruction of their daughters, perhaps during 
their leisiire evening moments, but it may easily be supposed that 
this desultory system has httle real influence on the minds of 
the children. I do not tliink there are above half a dozen mar- 
ried women, or as many girls above fourteen, who, with the excep- 

N 2 


tion of tlie mass-book, read any one book tkrongk in tlie whole 
course of the year. They thus greatly simplify the system of edu- 
cation in the United States, where parties are frequently divided 
between the advocates for soHd learning and those for superficial ac- 
complishments ; and according to whom it is difficult to amalga- 
mate the solid beef of science with the SAveet sauce of les beaux arts. 
But if a Mexican girl is ignorant, she rarely shows it. Tliey 
have generally the greatest possible tact; never by any chance wan- 
dering out of their depth, or betraying by word or sign that they 
are not well informed on the subject under discussion. Though 
seldom graceful, they are never awkward, and always self-possessed. 
They have plenty of natural talent, and where it has been thoroughly 
cultivated, no Avomen can surpass them. Of what is called literary 
society, there is of course none — 

" No bustling BotherbAS have they to show 'em 
That charming passage in the last new poem." 

There is a Httle annual lying beside me called " Calendario de las 
Sefioritas Mejlcanas" of which the preface, by Galvan, the editor, 
is very amusing. 

" To none," he says, " better than to Mexican ladies, can I dedi- 
cate this mark of attention — {ohsequio). Their graceful attractions 
well deserve any trouble that may have been taken to please them. 
Their bodies are graceful as the palms of the desert; their hair black 
as ebony, or golden as the rays of the sun, gracefuUy waves over 
their delicate shoulders ; their glances are Hke the peaceful hght of 
the moon. The Mexican ladies are not so white as the Europeans, 
but their whiteness is more agreeable to our eyes. Their words are 
soft, leading our hearts by gentleness, in the same manner as in their 
moments of just indignation they appal and confound us. Who can 
resist the magic of their song, always sweet, always gentle, and al- 
ways natural ? Let us leave to foreign ladies (las idtraniamnasy 
these affected and scientific manners of singing ; here nature sur- 
passes art, as happens in every thing, notwithstanding the cavillings 
of the learned. 

*' And what shall I say of their souls ? I shall say that in Eu- 
rope the minds are more cultivated, but in Mexico the hearts are 
more amiable. Here they are not only sentimental, but tender ; not 
only soft, but virtuous ; the body of a child is not more sensitive, 
{710 es mas sciisihle el cuerpo de un niilo), nor a rose-bud softer. I 
have seen souls as beautiful as the borders of the rainbow, and purer 
than the drops of dew. Their passions are seldom tempestuous, 
and even then they are kindled and extinguished easily; but gene- 
rally they emit a peaceful light, like the morning-star, Venus. Mo- 
desty is painted in their eyes, and modesty is the greatest and most 
irresistible fascination of their souls. In short, the Mexican ladies, 
by their manifold virtues, arc destined to serve as our support whilst 
we travel through the sad desert of Kfe. 

MORALS. 181 

" Well clo these attractions merit that we should try to please 
them; and in effect a new form, new lustre, and new graces have 
been given to the ' Almanac of the Mexican Ladies,' whom the 
editor submissively entreats to receive with benevolence this small 
tribute due to their enchantments and their virtues !" 

There are in IMexico a few fxmilies of the old school, people of 
high rank, but who mingle very httle in society ; who are Httle 
known to the generahty of foreigners, and who keep their daughters 
entirely at home, that they may not be contaminated by bad ex- 
ample. These select few, rich without any ostentation, are certainly 
doing every thing that is in their power to remedy the evils occa- 
sioned by the want of proper schools, or of competent instructresses 
for their daughters. Being nearly all allied by birth, or connected 
by marriage, they form a sort of clan; and it is sufficient to belong 
to one or other of these families, to be hospitably received by all. 
They meet together frequently, without ceremony, and whatever 
elements of good exist in Mexico, are to be found amongst them. 
The fathers are generally men of talent and learning, and the mo- 
thers, women of the highest respectabihty, to whose name no sus- 
picion can be attached. 

But, indeed, it is long before a stranger even suspects the state of 
morals in tliis country, for whatever be the private conduct of indi- 
viduals, the most perfect decorum prevails in outward behaviour. 
But indolence is the mother of vice, and not only to httle cliildren 
might Doctor Watts have asserted that, 

" Satan finds some mischief still, 
For idle hands to do." 

Tliey are besides extremely leal to each other, and with proper 
esprit cle corps, rarely gossip to strangers concerning the errors of 
their neighbours' ways; — indeed, if such a thing is hinted at, deny 
all knowledge of the fact. So long as outward decency is preserved, 
habit has rendered them tolerably indiiferent as to the liaisons sub- 
sisting amongst their particular friends; and as long as a woman 
attends church regularly, is a patroness of charitable institutions, and 
gives no scandal by her outward behaviour, she may do pretty much 
as she pleases. As for flirtations in pubhc, they are unkno^vn. 

I must, however, confess that tliis indulgence on thcf part of 
women of unimpeachable reputation is sometimes carried too far. 
We went lately to a breakfast, at which was a young and beautiful 
countess, lately married, and of very low birth. She looked very 

splendid, with all the diamonds, and a dress of rose-coloured 

satin. After breakfast we adjourned to another room, where I ad- 
mired the beauty of a httle child who was playing about on the 
floor, when this lady said, " Yes, she is very pretty — very hke my 
little girl, who is just the same age." I was rather surprised, but 
concluded she had been a widow, and made the inquiry of an old 
Trench lady who was sitting near me. " Oh, no '." said slic — " she 


was never married before; she alludes to the children she had 
before the Count became acquainted with her !" And yet the 

Senora de , the strictest woman in Mexico, was loading her 

■with attentions and caresses. I must say, however, that this was a 
singular instance. . . . 

There are no women more affectionate in their mamners than 
those of Mexico. In fact, a foreigner, especially if he be an 
Englishman, and a shy man, and accustomed to the coldness of his 
fair countrywomen, need only Hve a few years here, and understand 
the language, and become accustomed to the peculiar style of 
beauty, to find the Mexican Sefioritas perfectly in-esistible. 

And that this is so, may be judged of by the many instances of 
Englishmen married to the women of this country, who invariably 
make them excellent wives. But wdaen an Englishman marries 
here, he ought to settle here, for it is very rare that a Maxicaine can 
live out of her OAvn country. They miss the climate — they miss 
that warmth of manner, that universal cordiality by which they are 
surrounded here. They miss the laissez-aller and absence of all 
etiquette in habits, toilet, &c. They find themselves surrounded 
by women so differently educated, as to be doubly strangers to 
them, strangers in feeling as well as in country. A very few 
instances there are of girls, married very young, taken to Europe, 
and introduced into good society, who have acquired European 
ways of tliinking, and even prefer other coimtries to their oym. ; but 
this is so rare, as scarcely to form an exception. They are true pa- 
triots, and the visible horizon bounds their wishes. In England 
especially, they are completely out of their element. A language 
nearly impossible for them to acquire, a rcHgion which they consider 
lieretical, outward coldness covering inward warmth, a perpetual 
war between sun and fog, etiquette carried to excess, an insupport- 
able stiffness and order in the article of the toilet; rebosos un- 
known, cigaritos considered barbarous. . . . They feel like exiles 
from paradise, and live but in hopes of a speedy return. 

As to the colleges for young men, although various projects of re- 
form have been made by cnhghtcned men in regard to them, espe- 
cially by Don Lucas Alaman, and afterwards by Sciior Gutierrez 
Estrada, and though to a certain extent many of these plans were 
carried into effect, it is a universal source of complaint among the 
most distinguished persons in Mexico, that in order to give their 
sons a thorough education, it is necessarv to send them abroad. 



Revolution in Mexico— Gomez Farias and General Urrea— The Federalists— 
The President imprisoned— Firing— Cannon— First News— Escape— Pro- 
clamation of the Government — Cannonading — Count C a— Houses 

deserted— Countess del V e— Proclamation of the Federalists-Circular 

of the Federalists— Scarcity of Provisions— Bursting of a Shell— Ketugees— 
Dr. Plan— Youn" Lady Shot— Gomez Farias— Rumours— Address of Gomez 
Farias— Balls and Bullets— Visit from the Minister— Arrival of Mon- 
sieur de Expected Attack — Skirmish — Appearance ol the Street — 

San Cosme— General The Count de B More Rumours — 

Suspense— Cannonading— Government Bulletin— Plan of the Rebels de- 
feated—Proclamation of the President — Of General Valencia — Maternal 
Affection— Fresh Reports— Families leaving the City— Letter from Santa 
Anna— Bustamante's Letter when imprisoned— Propositions— Reiusal— ia- 
cubaya-Archbisliop-Fresh Proposals-Refusal-Second Letter from Santa 
Anna— Government Bulletin— Proclamations— An awkward Mistake— i he 
Archbishop Visits the President- Conclusion of the Revolution— Govern- 
ment Newspaper — Circulars. 

July loth. 

Kevolution in Mexico ! or Pronunciamiento, as they call it. The 
storm wliiclr has for some time been bre^ving, lias burst forth at 
last. Don Valentin Gomez Farias and the banished General 
Urrea have pronomiced for federahsm. At two this morning, 
joined by the fifth battahon and the regiment of comer cio.iliQj took 
up arms, set off for the palace, surprised the president in his bed, and 
took him prisoner. Our first information was a message, arriving on 
the part of the government, desiring the attendance of our two old 
soldiers, who put on their old uniforms, and set off quite pleased. 

INext came our friend Don M del C o, who advised us to 

haul out the Spanish colours, that they might be m readiness to fiy 
on the balcony, in case of necessity. Little by little, more Spaniards 
arrived with difterent reports as to the state of things, borne say 
that it will all end in a few hours— others, that it will be a long and 
bloody contest. Some are assiued that it will merely terminate m a 
chano-e of ministry— others, that Santa Anna wiU come on directly 
and usm-p the presidency. At all events. General Valencia, at the 
head of the government troops, is about to attack the pronunciados, 
who are in possession of the palace 

Tlie firing has begim ! People come running up the street, llie 
Indians are hurrying back to their villages in double-quick trot. As 
we are not in the centre of the city, oiu position for the present is 
very safe, all the cannon being directed towards the palace. All the 


Streets near the square are planted with cannon, and it is pretended 
that the revolutionary party are giving arms to the Uperos. The 
cannon are roaring now. All alon^ the street people are standing 
on the balconies, looking anxiously in the direction oi" the palace, o° 
collected in groups before the doors, and the azoteas, Avhich are out 
of the line of fire, are covered with men. They are ringino- the 
tocsin — things seem to be getting serious. ° "^ 

9 o'clock, p. 31. — Continuation of firing without interruption. I 
have spent the day standing on the balcony, looking at the smoke, 
and Kstenmg to the diflerent rumours. Gomez Farias has been 
proclaimed president by his party. The streets near the square are 
said to be strewed with dead and wounded. There was a terrible 
thunder-storm this afternoon. Mingled with the roaring of the 
cannon, it sounded hkc a strife between heavenly anf earthly 
artdlery. We shall not pass a very easy night, especially without 
our soldiers. _ Unfortunately there is a bright moon, so night brino-s 
no interruption to the firing and slaughter. "^ ° 

_ 16th. — Our first news was brought very early this morning by the 
wife of one of our soldiers, who came in great despair, to tehus that 
both her husband and liis comrade are shot, though not killed— that 
they were amongst the first who fell ; and she came to entreat 

n to prevent their being sent to the hospital. It is reported 

that Bustaraante has escaped, and that he fought his way, sword in 
hand, through the soldiers who guarded liim in his apartment. 
Almonte at all events is at the head of his troops. The balls have 
entered many houses in the square. It must be terribly dangerous 
for those who live there, and, amongst others, for our friend "Seilor 
Tagle, Director of the Monte Pio, and his family. 

They have just brought the government bulletin, which o-jves the 
following statement of the circumstances:—" Yesterday, at midnight, 
Urrea, with a handful of troops belonging to the garrison ancf its 
neighbourhood took possession of the National Palace, surprisino- the 
guard, and committing the indvilihj of imprisoning His Excellency 
the President, Don Anastasio Bustamante, the Commander-in-chief, 
the Mayor de la Plaza, and other chiefs. Don Gabriel Valencia' 
chief of thcp/«?z« mayor (the staff"). General Don Antonio Mozo' 
and the Minister of War, Don Juan Nepomuceno Almonte, re-united 
m the citadel, prepared to attack the pronunciados, Avho, arinino- the 
lowest populace, took possession of the tOAvers of the cathedral^ and 
of some of the highest edifices in the centre of the city. Although 
summoned to surrender, at two in the afternoon firing began, and 
continued till midnight, recommencing at five in the mornmo-' and 
only ceasing at intervals. The colonel of the sixth regfment, 
together with a considerable part of his corps, who were in Sie bar- 
racks of the palace, escaped and joined the government troops, who 
have taken the greatest part of the posirions near the square and the 
palace. His Excellency the President, with a part of the troops 
wliich had pronounced in the palace, made his escape on the mornino- 


of the sixteenth, putting himself at the head of the troops who have 
remained faithful to their colours, and at night published the follow- 
ing proclamation :" 

" The President of the ReimhUc to the Mexican Nation. 

" Fellow-Citizens: — The seduction which has spread over a very- 
small part of the people and garrison of this capital ; the forgetful- 
ness of honor and duty, have caused the defection of a few soldiers, 
whose misconduct iip to this hour has been thrown into confusion 
by the valiant behaviour of the greatest part of the chiefs, officers, 
and soldiers, who have intrepidly followed the example of the vahant 
gcneral-in-chief of the plana mayor of the army. The government 
was not ignorant of the machinations that were carrying on ; their 
authors loere loell known to it, and it foresaw that the gentleness and 
clemency lohich it had hitherto employed in order to disarm them, ivould 
be corresponded to loith ingratitude. 

"This Hne of poHcy has caused the nation to remain headless 
(acefala) for some hours, and public tranqviillity to be disturbed; 
but my liberty being restored, the dissidents, convinced of the evils 
which have been and may be caused by these tumults, depend upon 
a reconciliation for their security. The government will remember 
that they are misled men, belonging to the great Mexican family, 
but not for this will it forget how much they have forfeited their 
rights to respect ; nor what is due to the great bulk of the nation. 
Public tranquillity mil be restored in a few hours ; the laws will 
immediately recover their energy, and the government will see them 

" Anastasio Bustamante. 

"Mexico, July 16th, 1840." 

A roar of cannon from the Palace, which made the house shake 
and the Avindows rattle, and caused me to throw a blot over the 
President's good name, seems the answer to this proclamation. 

1 7th. — The state of things is very bad. Cannon planted all along 
the streets, and soldiers firing indiscriminately on all who pass. 

Count C a slightly wounded, and carried to his country-house 

at Tacubaya. Two Spaniards have escaped from their house, into 

which the balls were pouring, and have taken refuge here. The E 

fiimily have kept their house, which is in the very centre of the 
affray, cannons planted before their door, and all their windows 
ah-eady smashed. Indeed, nearly all the houses in that quarter are 
abandoned. We are hving here Hke prisoners in a fortress. The 

Countess del V e, whose father was shot in a former revolution, 

had just risen this morning, when a shell entered the wall close 
by the side of her bed, and burst in the mattress. 

As there are two sides to every story, listen to the proclamation 
of the chief of the rebels. 


" Senor Valentin Gomez Farias to the Mexican People. 

*' Fellow-Citizens :_— We present to tlie civilized world two flicts, 
which, while they will cover with eternal glory the Federal army 
and the heroic inhabitants of this capital, will hand down with exe- 
cration and infamy, to all future generations, the name of General 
Bustamante ; this man without faith, breaking his solemnly-pledged 
word, after being put at liberty by an excess of generosity ; for 
having promised to take immediate steps to bring about a negotia- 
tion of peace, upon the honom-able basis which was proposed to him, 
he is now converted into the chief of an army, the enemy of the 
Federalists ; and has beheld, with a serene countenance, tliis beauti- 
ful capital destroyed, a multitude of famiHes drowned in tears, and 
the death of many citizens; not only of the combatants, but of those 
who have taken no part in the struggle. Amongst these must be 
counted an unfortmiate woman enceinte, who waskilled as she was 
passing the palace gates under the behef that a parley having come 
fi-om his camp, the firing would be suspended, as in fact it was on 
our side. This government, informed of the misfortune, sent for the 
husband of the deceased, and ordered twenty-five dollars to be given 
him; but the unfortunate man, though plunged in grief, declared 
that twelve were sufficient to supply his wants. Such was the horror 
inspired by the atrocious conduct of the ex-government of Busta- 
mante, that this sentiment covered up and suffocated all the others. 

" Another fact, of which we shall with difficulty find an example 
in history, is the following. The day that the firing began, being 
in want of some implements of war, it was necessary to cause an iron 
case to be opened, belonging to Don Stanislaus Flores, in which he 
had a considerable sum of money in different coin, besides his most 
valuable effects. Thus, all that the government could do, was to 
make this known to the o^vner, Seiior Flores, in order that he might 
send a person of confidence to take charge of liis interests, making- 
known what was wanting, that he might be immediately paid. The 
pertinacity of the firing prevented Seiior Flores from naming a 
commissioner for fom* days, and then, although the case has been 
open, and no one has taken charge of it, the commissioner has made 
known officially that nothing is taken from it but the implements 
of war which were sent for. Glory in yourselves, Mexicans ! The 
most pohshed nation of the earth, illustrious France, has not pre- 
sented a similar fact. The Mexicans possess heroic virtues, which 
will raise them above all the nations in the world. This is the only 
ambition of your fellow-citizen, 

" Valentin Gomez Farias. 
" God, Liberty, and FederaHsm. 

" Mexico,. July 17th, 1840." 

Besides this, a circular has been sent to all the governors and 


commandants of tlie different departments, from the " Palace of the 
Federal Provisional Government," to this effect : — 

" The Citizen Jose Urrea, with the greater part of the garrison of 
the capital, and the whole population, pronoimced early on the 
morning of this day, for the re-estabhshment of the Federal system, 
adopting in the interim the Constitution of 1824, whilst it is re- 
formed by a Congress which they are about to convoke to that 
effect; and I, having been called, in order that at this juncture I 
should put myself at the head of the government, comnumicate it to 
your Excellency, informing you at the same time, that the object of 
the Citizen Urrea, instead of re-establisliing the Federal system, has 
been to re-unite all the Mexicans, by proclaiming toleration of aU 
opinions, and respect for the lives, properties, and interests of aU. 
" God, Liberty, and Federalism. 

" Valentin Gomez Farias. 

" National Palace of Mexico, 15th July, 1840." 

18th. — There is a great scarcity of provisions in the centre of the 
city, as the Indians, who bring m every thing from the country, are 
stopped. We have laid in a good stock of comestibles, though it is 
very unlikely that any difficulties will occur in our direction. Wliile 
I am writing, the cannon are roaring almost without interruption, 
and the sound is any thing but agreeable, though proving the respect 
entertained by Farias for"" the lives, properties, and interests of aU." 
We see the smoke, but are entirely out of the reach of the fire. 

I had just written these words, when the Senora , who lives 

opposite, called out to me that a shell has just fallen in her garden, 
and that her husband had but time to save himself. The cannon 
directed against the palace kill ipeople in their beds, in streets entirely 
out of that direction, while this ball, intended for the citadel, takes 
its flight to San Cosme ! Both parties seem to be fighting the city 
instead of each other; and this manner of firing from behind para- 
pets, and from the tops of houses and steeples, is decidedly safer for 
the soldiers than for the inhabitants. It peems also a novel plan to 
keep up a continual cannonading by night, and to rest during a 
great part of the day. One would think that were the guns brought 
nearer the palace, the affair would be sooner over. 

Late last nio-ht, a whole family came here for protection ; the 

Se-nora with , nurse and baby, &c. She had remained 

very quietly in her own house, in spite of broken windows, till the 
bullets whizzed past her baby's bed. This morning, every thing 
remains as it was the first day — the President in the citadel, the 
rebels in the palace. The government are trying to hold out until 
troops arrive from Puebla. In an interval of firing, the Secre- 
tary contrived to make his way here this morning. The EngHsh 
Minister's house is also filled -with famihes, it being a little out of 
the line of fire. Those who Hve in the Square, and in the Calle San 
Francisco are most exposed, and the poor shopkeepers in the Parian 


are in a state of great and natural trepidation. I need not say that 
the shops are all shut. 

19th. — Dr. Plan, a famous French physician, was shot this 
morning, as he was comin^ out of the palace, and his body has just 
been carried past our door into the house opposite. 

The Senorita having imprudently stepped out on her balcony, 

her house being in a very exposed street, a pistol ball entered her 
side, and passed through her body. She is still alive, but it seems 
impossible that she can recover. The Prior of San Joaquin, riding 
by just now, stopt below the windows to tell us that he fears we 
shall not remain long here in safety, as the pronunciados have 
attacked the Convent of La Concepcion, at the end of the street. 

jMy writing must be A'ery desultory. Impossible to fix one's 
attention on any thing. We pass our time on the balconies, listening 
to the thunder of the cannon, looking at the different parties of 
troops riding by, receiving visiters, who in the intervals of the firing, 
venture out to bring us the last reports — wondering, speculating, 
fearing, hoping, and excessively tired of the whole affair. 

Gomez Farias, the prime mover of this revolution, is a distin- 
gniished character, one of the notabilities of the country, and has 
always maintained the same principles, standhig up for " rapid and 
radical reform." He is a native of Guadalajara, and his Hterary 
career is said to have been brilliant. He is also said to be a man of 
an ardent imagination and great energy. His name has appeared in 
every public event. He first aided in the cause of Independence, 
then, when deputy for Zacatecas, shcrwed much zeal in favour of 
Yturbide — was afterwards a warm partisan of the federal cause — 
contributed to the election of General Victoria; afterwards to that 
of Pedraza — took an active part in the political changes of '33 and 
'34 ; detests the Spaniards, and during his presidency endeavoured 
to abohsh the privileges of the clergy and troops — suppressed 
monastic institutions — granted absolute liberty of opinion — abohshed 
the laws against the liberty of the press — created many Hterary insti- 
tutions; and Avhatever were his political errors, and the ruthlessness 
with which in the name of liberty and reform he marched to the 
attainment of his object, without respect for the most sacred things, 
he is generally allowed to be a man of integrity, and cA'en by his 
enemies, an enthusiast, who deceives himself as much as others. Now 
in the hopes of obtaining some uncertain and visionary good, and 
even while declaring his horror, of civil war and bloodshed, he has 
risen in rebelhon against the actual government, and is the cause of 
the cruel war now raging, not in the open fields or even in the 
scattered suburbs, but m the very heart of a populous city. 

This morning all manner of opinions are afloat. Some beheve 
that Santa Anna has started from his retreat at Manga de Clavo, 
and will arrive to-day — will himself swallow the disputed oyster, 
(the presidential chair) and give each of the combatants a shell a- 
piece ; some that a fresh supply of troops for the government will 


arrive to-day, and others tliat tlie rebels must eventually triumph. 
Among the reports which I trust may he classed as douhttul, 
is, that General Urrea has issued a proclamation, promising tln-ee 
hours pillage to all who join him. Then Avill be the time for testing 
the virtues of all diplomatic drapeaux. In the midst of all, here 
comes another. 

" Address of His Excellency, Senor Don Valentin Gomez Farias, 
charged promsionalhj with the govcrmnent of Mexico, and of the 
General-in-Chief of the Federal army, to the troops under his 

" Companions in arms: No one has ever resisted a people who 
fight for their Hberty and who defend their sacred rights. Your 
heroic endeavours have already reduced our unjust _aggrcssors 
almost to complete nullity. Without infantr}^ to cover their para- 
pets, without artillery to fire their pieces, without money, without 
credit, and without support, they already make their last useless 
efforts. On our side, on the contrary, all is in abundance (sobra), 
men, arms, ammunition, and money, and above all, the invincible 
support of opinion ; — while the parties which adhere to our pronun- 
ciamento in all the cities out of the capital, and the assistance which 
within this very city is given by every class of society to those who 
are fighting for the rights of the people, offer guarantees which they 
will strictly fulfil to all the inhabitants of the country, natives as 
well as foreigners. Our enemies, in the dehrlum of their Impotence, 
have had recom'se to their favourite weapon, calmnny. In a com- 
munication directed to us, they have had the audacity to accuse 
you of having attacked some property. Miserable wretches ! No 
— the soldiers of the people are not robbers; the cause of hberty Is 
very noble, and its defence will not be stained by a degrading 
action. This is the answer given to your calumniators by your 
chiefs, who are as much Interested in your reputation as in their 
own. Soldiers of the people ! let valour, as well as all other civic 
virtues, shine in your conduct, that you may never dim the renown 
of valiant soldiers and of good citizens. 

" Valentin Gomez Farias. 

" Jose Urrea." 

We hear that two shells have fallen into the house of Senor , 

who has a pretty wife and a number of children, and that his 
azotea is occupied by the federalist troops. Fortunately, these 
grenades burst in the patio of his house, and no one was in- 
jured. The chief danger for those who are not actually engaged 
in this affair, is from these bullets and shells, which come ratthng 
into all the houses. We have messages from various people whom 
we invited to come here for safety, that they would gladly accept 
our offer, but are unwiUing to leave their houses exposed to pillage, 


and do not dare to pass tlirough the streets. So our numbers have 
not increased as yet. 

You may suppose, that ahhough this is Smiday, there is no mass 
in the chm-ches. The Prior of San Fernando, who has just sent us 
round some colossal cauliflowers and other fine vegetables from his 
garden, permits us to come to liis convent for safety, should any- 

thinrj occur here I am afraid he would lodsje the woman- 

kind in some oiithousc. 

I had written thus far, when we received a 'vdsit from the Baron 

de , Minister, who, living in a very exposed situation, 

near the palace, requests us to receive his Secretary of Legation, 

M, de , who is dangerously ill of typhus fever, as the doctors, 

no doubt warned by the fate of poor Dr. Plan, fear to pass into that 
street which is blocked up by troops and cannon. Some people 
fear a universal sacking of the city, especially in the event of the 
triumph of the federalist party. The ministers seem to have gTcat 
confidence in their fiags — but I cannot help thinking that a party 
of armed leperos would be no respecters of persons or privileges ! 
As yet our position continues very safe. We have the Alameda 
between us and the troops; the palace, the square, and the principal 
streets being on the other side of the Alameda; and this street, a 
branch of the great Calle de Tacuba, stretching out beyond it. I 
write more to occupy my thoughts than in hopes of interesting you ; 
for I am afraid that you wiU almost be tired of tlois revolutionary 

letter. As a clever IMexican, the Marquis of , says — " some 

years ago we gave forth cries {gritos) — that was in the infancy of 
our independence — now we begin to pronounce (pronuncianos). 
Heaven knows when we shall be old enough to speak plam, so that 
people may know what we mean I" 

Sunday Evening. — Monsieur de has arrived, and is not 

worse. We have unexpectedly had twelve persons to dinner to- 
day. The news to-night is, that the government troops have 
arrived, and that a great attack wiU be made by them to-morrow 
on the rebels in the palace, wliich will probably bring matters to a 
conclusion. Some of our guests are sitting up, and others lying 
down on the sofa without undressing. I prefer being comfortable, 
so goodnight. 

20th. — We were astonished this morninir at the o-encral tran- 
quilhty, and concluded that, instead of having attacked the rebels, 
the government was holding a parley with them, but a note from 
the English minister informs us that a skirmish has taken place 
between the two parties at one of the gates of the city, in wliich 
the government party has triumphed. So far the news is good. 

Our street has a most picturesque and lively appearance tliis 
morning. It is crowded with Indians from the coimtry, bringing 
in their fruit and vegetables for sale, and estabhshing a temporary 
market in front of the church of San Fernando. Innumerable 
carriages, drawn by midcs, are passing along, packed inside and out. 

COUNT DE B . 191 

full of families hurrjring to the country with their children and 
moveables. Those who are poorer, are making their way on foot — 
men and women carrying mattrasses, and little cliildren following 
with baskets and bird-cages — carts are passing, loaded with chairs 
and tables and beds, and all manner of old furniture, uprooted for 
the first time no doubt since many years — all are taking advantage 
of this temporary cessation of firing to make their escape. Our 
stables are full of mules and horses sent us by our friends in the 
centre of the city, where all supplies of water are cut off. Another 
physician, a Spaniard, has just been shot ! 

Every room at San Cosnie and in all the suburbs is taken. In 
some rooms are numbers of people, obliged to sleep upon mats, too 
glad to have escaped from the danger to care for any inconvenience. 
A quantity of plate and money and diamonds were sent here this 
morning, which we have been liiding in difi:erent parts of the house ; 
but they say that in cases of pillage the phmderers always search the 
most ijnpossible places, pulling up the boards, brick floors, &c., rip- 
ping up the mattresses, and so on; so I beheve there is no use in 
concealing any thing. Near us lives a celebrated general, on whose 
pohtical opinions there seems much doubt, as he has joined neither 
party, and has become invisible ever since this affair commenced. 
He is a showy, handsome man, with a good deal of superficial in- 
struction, and exceedingly vain of his personal advantages. I am 
quite sure that, having allowed Mm to be a fine-looking man, he 
would forgive me for saying that his character is frivoloiis, and that 
his principles, both moral and political, are governed entirely by 
that which best suits his own advantage. . . . 

The Count de B , secretary to the French Legation, mounted 

his horse last evening, and, like a true young Frenchman, set oil 
to pay a lasit to a pretty girl of his acquaintance, passing through 
the most dangerous streets, and particularly conspicuous by his sin- 
gular dress, good looks, and moustaches. He had not gone far 
before he was surrounded by some dozen of leperos with knives, 
who would, no doubt, have robbed and dispatched liim, but that, 
in tearing oft" his sarape^ they discovered his uniform, and not being 
very skilled in mihtary accoutrements, concluded him to be an officer 
on the part of the government. They being on the federalist side, 
hurried with their prize to the palace, where he was thrown into 
prison, and obliged to remain until some of the officers came to see 
the prisoner, and recognised him, much to their astonishment. 

We are now going to dine with what appetite we may, which is 
generally pretty good. 

Ten o'clock, P. M. — We ventujred out after dinner to take a turn 
in the direction opposite the city, and met various parties of ladies, 
who, as they cannot use their carriages at present, were thankful to 
escape from their temporary and crowded dweUings, and were actu- 
ally taking exercise on foot ; when we were encomitered by people 
full of the intelhgeuce that the great attack on the palace is to be 


made this evening, and were advised to hurry home. We were also 
assured that a party of leperos, headed by their long-bearded captain, 
an old robber of the name of Castro, had passed the night before 
our door. Before we could reach home the firing began, and we 
have passed several hours in a state of great suspense, amidst the 
roaring of the cannon, the shouting of the troops, the occasional 
cries of those who are wounded, and, to make every thing appear 
more lugubrious, the most awful storm of thunder and rain I almost 

ever heard. The Sehora de 's brother is a captain in the 

government service, and he and his regiment have distingvushed 
themselves very much during these last few days; consequently she 
is dreadfully uneasy to-night. 

The gentlemen seem inclined to pass the night in talking. We 
think of lying down, and sleeping if we can. I hope nothing will 
happen in the night, for every thing seems worse in the darkness 
and consequent confusion. 

21st. — After passing a sleepless night, Hstening to the roaring of 
cannon, and figuring to ourselves the devastation that must have 
taken place, we find to our amazement that nothing decisive has 
occurred. The noise last night was mere skirmishing, and half the 
cannons were fired in the air. In the darkness there was no mark. 
But thoufifh the loss on either side is so miich less than miafht have 
been expected, the rebels m the palace cannot be very comfortable, 
for they say that the air is infected by the number of unburied dead 
bodies lying there ; indeed there are many lying unburied on the 
streets, which is enough to raise a fever, to add to the calamitous 
state of things. 

The government bidletin of to-day expresses the regret of the 
supreme magistrate at seeing liis hopes of restoring peace frustrated, 
and publishes the assurances of fidelity which they have received 
from all the departments, especially from Puebla, Queretaro, and 
Vera Cruz, in spite of the extraordinary despatches which had there 
been received from Farias, desiring them to recognise Urrca as 
minister of war, and Don Manuel Crecencio Rejon as minister of 
the interior; " which commimications," says the commandant of 
Queretaro, produced in my soul only indignation and contempt 
towards their miserable authors." 

The account of the yesterday's affair is as follows. " The pro7nm- 
ciados in the palace, knowing that the infantry which was to come 
from Puebla to the assistance of the government, was expected to 
arrive yesterday, endeavoured to surprise it near the gate of Saint 
Lazarus, with a column of infantry of two hundred in number, and 
some cavalry; but the brave Colonel Torrcjon, with eighty dra- 
goons, beat them completely, killing, woiinding, and taking many 
prisoners, and pursuing them as far as the Archbishop's palace. The 
supreme government, appreciating the distinguished ser\dces and 
brilHant conduct of the aforesaid colonel, have given him the rank 
of general of brigade." 


Tlic president in to-day's proclamation, after declaring tliat " tlie 
beautiful capital of the republic is the theatre of "war," says " that 
nothing but consideration for the lives and properties of the inha- 
bitants has been able to restrain the enthusiasm of the soldiers of the 
nation, and to prevent them from putting forth their whole force to 
dislodge the rebels from the different points of Avhich they have 
possessed themselves." The president adds, " that this revolt is the 
more inexcusable, as his administration has always been gentle and 
moderate; that he has economized the pubhc treasure, respected 
the laws, and that citizens of whatever opinion had always en- 
joyed perfect tranquilhty under his rule — that constitutional re- 
forms were about being reahzed, as well as the hopes of forming by 
them a bond of imion between all Mexicans. He concludes by 
reproaching those revolutionary men who thus cause the shedding 
of so much innocent blood. 

The commander-in-chief, General Valencia, writing perhaps 
under some inspiring influence, is more figurative in his discourse. 
" Soldiers of Liberty!" he exclaims; " Anarchy put out its head, 
and your arms drowned it in a moment." This would have been a 
finer figure in the days of the great lakes. And again he exclaims 
— " Mexicans! my heart feels itself wounded by the deepest gi'ief, 
and all humanity shudders in contemplating the imsoundable chaos 
of evils in which the authors of this rebellion have smik the in- 
cautious men whom they have seduced, in order to form with their 
dead bodies the bloody ladder which was to raise them to their 
aggrandizement ! Ah-eady the j\Iexican people begin to gather the 
bitter fruits with which these men who blazon forth their humanity 
and philanthropy have alwaj^s allured them, feeding themselves on 
the blood of their brothers, and striking up songs to the sad mea- 
sure of sobs and weeping !" These tropes are very striking. All 
is brought before us as in a picture. We see anarchy raising his 
rascally head above the water (most likely adorned -with a liberty 
cap), and the brave soldiers instantly driving it do'^ii again. We 
behold Gomez Farias and Urrea rushing up a ladder of dead bodies. 
And then the Lucrezia Borgia kind of scene that follows ! — alluring 
their victims with bitter fruit (perhaps with sour grapes), drinking 
blood, and singing horridly out of tune to a running bass of sobs ! 
The teeth of humanity are set on edge only by reading it. Well 
may liis Excellency add — " I present them to the nations of the 
world as an inimitable model of ferocity and barbarity !" 

This morning General sent a few fines from the citadel, 

where he and the president are, in which he speaks with confidence 
of speecfily putting down the rebels. C n retimied many af- 
fectionate messages, accompanied by a supply of cigars. They say 
that ' the greatest possible bravery is shown by the boys of the 
Mifitary College, who are A'ery fine little feUows, and all up in 
arms on the side of the government. A strong instance of maternal 

affection and courage was shown by the Senora G this morn- 



ing. Having received various reports concerning her son, wlio 
belongs to tliis college ; first that lie was wounded ; then that the 
wound was severe; then that it was shght — and being naturally 
extremely uneasy about liim, she set off alone, and on foot, at five 
o'clock in the morning, without mentioning her intention to any 
one, carrying with her a basket of pro\'isions ; passed across the 
square, and through all the streets planted with cannon, made her 
way through all the troops into the citadel ; had the satisfaction of 
finding her son in perfect health, and returned home, just as her 
husband and family had become aware of her absence. 

General Valencia is said to have a large party amongst the sol- 
diers, who are in favour of his being named president. It is said that 
he was seen riding up and down in the Hues in a most spirited man- 
ner, and rather unsteady in his saddle. Some rumours there are 
that Santa Anna has arrived at Perote ; but, as he travels in a fitter, 
he cannot be here for some days, even should tliis be true. There 
seems no particular reason to beheve that this will end soon, and 
we must remain shut up here as patiently as w^e can. In the inter- 
vals of firing the gentlemen go out, but they will not hear of our 
doing so, except sometimes for a few minutes in the evening, and 
then either firing or thunder sends us back. Various people, and 

especially the Comitess C a, have invited us to their country 

places; but, besides that we are in the safest part of the city, and have 

several guests, C n does not think it right for him to leave 

Mexico. They say that house-rents will rise hereabouts, on ac- 
count of the advantages of the locale in cases of this sort. 

Amongst other annomicements, the government have pubfished, 
that the rebels have demanded that the jewels, together with the ser- 
vice of gold and silver belonging to the Holy Cathedral Church, shall 
be given up to them, and threaten to seize the whole by force, should 
their demand not be acceded to mthin two hours. "It is very 
probable that they will do so," adds the bulletin ; thus adding a 
new crime to all they have committed." 

It is now evening, and again they announce an attack upon the 
palace, but I do not beheve them, and hsten to the cannon with 
tolerable tranquillity. All day famihes continue to pass by, leav- 
ing Mexico. The poor shopkeepers are to be pitied. Besides 
the total cessation of trade, one at least has been shot, and others 
plundered. A truce of two hours was granted this afternoon, to 
bury the dead, who were carried out of the palace. Two of our 
colleagues ventured here this morning. 

22d. — The government bulletin of tliis morning contains a 
letter from Santa Anna, dated Mango de Clavo, 19tli of July, 
informing the president, with every expression of loyalty and 
attachment to the government, that according to his desire he will 
set off this morning in the direction of Perote, " at the head of 
a respectable division." Various other assurances of fidehty from 
Victoria, from Gahndo, &c., are inserted, ^ith the remark that 

president's letter. 195 

the IMexican public will tlius see the uniformity and decision of tlie 
whole republic in favour of order, and especially will receive in 
the communication of his Excellency, General Santa Anna, an 
eqiiivocal proof of this unity of sentiment, notwithstanding the 
assurances given by the rebels to the people, that Santa Anna 
would either assist them, or would take no part at all in the affair. 
It must be confessed, however, that his Excellency is rather a dan- 
gerous umpire. 

The Governor Vieyra pubhshed a proclamation to-day, declar- 
iuG" " Mexico in a state of siefre." It seems to me that we knew 
that already ! Upon the whole, things are going on well for the 
government. Parties of jironunciados have been put down in 
various jilaces. The wounded on both sides have been carried to 
the hospital of San Andres. A battery is now planted against the 
palace, in the Calle de Plateros, where they are at least near enough 
to do more execvition than before. 

One circumstance worthy of notice has been pubhshed to-day. 
The rebels, as you may recollect, declared that they had permitted 
the president to leave the palace, on condition of his taking con- 
cihatory measures, and that he had agreed to favour their preten- 
sions. Now here is Bustamante's own letter, w^ritten in the palace, 
when surroimded by his enemies ; a proof, if any were wanting, of 
his exceeding personal bravery, and perfect coolness in the midst of 
dano-er. There is sometliinsi; rather Roman in these few hues: 

" Ministers, — I protest that I find myself without liberty and 
without defence, the guards of the palace having abandoned me. 
Under these circumstances, let no order of mine, which is contrary 
to the duties of the post I occupy, be obeyed. Since, although I 
am resolved to die before failing in my obligations, it will not be 
difficult to falsify my signature. Let this be made known by you 
to the Congress, and to those generals and chiefs who preserve sen- 
timents of honour and fidelity. 

" National Palace, July 15th 1840. 

" Anastasio Bustamante." 

The following propositions are made to the government by the 
rebels : 

" Article 1st. It not ha-vdng been the intention of the citizen 
Jose Urrea, and of the troops under his command, to attack in 
any way the person of the president of the repubHc, General 
Anastasio Bustamante, he is replaced in the exercise of his func- 

" 2d. Using his faculties as president of the repubHc, he will 
cause the firing to cease on the part of the troops opposed to the 
citizen Urrea ; who on his side Avill do the same. ' 

" 3d. The president shall organize a ministry deser\gng of pubhc 
confidence, and shall promise to re-establish the observance of the 

O 2 


constitution of 1824, convoking a Congress immediately, for tlie 
express purpose of reform. 

" 4tli. Upon these foundations, peace and order shall be re-es- 
tabhshed, and no one shall be molested for the opinions which ho 
has manifested, or for tlie principles he may have supported, all 
who are in prison for political opinions being set at liberty." 

Ahnonte, in the name of the president, rejected these condi- 
tions, but offered to spare the lives of the pronunciados, in case 
they should surrender within twenty-four hours. The chiefs of 
the opposite party hereupon declared the door shut to all recon- 
cilement, but requested a suspension of hostihties, wliich was 

A is going to drive me out during this suspension, in an 

open cab, to call on the C a family. The s have left their 

house, their position having become too dangerous. Another let- 
ter from General Almonte this mornino;. Nothimr decisive. The 
streets continue blocked up with cannon, the roofs of the houses 
and churches are covered with troops, the shops remain closed, and 
the streets deserted. People are paying ounces for the least morsel 
of room in the suburbs, on the San Cosme side of the city. 

23d. — ^Yesterday, the archbishop invited the chiefs of the pro- 
nunciados to a conference in his Archiepiscopal Palace, in order 
that he might endeavour, in his apostohcal character, to check the 
effusion of blood. The conference took place, and the rebels re- 
quested a suspension of hostihties, whilst the prelate should com- 
municate its results to the president, which was granted by the 
general-in-chief. But the pronunciados broke the truce, and endea- 
voured to surprise the president and Almonte in the citadel, passing 
over the parapets in the Calle de Monterilla. They were repulsed 
with slaughter, and a fierce cannonading was kept up all night. They 
have now requested a parley, which is granted them. . . . 

In the midst of all, there is a communication from the Governor 
of Morelia, giving an account of the routing of a band of robbers 
who had attacked an hacienda. 

We wont to Tacubaya, and met with no other danger but that of 
being cb'cnched wet: as a daily watering of the earth, short but 
severe, now takes place regularly. The new propositions of the 
■pronunciados are these : 

1st. " Tlie forces of both armies shall retire to occupy places out 
of the capital. 

2d. " Both the belligerent parties shall agree that the constitutional 
laws of 1836 shall remain without force. 

3d. " A convention shall be convoked, estabhshing the new con- 
stitution, upon the basis fixed in the Constitutive Act, which ^\all 
begin to be in force directly. 

4th. " The elections of the members of the convention, will be 
verified according to the laws by which the deputies of the Consti- 
tuent Cono-ress were directed. 


5tli. " His actual Excellency, the President, will forma provisional 
government, lie being the chief, until the foregoing articles begin to 

"t'lKf* GIlGCt. 

' 6th. "No one shall be molested forpohtical opinions manifested 
since the year '21 until now: consequently the persons, employ- 
ments and properties of all w^ho have taken part in this or m the 
past revolutions shall be respected. 

7th. " That the first article may take effect, the government wiU 
ilicilitate all that is necessary to both parties." 

The o-overnment have refused these second propositions ; _ and at 
the same time make known to the Mexican world that various de- 
serters from the opposite party assure them, that the pronunciados, 
including the principal chiefs, are occupied in destroying every 
thing within the palace— that the general archives and those of the 
ministers, are torn in pieces, and that the despatches arc taken to 
make cartouches, and so on. They end by accusing them of being 
all united with the most noted robbers and public highwaymen, 
such as a Ricardo Teo, a Jose Polvorilla, a Roma7i Chavez, a Juan 
Vega, a Rosas, a Garcilazo, and others. I put down the names ot 
these Mexican Dick Turpins and Paul Cliffords, m case we should 
meet them some beau jour. 

More forces have arrived from Puebla and Toluca. banta Anna 
is expected to reach Puebla to-night, and again General Valencia 
holds out an invitation to repentance to the " deceived men m the 


25th.— A letter is pubhshed to-day from Santa Anna to General 
Victoria, assuring him that whatever personal considerations might 
have detained him in his country-seat, he accepts with pleasure the 
command of the division going to Perote, and will m this,_ as m ail 
things, obey the orders of the supreme government. _ liring, wita 
short intervals, continued all yesterday, during the night, and this 
morning. Two mortars are placed in front of the old Acordada, m 
the direction of the palace, but as yet they have not been used. 
There are a crowd of people examining them. 

Things remain nearly in the same position as before, except that 
there are more deserters from the revolted party. A proclamation 
was issued by Urrea, accusing the government of all the evils that 
afflict the city, and of all the bloodshed caused by this civil war. 
Amono-st other thino-s, they complain of the death of Dr. Plan, 
who wSs shot in the Calle del Seminario, and, according to them, 
by the government troops. General Valencia answers this time 
without figures, and with good reason, that the responsibihty of 
these misfortunes must be with those who have provoked the w^ar 

In the bulletin of to-day, the government praise their own mode- 
ration in having taken off the duUes from all provisions entering the 
capital, in order that the price might not become too high, an advan- 
tage in which the pronunciados themselves participate — mention their 
exertions to supply the city with water, and their permission given 


to ,tlie inonundadus to send their wounded to tlie laospltal of San 
Andres. They deny that the government has any share in the 
evils that afflict the whole population, their endeavour having ever 
"been to preserve tranquilhty and order; " but when a handful of 
factious men have taken possession of part of the city, no choice is 
left them but to besiege and combat them until they surrender, and 
not to abandon the peaceful citizens to pillage and vengeance." They 
declare that they might abeady have subdued them, and are only held 
back by the fear of involving in their ruin the number of innocent 
persons who occupy the circumjacent houses. The policy of this 
moderation seems doubtful, but the sincerity of the president is im- 
impeachable. They continue to observe upon the absurdity of this 
handful of men pretending to impose laws upon the whole repubhc, 
when already the body of the nation have given unequivocal proofs 
that they have no desire that the questions relative to their pohtical 
institutions should be decided by the force of arms. 

While the pronunciados declare on their side that " information 
of fronunciamientos everywhere" has been received by them ; the 
government remarks that eleven days have now elapsed, which has 
given full time to all the departments to declare themselves in favour 
of those who call themselves their representatives; but on the con- 
trary, nothing has been received but assurances of fidehty, and of 
support to the government cause. I beheve that the English packet 
will be detained till the conclusion of this affair, but should it not 
be so, you need not feel any uneasiness in regard to us. Our house 
is full of people, money, jewels, and plate — our stables of horses and 

mides. Amongst the diamonds are those of the Senora L , 

which are very line, and there are gold rouleaus enough to set up a 
bank at San Agustin. Santa Anna seems in no hurry to arrive. 
People expect him to-morrovf , but perhaps he thinks the hour has 
not come for him. 

26th. — The proclamation of the Governor of the department of 
Jahsco is published to-day, in which he observes : " Tlie nation 
cannot forget that this Urrea, who has brought so many evils upon 
his country, tliis faithful friend of Mr. Carlos Baudin, and of the 
Trench squadron which invaded our territor}% for whom he procm'ed 
all the fresh provisions Avhich they required, is the same man who 
now escapes from prison, to figure at the head of a tumultuous crowd, 
whose first steps were marked by the capture of his Excellency the 
President." Firing continues, but without any decided result. It 
is a sound that one does not learn to hear with indifference. There 
seems little doubt that ultimately the government ^vill gain the day, 
but the country will no doubt remain for some time in a melanclioly 
state of disorder. Bills are fastened to-day on the corners of the 
streets, forbidding all ingress or egress through the military fines, 
from six in the evening till eight in the morning. Gentlemen who 
live near us now venture in towards evening, to talk politics or play 
at whist; but generally, in the middle of a game, some report is 


broiTcrKt in, wlilcli drives tliem back to tlicir lioiises and families 

witli'all possible haste. Seuor , a yoi;ng Spaniard who is hvmg 

with us, returning here late last night, was challenged by the senti- 
nels at the corner of the street, with the usual " Quien viva?'' to 
which, being in a brown study, he mechanically replied, " Spain T 
Fortunately^the officer on duty was a man of common sense and 
humanity, and instead of filing, warned Hm to take better care for 

the future. . . 

Last night the archbishop paid a visit to the president, m the 
convent of San Agustin, to intercede in favour of the pronunaados. 
Tlie mortars have'not yet played against the palace, owing, it is 
eaid, to the desire of the general-in-cliief to avoid the further effu- 
sion of blood. , n 1 • • J • 

The tranquilhty of the sovereign people during all this period, is 
astonishing. In what other city in the world would they not have 
taken part^with one or other side? Shops shut, Avorkmen out of 
employment, thousands of idle people, subsisting. Heaven only knows 
how, yet no riot, no confusion, apparently no impatience. _ Groups 
of people collect on the streets, or stand talking before their doors, 
and speculate upon probabihties, but await the decision of their mi- 
litary chiefs, as if it were a judgment from Heaven, from which it 
were both useless and impious to appeal. 

27th.— " Long five the Mexican RepubHc! Long live the Su- 
preme Government !" Thus begins the government bulletin of to- 
day, to which I say Amen ! with all my heart, since it ushers m the 
news of the termination of the revolution. And what particularly 
attracts my attention is, that instead of the usual stamp, the eagle, 
serpent, and nopal, wehave to-day, a shaggy pony, flying as never did 
mortal horse before, his tail and mane in a most violent state ol ex- 
citement, liis four short legs all in the air at once, and on his back a 
man in a jockey-cap, furiously blowing a trumpet, from which issues 
a wliite flair, on which is printed " News!" in English [ and appa- 
rently in the act of springing over a milestone, on which is inscribed, 
alsoinEnghsh—" 100^0 Aeto ForA/" . 

" We have," says the government, " the grateful satisfliction ot 
announcing, that the revolution of this capital has terminated happily. 
The rebelHous troops havino- offered, in the night, to lay down arms 
upon certain conditions, Ins Exceflency the Commander-m-clnef 
has accepted their proposals Avith convenient modifications, which will 
be verified to-day; the empire of laws, order, tranquilhty, and all 
other social guarantees being thus rc-estabhshed," &c. Cuevas, 
Minister of the Interior, pubhshes a Circular addressed to the Go- 
vernors of the Departments to the same effect, adding, that " in con- 
sideration of the inhabitants and properties which required the prompt 
termination of tills disastrous revolution, the guarantees of personal 
safety sohcited by the rebels have been granted, but none of their 
pretensions have been acceded to ; the conspiracy of the fifteenth 
having thus had no other effect but to make manifest the general 


wisK and opinion in favour of tlie government, laws and legitimate 
authorities." A similar cirevdar is published by General Almonte. 

Having arrived at this satisfactorv conclusion, which must be as 
agreeable to you as it is to us, I shall close this long letter, merely 
observing, in apology, that as Madame de Stael said, in answer to 
the remark, that " Women have nothing to do with politics;" — 
" That may be, but when a woman's head is about to be cut off, it 
is natural she should ask loliyf^ so it appears to me, that when bullets 
are Avhizzing about our ears, and shells falling within a few yards of 
us, it ought to be considered extremely natural, and quite feminine, to 
inquire into the cause of such phenomena. 


Plan of the Federalists — Letter from Farias — Signing of Articles— Dispersion 
of tile " Pronnnciados" — Conditions — Orders of General Valencia — Of the 
Governor — Address of General Valencia — Departure of our Giiests — The 
Cosmopo/iUi — State of tlie Palace and Streets — Bulletin of the Firing — Inte- 
rior of ilouses — Escape of Families — Conduct of the Troops — Countess 

del V e — Santa Anna — Congress — Anecdote — Discussion in Congress — 


2Sth July. 

To-day is pubhshed the plan which was formed by the federalists 
for the " political regeneration of the repubhc." They observe, that 
it is six years since the federal plan, adopted freely by the nation in 
1824, was replaced by a system which monopolizes all advantages in 
favour of a few; that evils had now arrived at that height, in which 
the endeavours of a few men, however illustrious, could have no 
effect in remedying them ; rendering it necessary for all IMexicans to 
unite in one combined and energetic force to better their situation; 
that salvation can only be hoped for from the nation itself, &c. They 
then proceed to lay their plan, consisting of ten articles, before the 

The first restores the constitittion of '24, the national interests to 
be reformed by a congress, composed of four deputies from each 
state. By the second, the reformed constitution is to be submitted 
to the legislatures of the states for approbation. By the third, they 
engage to respect the Cathohc rehgion, the form of popular govern- 
ment, representative and federal, the division of powers, political 
liberty of the press, the organization of a mihtary and naval force, 


and the equality of riglits between all the inhabitants of the nation. 
By the fourth article, a provisional government is to be ^ estabhshed 
in the capital, whose functions are to be hmited exclusively to the 
direction of the external relations of the repubhc.^ By the fifth, this 
provisional government is to be vested in a Mexican, reuniting the 
requisites for this employment, as estabhshed in the constitution of 
'24. By the sixth, the republic promises to give back the ten per 
cent, added to the duties of consumption, to those who have paid it 
until now. By the seventh, in eight months after the triumph of the 
present revolution, all interior custom-houses are to be suppressed, 
and henceforth no contributions shall be imposed upon the internal 
circulation of goods, whether forei^-n or domestic. By the eighth, 
they promise to confirm all the civil and military employments of 
those who do not oppose this pohtical regeneration. By the ninth, 
the army is to be paid with great punctuaKty. Bythe tenth, a 
general amnesty is promised to all who have committed pohtical 
errors since the'lndependence ; and the names of Farias and Urrea 
are followed by a goodly hst of Major-Generals, Colonels, &c. 

There is also published a letter from Farias, indignantly denying 
the report of the federal party's having threatened to seize the 
Cathedral jewels and plate; accompanied by one from the arch- 
bishop himself, not only denying the circumstance, but expressing 
his satisfaction with the conduct of the federalist party in regard to 
all the convents which they had occupiccl, and the respect which 
they had shown towards all things pertaining to the church. 

On the night of the twenty-sixth, the articles of capitulation were 
signed on both sides; a letter from General Andrade having been 
received by General Valencia, to the eftcct that as_ General Urrea 
had abandoned the command of the troops and left it in his hands, 
he, in the name of the other chiefs and officers, was ready to ratify 
the conditions stipulated for by them the preceding night. This 
w^as at three in the morning ; and about eight o'clock, the capitula- 
tion was announced to the" pronunciados in the difl:ereut positions 
occupied by them; and they began to disperse in different directions, 
in groups of about a hundred, crying, " Viva la Federacion !" At 
a quarter before two o'clock, General Manuel Andrade marched out, 
witli all the honours of war, to Tlanapantla, followed by the pronun- 
ciados of the palace. 

Tliis morning, at eleven, Te Deum was sung in the cathedral, 
there being present, the archbishop, the president, and all the au- 
thorities. The bells, which have preserved an ominous silence during 
these events, are now ringing forth in a confusion of tongues. The 
palace being crippled with balls, and in a state of utter confusion, 
tlic President and his ministers occupy cells in the convent of San 

The Federahsts have marched out upon the following conditions : 
1st, Their lives, persons, employments, and properties are to be in- 
violably preserved. 2d, General Valencia engages to interpose his 

202 governor's orders. 

influence with the government by all legal means, that they may re- 
quest the chambers to proceed to reform the constitution. 3d, All 
pohtical events, which have occurred since the fifteenth, up to this 
date, are to be totally forgotten, the forces who adhered to the plan 
of the fifteenth being included in this agreement. 4th, A passport 
out of the republic is to be given to whatever indi\ddual, compre- 
hended in this agreement, may solicit it. 5th, The troops of the 
•pronunciados are to proceed to wherever General Valencia orders 
them, commanded by one of their own captains, whom he shall 
point out, and who must answer for any disorders they may commit. 
6th, General Valencia, and all the other generals of his army, must 
promise on their honour, before the whole world, to keep tliis treaty, 
and see to its exact accomplishment. 7th, It only applies to Mexi- 
cans. 8th, Whenever it is ratified by the chiefs of both parties, it 
is to be punctually fulfilled, hostilities being suspended until six in 
the morning of the twenty-seventh, which gives time to ratify the 

The President may exclaim, " One such victory more, and I am 
undone !" Orders are issued by General Valencia to the efiect, that 
until the Federalist troops have marched out of the city, no group 
passing five in number will be permitted in the streets; that until 
then, there is to be no trading through the streets; that at three 
o'clock the eating-houses may be thrown open, but not the taverns 
till the next day ; and that the pohce and alcaldes of the different 
wards are held responsible for the accomphshment of these orders, 
and may make use of armed force to preserve order. 

The Governor enforces these orders with additions. People 
must turn in at nine o'clock, or give an account of themselves — 
must give up all their gmis, carbines, &c., to the alcalde, under a 
heavy penalty ; and none, excepting mihtary men, may go on 
horseback from five in the evening until six in the morning, during 
five days. 

General Valencia makes a pathetic address to his soldiers, and 
foretels that henceforth all mothers, wives, and old men, will point 
them out as they pass, saying, " There go our deUverers !" and adds 
— " I gTOw proud in speaking to you.'^ " Inhabitants of tliis 
beautiful cajDital!" he says again, " the aurora of the 15th of July 
was very different from that of the 27th ; that prognosticated 
destruction, ^A?5 rises announcing happiness, l^iever again will you 
hear the crash of cannon, but to celebrate the triumphs of your country, 
or to solemnize your civic functions.''^ May your words be prophetic, 
and especially may you yourself assist in their accomphshment. 

29th. — Our guests have left us, all but INIonsieur • , who, 

although recovered, cannot yet be moved. All money, plate, and 
jewels in our charge, are restored to their rightful owners; and the 
Spanish colours, which have never been hoisted, return to their 
former obscurity. I re-open the piano, uncover and tune the harp, 
and as we have been almost entirely shut up during thhteen days of 


heavenly weather, feel rejoiced at tlie prospect of getting out again. 
As yet, I have not seen the state of things in the city, but the 
" Cosmopohte" of to-day says — " I should wish to have the pen of 
Jeremiah, to describe the desolation and calamities of this city, 
which has been the mistress of the new world. In the days of 
mourning that have passed, we have not been able to fix our eyes on 
any part of it where we have not encountered desolation, w^eeping, 
and death. Tlie palace has become a sieve, and the southern 
bulwark is destroyed ; that part of the portal which looks towards 
the Monterilla is ruined; the finest buildings in the centre have 
suffered a great deal ; innumerable houses at great distances from it 
have been also much injured by straj^ balls. Persons of all ages, 
classes, and conditions, who interfered in notlung, have been killed, 
not only in the streets, but even in their own apartments. The balls 
crossed each other in every direction, and the risk has been imiversal. 
Tlie city has been in the dark during these days, without patrol or 
watch; and many malefactors have taken advantage of this oppor- 
tmiity to use the murderous poniard without risk, and with the 
utmost perfidy. At the break of day horrible spectacles were seen, 
of groups of dogs disputing the remains of a man, a woman, and a 
child." The " Cosmopohte" goes on to insist upon the necessity of 
formmg a new ministry and of a reform in the two houses. 

August 1st. — Have just come in from a drive through the city. 
The palace and houses near it are certainly in a melancholy condition. 
The palace, with its innumerable smashed windows and battered 
waUs, looks as if it had become stone bhnd in consequence of having 
the smallpox. Broken windows and walls full of holes characterize 
all the streets in that direction, yet there is less real damage done 
than might have been expected, after such a fiurious firing and can- 

To read the accounts pubhshed, and of the truth of which we had 
auricular demonstration, one would have expected to find lialf the 
city in rmns. Here is the sum total of the firing, as pubhshed: — 
" On the 15th, filing from two o'clock till the next day. On the 
16th, continual firing till one o'clock. Suspension till fom' o'clock. 
Firing from that hour, without intermission, tiU the following day. 
17th,"firing from morning till night. 18th, firing from before day- 
break till the evening, foth, continual firing. _ Constant emigration 
of famihes these last four days. 20th, continual firing all day. 
Skirmish at the gate of San Lazaro. 21st, firing continued, though 
less hotly, but in the night with more ^dgolu• than ever. 22d, day 
of the Jmita in the archbishop's palace. Firing began at eleven at 
night, and lasted till morning. 23d, firing till mid-day. Parley. 
24th, formidable firing, terrible attack, and firing till morning. 
25th, firing till the evening. 26th, firing from six in the morning 
till two o'clock. Capitulation that night." 

As " every bullet has its bihet," they must all have lodged some- 
where. Of course, notliing else is talked of as yet, and every one 


has Ills own personal experiences to recount. Some houses have 
become nearly unhihabitable — glass, pictures, clocks, plaster, all 
lying in morsels about the floor, and air-holes in the roofs and walls, 
through which these wungcd messengers of destruction ha^^e passed. 
Ladies and children escaped, in many instances, by the azoteas, 
going along the street from one roof to another, not being able to 

pass where the cannon was planted. The Senora , with her 

six beautiful boys, escaped in that way to her brother's house, in the 
evening, and in the very thick of the firing. I was in her drawing- 
room to-day, which has a most forlorn appearance; the floor co- 
vered with heaps of plaster, broken pictures, bullets, broken glass, 
&c., tbe windows out, and holes in the wall that look as if they were 
made for the pipe of a stove to lit into. 

The soldiers of both parties, who have occupied the roofs of tlio 
houses, behaved with great civility ; their officers , on many occa- 
sions, sending to the family with a request that they would com- 
plain of any insolence that might be shown by their men. But no 
civility could insure the safety of the dwellers in these houses. 

The poor nuns have been terribly frightened, and have passed 
these stormy nights in prayers and hymns, which those who live 
near their convents say were frequently heard at midnight, in the 
intervals of firing. 

I went to see the Countess de V e, and she showed me the 

great hole in the wall by her bedside, through which the shell made 
its entrte. The fragments are still lying there, so heavy that I could 
not lift them. All the windows at the head of that street are 
broken in pieces. The shops are re-opened, however, and people 
are going about their usual avocations, pretty much as if nothing 
had hajjpencd; and probably the whole result of all this confusion 
and destruction will be — a change of ministry. 

Santa Anna, finding that he was not wanted, has modestly re- 
tired to Manga de Clavo, and has addressed the following letter to 
the Minister of War : — 

" The triumph which the national arms have just obtained over 
the horrible attempts at anarchy, communicated to me by your 
Excellency, in your note of the 27th, is very worthy of being cele- 
brated by every citizen who desires the welfare of his country, 
always supposing that public vengeance {Ja vindicta publica) has 
been satisfied ; and in this case, I offer you a thousand congratula- 
tions. This division, although filled with regret at not having par- 
ticipated on this occasion in the risks of our companions in arms, 
are rejoiced at so fortunate an event, and hope that energy and a 
wholesome severity will now strengthen order for ever, and will 
begin an era of felicity for the country. The hajjpy event has been 
celebrated here, in the fortress, and in Tepeyahualco, where the first 
brigade had already arrived (and whom 1 have ordered to counter- 
march), with every demonstration of joy. I anxiously desire to 


receive tlie details wliicli your Excellency offers to communicate to 
me, so tliat if the clanger lias entirely ceased, I may return to my 
hacienda, and may lay down the command of those troops which 
your Excellency orders me to preserve here. 

" With sentiments of the most hvely joy for the cessation of the 
misfortunes of the capital, I reiterate to your Excellency those of 
my particular esteem. 

" God and Liherty. 

"Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. 

" Perote, July 29, 1840." 

Tlie houses of Congress are again opened. The ministers pre- 
sented themselves in the Chamber of Deputies, and a short account 
of the late revolution was given by General Almonte, who by the 
way was never taken prisoner, as was at first reported. He had gone 
out to ride early in the morning, when General Urrea, with some 
soldiers, rode up to him and demanded his sword; telhng him that 
the president was arrested. For all answer, Almonte drew his 
sword, and fighting his way through them, galloped to the citadel. 
Urrea, riding back, passed by Almonte's house, and pohtely taking 
oflf his hat, saluted the ladies of the family, hoped they were well, 
and remarked on the fineness of the weather. They were not a 
little astonished when, a short time after, they heard what had hap- 

Madame de C and her daughter were out ncbng w4ien the 

firing began on the morning of the revolution, and galloped home 
in consternation. 

7th. — A long discussion to-day in Congress on the propriety ot 
<Tranting extraordinary powers to the president ; also a pubhcation 
Sf the despatches written by Gomez Farias during the revolution. 
He speaks with the utmost confidence of the success of his_ enter- 
prise. In his'first letter, he observes, that General Urrea, with the 
crreater part of the garrison and people of the capital, have pro- 
Sounced for the re-establishment of the federal system, and have, 
by the most fortunate combination of circumstances, got possession 
of the palace, and arrested the president. That troops have been 
passino- over to them all day, and that the triumph of the federaHsts 
is so sSre, he has Httle doubt that the following morning will see 
tranquilhty and federahsm re-established. The different accovmts of 
the two parties are rather amusing. It is said that Gomez Farias is 
concealed in Mexico . 

8th.— Paid a visit to-day, where the lady of the house is a leper ; 
though it is supposed that all who are afilicted with this scourge are 
sent to the hospital of San Lazaro 

We rode before breakfist this morning to the old church ol La 
Piedad, and, on our return, found a packet containing letters from 
London, Paris, New York, and I^Iadrid. The arrival of the Enghsh 
packet, wdiich brings all these nouveaufts, is about the most mterest- 
ins event that occurs here. 



Visiters— Virgin de los Remedio-i—Encarnacio7i— Tears of the Nuns— Santa 
Teresa— Rainy Season— Amusing Scene—'' Esid d la Bisposicion de V"~ 
—Mexican Sincerity— Texian Vessels— Fine Hair— Schoolmistress-Climate 
—Its Effects— Nerves— To z<r5 de Force— Anniversary— Speech— Paseo— 
San Angel— Tacubaya— Army of " the Three Guarantees"— Plan of Y"uala 
—A Murder— Indian Politeness— Drunkenness— Seilor Canedo— Revolu- 
tions in Mexico— The Penon— The Baths— General Situation and 

View— Indian Family— Of the Boiling Springs-Capabilities- Solitude— 
Lhapultepec— The Z)f5«5ra;w.s— Penitence at San Francisco — Discipline of 
the Men— Discourse of the Monk— Darkness and Horrors— Salmagundi. 

August 30th. 

In tlie political world nothing very interesting lias occurred, and 

as yet there is no clrano-e of ministry. Yesterday mornino- C n 

set oiF in a coach and six for the valley of Toluca, about'^eighteen 
leagues from Mexico, with a rich Spaniard, Senor M ° r y 
T ^n, who has a large hacienda there. 

Last Sunday morning, being the first Sunday since the revolution, 
we had forty visiters— ladies and gentlemen, English, French, 
Spanish, and Mexican. Such varieties of dresses and languages I 
have seldom seen united in one room; and so many anecdotes^con- 
nected with the pronunciamento as were related, some grave, some 

ludicrous, that would form a volume ! The Baron de havino- 

just left this for your part of the world, you mil learn by him the 
last intelligence of it and of us. 

As there is a want of rain, the Virgin de los Remedies was 
brought into Mexico, but as there is still a shght ripple on the face 
of the lately-troubled waters, she was carried" in privately — for all 
reunions of people are dreaded at this juncture. I had just prepared 
pieces of velvet and silk to hang on the balconies, when I found that 
the procession had gone by a back street after sunset. 

I went lately to ^-isjt the nuns of the Encarjiacion, to inquire 
how they stood their alarms, for their convent had been filled with 
soldiers, and they had been in the very heart of the firing. I was 
welcomed by a figure covered from head to foot with a double black 
crape veil, who expressed great joy at seeing me again, and told me 
she was one of the madres who received us before. She spoke vdth. 
horror of the late revolution, and of the state of fear and tremblino- 
in which they had passed their time; soldiers within their very walls', 
and their prayers interrupted by volleys of camion. Tlianks to the 


intercession of tlie Virgin, no accident had occvirred ; but sire added, 
tliat had the Virgin of los Rcmedios been brought in sooner, these 
disorders might never have taken place. 

I went from thence to the convent of Santa Teresa, where I saw 
no one, but discoursed with a number of voices, from the shrill tre- 
ble of the old Madre Prior a, to the full cheerful tones of my friend 

the Madre A . There is something rather awful in sending 

one's voice in this way into an unknown region, and then listening 
for a response from the unseen dwellers there. I have not yet been 
inside this convent, but now that affairs are settled for the pre- 
sent, I trust that the archbishop Avill kuidly grant his permission to 
that effect. 

The rainy season is now at its height ; that is, it rains severely 
every evening, but in the morning it is lovely. The disagreeable 
part of it is, that the roads are so bad, it is difficult to continue our 
rides in the environs. Horse and rider, after one of these expedi- 
tions, appear to have been taking a mud-bath. It is very amusing 
to stand at the window about four o'clock, and see every one sud- 
denly caught in the most tremendous shower. In five minutes the 
streets become rivers ; and canoes would be rather more useful than 
carriages. Strong porters {cargadores) are in readiness to carry 
well-dressed gentlemen or women who are caught in the deluge, 
across the streets. Coachmen and footmen have their great-coats 
prepared to draw on ; and all horsemen have their sarapes strapped 
behind their saddles, in which, with their sliining leather hats, they 
can brave the storm. Trusting to an occasional cessation of rain, 
which sometimes takes place, people continue to go out in the even- 
ing, but it is downright cruelty to coachman and animals, rniless the 
visit is to a house with a porte-cocliere, which many of the houses 
have — this amongst others. 

September 1st. — Had a dispute this morning with an Enghshman, 
who complains bitterly of Mexican insincerity. I beheve the chief 
cause of this complaint amongst foreigners consists in their attaching 
the shghtest value to the common phrase, " Estd a la disjwsicion de 
V." Every thing is placed at your disposal — house, carriage, ser- 
vants, horses, mules, &c., — the lady's earrings, the gentleman's dia- 
mond pin, the child's frock. You admire a ring — it is perfectly at 
your service; a horse — ditto. Letters are dated " from your house;" 
(de la casa de V.) Some from ignorance of the custom, and others 
from knavery, take advantage of these offers, which are mere ex- 
pressions of civihty, much to the confusion and astonishment of the 
polite offerer, who has no more intention of being credited, than 
you have when, from common etiquette, you sign yourself the very 
humble servant of the very greatest bore. It is a mere habit, and 
to call people who indulge in it insmcere, reminds me of the Italian 
mentioned somewhere by Lady Blessington, who thought he had 
made a conquest of a fair Englishwoman, though somewhat shocked 
by her forwardness, because in an indifferent note to him, she signed 


herself " Truly yours." Shall I ever forget the crest-fallen counte- 
nance of a Mexican gentleman who had just purchased a very hand- 
some set of London harness, when hearing it admired 'by a French- 
man, he gave the customary answer, " It is quite at your disposal," 
and was answered by a profusion of bows, and a ready acceptance 
of the offer ! the only difficulty with the Frenchman being as to 
whether or not he could carry it home under his cloak, whTch he 

If all these offers of service, in which it is Mexican etiquette to 
indulge, be beheved in — " Remember that I am here but to serve 
you" — " My house and every thing in it is quite at your disposal" 
— " Command me in all things;" we shall of course be disappointed 
by finding that notwithstanding these reiterated assurances, we must 
hire a house for ourselves, and even servants to wait on us ; but take 
these expressions at what they are worth, and I believe we shall find 
that people here are about as sincere as their neighbours. 

8th. — A good deal of surmise, because four Texian vessels are 
cruising in the bay off Vera Cruz. There is also a good deal of 
pohtical talk, but I have no longer Madame de Stael's excuse for in- 
terfering in poUtics, which, by the way, is a subject on which almost 
all Mexican women are well informed; possessing practical knoAV- 
ledge, the best of all, like a lesson in geography given by travelling. 
I fear we live in a Paradise Lost, which will not be regained in our 
day. . . . _ 

My attention is attracted, while I write, by the apparition of a 
beautiful girl in the opposite balcony, with hair of a golden brown, 
hanging in masses down to her feet. This is an uncommon colour 
here ; but the hair of the women is generally very long and fine. 
It rarely or never curls. We were amused the other day in passino- 
by a school of Httle boys and girls, kept in a room on the first-floor 

of Seiior 's house, to see the schoohnistress, certainly not in a 

very elegant dishabille, marching up and down with a spelhng-book 
inker hand, her long hair hanging down, and traihng on the floor a 
good half-yard behind her; while every time she turned, she switched 
it round Hke a court-train. . . . 

You ask me about this cHmate, for . For one who, like her, 

is in perfect health, I should think it excellent ; and even an invahd 
has only to travel a few hours, and he arrives at tierra calicnte. 
This climate is that of the tropics, raised some thousand feet above 
the level of the sea ; consequently there is an extreme purity and 
thinness of the atmosphere, which generally effects the breathing 
at first. In some it causes an oppression on the chest. On me, it 
had little effect, if any; and at all events, the feehng goes off, after 
the first month or so. There is a general tendency to nervous 
irritation, and to inflammatory complaints, and during September and 
October, on account of the heavy rains and the drained lakes on 
which part of the city is built, there is said to be a good deal of 
ague. Since the time of the cholera in 1833, which committed 


terrible ravages here, there has been no other epidemic. Tlie 
smallpox indeed has been very common lately, but it is owing to 
the carelessness of the common people, or rather to their prejudice 
against having their children vaccinated. 

The nervous complaints of the ladies arc an unfailing soi^rce of 
profit to the sons of Galen, for they seem to be incurable. Having 
no personal experience of these evils, I only speak from what I see 
in others. It appears to me that the only fault of the cHmate con- 
sists in its being monotonously perfect, which is a great drawback to 
easy and poUte conversation. The evening deluge is but a perio- 
dical watering of the earth, from which it rises Hke Venus from 
the sea, more lovely and refreshed than ever. 

C n has returned from Toluca, after an absence of eight 

•days. Every one is hurrying to the theatre just now, in spite of the 
rain, to see some Spaniards, who are performing tours de force there. 
16th. — Celebration of the Day of Independence, Anniversary of 
the " Ghriso Grito de Dolores^'' of September the 16th, 1810 ; of 
the revolution begun thirty years ago, by the curate of the i-illage 
of Dolores, in the province of Gunanajuato. "It is very easy,'' 
says Zavala, it is about the most sensible remark, " to put a coun- 
ti-y into combustion, when it possesses the elements of discord ; but 
the difiiculties of its reorganization are infinite." 

A speech was made by General Tornel in the Alameda. All the 
the troops were out — plenty of officers, monks, priests, and ladies, 
in full dress. We did not go to hear the speech, but went to the 

E s house to see the procession, which was very magnificent. 

The Hne of carriages was so deep, that I thought we should never 
arrive. After all was over, we walked in the Alameda, where 
temporary booths were erected, and the trees were hung with gar- 
lands and flowers. The paseo in the evening was extremely gay ; 
but I cannot say that there appeared to be much enthusiasm or public 
spirit. They say that the great difficulty experienced by the Junta, 
named on these occasions for the preparation of the festivities, is 
to collect sufiScient funds. 

19th. — We went yesterday to San Angelo, one of the prettiest 
villages in the environs of Mexico, and spent the day at the haci- 
enda of Senor T e which is in the neighbourhood. The rain 

has rendered the roads almost impassable, and the country round 
Mexico must be more hke Cortes's description of it at this season, 
than at any other period. One part of the road near the hacienda, 
which is entirely destroyed, the owner of the house wished to 
repair ; but the Indians, who claim that part of the land, will not 
permit the innovation, though he offered to throw a bridge over 
a small stream which passes there, at his own expense. 

24th. — We passed a pleasant day at Tacubaya, and dined with 

Monsieur S , who gave a fete, in consequence of its being his 

wife's saint's day. 

27th. — Great fete ; being the anniversary of the day on which 



the army called the tru/arante {the three guarantees) entered Mexico 
■with Yturbide at their head. The famous plan of Iguala, (so 
called from having first been puhhshed in that city,) was also called 
the plan of the 'three guarantees ; freedom, union, and rehgion, 
which were oiFered as a 'security to the Spaniards, against whom so 
many cruelties had been exercised. We have had ringing of bells 
and firing all the morning, and in the evening there is to be a bull- 
fight, foFlowed by the exhibition of the tours de force of these 
Spaniards, commonly called here " los Hercules," who have just 
come to offer us a box in the Plaza. 

This plan of the Iguala v/as certainly the only means by which 
Spain could have continued to preserve these vast and distant 
possessions. The treaty of Cordova, Avhich confirmed it, was 
sif^ned in that city between the Spanish General O'Donoju and 
Don Agustin Yturbide, in August 1821, and consisted of seven- 
"tGGn cirticics. 

By the first, Mexico was to be aclmowledged as a free and in- 
dependent nation, under the title of the Mexican empire. _ _ 

By the second, its government was to be a constitutional 

monarchy. n o • 

By the third, Ferdinand VII., Cathohc King of bpam, was 
cahed to the throne of Mexico ; and should he renounce or re- 
fuse the throne, it was ofiered to his brother the Infant Don Carlos, 
and under the same circumstances, to each brother in succession _ 

By the fourth, the emperor was to fix his court m Mexico, which 
was to be considered the capital of the empire. 

By the fifth, two commissioners named by O'Donoju were to pass 
over to the Spanish court, to place the copy of the treaty and of 
the accompanying exposition, in his Majesty's hands, to serve him 
as an antecedent, until the Cortes should offer him the crown with 
allformahty; requesting him to inform the Infantes of the order 
in which they were named ; interposing his influence m order that 
the Emperor of Mexico should be one of his august house, for the 
interest of both nations, and that the Mexicans might add this hnk 
to the chain of friendship which united them with the Spaniards. ^ 

By the sixth, a Junta of the first men in Mexico ; first by their 
virtues, position, fortune, &c., was to be named, sufficient m number 
to ensure success in their resolutions by the miion of so much talent 

and information. r- a t • • 

By the seventh, this Junta takes the name of Administrative 

Provisional Junta. r t ■ r 

By the eighth, O'Donoju was named member of this Junta. 

By the ninth, this Junta was to name a President. 

By the tenth, it was to inform the pubhc of its installation, and 
of the motives which had caused it to meet. 

By the eleventh, this assembly was to name a regency, composed 
of three persons, to compose the executive power, and to govern m 
the name of the monarch, until his arrival. 


By the twelfth, tlie Junta was then to govern conformably to the 
laws, in every thing which did not oppose the plan of Iguala, and 
till the Cortes had formed the constitution of the state. 

By the thirteenth, the regency, as soon as they were named, 
were to proceed to the convocation of the Cortes, according to the 
method decreed by the provisional Junta. 

By the fourteenth, the executive power was to reside in the re- 
gency — the legislative in the Cortes — but until the reunion of the 
Cortes, the legislative power was to be exercised by the Junta. 

By the fifteenth, all persons belonging to the commvinity, the 
system of government being changed, or the country passing into 
the power of another prince, were perfectly at liberty to transport 
themselves and their fortunes wherever they chose, &c. &c. 

By the sixteenth, this does not hold good in regard to the mili- 
tary or pubhc employes disaffected to the Mexican independence; 
they will leave the empire within the term prescribed by the re- 
gency, &c. &c. 

By the seventeenth and last, as the occupation of the capital by 
the peninsula troops is an obstacle to the reahzation of the treaty, 
this difficulty must be vanquished ; but as the chief of the imperial 
army desires to bring this about, not by force, but by gentler means, 
General O'Donoju offers to employ his authority mth the troops, 
that they may leave the capital without any effusion of blood, and 
by an honourable treaty. This treaty was signed by Yturbide and 

Had this plan of Igviala taken effect, what would have been the 
result in Mexico ? — what its present condition? .... 

This being Smiday, and a fete-day, a man vv'as murdered close by 
our door, in a quarrel brought about probably through the influence 
of pulque, or rather of chinguirite. If they did not so often end in 
deadly quarrel, there would be nothing so amusing as to watch the 
Indians gradually becoming a little intoxicated. They are at first 
so polite — handing the pulque-jar to their fair companions (fair 
being taken in the general or Pickioickian sense of the word); always 
taking oft" their hats to each other, and if they meet a woman, 
kissing her hand with an hiunble bow as if she were a duchess ; — 
but these same women are sure to be the cause of a qiiarrel, and 
then out come these horrible knives — and then, Adios I 

It is impossible to conceive any thing more humble and polite than 
the common country-people. IMen and women stop and vA^a you a 
good day, the men holding their hats in their hands, and all show- 
ing their white teeth, and faces hghted up by careless goodnature. 
I regret to state, however, that to-day there are a great many 
women quite as tipsy as the men, returning home after the fete, and 
increasing the distance to their village, by taking a zigzag direction 
through the streets 

Seiior Canedo, Secretary -of State, has formally annoimced his in- 
tention of resigning. Certainly the situation of premier in Mexico, 

P 2 


at this moment, is far from enviable, and the more distinguished and 
clear-headed the individual, the more plainly he perceives the im- 
possibility of remedying the thickly-gathering evils which crowd 

the political horizon. "Revolution," says 8enor de , "has 

followed revolution since the Independence; no stable government 
has yet been estabhshed. Had it been so, Mexico would have 
offered to our eyes a phenomenon unknown until now in the world 
— that of a people, without previous preparation, passing at once to 
govern themselves by democratical institutions." 

28th. — We drove out to the Penan, a natural boihng fountain, 
where there are baths, which are considered a universal remedy, a 
pool of Bethesda, but an especial one for rheumatic complaints. 
The baths are a square of low stone buildings, with a church — each 
building containing five or six emj)ty rooms, in one of which is a 
square bath. The idea seems to have been to form a sort of dwell- 
ing-house for different families, as each bath has a small kitchen at- 
tached to it. Like most (/rcat ideas of Spanish days, it is now in a 
state of perfect desolation, though people still flock there for various 
complaints. When one goes there to bathe, it is necessary to carry 
a mattress, to lie down on when you leave the bath, Hnen, a bottle 
of cold water, of which there is not a drop in the place, and which 
is particidarly necessary for an invalid in case of faintness — in short, 
every thing that you may require. A poor family live there to take 
charge of the baths, and there is a small tavern where they sell spirits 
and pulque ; and occasionally a padre comes on Svmday to say mass 
in the old church. 

We were amused by meeting there with General and his 

family, who had brought with them a whole coach-load of provi- 
sions, besides mattresses, sheets, &c. The road to the Pefion 
crosses the most dreary plain imaginable. Behind the baths are 
two volcanic hills ; and the \'iew of Mexico and of the great volca- 
noes from this is magnificent. It is the most soHtary of buildings ; 
not a tree to be seen in its environs ; these volcanic rocks behind — 
Mexico fronting it — the great lakes near it — to the right Guadalupe 
— to the left San Angel, San Agustin, and the mountains which 
bound the valley. The Indian family who live there are handsome 
savages ; and the girl wdio attended me at the bath spoke an extra- 
ordinary jargon, half Spanish, half Indian, but was a fine specimen 
of savage cood looks. The water is extremely warm, and my cu- 
riosity to try its temperature w^as very soon satistied. 

These boiling springs are said to contain sulphate of lime, carbonic 
acid, and muriate of soda, and the Indians make salt in their neigh- 
bourhood, precisely as they did in the time of INIontezuma, with the 
difference, as Humboldt informs us, that then they used vessels of 
clay, and now they use copper caldrons. The solitary -looking baths 
are ornamented with odd-looking heads of cats or monkeys, which 
grin down upon you with a mixture of the sinister and facetious 
rather appalhng. 


Tlic Senora dc insisted on my partaking of her excellent 

luncheon after the bath. We could not help thinking, were these 
baths in the hands of some enterprising and speculative Yankee, 
what a fortune he would make ; how he would build a hotel a la 
Sarratoga, would paper the rooms, and otherwise beautify this 
imcouth temple of boiling water. 

There is an indescribable feeling of sohtude in all houses in the 
environs of Mexico, a vastness, a desolation, such as I never before 
experienced in the most lonely dwelHngs in other countries. It is 
not sad — the sky is too bright, and nature too smiling, and the air 
we inhale too pure for that. It is a sensation of being entirely out 
of the world, and alone with a giant nature, surrounded by faint 
traditions of a bygone race; and the feehng is not diminished, when 
the silence is broken by the footstep of the passing Indian, the poor 
and debased descendant of that extraordinary and mysterious people, 
who came, we know not whence, and whose posterity are now 
" hewers of wood and drawers of water," on the soil where they 
once were monarchs. 

In Chapultepec especially, near as it is to a large and populous 
city, the traditions of the past come so strongly upon the mind, that 
one would rather look for the apparition of a whole band of these 
inky-haired, adder-anointed priests of Montezuma, than expect to 
meet with the benevolent-looking archbishop, who, in purple robes, 
occasionally walks under the shade of the majestic cypresses. 

All Mexicans at present, men and women, are engaged in what 
are called the desagravios, a pubhc penance performed at this season 
in the churches, dming thirty -five days. The women attend church 
in the morning, no men being permitted to enter, and the men in 
the evening, when women are not admitted. Both rules are occa- 
sionally broken. The penitence of the men is most severe, their 
sins being no doubt proportionably greater than those of the women ; 
though it is one of the few countries where they suffer for this, or 
seem to act upon the principle, that "if all men had their deserts, 
who should escape Avhipping?" 

To-day we attended the morning penitence at six o'clock, in the 
church of San Francisco ; the hardest part of which was their having 
to kneel for about ten minutes wdth their arms extended in the form 
of a cross, uttering groans; a most painful position for any length of 
time. It was a profane thought, but I dare say so many hundreds 
of beautifully-formed arms and hands were seldom seen extended at 
the same moment before. Gloves not being worn in church, and 
many of the women having short sleeves, they were very much seen. 

But the other night I was present at a much stranger scene, at the 
disciphne performed by the men; admission having been procured 
for us, by certain means, private hut powerful. Accordingly when it 
was dark, enveloped from head to foot in large cloaks, and without 
the slightest idea of what it was, we went on foot through the streets 
to the chm-ch of San Agustin. When we arrived, a small side-door 


apparently opened of itself, and we entered, passing tlirongli long 
vaulted passages, and up steejD winding stairs, till we found ourselves 
in a small railed gallery, looking down directly upon the cliurcli. 
The scene was curious. About one hvmdi'cd and fifty men, enve- 
loped in cloaks and sarapes, their faces entirely concealed, were as- 
sembled in the body of the church. A monk had just moimted the 
puljiit, and the church was dimly Hghted, except where he stood in 
bold reHef, with his gray robes and cowl thrown back, giving a full 
view of his high bald forehead and expressive face. 

His discourse was a rude but very forcible and eloquent descrip- 
tion of the torments prepared in hell for impenitent sinners. The 
effect of the whole Avas very solemn. It appeared like a preparation 
for the execution of a multitude of condemned criminals. When the 
discourse was finished, they all joined in prayer ^vith much fervour 
and enthusiasm, beating their breasts and falhng upon their faces. 
Then the monk stood up, and in a very distinct voice, read several 
passages of Scriptiu'e descriptive of the sufferings of Christ. The 
organ then struck up the Miserere, and all of a sudden the church 
was plunged in profound darkness; all but a sculptm-ed representa- 
tion of the Crucifixion, which seemed to hang in the air illuminated. 
I felt rather frightened, and would have been very glad to leave the 
church, but it would have been impossible in the darkness. Sud- 
denly, a terrible voice in the dark cried, " My brothers ! when Christ 
was fastened to the pillar by the Jews, he was scourged F' At these 
words, the bright figure disappeared, and the darkness became total. 
Suddenly, we heard the sound of hundreds of scourges descending 
upon the bare flesh. I cannot conceive any thing more horrible. 
Before ten minutes had passed, the sound became sj^lashing, from the 
blood that was floAving. 

I have heard of these penitences in Italian chiu'ches, and also that 
half of those who go there do not really scourge themselves ; but here 
where there is such perfect concealment, there seems no motive for 
deception. Incredible as it may seem, this awful penance continued, 
without intermission, for half an hour ! If they scourged each other ^ 
their energy might be less astonishing. 

We could not leave the church, but it was perfectly sickening ; and 

had I not been able to take hold of the Seiiora 's hand, and feel 

something human beside me, I could have fancied myself transported 
into a congregation of evil spirits. Now and then, but very seldom, 
a suppressed groan was heard, and occasionally the voice of the monk 
encouraging them by ejaculations, or by short passages from Scrip- 
ture. Sometimes the organ struck up, and the poor ^vretches, in a 
faint voice, tried to join in the Miser tre. The sound of the scourging 
is indescribable. At the end of half an hour a httle bell was rung, 
and the voice of the monk was heard, calHng iipon them to desist ; 
but such was their enthusiasm, that the horrible lashing continued 
louder and fiercer than ever. 

In vain he entreated them not to kill themselves ; and assured 


tliem tliat lieaven would be satisfied, and that liuman nature could 
not endure beyond a certain point. No answer, but tlic loud sound 
of the scouro-es, which are many of them of iron, with shaiy points 
that enter the flesh. At length, as if they were perfectly exhausted, 
the sound o-rew fainter, and little by little ceased ahogether. We 
then got up in the dark, and, with great difficulty, groped our way 
in th? pitch darkness through the galleries and down the stairs, till 
we reached the door, and had the pleasure oi leehng the fresh air 
ao-ain They say that the church-iloor is frequently covered with 
blood after one of these penances, and that a man died the other day 
in consequence of Ids wounds. 

I then went to the house of the ■ Minister, where there was 

a reunion, and where I found the company comfortably engaged m 
eating a very famous kind of German salad, composed of hemngs, 
smok?d salmon, cold potatoes, and apples; (salmagundi .^ and 
drinkino- hot punch. After the cold, darkness, and horrors ol the 
church,''this formed rather a contrast; and it was some time before 
I could shake oft" the disagreeable impression left by i\\&desa(jravtos, 
and ioin in the conversation. ... . i-iti 

Alono- with this you mil receive some Mexican airs, which 1 have 
written by ear from hearing them played, and of some oi winch 1 
gave you the words in a former letter. 



(See Letters 12th and IGth.) 




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Fete-day— Friendly Hint- Precautions— General Tranquillity— President in 
San Ao-ustin— Revisit Museum— Ancient Manuscripts— Sculpture -Bronze 
Bust Sc.— Freshness after Rain— Ball at the French Minister's— Pamphlet 
— Gutierrez Estrada— His Character— Concealment— il/cji«//.«ngo—ahnister 
of the Treasury— Archbishop's Permission— Paintings— Mexican Painters- 
Santa Teresa— Description of the Interior— The Penitences— Tortures- 
Disciplines, &c.— Supper— Profane Ballads— Monasteries— San Francisco— 
Fadre Pn'or— Soldiers and Friars. 

October 3d, 

Yesterday being C n's fete-day, we had a dinner and small 

soiree, and according to custom, visits the whole day. A very 

agreeable guest from Havana, Don J A , arrived to spend 

a few weeks with us. We had rather a pleasant party, and some 

good singing ; but just as dancing had begun, C n took me 

aside, and showed me a Httle friendly note which he had received 

while at dinner, from General , in which he informs him that 

the robbers would in all probability attack our respective houses that 

night; that he had taken Ms precautions, and advises C n to do 

the same, in the understanding that, if necessary, they should mu- 
tually assist each other. A pleasant piece of intelhgence ! Tlie 
thing got whispered about, and some of the ladies looked a little 
blank at the information; but there could be no risk while so many 

persons were collected. About one they Avent away, and C -n 

sent for some soldiers to keep watch all night. _ Nothing happened; 
as no doubt the robbers found out what precautions had been taken. 
The mtended attack had been discovered by a servant of the gene- 
ral's, who heard them discussing the matter in the back-room of a 

We have been obhged to procure two old soldiers as porters, m 
lieu of the two who were shot in the revolution ; for though not 
killed, they are entirely disabled for the present. 

Mexico appears particularly quiet just now; and whatever storms 
may be preparing, no symptoms are visible to the uninitiated eye. 
The palace has gx)t in its glass eyes again, and externally is almost 
entirely repaired; but it is not yet fit for the residence of the_ presi- 
dent, who still holds his court in the convent of San Agustm. I 
have been driving about with our Havana friend, hke an old resi- 
dent, showing the beauties of Mexico to a stranger. We have been 
in the Mineria, Museum, Botanical Garden, Biscay College, &c., all 
of which can bear revision. 

The Museum especially, which, owing to the want of arrange- 
ment and classification in the antiquities, and the manner in which 
they are crowded together in the different rooms of the university, 
appears at first undeserving of much attention, improves upon ac- 



qiiamtance. It is only since the year '25 that it was established by 
the government, and various plans have been since made for enrich- 
ing and arranging it, and also for transporting it to the old buildino- 
of the Inqmsition. But as yet nothing essential has been carried 
into effect. 

It contains upwards of two hundred historical manuscripts, some 
m hieroglyphical characters anterior to the conquest, and many in 
the different ancient languages of the country. Of the ancient 
sculpture, it possesses two colossal statues and many smaller ones, be- 
sides a variety of busts, heads, figures of animals, masks, and instru- 
ments of music or of war, curiously engraved, and indicating the 
different degrees of civiHzation of the" different nations to whom 
they belonged. A great many of the vases of tecal, and of the 
candlesticks m clay, curiously worked, were drawn from excavations 
m the Isle of Sacrifices, near Vera Cruz, from Oajaca, &c., and from 
the suburbs of Mexico. There is also a collection of very ancient 
medals, to the number of six hundred, a bronze bust of PhiHp V., 
and about two hundred Mexican paintings, comprehending two col- 
lections of the portraits of the Spanish viceroys, many ol^ the cele- 
brated Cabrera's, and various dresses, arms, and utensils, from both 
the Cahfornias.^ In the cabinet of natural history there is a good 
collection of minerals, and some very fine specimens of gold and 
silver.^ But in the animal or vegetable branch of natural history 
there is a great deficiency, and altogether the Museum is not worthy 
of a country which seems destined'by nature to be the great empo- 
rium of all natural science. 

Of course we have revisited old Chapultepec and Our Lady of 
Guadalupe, with her Legend and Holy Well. In the morning we 
have rode to Tacubaya and the environs, and the weather at^that 
early hour has the most indescribable freshness, caused by the even- 
ing rains. Every thing looks bright and sparkKng. The Peruvian 
trees, with their bending green branches and bunches of scarlet 
berries, glitter with the heavy rain-drops, and even the hoary cy- 
presses of Chapultepec sparkle with water in all their gigantic 
branches. ^ Little pools have become ponds, and ditches rivulets, and 
frequently it is rather wading than riding, which is not so pleasant. 

24th. — Last evening we had a ver^ pretty ball in the house of the 
-French Minister, where all the Paris furniture was very effective. 
There were as usual plenty of diamonds, and some handsome di-esses 
— mine white satin, with flowers. 

25th. — The whole world is talking of a pamphlet written by 
Senor Gutierrez Estrada, which has just appeared, and seems Kkely 
to cause a greater sensation in Mexico than the discovery of the 
gunpowder plot in England. Its sum and substance is the proposal 
of a constitutional monarchy in Mexico, with a foreign prince (not 
named) at its head, as the only remedy for the evils by Avhich it is 
afflicted. The pamphlet is written merely in a speculative form, in- 
culcating no sanguinary measures, or sudden revolution; but the 
consequences are likely to be most disastrous to the fearless and pub- 


lie-spirited author. Even those who most question his prudence in 
takin"- this step, agree that in this, as well as in every other political 
action of his life, he has acted from thorough conviction and from 
motives of the purest patriotism, unalloyed by one personal feehng; 
indeed, entirely throwing behind him every consideration of per- 
sonal or family interest, which even the best men allow to liave some 
weight with them on such occasions. 

In a political review of Mexico, written some years ago by a 
IMexican who deals fearlessly, and it would seem impartially, with 
the characters of all the leading men of that period, I find some re- 
marks on Senor Gutierrez Estrada, which you will place more faith 
in, as comino- fi-om a less partial source than from persons so attached 
as we are to him and his family. In speaking of the conduct of the 
administration, he says — " Seiior Gutierrez Estrada was one of the 
few who remained firm in his ideas, and above all, true to his po- 
litical eno'ao-ements. This citizen is a native of the State of Yuca- 
tan, where his family, who are distinguished in every point of view, 
reside. It is unnecessary to say that Gutierrez received a thorough 
and brilhant education, as it is sufficient to have conversed with him 
to discover this fact ; nor that he knew how to turn it to account in 
the career of public service to which he devoted himself, and in 
which he has remained pure and unblemished in the midst of a cor- 
rupt class. From the first he was destined to the European Lega- 
tions, on account of his fluency in speaking and writing both English 
and French ; and he is one of the few who have employed their time 
usefully in the capitals of the Old World. Flexible by nature, ho- 
nourable by education, and expeditious in business, his services have 
been perfect, and above all, loyal and conscientious." He goes on 
to say that, " notwithstanding the gentleness of his temper, his po- 
litical conscience is so firm and pure, that he will never yield in what 
he considers his obligation, even ivhen it interferes with the most in- 
timate friendships^ or most weighty considerations .'' One would think 
that the writer had foreseen the present emergency. I have not yet 
read the pamphlet which the friends of the author consider an equal 
proof of his noble independence, bold patriotism, and vast informa- 
tion; being, to say the truth, much more interested in its domestic 
effects than in its public results, or even in its intrinsic merits. 

26th. — Soldiers were sent to the house of the Countess de la 
C a, to arrest her son-in-law, but in compliance with the en- 
treaties of his family, he had gone into concealment. I found them 
in great affiictiou , but they are so accustomed to political persecution 
from one party or another, particularly the countess, that her courage 
has never deserted her for a moment. He is accused in Congress — 
in the senate-house — a proclamation is made by the president, ana- 
thematizing his principles — even the printer of the pamphlet is 
thrown into prison. Nothing else is spoken of, and the general irri- 
tation is so terrible, that it is to be hoped his place of concealment is 
secure ; otherwise the consequences may be fatal. 

On pretend that many distinguished men here hold the same 


opinions, but their voices, even were they to venture to raise them 
could not stem the tide of pubhc indignation. The most offended 

are naturally the mihtary men In short, Senor Gutierrez, 

who has been passing four years abroad, in countries where hun- 
dreds of obscure scribblers daily advocate republicanism or any wild 
theory that strikes their fancy, with the most perfect security, was 
probably hardly aware of the extraordinary ferment which such a 
pamphlet was likely to produce at the present jmicture. 

27th.— A few days before Seiior A left us, we went up the 

canal in a canoe, as far as Santa Anita, to show him all that remains 
of the Cliinampas. It is as pleasant a way of passing an evenino- as 
any that I know of here. ° 

We drove lately to Mexicalsingo, where there is a cave in which 
there is a figure of our Saviom-, which they pretend has lately ap- 
peared there. . . . 

The^ excitement concerning the pamphlet seems rather to increase 
than diminish, but Sciior Gutierrez has many devoted friends, and 
the place of his retreat is secure. There is httle doubt that he ^vill 
be forced to fly the comrtry. 

29th.— Senor Don Xavier Hechavama, Minister of the Treasury, 
has sent in his resignation. Being a man of large private fortune, 
extremely simple in liis habits, and the most amiable of men in 
domestic Hfe, I believe that no minister has ever tlii'own off with 
more unaffected satisfaction the burden of state affairs, or -will enjoy 
his retreat from pubHc life with more true pliilosophy. 

I have been so much interested in the affairs of the C a family, 

that I have forgotten to tell you of my having obtained permission 
from the archbishop to visit the Santa Teresa, accompanied by one 
yomig married lady, who has a sister there. The archbishop desired 
that oiu- visit should be kept a secret; but it has oozed out by some 
means or other, probably through the nmis themselves, and exposed 
liim to so much inconvenience and such a torrent of solicitations 
from those ladies who, having daughters or sisters amongst the nuns, 
are naturally most desirous to see them, that I fear, notwithstanding 
his good nature, he will put a veto on all my future apphcations. 
You will think_ I pass my time in convents, but I find no other 
places half so interesting, and you know I always had a fancy 
that way. 

In some of these convents there still exist, buried ahve like the 
inmates, various fine old paintings; amongst others, some of the 
Flemish school, brought to Mexico by the monks, at the time when 
the Low Countries were under Spanish dominion. Manv masters 
also of the Mexican school, such as Eniiquez, Cabrera, &c., have 
enriched the cloisters with their productions, and employed their 
talent on holy subjects, such as the hves of the saints, the martyrs, 
and other Christian subjects. Everywhere, especially, there are 
Cabreras, an artist somewhat in the Luca Giordano style ; the same 
monotony, facility, and ''fa presto Luca /" All his pictures are agree- 
able, and some strikingly beautiful. Occasionally he copies from 


the old masters, but rarely. Ximcnes and Enriquez are not so com- 
mon, and some of" tlieir productions are very good, and deserve to 
be better known than I imagine tliey are in Europe. They are a 
branch of the Spanish school, and afford striking proofs of the extra- 
ordinary talent of the Mexicans for the fine arts, as well as of the 
faciHties which the mother-country afforded them. 

But it is in the convent of the Profesa that the finest paintings 
are, and there I cannot enter ! The galleries are fuU of paintings, 

the most part by Cabrera ; and C n speaks with enthusiasm of 

one exceedingly beautiful painting, in the sacristy of the chapel, 
said to be an original Guido, being a representation of Christ tied to 
the pillar and scom-ged; in which the expression of pure divinity 
and suffering humanity is finely blended, and well contrasted with 
savage cruelty in the countenances of his executioners. But most of 
these paintings are neglected, and so falhng to decay that it is piti- 
able to look at them. 

The Santa Teresa, however, has few ornaments. It is not nearly 
so large as the Eacarnacion, and admits but twenty-one nuns. At 
present there are, besides these, but three novices. Its very atmo- 
sphere seems holy, and its scrupulous and excessive cleanness makes 
aU profane dwellings appear dirty by comparison. We were accom- 
panied by a bishop. Sen or Madrid, the same who assisted at the 
archbishop's consecration — a good-looking man, young and tall, 
and very splendidly dressed. His robes were of purple satin, covered 
with fine point-lace, with a large cross of diamonds and amethysts. 
He also wore a cloak of very fine purple cloth, hned with crimson 
velvet, crimson stockings, and an immense amethyst ring. 

When he came in we found that the nuns had permission to put 
up their veils, rarely allowed in this order in the presence of strangers. 
They have a small garden and fountain, plenty of flowers, and some 
fruit ; but all is on a smaller scale, and sadder than in the convent 
of the Incarnation. The refectory is a large room, with a long nar- 
row table running all round it — a plain deal table, with wooden 
benches; before the place of each nun, an earthen bowl, an earthen 
cup with an apple in it, a wooden plate and a wooden spoon ; at the 
top of the table a grinning skull, to remind them that even these 
indulgences they shall not long enjoy. 

In one corner of the room is a reading-desk, a sort of elevated 
pulpit, where one reads aloud from some holy book, whilst the 
others discuss their simple fare. They showed us a crown of thorns, 
which, on certain days, is worn by one of their number, by way of 
penance. It is made of iron, so that the nails entering inwards, run 
into the head, and make it bleed. While she wears this on her head, 
a sort of wooden bit is put into her mouth, and she hes prostrate on 
her face till dinner is ended ; and while in this condition her food is 
given her, of which she eats as much as she can, which probably 
is none. 

We visited the different cells, and were horror-struck at the self- 
inflicted tortures. Each bed consists of a wooden plank raised in the 


middle, and on days of penitence crossed by wooden bars. Tlie 
pillow is wooden, with a cross lying on it, Avliich they hold in their 
hands when they lie down. The nun lies on this penitential couch, 
embracing the cross, and her feet hanging out, as the bed is made 
too short for her upon principle. Round her waist she occasionally 
wears a band with iron points tu.rning inwards ; on her breast a cross 
with nails, of which the points enter the flesh, of the truth of 
which I had melancholy ocular demonstration. Then, after having 
scourged herself with a whip covered with iron nails, she lies down 
for a few hours on the wooden bars, and rises at four o'clock. All 
tliesc instruments of discipline, which each nun keeps in a httle box 
beside her bed, look as if their fitting place would be in the dungeons 
of the Inquisition. They made me try their bed and hoard, which 
I told them would give me a very decided taste for early rising. 

Yet they all seem as cheerful as possible, though it must be con- 
fessed, that many of them look pale and unhealthy. It is said, that 
when they are strong enough to stand this mode of life, they live 
very long; but it frequently happens that girls who come into this 
convent, are obhged to leave it from sickness, long before the expi- 
ration of their novitiate. I met with the girl whom I had seen take 
the veil, and cannot say that she looked either well or cheerful, 
though she assured me, that " of course, in doing the "vvdll of God," 
she was both. There was not much beauty amongst them generally, 
though one or two had remains of great loveUness. My friend, the 

Madre A , is handsomer on a closer view than I had supposed 

her, and seems an especial favourite with old and young. But there 
was one whose face must have been strikingly beautiful. She was 
as pale as marble, and though still young, seemed in very delicate 
health; but her eyes and eyebrows as black as jet, the eyes so lai'ge 
and soft, the eyebrows two pencilled arches ; and her smiles so re- 
signed and sweet, would have made her the loveliest model imagin- 
able for a Madonna. 

Again, as in the Incarnation, they had taken the trouble to pre- 
pare an elegant supper for us. The bishop took his place in an an- 
tique velvet chair, the Scilora and I were placed on each 

side of him. The room was very well lighted, and there was as 
great a profusion of custards, jellies, and ices, as if we had been 
supping at the most profane cafe. The nuns did not sit down, but 
walked about, pressing us to eat, the bishop now and then giving 
them cakes, with permission to eat them, which they received 
laughing. They have the most humble and caressing manners, and 
really appear to be the most amiable and excellent women in the 
world. They seem to make no ostentation of virtue, but to be 
seriously impressed with the conviction that they have chosen the 
true road to salvation; nor are there in them any visible symptoms 
of that spiritual pride from which few devotees are exempt. 

After supper, a small harp was brought in, which had been sent 
for by the bishop's permission. It was terribly out of tune, with 
half the strings broke; but we were determined to grudge no trouble 


in putting it in order, and giving these poor recluses wluit they con- 
sidered so great a gratification. We got it into some sort of condi- 
tion at last, and when they heard it played, they were vehement in 

their expressions of deliglit. The Seuora , who has a charming 

voice, afterwards sang to them, the bishop being very indulgent, 
and permitting us to select whatever songs we chose, so that when 
rather a profane canticle, " The Virgin of the Pillar" (La Virgin 
del Pilar), was sung, he vei-y kindly turned a deaf ear to it, and 
seemed busily engaged in conversation Avith an old madre, till it 
was all over. 

We were really sorry to leave them ; particularly as it is next to 
impossible that we shall ever see thenr again; and it seemed as if in 
a few hours a friendship had been formed between us and these re- 
cluses, whose sensations are so few, they must be the more lasting. 
The thoughts of these poor women cost me a sad and sleepless night. 
They have sent me some wax figures, dressed in the costumes of the 
diflTerent orders, beginning with their own. They wear the coarsest 
and hardest stuff next their skin, in itself a perpetual penance. 

In these robes they are buried ; and one would think that if any 
human being can ever leave this world without a feeling of regret, 
it must be a nun of the Santa Teresa, when, her privations in this 
world ended, she lays down her blameless life, and joins the pious 
sisterhood who have gone before her; dying where she has lived, 
surrounded by her companions, her last hours soothed by their 
prayers and tears, sure of their vigils for the repose of her soid, and 
above all, sure that neither pleasure nor vanity will ever obliterate 
her remembrance from their hearts. 

At matins, at vespers, at the simple board, at the nightly hymn, 
she will be missed from their train. Her empty cell will recall her 
to their eyes; her dust will be proflined by no stranger's foot- 
step, and though taken away, she still seems to remain amongst 

As for the monasteries, not only no woman can enter, but it is 
said, with what truth I know not, that a vice -queen having in- 
sisted on the privilege of her vice-royalty to enter, the gallery, and 
every place wliich her footsteps desecrated, were unpaved. This was 
very Saint Senanus like, and j^^fi- galant, to say the least. 

The finest convent of monks in Mexico is that of San Francisco, 
which from alms alone has an immense annual rent. According to 
Humboldt, it was to have been built upon the ruins of the temple 
of HuitzilopocHtli, the god of war; but these ruins having been 
destined for the foundation of the cathedral, this immense convent 
was erected where it now stands, in 1531. The founder was an ex- 
traordinary man, a great benefactor of the Indians, and to whom 
they owed many useful mechanical arts which he brought them 
from Europe. His name was Fray Pedro de Grante — his calhng that 
of a lay-friar — and his father was the Emperor Charles V. ! 

Of the interior of this convent I am enabled to give you a partial 



description, but whether irom hearsay, in a vision, or by the use of 
my natural eyes, I shall not disclose. It is built in the form of a 
square, and has five churches attached to it. You enter a gate, pass 
through the great, silent, and grass-grown court — up the broad stair- 
case, and enter the long, arched cloisters, hghted by one dim lamp, 
where every thing seems to breathe a religious repose. . . . 

The padre prior, seated alone in his cell, with a thick and richly- 
clasped volume before him, a single lamp on his table, on the wall 
a crucifix, plain but decent furniture, -svith his bald head, and pale, 
impressive face, Avould have made a fine study for a painter. By 
such men, the embers of learning and of science were nursed into a 
faint but steady flame, burning through the long, gloomy night of 
the dark ages, unseen by profane eyes, hke the vestal fire in pagan 
temples. . . . 

A small room, opening into his Kttle parlour, contains his bed, on 
which is a mattress ; for the padres do not perform such acts of self- 
denial and penitence as the cloistered nuns — and I am assm'ed that 
his cigars are genuine Havana. . . . 

Beggars lounging within the courtyard — a group of monks talk- 
ing together within the walled enclosure. . . . 

Change the scene to the monastery of San Agustin, and you 
might fancy yourself in the days of one of Walter Scott's romances, 
in the melange of soldiers and friars ; for here his Excellency the Pre- 
sident has his temporary abode; and the torch-light gleams brightly 
on the swarthy faces of the soldiers, some lying on the ground enve- 
loped in their cloaks ; others keeping guard before the convent gate. This 
convent is also very large, but not so immense as that of San Fran- 
cisco. The padre prior is a good little old man, but has not the im- 
jDressive, ascetic visage of the guardian of the other convent. His 
room is as simple, though not in such perfect order; and his bed is 
also furnished with a comfortable mattress. An air half military, 
half monkish, pervades the convent — aides-de-camp of the president 
passing along the galleries, their uniforms contrasting with the dark 
robe of a passing monk, returning at nightfall to his cell. 

The president had an alarm the night preceding, the prisoners in 
the jail having broken out. A serious afl:ray had been expected, and 
every thing was prepared for putting the person of the president in safety. 
The back stairs and secret passages in these old convents lead to ex- 
cellent hiding-places, and have been put to frequent use during the 
revolutions. In the old IMonte Pio there is a communication Avith a 
convent of nuns, and in cases of pillage, the jewels used to be carried 
by a private staircase out of Monte Pio, and placed under the care 
of the nuns of Santa Brigida. 

The convent of la Proicsa is also a fine and spacious building, 
but excepting that it has a greater number of good paintings than the 
others, when you have seen one, you have seen all, and I believe none 
are as large as that founded by the illegitimate scion oi" the Imperial 
Charles, who himself ended his davs in a similar retreat. 



Dia dc Mucrtos — Leave JMexico — Hcrrackros — San Cristobal — Tunas — Plaza 
de Toros — Throwinfr the Laso — Accidents — Rustic Breakfast — Country Fare 
— Baked Meat — Lidian Market — Buried Bull — Monntain — 'ioWtmy Hacienda 
— Hcijes — Mules marked — Return — Queen of Spain's Birthday — Diplo- 
matic Dinner. 

Santiago, November 3d. 

Yesterday, tlie second of November, a day which for eight 
centuries has been set apart in the CathoHc Church for commemo- 
rating the dead, the day empliatically known as tiie " Dia de 
3Iuertos,'' the churches througliout all the Republic of Mexico 
present a gloomy spectacle ; darkened and hung with black cloth, 
while in the middle aisle is a coffin, covered also with black, and 
painted with skulls and other emblems of mortality. Everyone attends 
church in mourning, and considering the common lot of humanity, 
there is, perhaps, not one heart over the whole CathoHc world, 
which is not wrmig that day, in calhng up the memory of the de- 

After early mass, we set off for Santiago, where we intend to 
spend a week, to be present at the Hem^aderos — the marking of the 
bulls with a hot iron with the initials of the proprietor's name ; 
stamping them with the badge of slavery — which is said to be an 
extraordinary scene ; to which all rancheros and Indians look for- 
ward with the greatest delight. We had a very pleasant journey 
here, leavino- Mexico at six in the morning, and travelling at the 
usual rate, with seven horses and plenty of mozos. Indeed, no one 
attempts a journey of any length into the country, without at least 
six horses or mules. 

Near Sopayuca, while they were changing horses, avc Avcnt to 
mass, in the picturesque church of San Cristobal. The magnifi- 
cence of these places of worship is extraordinary. Here was this 
country church crowded with leperos, the officiating priests, Indians 
with bare feet; yet the building large and rich, hung with black 
cloth, and lighted with great tapers which threw their gloomy rays 
on as much of the rich gilding that encrusted the walls, as the dark 
23all left visible. 

We got into the carriage a basket of that most refreshing of 
fruits, the tuna, which grow wild in abundance all over the country. 
The first time I unwarily pulled them off the trees, I got my fingers 
full of the innumerable Httle prickles wliich cover the skin, and 
wliicli it is very difficult to get rid of The Indians have great 


dexterity in gatliering and peeling them. There is the green and 
the red tuna; the last the prettiest to look at, but not nearly so 
agreeable a fruit as the other. 

When we arrived at Santiago, we sat down to dinner to the 
number of about fifty persons, and in the room next to us was a 
party still larger, of lower degree, for all the world has come to be 
present at this annual festivity. 

6 th. — The next morning we set off early to the inlaza de toros. 
The day was fresh and exliilirating. All the country people from 
several leagues roiond were assembled, and the trees up to their very 
topmost branches presented a collection of bronze faces and black 
eyes, belonging to the Indians, who had taken their places there as 
comfortably as spectators in a one-shiUing gallery. A platform 
opposite ours, was filled with the wives and daughters of agents and 
small farmers, little rancheras, with short white gowns and rebosos. 
There was a very tolerable band of music, perched upon a natural or- 
chestra. Bernardo and his men were walking and riding about, 
and preparing for action. Notliing could be more j^ictiu'esque than 
the whole scene. 

Seven hundred bulls were di-iven in from the plains, bellowing 
loudly, so that the air was filled with their fierce music. The 
universal love wliich the Mexicans have for these sports, amounts to 
a passion. All their money is reserved to buy new dresses for tliis 
occasion, silver rolls or gold linings for their hats, or new deerskin 
pantaloons and embroidered jackets with silver buttons. Tlie acci- 
dents that happen are inmunerable, but nothing damps their ardour. 
It heats fox hunting. The most striking part of the scene is the ex- 
traordinary facility which these men show in throwing the laso. 
The bulls being all diiven into an enclosure — one after another, and 
sometimes two or three at a time, wxre chosen from amongst them, 
and driven into the plaza, where they were received with shouts of 
applause, if they appeared fierce, and likely to afford good sport ; or 
of irony, if they turned to fly, which happened more than once. 

Three or four bulls are driven in. They stand for a moment, 
proudly reconnoitring their opponents. The horsemen gallop up, 
armed only with the laso, and with loud insulting cries of 
" AA toroV challenge them to the contest. The bulls paw the 
ground, then plunge furiously at the horses, frequently wounding 
tliem at the first onset. Round they go in fierce gallop, bulls and 
horsemen, amidst the cries and shouts of the spectators. The horse- 
man throws the laso. The bull shakes his head free of the cord, 
tosses his horns proudly, and gallops on. But his fate is inevitable. 
Down comes the whirhng rope, and encircles his tliick neck. He 
is thrown down strugghng furiously, and repeatedly dashes his head 
against the groiuid in rage and despair. Then, liis legs being also 
tied, the man with the hissing red-hot iron in the form of a letter, 
brands him on the side with the token of liis dependance on the lord 
of the soil. Some of the bulls stand this mart3T:dom with Spartan 


lieroism, and do not utter a cry ; but others, wlien the iron enters 
their flesh, biu'st out into long bellowing roars, that seem to echo 
through the whole country. They are then loosened, get upon 
their legs again, and like so many branded Cains, are driven out 
into the country, to make way for others. Such roaring, such 
shouting, such an odour of singed hair and hifteli au naturel, such 
playing of music, and such wanton risks as were ran by the men ! 

I saw a toreador, who was always foremost in every thing, at- 
tempting to drag a bull by the horns, when the animal tossed his 
head, and w4th one jerk of one horn, tore all the flesh off his finger 
to the very bone. Tlie man coolly tore a piece off a handkerchief, 
shook the blood off his finger with a shght grimace, bound it up in 
a moment, and dashed away upon a new venture. One Mexican, 
extraordinarily handsome, ^vith eyes hke an eagle, but very tliin 
and pale, is, they say, so covered from head to foot with wounds re- 
ceived in different bull-fights, that he cannot Hve long ; yet this man 
was the most enthusiastic of them all. His master tried to dissuade 
him from joining in the sport this year; but he broke forth into 
such pathetic entreaties, conjuring him " by the hfe of the Se- 
liorita," &c., that he could not ■v\dthhold his consent. 

After an enormous number of bulls had been caught and labelled, 
we went to breakfast. We found a tent prepared for us, formed of 
boughs of trees intertwined mth garlands of wliite moss, like that 
wliich covers the cypresses at Chapultepec, and beautifully orna- 
mented with red blossoms and scarlet berries. We sat down iipon 
heaps of white moss, softer than any cushion. The Indians had 
cooked meat imder the stones for us, wliich I found horrible, 
smelhng and tasting of smoke. But we had also boiled fowls, and 
quantities of burning chile, hot tortillas, atole, or atolli, as the 
Indians call it, a species of cakes made of very fine maize and 
water, and sweetened with sugar or honey ; emharrado, a favourable 
composition of meat and chile, very hke mud, as the name imports, 
which I have not yet made up my mind to endure; quantities of 
fresh tunas, granaditas, bananas, aguacates, and other fruits, besides 
pulque a discretion. 

The other people were assembled in circles under the trees, 
cooking fowls and boiling eggs in a gipsy flxshion, in caldrons, at 
little fires made with dry branches ; and the band, in its intervals 
of tortillas and pulque, favoui'ed us with occasional airs. After 
breakfast, we walked out amongst the Indians, who had formed a 
sort of temporary market, and were selHng pulque, chia, roasted 
chestnuts, yards of baked meat, and every kind of fruit. We then 
returned to see a great bull-fight, wdiich was followed by more 
herr cider OS — in short, spent the whole day amongst the toi'os, and 
retiu'ned to dinner at six o'clock, some in coaches, some on horse- 
back. In the evening, all the people danced in a large hall; but at 
eleven o'clock I could look on no longer, for one of these days in 
the hot sim is very fatiguing. Nevertheless, at two in the morn- 

K 2 


ino", tliese men, who had gone tlirougli such violent exercise, were 
still dancing jarabcs. 

8th. — For several days we lived amongst bulls and Indians, the 
herraderos continuing, with variation of colear, riding the bulls, 
&c. Not the slightest slackening in the eagerness of the men. 
Even a little boy of ten years old mounted a young bull one day, and 
with great difficulty and at a great risk succeeded in forcing him to 
gallop round the circle. His father looked on, evidently frightened 
to death for the boy, yet too proud of his youthful prowess to attempt 
to stop him. 

At night, when I shut my eyes, I see before me visions of bulls* 
heads. Even when asleep I hear them roaring, or seem to listen to 
the shouts of "yl/i toroT The last day of the herraderos, by way 

of winding up, a bull was killed in honour of C n, and a great 

flag was sent streaming from a tree, on which flag was inscribed in 
lara'c letters, " Gloria al Sehor Ministro dc la Augusta Cristina !" a 
piece of gallantry which I rewarded with a piece of gold. 

The animal, when dead, is given as a present to the torcadores ; 
and this bull, cut in pieces, they bury with his skin on, in a hole in 
the ground previously prepared, with a fire in it, which is then co^ 
vered over with earth and branches. During a certain time, it re- 
mains baking in this natural oven, and the common people consider 
it a great delicacy, (in which I difter from them). 

Yesterday, we climbed to the top of a steep mountain, which cost 
us as much labour as if it had been that steep path which " leads to 
fame." Fortunately, it has a good deal of wood, and we had an oc- 
casional rest in the shade. We mounted the hill on horseback as 
far as horses could go ; but the principal part could only be performed 
on foot. Most of the party remained half way. We reached the 
top, swinging ourselves up by the branches, in places where it was 
nearly perpendicular. We were revvarded, first by the satisfaction 
one always has in making good one's intentions, and next, by a won- 
derfully fine and extensive view. Our return was more agreeable, 
as the weather, except in the heat of the noon-day sun, is very cool in 
this part of the comitry. The liills are covered chiefly with tunas, 

low iirs, and numbers of shrubs, with flowers and berries 

Met on our return a horseman, who came to announce the arrival of 

a guest, Senor H , from Puebla, Avho proved a pleasant addition 

to our society. 

15th. — We went out early this morning on horseback, and break- 
fasted at an hacienda, five leagues distant from Santiago, belonging 

to the widow of 's agents, a good looking, respectable woman, 

who, alone, in this solitary place, brings up her eight children as she 
best can. Tliis may really be caUed sohtude. From one year to 
the other she never sees a human being, except an occasional Indian. 
She is well off", and every tlfing in her house is clean and comfortable. 
She herself manages the farm, and educates her children to the best 
of her abilities, so that she never finds time to be duU. She expected 

MULES. 231 

ns, and gave us breakflist (we being about twenty in mnnbcr), con- 
sisting of every thing which that part of the country can afford; 
and the party certainly did justice to her excellent fare. She gave us 
pulque, fermented with the jviice of the pineapple, which is very good. 

When the sun had gone down a little, we rode to the fine hacienda 
of Reyes, belonging to Scnor A , where he is making and pro- 
jecting alterations and improvements. When we left Reyes it began 
to rain, and we were glad to accept the covering of sarapes, as we 
galloped over the plains. We had a dchghtful ride. Towards even- 
ing the rain ceased, and the moon rose brightly and without a cloud; 
but we were certainly tired enough when we got home, having rode 
in all ten leagues. 

17th. — These two days have been passed in seeing the mules 
marked. They are even more dangerous than the bulls, as they Ijite 
most ferociously while in their wild state. When thrown down by 
the laso, they snore in the most extraordinary manner, Hke so many 
aldermen in an apoplectic nap. 

This is, perhaps, the most useful and profitable of all Mexican ani- 
mals. As beasts of burthen and for draught, they are in use over 
the whole republic, and are excellent for long journej-s, being ca- 
pable of immense fatigue, particularly in those arid, hilly parts of 
the comitry, where there are no roads. Those which go in droves, 
can carry about five himdred pounds weight, going at the rate of 
twelve or fourteen miles a day, and in this way they can perform 
journeys of more than a thousand miles. For constant use they are 
preferable to horses, being so much less delicate, requiring less care, 
and enduring more fatigue. A good pair of carriage mules will cost 
from five hundred to a thousand dollars. 

After dinner we saw some of these wild creatures, that had just 
been caught, put into a carriage, each wild mule harnessed with a 
civihzed one, and such kicking and flinging up of heels I never mt- 
ncsscd. However, the mozos can manage any thing, and in about 
half an hour, after much alternate soothing and lashing, they trotted 
along with the heavy coach after them, only rearing and plunging at 
decent intervals. 

Mexico, 12th. 

We have passed ten days in the country, taking constant exer- 
cise, and have been obhged to return home rather sooner than we 
should have wished, in order to mark Queen Ysabel's Day with a 
diplomatic dinner. 

Though less is now said on the subject of the pamphlet than when 
we left this, the irritation seems to continue as before. Seilor Gu- 
tierrez remains concealed, communicating only with liis family and 
a few devoted friends ; a most disagreeable position, and one which 
it is impossible for liim to endure long. 

20th. — Our dinner has gone ojf as well as could be expected. The 
party were twenty-six in number, consisting of his Grace the Arch- 
bishop, their Excellencies of the Cabinet and Corps Diplomatique, 

232 queen's birthday. 

together witli Count Cortina, the Valencias, and Gorostizas. The 
gentlemen were in full uniform — the ladies en (jraiide toilette — ^the 
archbishop in his robes. We had a band of music in the gallery, 
and walked in to the sound of the Norma, precedence being given to 
the archbishop, who took me, or rather whom I took, as I foimd 
some difficulty in getting my arm into his robes. I beheve no bliui- 
ders in etiquette were committed. The dinner lasted three and a 
half mortal hours. The archbishop proposed the health of her 
Majesty the Queen, which was drank standing, the band performing 
God save the Queen. I was di'eadfully tired (though in a very 
agreeable position), and have no doubt every one else was the same, 
it being eleven when we returned to the drawing-room. 

The archbishop's famiHars, two priests who always accompany 
him, respectable black guards^ were already in waiting. As for liim, 
he was as kind and agreeable as usual, and, after coffee, took his de- 
partiure to the sound of music. 


Virgin of Cavadcmga — Santo Domingo — Decorations and Music — Daguerreotype 

— Weekly Soirees — An Arrival — An Earthquake — Honourable Mr. ■ 

— Broken Furniture — Dias — Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe — Party of the 
Desierto — Jtzcidntepotzotii — Inn of Giiajimaclo — Ruined Convent — Its Origin 
— Dejeune a la Fourchette — Splendid Scenery — Vow to the Virgin — Musi- 
cal Mass — Tacuba — Ride with the Prior. 

2 1 St. 

We received a few days since an invitation to attend the sumptu- 
ous mass, annually given by the Asturian Brotherhood, in honour 
of the Virgin of Cavadonga, in the chm-ch of Santo Domingo. 
The invitation being printed on blue satin, with gold lace and 
tassels, seems worthy of a place in a box of wax figures, which -svill 
be sent by the next packet. 

The church was superbly decorated, and only well-dressed peo- 
ple were admitted. C ^n was carried off" to a post of honour 

near the altar, and a padre gave me a velvet chair. The music was 
beautiful, but too gay for a chiu'ch. There were ^doKns and wind 
instruments, and several amateur players. Some pieces from the 
Cheval de Bronze were very well played. Tlie sermon, preached by 
Guerrero, a chanoine who has some reputation as an orator, con- 



tained a prudent degree of praise of tlie Spaniards, and even of a 
king, could that king be a pelayo. 

In the evening we dined at the Prussian minister's — a pleasant 

partv. ^ J 

Yesterday we went to Chapultepec, C n and 1, M. de 

G t, and M. de N , to take views with the Daguerreotype, 

^luch C n had the pleasm-e of receiving some time ago from 

Boston, from our friend, Mr. Prescott. Wliile they were work- 
ins: in the sim, I, finding that the excessive heat had the effect of 
cooHng my enthusiasm, established myself with a book under Mon- 
tezuma's cypress, which felt very romantic. The poetry of the scene, 
however, was greatly weakened by the arrival of a party oiforqats m 
chains, who are working in the castle, which I believe there is 
some intention of having transformed into a military college. 
They are so insolent, that forgetting they are guarded and chamed 
in couples, I felt glad to see that the servants were withm call. 

Our weekly soirees have begun, and, so far, are very successful. 
There are now tliree tertulias in the week at the houses of the diplo- 
mates. We have generally music, cards, and plenty of dancing, 
and every one seems pleased, the best proof of winch they give by 
generally staying till two or three in the morning. 

28th. — You may imagine my joy at the arrival of K — and A — - 
in health and safety at three o'clock to-day. They have had a good 
journey from Vera Cruz, suffering from notliing but the cold, which 
they felt especiaUy at Perote. As they arrived on the day of a 
soiree, they did not make their appearance, being tired. I have 
now an excuse for revisiting all my old haunts, and the first week 
or two must pass in sight-seeing. 

30th.— We dined yesterday at Tacubaya ; where the ^-—^ 
family, particularly the ladies of the family, are in a state of the 
greatest uneasiness. 

I had just written these words, when I began, to my g-reat 
astonisliment, to rock up and down, chair, table, and myself. Sud- 
denly, the room, the walls, all began to move, and the floor to hea,ve 
like the waves of the sea ! At first, I imagined that I was giddy, 
but almost immediately saw that it was an earthquake. We all ran, 
or rather staggered as well as we could, into the gallery, where the 
servants were already ranged on their knees, praying and crossing 
themselves with all their might. The shock lasted above a minute 
and a half, and I beheve has done no injury, except m frightening 
the whole population, and cracking a few old walls. All Mexico was 
on its knees wliile it lasted, even the poor madmen m San Hepo- 

lito, which A had gone to visit in company with Senor . 

I have had a feehng of sea-sickness ever since. They expect a 
return of the shock in twenty-four hours. How dreadful a severe 
earthquake must be! how terrible it is to feel this heaving of t^^ 
soHd earth, to lose our confidence in its security, and to be reminded 
that the elements of destruction which lurk beneath our feet, are 


yet swifter and more powerful to destroy, than those which arc 
above us. 

I cannot help laugliing yet at the recollection of the face of a 
poor Httle clerk \Aio had just entered the house with a packet of 

letters for C n. He did not kneel, but sat down upon the 

steps as pale as death, looking as " creamed faced" as the messen- 
ger to Macbeth ; and when the shock was over, he was so sick, that 
he ran out of the house Avithout making any remarks. The scarlet 
liucamaya, with a loud shriek, flew from its perch, and performed 
a zig-zag flight though the air, down to the troubled fountain in 
the court. 

Your friend, the honourable Mr. , arrived the other day, look- 
ing very ill, having had the yellow fever at Havana very severely, 
a peculiar piece of bad fortune at this season. 

All the fm-niture we ordered from the United States, arrived 
some time ago, a mass of legs and arms. Tables, wardrobes, &c., 
were, I believe, all sold for the mahogany, at Vera Cruz. The 
mirrors also arrived in jjoicder. This must be owing to bad packing, 
since our most delicate things from London, such as crystal, porce- 
lain, &c., have arrived in excellent condition. 

December 3d. — Have had many visits to-day, this being my dia 
de fiesta. Amongst others the president was here. This custom of 
keeping people's dias gives one a great deal of trouble, but the 
omission is considered rather a breach of politeness. 

12th. — This being the anniversary of the day of tlie miraculous 
apparition of our Lady of Guadalupe, the cathedral and village will 

be crowded with Indians from all parts of the country. A and 

Mr. B have driven over tliere ; but, from all accounts, the crowd 

will be so great, that we are not tempted to accompany them. We 
have a soiree this CA^ening, and have had two pleasant parties this 
week at the other houses. To-morrow we intend croins; with a lar^e 
party to the Desierto^ where some gentlemen are to give a breakfast. 
I understand that there are to be twenty-three people on horseback, 
and eighteen in carriages, and our trysting-place is by the great 
fountain with the gilt statue, in the Pasco de BucarelH ; the hour, 
half-past seven. They say the Desierto is a beautiful place, but 
being seven leagues from Mexico, we shall probably all return as 
tired as possible. 

15th. — The morning of our party to the Desierto was beautiful. 
Here one need not fear those contretemps in regard to the weather, 
which in England so often render a party of pleasure painful ; un- 
less, indeed, one chooses to select an evening in the rainy season for 
an expedition. We met by the fountain at the hour appointed, 
some in carriages, and some on horseback. Of the latter I formed 
part. The road leads along the aqueduct by Chapultcpec, and 
through Tacubaya, and is the high road that goes to Toluca. The 
first part, after passing Tacubaya, is steep, bleak, and uninteresting. 
Plantations of maguey and occasional clumps of Peruvian trees are 


tlie only vegetation, and Indian liuts tlie only traces of liiunan life. 
But after a tedious ascent, tlic view looking back npon Mexico, witli 
all lier cliui'clies, lakes, and mountains, is truly magnificent. The 
road also begins to wind tbrougli a fertile and wooded country. 
About noon°we readied an inn, wlicre travellers stop who are going 
to Toluca, and where we halted to collect our scattered forces. 
Hanging up by a hook in the entry, along with various other dead 
animalsi^polecats, weasels, &c., was theughcst creature I ever beheld. 
It seemed a species of dog, with a hunch back, a head like a wolt, 
and no neck, a perfect monster. As far as I can make out it must 
be the itzcidntepotzotli, mentioned by some old Mexican writers. 
The people had brought it up in the house, and killed it on account 
of its fierceness. This inn stands in the valley of Guajimalco, and 
is about a league from the Dcsierto. 

There is no longer any road there, but a steep and winding path 
through the beautiful woods. Therefore those who had come in 
coaches, were now obhged to proceed on donkeys, with Indian 
guides. The beauty of the scenery is indescribable. _ The path 
winds, ascending through a wilderness of trees and flowering shrubs, 
bathed by a clear and rapid rivulet; and every now and then, through 
the arched forest-trees, are ghmpsesof the snowy volcanoes and of 
the distant domes and lakes of Mexico. 

The ruins of the old Carmehte convent, standing on the slope of 
a hill, are siirrounded by noble forests of pine, and oak, and cedar; 
long and lofty forest-aisles, where the monks of formerdays wan- 
dered in peaceful meditation. But they removecl from this beautiful 
site to another, said to be equally beautiful and wilder, also called the 
Desierto, but much farther from Mexico ; and this fertile region 
(which the knowing eye of a Yankee would instantly discover to be 
full of capabihties in the way of machinery), belongs to no one, and 
lies here deserted, in sohtary beauty. Some poor Indians live 
amongst the ruins of the old cloisters, and the wild deer possess the 
undisputed sovereignty of the woods. 

It is said that a benighted traveher, who had lost his way in these 
solitudes, and was miracidously saved from dying of cold, founded 
this rich convent of Carmehte monks, in gratitude to Heaven for 
his dehverance, bequeathing his desire, that all travellers who passed 
that way should receive hospitahty from the convent. Certainly no 
place more fitted for devotion could have been selected than this 
mountain retreat; and when the convent bell tolled at evening, call- 
ing the monks to prayer, and wakening the echoes of the silent 
hills, its deep notes must have been all in unison with the solemn 

But the sight of a very magnificent cfe/Vzwe a lafourcliette, spread 
under the pine-trees, the uncorking of champagne bottles and 
Scotch ale, the savoury odour of soups and fricandeaus, the busthng 
attendance of Enghsh waiters, put to flight all romantic fancies. We 
remembered that we were hungry, that we had ridden seven miles 


and had not breakfasted ; and no order of friars could have done 
more justice to the repast than we did. . . . But the component 
parts of a party of pleasure must be very curiously selected, the 
mosaic of the society very nicely fitted, or it -will inevitably termi- 
nate unpleasantly ; and the elements of discord are more dangerous, 
their effects more lasting, than even the coughs and colds and rheu- 
matisms produced by those watery elements, sworn foes to all picnics 
and gipsy parties in oiu^ ^OogJ island. 

About four o'clock we remounted our horses, and retraced our 
path through the woods ; and who could ruminate on petty disputes, 
or complain of trifling accidents, or not forget any disagreeable in- 
dividuals who might have been found among our numerous party, 
when the splendid panorama of INIexico burst upon us, with all its 
mountains, lakes, and plains, its churches, and towers, and gardens, 
bathed in a flood of golden light, the rich crimson clouds of sunset 
resting ujjon the snow of the volcanoes, wloile the woods through 
which our horses picked their steps, over stones and streamlets, were 
fragrant with blossoming shrubs and wild-roses ? 

When we reached the inn where the carriages had been left, we 
remounted our horses, and as it was growing dusk, and the whole 
party had not yet collected together, we thought it advisable for the 
equestrian part of the expedition to ride forward ; so leaving the 

carriages with their escort, we set off for Mexico ; C n, I, A , 

and a servant, at full gallop, and hardly drew our bridles till we 
reached the city ; tired, as you may suppose, after our fourteen leagues' 

20th. — Oiu' yesterday evening's tertuha was very crowded; and 
there was a great deal of music and dancing. These weekly soirees 
are decidedly successful, and the best famihes in Mexico imite there 
without etiquette, which we were told it was impossible to bring 
about. . . . 

Perhaps it is that I am getting accustomed to the Mexican style 
of face, but it appeared to me that there was a great deal of beauty 
assembled; and as for fine voices, they are as common in Mexico as 
they are rare in England. . . . 

A rich senator, Don B G , made a vow to the Virgin 

some years ago, that he would cause a splendid mass to be performed 
annually, in the cathedi'al, at his own expense, in honour of our 
Saviour's birth, on the morning of Christmas-eve. This mass is 
performed entirely by amateurs, most of the young ladies in Mexico, 
who have fine voices, taking a part in it. 1 was drmon in., very xm- 
wilHngly, to promise to take a trifling part on the harp, the accom- 
paniment to the Licarnatus. 

Preparations have long been going on for tliis solemnization, and 
various rehearsals have taken place amongst the amateur singers, in 
the evening, before large audiences in the Mineria. The whole tiling 
promises well. 

28tli. — C n has gone with Seiior Zurutuza (a Spanish gen- 


tleman), to Cuernavaca, in tierra caliente, to spend a few days at his 
estate in the neighbourhood ; which at this season will be de- 

Tliis morning we rode to San Joaquin, where we met the prior 
on horseback, on his way to Mexico to confess the old prioress of the 
convent of Santa Teresa. He turned back, and accompanied us 
during all the rest of our ride. He rode with us to Tacuba, round 
the traces of the ruins, and to the fine old church and dismantled 
convent, where we dismounted, and having taken off our riding- 
hats, accompanied the prior through the deserted cloisters into the 
old church; and I imagine we must have looked very picturesque; 
I in my riding-habit, and the sandalled friar in his white robes, kneel- 
ing side by side, on the broken steps of the altar. He is so pleasant 
and weU-informed, that he is a particularly agreeable companion. 


Christmas-day— Kalends and Mass— Amateur Performances— Solo— Posaia^— 
Wandering of the Holy Family— iV"««:7?«iem/o— Crowded Party— French Cooks 
—Mexican Cook— State of Household— New Year's Day— Mass— Dirtiness 
of the Churches, &c.— Comparisons— Private Chapels— English Club— Pre- 
parations for Journey. 


Christmas-day ! One year this evening since we_ made our 
entry into Mexico. AYhat a different aspect every thing has as- 
sumed to us in one year ! Then every object was new, every face 
that of a stranger. Now we are surrounded by famihar sights and 
somids, and above all by friendly faces. But, though novelty, which 
has its charms and also its dtsagrtmens,h.2iS gouQ, notliing m Mexico 
ever appears commonplace. Every thing is on a large scale, and 
every thing is picturesque. Then there is so much interest attached 
to its old buildings, so much to see, even though there are no sights 
and no show-places, unless we are to put in that class the Mmeria, 
Museum, Cathedral, University, and Botanic Garden, usually visited 
by travellers, that at whatever period we may leave it, I leel con- 
vinced we shall regret some point of interest, that we have left un- 
visited. . . . 

Some days ago coloured cards, printed in gilt letters,_ were sent 
round, inviting all the Senator's friends to the mass, in this form: — 

238 MASS. 

/' J e B o G a requests that you will lionour him 

with^your presence and that of your family, in the solemn fimction 
of Kalends and Mass, with which he annually makes a humble re- 
memberance of the Birth of the Saviour, which festivity will take 
place on the morning of the 24th of this month, at nine o'clock, in 
the Parish Church of the Sagrmio of the Holy Cathedral. 

" Mexico, December, 1840." 

By nine we were all assembled in the choir; Don B o in his 

uniform, dark blue and gold, we in mantillas. The church looked 
very splendid, and, as usual on these occasions, no leperos were ad- 
mitted ; therefore the crowd was very elegant and select. The 
affair went off brilliantly. Four or five of the girls, and several of 
the married women, have superb voices; and not one of all those 
who sang in chorus has a bad voice. The finest I almost ever heard 

is that of the Seilorita C . Were she to study in Italy, I 

venture to predict that she might rival Grisi. Such depth, power, 
extension, and sweetness, Avith such richness of tone in the upper 
notes, are very rarely imited. She sang a solo in such tones that I 
thought the people below must have felt inclined to applaud. 
There are others whose voices are much more cultivated, and who 
have infinitely more science. I speak only of the raw material. 
The orchestra was really good, and led by a first-rate musician. I 
was thankful when my part of the entertainment was over, and I 
could give my undivided attention to the others. The celebration 
lasted four hours, but there was rather a long sermon. You will 
shortly receive a detailed account of the whole, which is to be pub- 
lished in the Mexican Annual, called " The Ladies' Guide." 

In the evening we went to the house of ih.Q Marquesa do V o, 

to", spend Christmas-eve. On this night all the relations and inti- 
mate friends of each family assemble in the house of the head of the 
clan, a real gathering, and in the present case to the number of fifty 
or sixty persons. 

_This is the last night of what are called the Posadas, a curious 
mixture of religion and amusement, but extremely pretty. The 
meaning is this : At the time that the decree went forth from Caesar 
Augustus, that " all the world should be taxed," the Virgin and 
Joseph haying come out of Gahlee to Judrea to be inscribed for the 
taxation, found Bethlehem so full of people, who had arrived from 
all parts of the world, that they wandered about for nine days, 
without finding admittance in any house or tavern, and on the ninth 
day took shelter in a manger, where the Saviour was born. For 
eight days this wandering of the Holy Family to the different 
Posadas is represented, and seems more intended for an amusement 
to the children than any thing serious. We went to the ]Marquesa's 
at eight o'clock, and about nine the ceremony commenced. A 
hghted taper was put into the hand of each lady, and a procession 
was formed, two by two, Avhich marched all through the house, the 
corridors and walls of which were all decorated with evergreens and 


lamps, tlic wliole party singing the Litanies. K walked witli 

the Dowager Marquesa; and a group of little children, dressed as 
angels, joined the procession. They wore little robes of silver or 
gold lama, plumes of white feathers, and a profusion of fine diamonds 
and pearls, in bandeaux, brooches, and necklaces, white gauze wings, 
and white satin shoes, embroidered in gold. 

At last the procession drew up before a door, and a shower of fire- 
v/orks was sent Hying over our heads, I suppose to represent the 
descent of the angels; for a group of ladies appeared, dressed to 
represent the shepherds who watched their flocks by night upon the 
plains of Bethlehem. Then voices, supposed to be those of Mary 
and Joseph, struck up a hymn, in which they begged for admittance, 
saying that the night was cold and dark, that the wind blew hard, 
and that they prayed for a night's shelter. A chorus of voices from 
witliin refused admittance. Again those without entreated shelter, 
and at length declared that she at the door, who thus wandered in the 
night, and had not Avhere to lay her head, was the Queen of Heaven ! 
At this name the doors Avere thrown wide open, and the Holy 
Family entered singing. The scene within was very pretty: a 
oiacimiento. Platforms, o;oing all round the room, were covered with 
moss, on which were disposed groups of wax figures, generally 
representing passages from diflerent parts of the New Testament, 
though sometimes they begin with Adam and Eve in paradise. 
There Avas the Annunciation — the Salutation of Mary to Elizabeth 
— the Wise Lien of the East — the Shepherds — the Flight into Egypt. 
There Avere green trees and fruit trees, and Httle fountains that cast 
up fairy coliunns of Avater, and flocks of sheep, and a Httle cradle in 
Avhich to lay the Inflint Christ. One of the angels held a waxen 
baby in her arms. The Avhole was lighted very brilliantly, and 
ornamented Avith floAvers and garlands. A padre took the baby from 
the angel, and placed it in the cradle, and the posada AA'as completed. 

We then returned to the draAA-ing-room — angels, shepherds, and 
all, and danced till supper time. The supper Avas a shoAV for SAveet- 
meats and cakes. 

To-day, AA^th the exception of there being serAace in all the 
churches, Christmas is not kept in any remarkable way. We are 
spending this evening alone, and very quietly. To-morrow we haA'C 

a soirte. I haA'e letters from C n, from Cuernavaca, delighted 

AAath the beauties of tierra calicnte, and liA^ng amongst roses and 
orange trees. I hope that in January we shall be able to go there, 
in case any thing should occur to induce us to leaA^e Mexico before 
next Avinter. 

27th. — We liad a A^ery crowded party last CA'ening, I think the 
best AA'c have had yet, a fact avMcIi I mention, because I triumph in 
my opmion that these Aveekly parties Avould succeed in INIexico 
having proA^ed correct. 

I haA'e lately been engaged in search of a cook, Avith as much per- 
tinacity as Japhet in search of his father, and AAith as little success as 

240 NEW YEAR. 

lie had in his prehminaiy inqmrics. One, a Frenchman, I found 
out had been tried for murder — another was said to be deranged — a 
third, who announced himself as the greatest artiste who had yet 
condescended to visit Mexico, demanded a salary which he con- 
sidered suitable to his abihties. I tried a female Mexican, m sj)ite 
of her flowing hair. She seemed a decent woman and tolerable 
cook ; and, although oiu" French housekeeper and prime minister had 
deserted us at our utmost need, we ventured to leave the house, and 
to spend the day at Tacubaya. On our return, foimd the whole 
estabhshment unable to stand ! Cook tipsy — soldiers ditto — galopine 
shghtly intoxicated — in short, the house taking care of itself — no 
standing force but the coachman and footman, who have been -with 
us some time, and appear to be excellent servants. I am, however, 
promised a good Mexican housekeeper, and trust that some order 
will be estabhshed under her government; also, a Cliinese cook, 
with a celestial character. . . . 

Letters from Spain, announcing the speedy arrival of a Secretary 
of Legation and another attache. 

1st January, 1841. — A happy New Year to all ! We began it by 
attending early mass in San Francisco, about the cleanest church in 
Mexico, and most frequented by the better classes. Tlierc you may 
have the good fortune to place yourself between two well-dressed 
women, but you are equally likely to find your neighbour a beggar 
with a blanket; besides, the floor is nearly as dirty as that of the 
cathedi'al. Tlris dirtiness is certainly one of the greatest drawbacks 
to human fehcity in tliis beautiful cormtry, degrading the noble 
edifices dedicated to the worship of God, destroying the beautiful 
works destined for the benefit of his creatures. The streets, the 
churches, the theatres, the market-place, the people, all are con- 
taminated by tliis evil. The market-place is indeed full of flowers 
and green branches and garlands — but those who sell the flowers and 
weave the wreaths are so dirty, that the effect of what would other- 
wise be the prettiest possible picture, is completely destroyed. In 
the theatre there is a series of suffocating odours, especially in the 
dimly-hghted corridors, which is any thing but agreeable. The 
custom of kneeling on the floor in church seems fitting and devout, 
but there sm-ely can be no reason why the floor of a sacred 
building should not be kept scrupulously clean, or why the lower 
classes should not be obliged to dress themselves with common 
decency. Tliose who are unable to do so, though probably there 
are not half a dozen people in Mexico who do not wear rags merely 
from indolence, should certainly have a place set apart for them, in 
which case this air of squahd poverty would no doubt disappear. 
On occasion of any peculiar fete, the church is washed and beggars 
are excluded, and then indeed these noble edifices seem fitting 
temples wherein to worship the Most High. 

On other days, ui addition to the leperos (especially in the cathe- 
dral), the Indian women are in the habit of bringing their babies and 


baskets of vegetables to cliurcb, and the babies on their part are in 
the habit of screaming, as babies will when they consider themselves 
neglected. Tliis may be difficult to amend, the poor woman having 
come in from her village, and perforce brought her progeny with 
her; but the strong, stout man in rags, who prefers begging to 
working — the half-naked woman who would consider herself de- 
graded by doing any thing to better her condition, except asking 
lor alms — the dogs which wander up and down during divine ser- 
vice, — all these might be brought to order by proper regulations. 

Notwithstanding all these drawbacks, I have sometimes compared, 
in my own mind, the appearance of a fashionable London chapel 
with that of a Mexican church, on the occasion of a solemn fete, 
and the comparison is certainly in favour of the latter. The one, 
light, airy, and gay, with its velvet-hned pews, its fashionable 
preacher, the ladies a Httle sleepy after the last night's opera, but 
dressed in the most elegant morning toilet, and casting furtive 
glances at Lady 's bonnet and feathers, and at Mrs. 's cash- 
mere shawl or lovely ermine peHsse, and exchanging a few fashion- 
able nothings at the door, as the footmen let down the steps of their 
gay equipages — the other, solemn, stately, and gloomy, and sho^vang 
no distinction of rank. The floor covered with kneeHno- fio'ures — ■ 
some enveloped m the reboso, others in the mantilla, and all ahke 
devout, at least in outward seeming. No showy dress, or gay 
bonnet, or fasliionable mantle to cause the eye of the poor to wander 
■with envy or admiration. Apparently considering themselves ahke 
in the sight of Heaven, the peasant and the Marquesa kneel side by 
side, with little distinction of dress; and all appear occupied with 
their own devotions, without observing either their neighboiu''s 
dress or degree of devoutness. Rehgious feeling may be equally 
strong in the frequenters of both places of worship ; but as long as 
we possess senses wliich can be aflected by external objects, the pro- 
babilities of the most undivided devotional feeHng are in favour of 
the latter. The eye wiU wander — the thoughts will follow where 
it leads. In the one case it rests on elegant forms and fashionable 
toilets — in the other, it sees nothing but a mass of dark and kneel- 
ing figm^es, or a representation of holy and scriptural subjects. 

However, one consequence of the exceeding dirtiness of the 
Mexican chiu'ches, and the number of leperos who haunt them, as 
much in the way of their calling as from devotion, is that a great part 
of the principal fimihes here, having oratorios in their houses, have 
engaged the ser\dces of a padre, and have mass at home. There is 

a small chapel in the house of General B a, the handsomest 

house in Mexico, where there is a Virgin carved in wood, one of 
the most exquisite pieces of sculpture that can be seen. The face 
is more than angehc — it is divine ; but a divine nature, sufl^ering 
mortal ansruish. 

27 th. — On the first of February we hope to set off on an expedition 
to tierra caliente, from which C n returned some tune ago. We 


have, by good fortune, procured an excellent Mexican housekeeper, 
under whose auspices every thing has assumed a very different aspect, 
and to whose care we can entrust the house when we go. Nothing re- 
markable has occurred here lately — the usual routine of ridmg on 
horseback, visiting in carriage, walking very rarely in the Alameda, 
driving in the Paseo, dining at Tacubaya, the three weekly soirees ^ 

varied by a diplomatic dinner in the house of the minister, and 

by the dinner of the English><:'lub who met liere yesterday — by a sale 
of books after dinner, in Avhich the president of the society fined me 
five dollarsTor keeping a stupid old poem past the time, upon which 
I moved that the poem should be presented to me, wliich was carried 
iiem. coil. 

We have been strongly advised not to attempt tliis journey, and 
the stories of robbers and robberies, related by credible persons, are 
not encouraging. Robbers, bad roads, liorrible heat, poisonous 
animals ; many are the difficulties prognosticated to us. The season 
is already rather advanced, but it has been impossible for us to set 
off sooner. Our next letters will be written either during our 
journey, should we find the opportimity, or after our retiurn. 


Leave Mexico — Cuernavaca — Tierra CaUcnte — AtlacamuJco — OranQ;e Groves — 
Sugar-cane — Annual Produce — Will [of Cortes — Description — Coffee Plan- 
tation — Scorpions — List of Venemous Reptiles — Acaiiansingo — Doubts and 
Difficulties — A Decision. 

Atlacamulco, February '2d. 

A QUIET day in a hospitable country-liouse, too sunny to go out, 
and nothing else to do, are temptations sufficient to induce me to sit 
down and give you an account of our proceedings during these last 
two days. Yesterday, the first of February, at four in the morning, 
very sleepy, we set ofi" in the cliHgence which we had taken for our- 
selves; our sole luggage, two portmanteaus and a carpet bag; our 
dresses, dark strong calico gowns, large Panama hats, rebosos tied 
on like scarfs, and thick green barege veils. A government escort 
of four soldiers witli a corporal, renewed four times, accompanied us 
as fir as Cuernavaca, which is about eighteen leagues from Mexico, 
and the entrance as it were to tierra caliente. These are supposed 
sufficient to frighten away tliree times the number of robbers, whose 


daring, liowcver, lias got to sucla a height, that no diligence now 
arrives from Puebla without being robbed. Six robberies have hap- 
pened there in the last fortnight, and the road to Cuernavaca is 
said to be still more dangerous. We took chocolate ^before start- 
ing, and carried with us a basket of cold meat and wine, as there is 
nothing on the road that can be called an inn. When we set off it 
was cool, almost cold; the astral lamps were out, and the great solar 
lamp was not yet lighted. 

" But soon, like lobster boiled, the morn, 
From black to red began to turn." 

By the time we had reached San Agustin, where we changed 
horses, the sma had risen, enabling us to see all the horrors of the 
road, which, after leaving that beautiful village with its trees and 
gardens, winds over the mountain, amongst great volcanic rocks, a 
toilsome ascent; and passes by the village of Ajusco, a miserable 
robber's nest. Yet the view, as we looked back from this barren 
tract, Avhile the sun was breaking over the summits of the moun- 
tains, was very grand in its mixture of fertihty and wdldness, in its 
vast extent of plains and villages with their groves and gardens, and 
in its fine view of INIexico itself, white and glittering in the distance. 
The mountain of Ajusco, clothed with dark forests of pine, frowned 
on our right, and looked worthy of its brigand haunted reputation. 
At La Guarda, a collection of miserable huts, we changed horses, 
and dechned some suspicious-looking frijoles in dirty saucers, which 
were offered to us ; a proof both that we were young travellers in 
this country, and that we had not exliausted our basket of civiHzed 

The road wound round throvigh a succession of rocks and woods 
till we reached Cruz del Marques — the Marquis being of course 
Cortes, while the cross, it is said, was planted there by him to mark 
the hmits of his tenitory, or rather of that which the Indian Em- 
peror had assigned him. About two o'clock, the heat became in- 
tense, and we began to see and to feel symptoms of our approach to 
tierra caliente. 

We arrived at the Indian village of Huicldlaque, which is rather 
pretty, with cane cottages and a good many ilowering trees ; and 
from the eminence on which it is situated, the hot land is visible. 

The dihgence now began galloping dowm the rocky and stony 
descent. The country looked even more arid than before ; the vege- 
tation more dried up. Not a tree — but here and there, at long inter- 
vals, a feathery cocoa or a palm, and occasionally some beautiful, im- 
known wild flowers. But the heat, the dust, the jolting ! When at. 
length we rattled through Cuernavaca, and stopped before the quiet- 
looking inn, it was with joy that we bade adieu, for some time at 
least, to all diligences, coaches, and carriages; having to trust for the 
future to four-legged conveyances, which we can guide as we please. 

Cuernavaca {coivs horn), the ancient Quauhnahuac, was one of the 



thirty cities which Charles the Fifth gave to Cortes, and afteiTvards 
formed part of the estates of the Duke of Monteleone, representative 
of the family of Cortes, as Marquis of the Valley of Oajaca. It was 
celebrated by the ancient writers for its beauty, its dehghtful climate, 
and the strength of its situation ; defended on one side by steep 
mountains, and on the other by a precipitous ravine, through which 
ran a stream which the Spaniards crossed by means of two great 
trees that had thrown their branches across the barranca, and formed 
a natural bridge. It was the capital of the Tlahuica nation, and, 
after the conquest, Cortes built here a splendid palace, a church, and 
a convent of Franciscans, beHcAang that he had laid the foundation 
of a great city. And in fact, its dcHcious cHmate, the abundance o£ 
the water, the minerals said to exist in the neighbourhood, its fine 
trees, dehcious fruits, and vicinity to the capital, all combined to 
render it a flom-ishing city. It is, however, a place of little import- 
ance, though so favoured by nature ; and the conqueror's palace is a 
half-ruined barrack, though a most picturesque object, standing on a 
hill, behind which starts up the great white volcano. There are 
some good houses, and the remains of the church which Cortes built, 
celebrated for its bold arch; but we were too tired to walk about 
much, and waited most anxiously for the arrival of horses and men 
from the sugar estate of Don Anselmo Zurutuza, at Atlacamulco, 
where we were to pass the night. The house where the dihgence 
stopped was formerly remarkable for the fine garden attached to it, 
and belonged to a wealthy proprietor. We sat down amongst the 
fruit trees, by the side of a clear tank, and waited there till the arrival 
of our horses and guides. It was nearly dusk when they came — the 
sun had gone down, the evening was cool and agreeable, and after 
much kicking and spurring and loading of mules and barking of 
dogs, we set off over liill and dale, through pretty Avild scenery, as 
far as we could distinguish by the faint light, cHmbing hills and 
crossing streams for two leagues ; till at length the fierce fires, pour- 
ing from the sugar oven chimneys of Atlacamulco, gave us notice 
that we were near our haven for the night. We galloped into the 
court-yard, amongst dogs and negroes and Indians, and were hospi- 
tably received by the administrador, (the agent). Greatly were we 
divided between sleep and hunger ; but hunger gained the victory, 
and an immense smoking supper received our most distinguished 

This morning, after a refreshing sleep, we rose and dressed at eight 
o'clock — late hours for tierra caliente — and then went out into the 
coffee plantation and orange walk. Any thing so lovely ! The orange 
trees were covered with their golden fruit and fragrant blossom ; the 
lemon trees, bending over, formed a natural arch, which the sun 
could not pierce. We laid ourselves doAvn on the soft grass, con- 
trasting this day with the preceding. The air was soft and balmy, 
and actually heavy with the fragrance of the orange blossom and 
starry jasmine. All roimd the orchard ran streams of the most deli- 


cious clear water, trickling with sweet music, and now and tlien a 
little cardinal, like a bright red ruby, would perch on the trees. We 
pulled bouquets of orange blossom, jasmine, Hhes, double red roses, 
and lemon leaves, and wished we could have transported them to 
you, to those lands where winter is now T\Tapping the world in his 
white winding-sheet. 

The gardener, or cofFee-planter — such a gardener ! — Don Juan by 
name, with an immense black beard, Mexican hat, and mihtary sash 
of crimson silk, came to offer us some orangeade ; and having sent 
to the house for sugar and tumblers, pulled the oranges from the 
trees, and drew the water from a clear tank overshadowed by blos- 
soming branches, and cold as thoxigh it had been iced. There cer- 
tainly is no tree more beautiful than the orange, with its golden 
fruit, shining green leaves and lovely white blossom with so delicious 
a fragrance. We felt tliis morning as if Atlacamulco was an earthly 

It belongs in fact to the Duke of Monteleone, and is let by his 
acfent, Don Lucas Alaman, to Seiior Zurutuza. Its averas^e annual 
produce of sugar is about thirty thousand arrobas, (an arroba con- 
tainmg twenty -five poimds). The sugar cane was unknown to the 
ancient Mexicans, who made syrup of honey, and also from the 
maguey, and sugar from the stalk of maize. The sugar-cane was 
introduced by the Spaniards from the Canary Islands to Santo Do- 
mingo, from whence it passed to Cuba and Mexico. The first sugar 
canes were planted in 1520, by Don Pedro de Atienza. The first 
cylinders were constructed by Gonzalo de Velosa, and the first sugar 
mills built by the Spaniards at that time were worked by hydraulic 
wheels and not by horses. M. de Humboldt, who examined the 
will of Cortes, informs us that the conqueror had left sugar planta- 
tions near Cuyoacan, in the valley of Mexico, where now, owing, it 
is supposed, to the cutting down of the trees, the cold is too great 
for sugar cane or any other tropical production to thrive. There are 
few negToes on these sugar plantations. Their numbers have not in- 
creased since their introduction. We observed but one old negro, 
said to be upwards of a hundred, who was worldng in the courtyard 
as we passed ; the generahty of the workmen are Indians. 

As for the interior of these haciendas, they are all pretty much 
ahke, so far as we have seen ; a great stone building, which is 
neither farm nor country-house (according to our notions), but has a 
character pecuhar to itself — solid enough to stand a siege, with floors 
of painted brick, large deal tables, wooden benches, painted chairs, 
and whitewashed walls; one or two painted or iron bedsteads, only 
put up when wanted; numberless empty rooms ; kitchen and out- 
houses; the courtyard a great square, round which stand the house 
for boiling the sugar, whose furnaces blaze day and night ; the house, 
with machinery for extracting the juice from the cane, the refining 
rooms, the places where it is dried, &c., all on a large scale. If the 
hacifinda is, as here, a coffee plantation also, then there is the great 



mill for separating the beans from the cliaff, and sometimes also there 
are buildings where they make brandy. Here there arc four hun- 
dred men employed, exclusive of boys, one hundred horses, and a 
number of mules. The property is generally very extensive, con- 
taining the fields of sugar-cane, plains for cattle, and the pretty plan- 
tations of coffee, so green and spring-like, this one containing up- 
wards of fifty thousand young plants, all fresh and ^dgorous, besides 
a great deal of uncultivated ground, abandoned to the deer and hares 
and quails, of which there arc great abundance. For four months in 
the year, tierra caliente must be a paradise, and it has the advantage 
over the coasts, in being quite free from yellow fever. But the heat 
in summer, and the number of poisonous insects, are great draw- 
backs. Of these, the alacrans, or scorpions, which haunt all the 
houses, are amongst the worst. Their bite is poisonous, and, to a 
child, deadly, which is one of the many reasons why these estates 
are left entirely to the charge of an agent, and though visited occa- 
sionally by the proprietor, rarely lived in by the family. The effects 
are more or less violent in different constitutions. Some persons Avill 
remain for eight days in con\ailsions, foaming at the mouth, and the 
stomach swelled, as if by dropsy; others, by immediate remedies, 
do not suffer much. The chief cures are brandy, taken in sufiicient 
quantities to stupify the patient, guyacum and boiled silk, which 
last is considered most efficacious. In Durango they are particularly 
numerous and venomous, so that a reward is given for so many head 
of scorpions to the boys there, to encourage them to destroy them. 

The Sefiora , who fives there, feels no inconvenience from their 

bite, but the scorpion who bites her immediately dies ! It is pre- 
tended tliat they prefer dark people to fair, which is to suppose them 
very discriminating. Though as yet there have been few seen in 
the houses, I must confess that we feel rather uneasy at night, and 
scrupulously examine our beds and their environs before ventiu-ing 
to go to sleep. The walls being purposely whitewashed, it is not 
difficult to detect them ; but where the roofs are formed of beams, 
they are very apt to drop through. 

There are other venomous reptiles, for whose sting there is no re- 
medy, and if you would like to have a fist of these interesting crea- 
tures, according to the names by which they are known in these 
parts, I can furnish you with one from the best authority. These, 
hoAvever, are generally to be found about outhouses, and only occa- 
sionally visit your apartments. There is the diicacUna, a striped 
\aper, of beaiitiful colours — the coralillo, a viper of a coral colour, 
with a black head — the vijuigrillo, an animal like a large cricket. 
You can discover it, when in the room, by its strong smell of "\dne- 
gar. It is orange-coloured, and taps upon the person whom it 
crawls over, without giving any pain, but leaving a long train of 
deadlv poison — I have fancied that I smelt vinegar in every room 
since hearing this — the salamanquesa, whose bite is fatal: it is 
shaped like a fizard — the eslaboncillo, which throws itself upon you, 


and if prevented from biting you, dies of spite — the cencoatl, wKieli. 
lias five feet, and shines in the dark; so that fortunately a warning 
is <Tiven of the vicinity of these animals in different ways ; in some 
by the odour they exhale, in some by tlie hght they emit, and in 
others, Hke the rattlesnake, by the sound they give out. 

Then there is a beautiful black and red spider, called the cldncla- 
quili, whose sting sends a pain through all your bones ; the only cure 
for which is to be shut up for several days in a room thick with 
smoke. There are also the tarantula and casampidga spiders. Of 
the first, which is a shocking looking soft fat creature, covered with 
dark hair, it is said, that the horse which treads on it,_ instantly loses 
its hoof— but this wants confirmation. Of the scorpions, the small 
yellowish-coloiired ones are the most dangerous, and it is pretended 
that their bite is most to be apprehended at midday. The work- 
men occasionally eat them, after pulling out the sting. The flesh 
of the viper is also eaten roasted, as a remedy against eruptions of 
the skin. Methinks the remedy is worse than the disease. . . . 

But to banish this creepinri subject, which seems not at all in 
unison with the lovely scenes that surround us — an Eden where no 
serpent should enter — we have been riding this evening to a beauti- 
ful little Indian village called Acapansingo, than which I never be- 
held any thing prettier in its way. Some few houses there are of 
stone, but the generahty are of cane, and each cottage is surrounded 
by its fruit-trees, and by others covered with lilac or white blossoms, 
and twined with creepers. The lanes or streets of the village are cleanly 
SAvept, and shaded by the blossoming branches that overhang them ; 
while every now and then they are crossed by little streams of the 
purest water, I think I never knew Avhat really delicious water was 
till I came here. The Indians, both men and women, looked clean, 
and altogether this is the prettiest Indian village we have yet seen. 

As Ave are very anxious to visit the celebrated cave of Cacaua- 
milpa, near the city of Cautlamilpa, and also to see as much of tierra 
caliente as possible, we have determined, though Avith regret, to 
leave our pleasant quarters at Atlacamulco to-morroAv morning, _ at 
tAvo o'clock, A. M. As there are no inns, wq are furnished A\-ith 
letters of recommendation to the proprietors of the chief haciendas 
in these parts. Formerly, there Avas so much hospitahty here that 
an annual sum (three thousand dollars it is said) Avas assigned by 
the proprietors to their agents, for the reception of travellers, whether 
rich or poor, and AA'hether recommended or not. . . . 

Our plan of visiting the cave has been nearly frustrated by the 

arri\ml of General C s, a neighbouring proprietor, Avho assured 

us that Ave were going to undertake an impossibihty ; that the bar- 
rancas, by which we must pass to arrive at the cave, Avere impassable 
for women, the mountain paths being so steep and perpendicu- 
lar, that men and horses had frequently fallen backwards m the 
ascent, or been plunged forAvard OA^er the precipices, in attempting to 
descend. We Avere m despair, when it Avas suggested that there was 


another, tkougli miicli longer road to the cave, by which we might 
ride ; and though our time is at present very precious, we were too 
glad to agree to this compromise. 

C n and A have returned from a shooting expedition, in 

which they have not been very successful; and though 1 have only 
recounted to you the beginning of our adventures, I must stop 
here, and take a few hours' rest before we set ofi on our matinal ex- 


Leave Atlacamulco — Assemble by Starlight — Balmy Atmosphere — Flowers and 
Trees of the Tropics — The Formidable Barrancas — Breakfast under the 
Trees — Force of the Sun — Meacatlan — Hospitality — Profitable Estate — 
Leave Meacatlan — Beautiful Village — Musical Bells — Ride by Moonlight — 
Sugar Fires — Cocoyotla — Old Gentleman — Supper — Orange Trees and Co- 
coas — Delicious Water — Sugar Estates — A Scorpion — Set off for tlie Cave 
— Morning Ride — Dangerous Path. 

CocoyoTLA, 5th. 

On the morning of the third of February, we rose about half- 
past two, and a Kttle after three, by the Hght of the stars and the 
blaze of the sugar fires, our whole party were assembled on horse- 
back in the com'tyard. We were about twelve in number. Don 
Juan, the coffee-planter, and Don Pedro, a friend of his, were de- 
puted by the agent to act as om- guides. Four or five well-armed 
mozos, farm-servants, were our escort, together with our Mexican boy; 
and we had mviles to carry our luggage, wliich was compressed into 
the smallest possible compass. The morning was perfectly enchanting, 
and the air hke balm, when we set off by this uncertain light; not 
on roads (much to our satisfaction), but through fields, and over 
streams, up hills and doAvn into valleys, chmbing among stones, the 
horses picking their way like goats. I certainly never felt or ima- 
gined such an atmosphere. The mere inhahng it was sufiicient 

When the light gradually began to dawn, so that we could dis- 
cern each other's faces, and make sure that we were not a party of 
shadows, for besides the obscurity, a mixtm'e of sleepiness and 
placid dehght had hitherto kept us all silent, we looked round on 
the landscape, as Httle by little it assumed form and consistency. 


The fires from the hacienda were still visible, but growing pale in 
the beams of morning, vanishing like false visions from before the 
holy hght of truth. As we rode along, we foimd that the scenery 
on the hilly parts was generally bleak and sterile, the grass dried up, 
and very httle vegetation ; but wherever we arrived at a _ valley 
sheltered from the sun's rays, there we found a little rivvilet trickhng 
through it, with water like liquid diamonds, bathing the trees and 
the flowers — the lovehest blossoming trees, mingled with bananas, 
oranges, and lemons, and interspersed with bright flowers, formmg 
a natm-al garden and orchard. 

One tree, with no leaves on it, is covered with white starry 
flowers, and looks at a distance as if it had been covered_with snow, 
which had melted ofi" the branches, leaving only occasional wloite 
tufts. Another is bending with Ulac blossoms, which hang in grace- 
ful clusters — another with flowers hke yellow balls. Then there 
are scarlet wild flowers, that seem as if they were made of wax or 
sliining coral, and quantities of white jasmine, trailing on the_ grass, 
and throwing itself over the branches of the trees. There is one 
beautiful tree, with flowers Hke immense wliite Hlies, and buds that 
look like shut Hly blossoms in wliite wax. 

Leaving these beautiful and fertile lands that adorn the slopes and 
bases of the hills, you mount again up the steep paths, and again 
you find the grass dried up, and no vegetation but stunted nopals or 
miserable-looking blue-green magueys. Yet sometimes in the most 
desert spot, a httle sheltered by a projecting hill, you come upon the 
most beautiful tree, bending with rich blossoms, standing all alone, 
as if through ambition it had deserted its lowly sisters in the valley, 
and stood, in its exalted station, solitary and companionless. 

As for the names of these tropical trees, they are almost all In- 
dian, and it is only hotanicalhj that they can be properly distin- 
guished. There is the Jloripundio, with white odoriferous flowers 
hanging like bells from its branches, with large pointed, pale-green 
leaves— the yollojochitl, signifying flower of the heart, like white 
stars with yellow hearts, which when shut have the form of one, and 
the fragrance of which is dehcious— the izguijocliitl, whose flowers 
look hke small white musk roses — another with a long Indian name, 
and which means the flower of the raven, and is white, red, and 
yeUow. The Indians use it to adorn their altars, and it is very 
fragrant as well as beautiful. 

After six hours good riding, our guides pointed out to us the 
formidable barrancas at some distance, and expressed their opinion, 
that, Avith great caution, our horses being very sure-footed, we might 
venture to pass them, by wliich means we should save three leagues, 
and be enabled to reach an hacienda within six leagues of the cave 
that night ; and after some deh Deration, it was agreed that the 
attempt should be made. These barrancas (the word hterally 
means a ravine or mountain gully) are two mountains, one behind 
the other, which it is necessary to cross by a narrow path, that looks 


like a road for goats. We began the ascent in silence, and some 
fear, one by one, till tlie horses were nearly perpendicular. It lasted 
about twenty minutes ; and we then began to descend slowly, cer- 
tainly not Avithout some danger of being thrown over our horses' 
heads. However, we arrived in safety at the end of the first moun- 
tain, and this being accomplished, drew up to rest our horses and 
mules beside a beautiful clear stream, bordered by flowering trees. 
Here some clear-headed individual of the party proposed that we 
should open our hamper, containing cold chicken, hard eggs, sherry, 
&c. ; observing, that it was time to be hungry. His suo-oestion was 

-1 -1 T • • O J ^ CO 

agreed to without a dissenting voice, and a napkin being spread 
under a shady tree, no time was lost in proving the truth of his 
observation. A very ingenious contrivance for making a wine-glass, 
by washing an egg-shell in the stream, is worthy of record. When 
we had demolished the cold chicken, the mozos surrounded the 
cold meat, and after gathering branches covered with beautiful 
flowers, with wluch we ornamented our horses' heads and our own 
hats, we prepared to ascend the second mountain. This is as steep, or 
nearly as steep as the first ; but we were already confident in the sui'e- 
footcdness of our horses, and even able to admire the view as we 
ascended single file. After much rain, this path must of course be 
completely impassable. The day had now become oppressively 
warm, though it was not later than eleven o'clock ; and having 
passed the hills, we came to a dusty high road, which, about twelve, 
brought us to the hacienda of Meacatlan, belonging to the family 
of Perez Palacio. We were overtaken on the road by the eldest 
son of the proprietor, who cordially invited us in, and introduced us 
to the ladies of his family, and to his father, a fine, noble-looking 
old gentleman. As we were excessively tired, hot, and dusty, Ave 
were very glad to spend a few hours here dming the heat of the 
sun ; and after joining the family at breakfast, consisting of the 
most extraordinary variety of excellent dishes, Avith a profusion of 
fine fruits and curious SAvectmeats, (amongst A\diich Avas that ethereal- 
looking production, called angeVs hair, cabello de angel,) Ave were 
glad to lie doAvn and rest till four o'clock. 

This hacienda is A'cry productive and A^aluable, and has a sih'er 
mine on it. 

There is also CA'ery A'ariety of fine fruit, especially the largest 
cedrats I ever saAV ; Avhich, although they haA^e not a great deal of 
flavour, are very refresliing. With all their beauty and fertihty, 
there is something A^ery lonely in a residence on these estates, Avhicli 
are so entirely shut out of the Avorld ; not so much for the proprie- 
tors thcmselA'cs, avIio are occupied in the care of their interests, but 
for the female part of the family. 

We left tliis hospitable mansion about four o'clock, rested and re- 
freshed, the proprietor giving K a horse of his, instead of her 

OAvn, which Avas tired. The sun Avas still poAverful, Avhen Ave and 
our train remounted, but the evening had become delightfidly cool, 


by the time that we had reached the beautiful village of San Fran- 
cisco de Tetecala, lying amongst Avooded hills, its white houses 
gleamino- out from amidst the orange trees, mth a small river crossed 
by brid<?cs runnino- throuo-h it. Many of the houses were tolerably 
large and well built. It was a fete-day, and the musical bells ring- 
ing merrily ; the people were clean and well dressed, and were as- 
sembled in crowds in an enclosure, looking at a bull-light, which 
must be hot work in this chmate, both for man and beast. 

But when the moon rose serenely, and without a cloud, and a solt 
breeze, fragrant with orange blossom, blew gently over the trees, i 
felt as if we might have rode on for ever, without fatigue, and m a 
state of the most'perfect enj oyment. It were hard to say whether the 
first soft breath of morning, or the languishing and yet more fragant 
airs of evening were most enchanting. Sometimes we past_ through 
a village of scattered Indian huts, with little fires of sticlcs hghtedm 
their courts, glowiiK? on the bronze faces of the women and children ; 
and at the sound ofW- horses' hoofs, a chorus of dogs, jelping with 
most discordant fury, would give us loud notice of their total disap- 
probation of all nio-ht travellers. Sometimes a decided smell of boiied 
suo-ar was mingled with the fragrance of the orange blossom and 
iasinme; reminding us of those happy days of yore, when the house- 
'keeper, in all her glory, was engaged in making her annual stock of 
jellies and jams. 

Once we were obhged to dismount, that our horses might make an 
ugly leap over a great ditch guarded by thorny bushes, and amongst 
trees where the moon gave us no light. 

About ten o'clock symptoms of weariness began to breakout amongst 
us, spite of moonbeams and orange-buds; when down in a valley we 
saw the sugar fires of Cocoyotla, the hacienda to which we trusted for 
our next place of shelter, darting out their fierce red tongues amongst 
the trees. We knocked for admittance at the great gate, and it was 
some time before the people within woidd undo the fastenings, which 
they did with great caution, and after carefully reconnoitring us ; after- 
wards giving for excuse, that a party of thirty robbers had passed by 
the night before, and that they thought we might have beensome of 
these niyht-evrants. We sent in our credentials to the proprietor, an 
old gentleman married to a youno- wife, who, living on the road to the 
cave, is by no means pleased at his house being turned into a posada 
for all and sundry, and complained bitterly of a party of Enghshmen 
who had passed by some time before, " and the only Spanish word 
they could say, was Vater, by which they meant Ayua, Caramba I" 
However, he was very hospitable to us, and pressed us to remain 
there the following day, and rest oiu'selves and our horses after our 
fourteen leagues march, previous to going on to the cave. 

A very good supper and a very sound sleep were refreshing, and 
the whole of the next day we spent in wandering about or sitting 
lazily amongst the magnificent orange trees and cocoas or tliis fine 
hacienda. Here the orange trees are the loftiest we had yet seen ; 
lono- rano-es of noble trees, loaded with fruit and flowers. At the 


back of tlie house is a small grove of cocoas, and a clear running 
stream passing through beautiful flowers, and refreshing every 
thing in its course. Indeed all through tierra caliente, except on 
the barren hills, there is a profusion of the most delicious water, 
here at once a necessity and a luxury. 

These sugar estates are under high cultivation, the crops abundant, 
the water always more than sufficient both for the purposes of irri- 
gation and for machinery, which A considers equal to any 

thing he has seen in Jamaica. They produce annually from thirty 
to fifty thousand arrohas of sugar. The labourers are free Indians, 
and are paid from two and a half to six and a half reals per day. I 
believe that about one hundred and fifty are sufficient for working 
on a large estate. Bountiful nature, walking on the traces of civil 
war, fills up the ravages caused by sanguinary revolutions, and these 
estates in the valley of Cuernavaca, which have so frequently been 
theatres of bloodshed, and have so often changed proprietors, remain 
in themselves as fertile and productive as ever. 

In the evening we visited the trapiche, as they call the sugar- works, 
the sugar-boilers, warehouses, store-rooms, and engines. The heat 
is so intense among these great boilers, that we could not endure it 
for more than a few minutes, and pitied the men who have to spend 
their lives in this work. They make panoja on this estate, cakes of 
coarse sugar, which the common people prefer to the refined sugar. 

Just as we were preparing to retire for the night, an animal on 

the wall attracted our attention, close by K 's bed — and, gentle 

reader ! it was a scorpion ! We gave a simultaneous cry, which 

brought Sefior into the room, who laughed at our fears, and 

killed our foe; when lo ! just as our fright had passed away, another, 
a yellowish-coloured, venomous-looking creature, appeared steahng 
along the wall. The lady of the house came this time, and ordered 
the room and the beds to be searched. No more could be discovered, 
but it was difficult to sleep in peace after such an apparition. 

At three the next morning we rose, and set off by moon and star- 
light for the cave. The morning was lovely as usual, and quite 
cool. We passed a great deal of barren and liilly road, till we reached 
some plains, where we had a delightful gallop, and arrived early 
at a small rancho, or farmhouse, where we were to procure 
guides for the cave. Here Ave added four Indians, and the 
master of the house, Benito, to our party, which was after- 
wards Increased by numbers of men and boys, tiU we formed a 
perfect regiment. This little rancho, with its small garden, was 
very clean and neat. The woman of the house told us she had seen 
no ladies since an English Ministra had slept there two nights. We 
concluded that this must have been Mrs. Ashburnham, who spent 
two days in exploring the cave. We continued our ride over loose 
stones, and dry, rocky hiUs, where, were the horses not sure-footed, 
and used to chmb, the riders' necks would no doubt suffer. Within 
about a quarter of a mile of the cave, after leaving on our right the 
pretty village of Cautlamilpas, we fomid oui'selves in a place which 

THE CAVE. 253 

I consider mucli more dangerous than even tlie barrancas near 
Meacatlan ; a narrow patli, overlianging a steep precipicj, and bor- 
derino- a perpendiciilar liill, witli just room for the horses' feet, afford- 
ino- the comfortable assurance that one false step would precipitate 
you to the bottom. I confess to having held my breath, as one by 
one, and step by step, no one looking to the right or the left, our 
gowns occasionally catching on a bush, with our whole tram we 
wound slowly down this narrow descent. Arrived near the mouth 
of the cave, we dismounted, and cHmbed our way among stones and 
gravel to the great mountain opemng. But an account of the cave 
itself must be reserved tiU om' return to Atlacamulco. 


Cave of rac«/^z<ara27jo«— Superstition— Long-bearded Goat— Portal— Vestibule 

—Fantastic Forms— Breakfast— Pine Torches— Noble Hall— Stalactites and 

Stalagmites— Egyptian Pyramids— Double Gallery— Wonderful Formations 

—Corridor— Frozen Landscape— Amphitheatre— World in Chaos— Siieleton 

—Wax Lights— Hall of Angels— Return— Distant Light— Indian— Alcalde 

—CautlamUpas — Raucho—Retm-n to Cocoyotla — Chapel - Meacatlan— 

Eclipse of tlie Moon— Benighted Travellers— Indian Village— £/ Fue^ite— 

Return to Atlacamulco. 

Atlacamulco, 7th. 

The cave of Cacahuamilpa, whose actual wonders equal the 
fabled descriptions of the palaces of Genii, was, until lately, known 
to the Indians alone, or if the Spaniards formerly knew any thmg 
about it, its existence was forgotten amongst them. But although 
in former days it may have been used as a place of worship, a super- 
stitious fear prevented the more modern Indians from exploring its 
shining recesses, for here it was firmly beheved the evil spirit had 
his dwelHng, and in the form of a goat, with long beard and horns, 
guarded the entrance of the cavern. The few who ventured there 
and beheld this apparition, brought back strange tales to their cre- 
dulous companions, and even the neighbourhood of the enchanted 
cave was avoided, especially at nightfall . _ 

The chain of mountains, into whose bosom it leads, is bleak and 
bare, but the ravine below is refreshed by a rapid stream, that forms 
small waterfalls as it tumbles over the rocks, and is bordered by 
green and flowering trees. Amongst these, is one with a smooth, 
satin-hke bark, of a pale golden coloiir, whose roots have something 


snakish and witch-like in their appearance, intertwining with each 
other, grapphng as it were with the hard rock, and stretching out 
to the most extraordinary distance. 

We arrived at tlie entrance of the cave, a superb portal, upwards 
of seventy feet higli, and one hundred and fifty wide, according to 
the computation of a learned traveller — the rocks which support the 
great arch so symmetrically disposed as to resemble a work of art. 
The sun was already high in the heavens, shining with intense 
brightness on the wild scenery that surrounded us, the rocks and 
trees and rushing waters ; a sensation of awe came over us as we 
stood at the mouth of the cave, and, turning from day to night, 
strained our eyes to look down a deep descent into a gigantic vaulted 
hall, faintly hglited by the red embers of a fire which the Indians 
had kindled near the entrance. We made our way down a declivity 
of, it may be, one hundred and fifty feet, surrounded by blocks of 
stone and rock, and remained lost in astonishment at finding our- 
selves in this gloomy subterranean palace, surrounded by the most 
extraordinary, gigantic, and mysterious forms, which it is scarcely 
possible to believe are the fantastic productions of the water which 
constantly trickles from the roof. 

I am shocked to confess it — I Avould prefer passing it over — but 
we had tasted nothing tliat morning, and we had rode for eight 
hours, and were dying of hunger ! Moreover we travelled with a 
cook, a very tolerable native artist, but without sentiment — his 
heart in his stew-pan; and he, without the least compunction, had 
begun his frying and broiling operations in what seemed the very 
vestibule of Pharaoh's palace. Our own mozos and our Indian guides 
were assisting his operations with the utmost zeal; and in a few 
minutes, some sitting round the fire, and others upon broken pyra- 
mids, we refreshed ourselves with fried chicken, bread, and hard 
eggs, before proceeding fiarther on our exploring expedition. Unro- 
mantic as this proceeding was, we looked, Indians and all, rather 
awful, with no other light than the ruddy glare of the fire, flickering 
upon the strange, gigantic forms in that vast labyrinth ; and as to 
what we felt, our valour and strength of mind were increased 

TAventy-four huge pine torches were then lighted, each man 

carrying one. To K and me were given lighted wax candles, 

m case by accident any one should go astray from his companions, 
and lose his way, as would too certainly happen, in the different 
windings and galleries and compartments of the cave, and be alone 
in the darkness ! We walked on in awe and wonder, tlie guides 
lighting up the sides of the cavern with their torches. Unfortu- 
nately, it is indescribable ; as in the fantastic forms of the clouds, 
every one sees some difterent creation of his fancy in these stupen- 
dous masses. It is said that the first sala, for travellers have pre- 
tended to divide it into halls, and a very little imagination may do so, 
is about two hundred feet long, one hundred and seventy "svide, and 


one laundrcd and fifty in lieiglit — a noble apartment. Tlic walls are 
shaded wltli different colours of green and orange ; great sheets of 
stalactites liang from the roof; and white phantoms, palm trees, 
lofty pillars, pyramids, porches, and a thousand other illusions, sur- 
round us on all sides. One figure, concerning which all agree, is a 
long-haired goat, the E^dl Chie in that form. But some one has 
broken the head, perhaps to show the powerlessness of the enchanted 
guardian of the cave. Some say that there are no living animals 
here, but there is no doubt that there are bats; and an exploring 
party, who passed the night here, not only heard the hissing of the 
rattlesnake, but were startled by the apparition of a fierce leopard, 
whose loud roarings were echoed amongst the vaults, and who, after 
gazing at them by the hght of the torches, stalked majestically back 
into the darkness. 

We passed on into the second sola, collecting as we went frag- 
ments of the shining stones, our awe and astonishment increasing at 
every step. Sometimes w^e seemed to be in a subterranean Egyptian 
temple. The architecture was decidedly Egyptian, and the strange 
forms of tlie animals resembled those of the uncouth Egyptian idols ; 
which, together with the pyramids and obehsks, made me think, 
that perhaps that ancient people took the idea of their architecture 
and of many of their strange shapes from some natural cave of this 
description, just as nature herself suggested the idea of the beautiful 
Corinthian pillar. 

Again, we seemed to enter a tract of country wliich had been 
petrified. Fountains of congealed water, trees hung with frozen 
moss, pillars covered with gigantic acanthus leaves, pyi-amids of 
ninety feet high losing their lofty heads in the darkness of the vault, 
and looking like Avorks of the pre- Adamites ; yet no being but He 
who inhabits eternity could have created them. This second hall, 
as lofty as the other, may be nearly four hundred feet in length. 

We then passed into a sort of double gallery, separated by enor- 
mous pyi-amidal formations — stalagmites, those which are formed by 
water dropping on the earth. The ground was damp, and occa- 
sionally great drops trickled on our heads from the vaults above. 
Here Gothic shrines, odd figures; some that look hke mummies, 
others like old men with long beards, appal us like fif^ures that^vc 
see in some wild dream. These are intermingled with pyramids, 
obehsks, baths that seem made of the purest alabaster, &c. A number 
of small round balls, petrifactions of a dead white, lie about here, 
forming little hollows in the ground. Here the cave is very wide — 
about two hundred feet, it is said. 

Wlien we left this double gallery, we came to another vast cor- 
ridor, supported by lofty pillars, covered with creeping plants, but 
especially with a row of the most gigantic cauhflowers, each leaf 
dehcately chiseled, and looking hke a fitting food for the colossal 
dwellers of the cavern. But to attempt any thing like a regular 
description is out of the question. We gave ourselves up to admi- 


ration, as our torches flashed upon the masses of rock, the hills 
crowned with pyi-amids, the congealed torrents that seem to belong 
to winter at the north pole, and the lofty Doric columns that bring 
ITS back to the pure skies of Greece. But amongst all these curious 
accidents produced by water, none is more curiously exquisite than 
an amplii theatre, with regular benches, surmounted by a great organ, 
whose pipes, when struck, give forth a deep sound. It is really 
difficult not to beheve that some gigantic race once amused them- 
selves in these petrified solitudes, or that we have not invaded the 
sanctuary of some mysterious and superhuman beings. It is said 
that this cavern has been explored for four leagues, and yet that no 
exit has been discovered. As for us, I do not know how far we 
went : our guides said a league. It seemed impossible to think of 
time when w^e looked at these great masses, formed drop by drop, 
slowly and rarely and at distant intervals falling, and looked back 
upon the ages that must have elapsed since these gigantic formations 

At length, on account of the loose stones, the water, and the 
masses of crystal rock that we had to cKmb over, our guides strongly 
recommended us to return. It was difficult to tiurn away our eyes 
from the great unformed masses that now seemed to fill the cave as far 
as the eye could reach. It looked Hke the world in chaos — nature's 
vast workshop, from which she drew the materials which her hand 
was to redvice to form and order. We retraced our steps slowly and 
lingeringly through these subterranean palaces, feehng that one day 
was not nearly sufficient to explore them, yet thankful that we had 
not left tlie country without seeing them. The skeleton of a man 
w^as discovered here by some travellers, lying on his side, the head 
nearly covered with crystaUization. He had probably entered these 
labyrinths alone, either from rash curiosity or to escape from pursuit; 
lost his way and perished from himger. Lideed, to find the way 
back to the entrance of the cave is nearly impossible, without some 
clue to guide the steps amongst these winding galleries, halls, and 
issues, and entries, and divided corridors. 

Though there are some objects so striking that they may imme- 
diately be recognised, such as the amphitheatre for instance, there is 
a monotony even in the variety 1 and I can imagine the rmfortvmate 
man wandering amongst obelisks and pyramids and alabaster baths 
and Grecian columns — amongst frozen torrents that coidd not 
assuage liis tliirst, and trees with marble fruit and foliage, and 
crystal vegetables that mocked his hunger ; and pale phantoms with 
long hair and figures in shrouds, that could not relieve his distress 
— and then his cries for help, where the voice gives out an echo, as 
if all the pale dwellers in the cave answered in mockery — and then, 
his torch becoming extinguished, and he lying dowTi exliausted and 
in despair near some inhospitable marble porch, to die. 

As we went along, our guides had chmbed up and placed wax 
candles on the top of all the highest points, so that their pale gUm- 


mering liglit pointed out the way to us on our return. The Indians 
begged they might be left there " on account of the blessed souls in 
purgatory," which was done. As we retiu-ned, we saw one figure 
wc liad not observed before, which looks something hke a woman 
mounted on an enormous goat. To one hall, on account of its 
beauty, some travellers have given the name of the " Hall of 
Angels." It is said, that by observation, the height of the stalag- 
mites might determine the age of their formation, but where is the 
enterprising geologist who would shut himseU' up in these crystal 
sohtudes sufficiently long for correct observation? 

I never saw or could have imagined so beautiful an effect as that 
of the dayhght in the distance, entering by the mouth of the cave ; 
such a faint misty blue, contrasted with the fierce red hght [of 
the torches, and broken by the pillars through which its pale rays 
struggled. It looked so pure and holy, that it seemed Hke the light 
from an angel's wings at the portals of the " cittd dolente." What 
would that poor traveller have given to have seen its friendly rays ! 
After chmbing out and leaving the damp, cool subterraneous air, 
the atmosphere felt dry and warm, as we sat down to rest at the 
mouth of the cavern, surrounded by our Indian torch-bearers. 
Truly, nature is no coquette. She adorns herself with greater 
riches in the darkest mountain cave, than on the highest moimtain 

We were sitting in thoughtful silence, ourselves, Indians and all, 
in a circle, when we saw, stumping down the hill, in great haste, 
and apparently in great wrath, an Indian alcalde, with a thick staff 
in his hand, at Avhose approach the Indians looked awe-struck. He 
carried in his brown hand a large letter, on Avhich was written in 
great type; " ^/ Senor dominante de esta caravana de gente^ 
" To the Commander of this caravan of people !" This missive set 
forth that the justice of peace of the city of Cuautla Amilpas, 
begged to know by what right, by whose authority, and with 
what intentions we had entered this cave, without permission from 
government; and desired the " Seiior dominante" to aj)pear forth- 
with before the said justice, for contempt of his authority. The 
spelHng of the letter was too amusing. The Indians looked very 
much alarmed, and when they saw us laugh, still more astonished. 

C n wrote with a pencil in answer to the summons, that he was 

the Spanish Minister, and wished good day to the alcalde, who 
plodded up the hill again, very ill pleased. 

We now took leave of this prodigious subterranean palace, and again 
put ourselves en route. Once more we wound oiu- way round the brink 
of the precipice, and this time it was more dangerous for us than 
before, for we rode on the side next it, our gowns overhanging the 
brink, and if caught by a branch there, might have been dragged 
over. Our two guides afterwards said that if alone, they would 
have dismounted ; but that as the ladies said nothing, they did not 
hke to propose it. 


Some day, no doubt, tliis cave will become a sliow-place, and 
measures will be taken to render tlie approach to it less dan- 
gerous; but as yet, one of its charms consists in its being unhack- 
neyed. For, long after, its recollection rests upon the mind, Hke a 
marble dream. But, like Niagara, it cannot be described; perhaps 
even it is more difficult to give an idea of this underground creation, 
than of the emperor of cataracts ; for there is nothing with which 
the cave can be compared. 

Meanwhile, we had rather a disagreeable ride, in all the force of 
the sun's last rays, back to the rancho. No one spoke — all our 
thoughts were wandering amongst marble palaces, and luicouth, 
gigantic, half-human forms. 

But our attention was again attracted by the sudden reappear- 
ance of our friend, the alcalde, on the brow of the hill, looking 
considerably indignant. He came with a fresh summons from the 
judge of Cuautla Amilpas, which lay white and glittering in the 

valley below. C n endeavoured gravely to explain to him that 

the persons of ambassadors were not subject to such laws, which was 
Greek and Hebrew to him of the bronze countenance. " If it were 
a Consul indeed, there might be] something in that." At last our 
guide, the ranch ero, promised to call upon the judge in the evening, 
and explain the matter to his satisfaction ; and again our alcalde 
departed upon his bootless errand — -bootless in every sense, as he 
stalked down the hill with his bare^bronze supporters. As we passed 
along, a parcel of soldiers in the village were assembled in haste, 
who struck up an imposing military air, to give us some idea of 
their importance. 

Politically speaking, Cuautla Amilpas has been the theatre of 
important events. It was there that the cm-ate Morelos shut him- 
self up with a troop of insurgents, until the place being besieged by 
the Spaniards under Calleja, and the party of IMorelos driven to ex- 
tremity for want of food, he secretly abandoned his position, draw- 
ing off his forces in the night. 

Wlien we arrived at the rancho, we foimd that a message had 
come from the judge, prohibiting Don Benito from accompanying- 
strangers to the cave in future, which would be hard upon the old 
man, who makes a httlc money by occasionally guiding strangers 

there. C n has therefore written on the subject to the i^efect 

of the department. 

In the cool of the evening, we had a dchghtful ride to Cocoyotla. 
The air was soft and frajrrant — the bells of the villages were ringing- 
amongst the trees, for every village, however poor, has at least one 
fine church, and all the bells in Mexico, whether in the city or 
in the villages, have a mellow and musical sound, owing, it is said, 
to the quantity of silver that enters into their composition. 

It was late when we arrived at Cocoyotla, but we did not go to 
rest without visiting the beautiful chapel, which we had omitted to 
do on our last visit; it is very rich in gilding and ornaments, A'cry 


large and in good taste. We supped, and threw ourselves do-\vn to 
rest for a few hours, and set off again at three o'clock, by the light 
of a full moon. Our greatest difficidty in these hurried marches is 
to get our things in and out of our portmanteaus, and to dress in 
time in the dark. No looking-glasses of course — we arrange our 
hair by our imagination. Every thing gets broken, as you may 
suppose ; the mules that cany our trunks cantering up and down 
the hills to keep up with us, in most unequal mcasm-e. 

Tlie moon was still high, though pale, when the sun rose, like a 
youthful monarch impatient to take the reins from the hands of a 
mild and dying queen. We had a clehghtful gallop, and soon left 
the fires of Cocoyotla for beliind us. After riding six leagues, we 
arrived at six in the morning at the house of the Perez Palacios. 
We should have gone further while it was cool; but their hospita- 
lity, added to a severe fit of toothach which had attacked C n, 

induced us to remain till four o'clock, during which time we im- 
proved our acquaintance with the family. How strange and even 
melancholy are those glimpses Avhich travellers have of persons 
v/hom they will prol-sably never meet again ; with whom they form 
an intimacy, Avhich owing to peculiar circumstances seems very Hke 
friendship — much nearer it certainly, than many a long acqiiaintance- 
sliip v.diich we form in great cities, and where the parties go on 
knowing each other from year to year, and never exchanging more 
than a mere occasional and external civiHty. 

It was four o'clock when we left Meacatlan, and we rode hard 
and fast till it grew nearly dark, for our intention was to return to 
our head-quarters at Atlacamulco that night, and we had a long 
journey before us, especially as it Avas decided that we should by no 
means attempt to recross the barrancas by night, which would have 
been too dangerous. Besides an eclipse of the moon was predicted, 
and in fact, as we were riding across the fields, she appeared above 
the horizon, half in shadow, a curious and beautiful spectacle. 
But we should have been thankful for her entire beams, ibr after 
riding for hours we discovered that we had lost our way, and worse 
still, that there were no hopes of our finding it. Not a hut was in sight 
— darkness coming on — nothing but great plains and momrtains to be 
distinguished, and nothing to Ije heard but bulls roaring round us. 
We went on, trusting to chance, and where chance would have led us 
it is hard to say; but by good fortune our advanced guard stumbled 
over two Indians, a man and a boy, who agreed to gmde us to their 
own village, but nowhere else. 

After following them a long and weary way, all going at a pretty 
brisk trot, the barking of hundreds of dogs announced an Indian vil- 
lage, and by the fain\ fight we could just distinguish the cane huts 
snugly seated amongst bananas and with little enclosed gardens be- 
fore each. Our cavalcade drew up before a hut, a sort of tavern or 
spirit-shop, where an old half-naked hag, the hcau ideal of a witch, 
was distributing fire-water to the Indians, m.ost of whom were 


260 PLAN. 

abcady drunk. We got off our horses and threw ourselves down 
on the ground too tired to care what they were doing, and by 
some means a cup of bad chocolate was procured for us. We 
found that we had entirely lost our way, and it was therefore 
ao-rced, that instead of attempting to reach Atlacamulco that night, 
we should ride to the village of el Puente, where our conductors 
knew a Spanish family of bachelor brothers, who would be glad 
to harhour us for the remainder of the night. We then remounted 
and set off somewhat refreshed by our rest and by the bad cho- 

It was late at night when we entered el Puente, after having 
crossed in pitch darkness a river so deep that the horses were 
nearly carried off their feet; yet they were dancing in one place, 
playing cards on the ground in another, dogs were barking as 
usual, and candles Hghted in the Indian huts. We were very well 
received by the Spaniards, who gave us supper and made us take 
their room, all the rest of the party sleeping upon mattresses placed 
on the floor of a large empty apartment. We slept a few hours 
very soundly, rose before daylight, wakened the others, who lying 
on the ground, rolled up in their sarapes, seemed to be sleeping for 
a wager, and remounted our horses not sorry at the prospect of a 
day's rest at Atlacamulco. It was dark when we set off; but the 
sun had risen and had Hghted up the bright green fields of sugar- 
cane, and the beautiful coffee plantations that look Hke flowering 
myrtles, by the time we reached the hacienda of Sefior Neri del Barrio, 
whose family is amongst the most distingiiished of the old Spanish 
Mexican stock. We stopped to take a tumbler of milk fresh from 
the cow; declined an invitation to go in, as we were anxious to 
finish our journey while it was cool; and after a hard ride galloped 
into the courtyard of Atlacamulco, wliich seemed Hke returning 
home. We spent a pleasant, idle day, lying down and reading 
while the sun was high, and in the evening sauntering about under 
the orange-trees. We concluded with a hot bath. 

7th. — Before continuing our journey, we determined to spend 
one more day here, which was fortunate, as we received a large 
packet of letters from home, forwarded to this place, and we have 
been reading them, stretched under the shade of a natural bower 
formed by orange-boughs, near a clear, cold tank of water in the 
garden. To-morrow we shall set off betimes for the hacienda of 

Cocoyoc, the property of Don Juan Goriva, with whom C n 

was acquainted in Mexico. After visiting that and some other of 
the principal estates, we shall continue our ride to Puebla, and as 
we shall pass a few days there, hope to have leisure to write again 
from that city. 



Ride by Starlight— Fear of Robbers — Tropical Wild Flowers — Stout Escort — 
Hautcpec — Hacienda of Cocoi/oc — A Fire — Three Thousand Orange-trees — 
Coffee Mills, &c. — V^ariety of Tropical Fruits — Prodigality of Nature — Casa- 
sano — Celebrated Reservoir — Ride to Santa Clara — A Philosopher — A Scor- 
pion — Leave Santa Clara — Dangerous Barranca — Colon — Agreeable House 
— Civil Administrador — San Nicolas — Solitude — Franciscan Friar — Rainy 
Morning — Pink Turban — Arrival at AtUsco — Cypress — Department of 
Puebla — Volcanoes — Dona Marina — Verses — Popocatepetl — Cholula — Great 
Pyramid — Arrival at Puebla. 

On tlie 9tli of February we took leave of Atlacamulco and the 
hospitable administrador, and our party being diminished by the 
absence of Don Pedro who was obhged to go to Mexico, we set 
off as usual by starhght, bemg warned of various had hits on the 
road, where the ladies at least were advised to dismount. The 
country was wild and pretty, mountainous and stony. When the 
hght came in we separated and galloped about in all directions. 
The air was cool and laden with sweetness. We came, however, 
to a pretty lane, where those of our escort who were in front 
stopped, and those who were behind rode up and begged us to 
keep close together, as for many leagues the comitry was haunted 
by robbers. Guns and pistols being looked to, we rode on in ser- 
ried ranks, expecting every moment to hear a bullet whiz over oiu* 

Here were the most beautiful wild flowers we have yet seen; 
some purple, white, and rose-colour in one blossom; probably the 
flower called ocelojo-chitl, or viper's head, others bright scarlet, 
others red, with white and yellow stripes, and with an Indian 
name, signifying the tiger's flower; some had rose-coloured blossoms 
others were of the purest white. 

We came at last to a road over a mountain, about as bad as any 
tiling we had yet seen. Our train of horses and mules, and men 
in their Mexican dresses, looked very picturesque winding up and 
down these steep crags; and here again, forgetful of robbers, each 
one wandered according to his own fancy, some riding forward, 
and others lingering beliind to pull branches of these beautiful wild 
blossoms. The horses' heads were covered with flowers of every 
colour, so that they looked hke victims adorned for sacrifice. 
C n indulged his botanical and geological propensities, occa- 
sionally to the great detriment of liis companions, as we were 
anxious to arrive at some resting-place before the sun became in- 
supportable. As for the robbers, these gentlemen, who always 

T 2 


keep a sharp look out, and rarely endanger tlieir precious persons 
•witliout some sufficient motive, and who, moreover, seem to have some 
magical power of seeing through stone walls and into portman- 
teaus, were no doubt aware that our luggage would neither have 
replenished their own nor their ladies wardrobes, and calculated 
that people who travel for pleasure are not Hkely to carry any 
great quantity of superfluous coin. Besides this, they are much 
more afraid of these honest, stout, well-armed farm servants, who 
arc a fine race of men, than even soldiers. 

We arrived about six o'clock at the village of Hautepec, remark- 
able for its fine old chvu'ch and lofty trees, especially for one magnifi- 
cent wide-spreading ash-tree in tlie churchyard. There were also many 
of those pretty trees with the silvery l^ark, which always look as if 
the moon were shining on them. The road began to improve, but 
the sun became very oppressive about nine o'clock, when we arrived 
at a pretty ^dllage, wdiich had a large church and a venta (tavern), 
"where we stopped to refresh ourselves with water and some very 
well-baked small cakes. The village was so pretty that we had some 
thouojhts of rcmainiuG; tlicrc till the evenino", but as Don Juan 
assured us that one hour's good gallop would carry us to Cocoyoc, 
the hacienda of Don Juan Gorivar, we determined to continue. 
We had a dreadful ride in the hot sun, till we arrived at a pretty 
Indian village on the estate, and shortly after entered the court- 
3^ard of the great hacienda of Cocoyoc, where w^e were most hospi- 
tably welcomed by the proprietor and his family. 

We were very tired owing to the extreme heat, and white with 
dust. A fresh toilet, cold w^ater, an hour's rest, and an excel- 
lent breakfast, did wonders for us. Soon after our arrival, the 
sugar-house, or rather the cane rubbish, took fire, and the great 
bell swung heavily to and fro, summoning the workmen to assist in 
getting it under. It was not extinguished for some time, and the 
building is so near the house, that the family were a httlc alarmed. 
W^e stood on the balcony, which commands a beautiful view of 
Popocatepetl, watching the blaze. After a hard battle between 
fire and water, water carried the day. 

In the evenino- we drove to the oranire irrove, where three thou- 
sand lofty trees are ranged in avenues, literally bending under the 
weight of their golden fruit and snowy blossom. I never saw 
a more beautiful sight. Each tree is perfect, and lofty as a forest 
tree. The ground under their broad shadows is strewed with thou- 
sands of oranges, dropping in their ripeness, and covered with the 
white, fragrant blossoms. The place is lovely, and everywhere 
traversed by streams of the purest water. We ate a disgraceful 
number of oranges, limes, guayavas, and all manner of fruits, and 
even tasted the sweet beans of the coffee plants. 

We spent the next morning in visiting the coffee mills, the great 
brandy works, sugar-houses, &c., all which are in the highest order; 
and in stroUiug tlu'ough the orange groves, and admiring the 


ciirions and beautiful ilowcrs, and walking among orchards of 
loaded fruit trees — the calabash, papaw, mango, tamarind, citron — 
also raameys, chirimoyas, custard apples, and all the family of the 
zapotes, white, black, yellow and cldco; cayotes, cocoas, cacahuates, 
aguacatcs, &c. kc. &c., a list without an end. 

Besides these are an infinity of trees covered with the brightest 
blossoms; one, with large scarlet flowers, most gorgeous in their 
colouring, and one whose blossoms are so like large pink silk tassels, 
that if hung to the cushions of a sofa, you could not discover them to 
be flowers. What prodigality of nature in these regions ! With 
what a lavish hand she flings beauty and luxury to her tropical 
children ! 

In the evening we drove to Casasano, an hacienda about three 
leagues from Cocoyoc, and passed by several other fine estates, 
iimongst others, tlie hacienda of Calderon. Casasano is an im- 
mense old house, very dull looking, the road to wdiich lies through 
a. fine park for cattle, dotted with great old trees, but of which the 
grass is very much burnt up. Each hacienda has a large chapel 
attached to it, at which all the workmen and villagers in the envi- 
rons attend mass; a padre coming from a distance on Sundays and 
fete days. Frequently there is one attached to the establishment. 
We went to see the celebrated water tank of Casasano, the largest 
and most beautiful reservoir in this part of the country ; the water so 
pure, that though upwards of thirty feet deep, every blade of grass at 
the bottom is visible. Even a pin, dropped upon the stones below, 
is seen shining quite distinctly. A stone wall, level with the water, 
thirty feet hio-h, encloses it, on which I ventured to walk all round 
the tank, which is of an oval form, wath the assistance ol our host, 
going one by one. A iall would be sufficiently awkward, involv- 
ing drowning on one side and breaking your neck on the other. 
Tlie Avater is beautiful — a perfect mirror, with long green feathery 
plants at the bottom. 

The next morning we took leave of our friends at three 
o'clock, and set oft' for Santa Clara, the hacienda of Don Eusebio 
Garcia. Sen or Goriva made me a present of a very good horse, 
and our ride that day was dcHghtful, though the roads led over the 
most terrible barrancas. For nine long leagues, we did nothing 
but ford rivers and chmb steep hills, those Avho were pretty well 
mounted beating up the tired cavalry. But during the first hours 
of our ride, the air was so fresh among the hills, that even when 
the sun was high, we sviftered little from the heat; and the beau- 
tiful and varied views we met at every turn were full of interest. 

Santa Clara is a striking, imposing mass of building, beautifully 
situated at the foot of three bold, h.igh rocks, Avith a remarkably 
handsome church attached to it. The family Avere from home, 
and the agent was a philosopher, hA-ing upon herb-tea, quite aboA^e 
the common affairs of life. It is a fine hacienda, and very produc- 
tive, but sad and sohtary in the extreme, and as K and I 


walked about in the court-yard after supper, wliere we had lis- 
tened to frightful stories of robbers and robberies, we felt rather 
uncomfortably dreary, and anxious to change our quarters. We 
visited the sugar- works, which are like all others, the chapel, which 
is very fine, and the shop where they sell spirituous liquors and 

The hills looked gray and solemn. The sun siuik gloomy behind 
them, liis colour a turbid red. So much had been said aboiit robbers, 
that we were not sure how our next day's journey might terminate. 
The administrador's own servant had tvirned out to be the captain 
of a band ! whom the robbers, from some mysterious motive, had 
murdered a few days before. 

As we intended to rise before dawn, we went to bed early, about 
nine o'clock, and were just in the act of extinguishing a melancholy- 
looking candle, when we were startled by the sight of an alacran on 
the wall. A man six feet high came at our call. He looked at the 
scorpion, shook his head, and ran out. He came back in a little 
while with another large man, he with a great shoe in his hand, and 
his friend with a long pole. While they were both hesitating how 
to kill it, Don Juan came in, and did the deed. We had a melan- 
choly night after this, afraid of every thing, with a long unsnuffed 
candle illuminating the darkness of our large and lonely chamber. 

The next morning, the 11th of February, before sunrise, Ave took 
our leave, in the darkness, of Santa Clara and the philosopher. The 
morning, wonderful to relate, was windy, and almost cold. The 
roads were frightful, and we hailed the first gray streak that appeared 
in the eastern sky, announcing the dawn, which might enable us at 
least to see our perils. Fortimately it was bright dayhght when we 
found ourselves crossing a barranca, so dangerous, that after following 
for some time the precipitous course of the mountain path, we thought 
it advisable to get off our horses, who were pawing the slippery rock, 
without being able to find any rest for the soles of their feet. We 
had a good deal of difficulty in getting along ourselves on foot among 
the loose, sharp stones, and the horses, between shding and stumbling, 
were a long while in accomplishing the descent. After chmbing up 
the barranca, one of them ran off along the edge of the chff, as if he 
were determined to cut the whole concern, and we wasted some time 
in catching him. 

It was the afternoon when we rode through the lanes of a large 
Indian village, and shortly after arrived at Colon, an hacienda be- 
longing to Don Antonio Orria. He Avas from home, but the good 
reception of the honest administrador, the nice, clean, cheerful house, 
with its pretty painted chairs, good beds, the excellent breakfasts 
and dinners, and the good loill visible in the whole estabhshment, 
delighted us very much, and decided us to pitch our tent here for a 

day or two. Some Spaniards, hearing of C 's arrival, rode over 

from a distance to see him, and dined with us. There was a capital hovise- 
keeper, famous for her excellent cakes and preserves. We had also 


the refresliment of a warm bath, and felt ourselves as much at home 
as if we had been in our owoi house. 

Tlie next morning we rode through the great sugar-cane fields to 
the hacienda of San Nicolas, one of the finest estates in the RepubHc, 
eio-hteen leagues long and five -wide, belonging to Seiior Zamora, in 
right of his wife. It is a productive place, but a singularly dreary 
residence. We walked out to see all the works, which are on a 
great scale, and breakfasted with the proprietor, who was there alone. 
We amused ourselves by seeing the workmen receive their weekly 
pay (this being Saturday), and at the mountains of copper piled up 
on tables in front of the house. There is a feeHng of vastness, of so- 
litude and of dreariness in some of these great haciendas, which is 
oppressive. Especially about noon, when every thing is still, and there 
is no sound except the incessant buzz of myriads of insects, I can 
imagine it like what the world must have been before man was 
created. . 

Colon, which is not so large as San Nicolas, has a greater air of hie 

about it ; and in fact we hked it so well, that as observed, we 

seemed inchned to consider it, not as a colon, but ^full stop. You 
must not expect more vivacious puns in tierra caliente. We rode 
back from San Nicolas in the afternoon, accompanied by the pro- 
prietor, and had some thoughts of going to Matamoras in the even- 
ing to see the Barber of Seville performed by a strolHng company m 
the open air, under a tree 1 admittance twenty-five cents. However, 
we ended by remaining where we were, and spent the evemng m 
walking about through the village, surrounded by barking dogs, the 
greatest nuisance in these places, and pulling wild flowers, and ga- 
thering castor oil nuts from the trees. A begging Franciscan friar, 
from the convent of San Fernando, arrived for his yeai4y supply of 
sugar wliich he beo-s from the difierent haciendas, for his convent, a 
tribute which is never refused. 

We left our hospitable entertainer the next morning, with the 
addition of sundry baskets of cake and fruit from the housekeeper. 
As we were setting off, I asked the adminlstrador if there were any 
barrancas on this road. " No," said he, " but I have^sent a basket 
full with one of the boys, as they are very refreshing." I made no 
remark, concluding I should find out his meaning in the course of 
the journey, but keeping a sharp look-out on the mysterious mozo, 
who was added to om- train. When the fight became stronger, I 
perceived that he carried under his sarape,alarge basket of fine naranjas 
(oranges), which no doubt the honest adminlstrador thought I_ was 
inqtfiring after. It rained, when we left Colon, a thick misty drizzle, 
and the difference of the temperature gave us notice that we were 
passing out of tierra caliente. The road was so straight and unin- 
teresting, though the surrounding country was fertile, that a few 
barrancas would really have been enfivening. 

At Colon we took leave of our conductor, Don Juan, who returned 
to Atlacamulco, and got a new director of our forces, a handsome 


man, yclept Don Francisco, "svlio had been a Spanisli soldier. Wc 
had an uncomfortable ride in a high wind and hard rain, the roads 
good but devoid of interest, so that ^\Q were glad when we learnt 
that Atlisco, a town where we were to pass the night, was not far off. 
Within a mile or t^vo of the city, w^e were met by a tall man on 
horseback, with a pink turban, and a wild, swarthy face, who looked 
like an Abencerrage, and who came with the com])hmcnts of his 
master, a Spanish gentleman, to say, that a house hud been prepared 
for us in the town. 

Atlisco is a large town, with a high mountain behind it crov/ned 
by a Avhite chapel, a magnificent church at the base ; the whole city 
full of fine churches and convents, with a plaza and many good houses. 
The numerous pipes, pointed all along from the roofs, have a very 
threatening and warlike eilcct ; one seems to ride up the principal 

street imder a strong fire. We found that Don Fernando , 

pink turban's master, not considering his own house good enough, 
had, on hearing of our expected arrival, hired another, and furnished 
part of it for us ! This is the sort of Avholesalc hospitality one meets 
with in this country. Our room looked out upon an old Carmelite 

monastery, where C n, having a recommendation to the prior, 

paid a visit, and fomid one or tAvo good paintings. Here also we 
saw the famous cypress mentioned by Humboldt, Avhich is seventy- 
three feet in circumference. The next morning, avc set out with an 
escort of seven vwzos, headed by Don Francisco, and all well armed, 
for the road from Athsco to Fucbla is the robbers' highAvay, par 

This valley of Athsco, as indeed the whole department of Pue- 
bla, is noted for its fertility, and its abundant crops of magniey, 
wheat, maize, frijoles, garbanzos, barley, and other vegetables, as 
well as for the fineness of its friuts, its chirimoyas, &c. There is a 
Spanish proverb, which says, 

" SI a morar en Indias feures. 
Que sea doude los volcanes vieres." 

" If you go to hve in the Indias, let it be Avithin sight of the vol- 
canoes;" for it appears that all the lands surrounding the difierent 
volcanoes are fertile, and enjoy a pleasant climate. The great Cor- 
dilleras of Anahuac cross this territory, and amongst these are the 
Mountain of tlie Malinchi, Lxtaccihuatl, Popocatepetl, and the Peak 
of Orizava. The Mahnchi, a corruption by the Spaniards of the 
Indian name Mahntzin, signifying Doiia IMaria or Marina, is sup- 
posed to be called after Cortes's Indian Egeria, the first Christian 
woman of the Mexican empire. 

Though gi\^cn to Cortes by the Tabascan Indians, it seems clear 
that shcAvas of noble birth, and that her father Avas the lord of 
many cities. It is pretended that she fell into a tributary situation, 
through the treachery of her mother, who remarried after the death 
of her first husband, and Avho, bestowing all her alFection on the son 


Lorn of tlils second marriage, determined, in concert witli lier hus- 
band, that all their wealth should pass to him. It happened, in I'ur- 
therance of their views, that the daughter of one of their slaves 
died, upon which they gave out that they had lost their own 
daughter, aiFected to mourn for her, and, at the same time, privately 
sold her, after the fashion of Joseph's brethren, to some merchants 
of Gicalanco, who in their turn disposed of her to their neighbours, 
the Tabascans, wdio presented her to Cortes. That she was beautiful 
and of great talent, A'ersed in different dialects, the devoted friend 
of the Spaniards, and serving as their interpreter in their negotia- 
tions with the various Indian tribes, there seems no doubt. She 
accompanied Cortes in all his expeditions — he followed her advice; 
and in the whole history of the conquest, Doiia IMarina (the name 
given to the beautiful slave at her Christian baptism), played an im- 
portant part. Her son, Martin Cortes, a knight of the order of 
Santiago, was put to the torture in the time of PhiUp II., on 
some unfounded susj^icion of rebellion. It is said that when Cortes, 
accompanied by Doiia IMarina, went to Honduras, she met her guilty 
relatives, who, bathed in tears, threw themselves at her feet, fearful 
lest she might avenge herself of their cruel treatment ; but that she 
calmed their fears, and received them with much kindness. The 
name of her birthplace was Painala, a village in the pro^'ince of 
Cuatzacualco. After the conquest, she was married to a Spaniard, 
named Juan de Jaramillo. 

But I have wandered a long way from the Sierra Malinchi. Tlie 
two great volcanoes, but especially Popocatepetl, the highest moun- 
tain in New Spain, seem to follow the traveller like his guardian 
spirit, wherever he goes. Orizava, which forms a boundary between 
the departments of Puebla and Vera Cruz, is said to be the most 
beautiful of mountains on a near approach, as it is the most magni- 
ficent at a distance ; for while its summit is crowned with snow, its 
central part is girded by thick forests of cedar and pine, and its base 
is adorned with woods and sloping fields covered with flocks, and 
dotted with white ranches and small scattered villa2:es: forminsf the 
most agreeable and varied landscape imaginable. Ixtaccihuatl means 
white woman; Popocatepetl the mountain that throws out smoke. 
They are thus celebrated by the poet Hercdia : — 

Nieve eternal corona las cabezas 
De Ixtaccihuatl purissimo, Orizava 

Y Popocatepec ; sin que el invierno 
Toque jamas con destructora mano 
Los campos fertillisimos do ledo 
Los mira el indio en purpura ligera 
Yoro teiiirse, reflejando el brillo 
Del sol en Occidente, que serene 
En yelo eterno y perennal verdura 
A torrentes versio su luz dorada, 

Y vi6 a naturaleza conmovida 
Con su dulce calor, hcrvir en vida. 



Eternal snow crowns the majestic heads 
Of Orizava, Popocatepetl, 
And of Ixtaccihuatl the most pure. 
Never does winter with destructive hand 
Lay waste the fertile fields where from afar 
The Indian views them bathed in purple light 
And died in gold, reflecting the last rays 
Of the bright sun, which, sinking in the west, 
Poured forth his flood of golden light, serene 
Midst ice eternal, and perennial green ; 
And saw all nature warming into life. 
Moved by the gentle radiance of his fires. 

The morning was really cold, and when we first set out, Poco- 
catepetl was rolled up in a mantle of clouds. The road led us very 

near him. The wind was very piercing, and K was mounted 

on a curate's pony, evidently accustomed to short distances and easy 
travelhng. We had been told that it was "muy proprio para 
Seiiora," very much suited to a lady, an encomium always passed 
upon the oldest, most stupid and most obstinate quadruped that the 
haciendas can boast. We overtook and passed a party of cavalry, 
guarding some prisoners, whom they were conducting to Puebla. 

As the sun rose, all eyes were turned Avith amazement and ad- 
miration, to the great volcano. The clouds parted in the middle, 
and rolled off in great volumes, Hke a curtain withdrawn from a high 
altar. The snowy top and sides of the mountain appeared, shining 
in the bright sun, Hke a grand dome of the purest white marble. 
But it cannot be described. I thought of Sinai, of Moses on the 
Mount, when the glory of the Lord was passing by; of the moun- 
tain of the Transfiguration, something too intolerably bright and 
magnificent for mortal eye to look upon and live. We rode slowly, 
and in speechless wonder, till the sun, which had croAvned the moun- 
tain hke a glory, rose slowly from its radiant brow, and we were re- 
minded that it was time to ride forwards. 

We were not far from the ancient city of Cholula, lying on a 
great plain at a short distance from the mountains, and glittering in 
the sunbeams, as if it still Avere the city of predilection as in former 
days, when it was the sacred city, " the Rome of Anahuac." It is 
still a large town, with a spacious square and many churches, and 
the ruins of its great pyramid still attest its former grandeur ; but of 
the forty thousand houses and four hundred churches mentioned by 
Cortes, there are no traces.. The base of this pyramid, which at a 
distance looks hke a conical mountain, is said by Humboldt to be 
larger than that of any discovered in the old continent, being double 
that of Cheops. It is made of layers of bricks mixed with coats of 
clay and contains four stories. In the midst of the principal plat- 
form, where the Indians worshipped Quetzalcoatl, the god of the air, 
(according to some the patriarch Noah, and according to others the 


apostle Saint Tliomas ! for doctors differ,) rises a cliurcli dedicated 
to tlie Virgin de los Remedios, surrounded by cypresses, from which 
there is one of the most beautiful views in the world. From this 
pyramid, and it is not the least interesting circumstance connected 
with it, Humboldt made many of his valuable astronomical obser- 

The treachery of the people and priests of Cholula, who after 
welcoming Cortes and the Spaniards, formed a plan for exterminat- 
ing them all, which was discovered by Dona Marina, through the 
medium of a lady of the city, was ^dsited by him with the most 
signal vengeance. Tlae slaughter was dreadful; the streets were 
covered with dead bodies, and houses and temples were burnt to the 
o-round. This great temple was afterwards purified by his orders, 
and the standard of the cross solemnly planted in the midst. Cho- 
lula, not being on the direct road to Puebla, is httle visited, and as 
for us our time was now so limited, that we were obhgecl to content 
ourselves with a mere passing observation of the pyramid, and then 
to hurry forward to Puebla. 

We entered that city to the number of eighteen persons, eighteen 
horses, and several mules, and passed some people near the gates 
who were carrying blue-eyed angels to the chosen city, and who 
nearly let them drop, in astonishment, on seeing such a cavalcade. 
We were very cold, and felt very tired as we rode into the court- 
yard of the hotel, yet rather chagrined to think that the remainder 
of our journey was now to be performed^ in a dihgence. Having 
brought my story up to civiHzed Hfe, and it being late, I conclude. 


Theatre— Portmanteaus— Visiters— Houses of Puebla— Fine Arts— Paseo— 
Don N. Ramos Arispe— Bishop— Cotton Factories— Don Esteban Antuiiano 
—Bank of Jiw— United States AJachinery— Accidents— Difficulties— Ship- 
wrecks— Detentions— Wonderful Perseverance— '■ Z« Constancia Mejicanu" 
Hospital— Prison— ElCarmen— Paintings— Painted Floors— Angels— Cathe- 
dral— Gold and Jewels— A Comedy— Bishop's Palace— Want of Masters. 


You will be surprised when I tell you that, notwithstanding our 
fatigue, we went to the theatre the evening we arrived, and sat 
through a long and tragical performance, in the box of Don A o 


H o, one of the richest citizens of Puebla, who, hearing of our 

arrival, instantly came to in\'ite us to his house, where he assured us 
rooms were prepared for our reception. But being no longer in 
savage parts, where it is necessary to throw yourself on the hospitaHty 
of strangers or to sleep in the open uir, we declined liis hind 
offer, and remained in the inn, which is very tolerable, though we 
do not see it now oi beau as we did last year, when we were ex- 
pected there. The theatre is clean and neat, but dull, and we were 
much more looked at than the actors, lor few foreigners (ladies espe- 
cially) remain here for any length of time, and their appearance is 
somewhat of a novelty. Our toilet occasioned us no small diffi- 
culty, now that we were again in polished cities, for you may ima- 
gine the condition of our trunks, which two mules had galloped 
with over ninety leagues of plain and mountain, and which had been 
opened every night. Such torn gowns, crushed collars, riuned 
pelerines ! One carpet bag had burst and discharged its contents of 
combs, brushes, &c., over a barranca, where some day they may be 
picked up as Indian antiquities, and sent to the jMuseum, to be pre- 
served as a proof that Montezuma's wives brushed their hair. How- 
ever by dint of a washerwoman and sundry messages to jieluqueros^ 
(hair-dressers) we were enabled to tiirii out something like Christian 
travellers. The first night we could not sleep on account of the in- 
numerable ants, attracted probably by a small garden, with one or 
two orange trees in it, into which our room opened. 

The next morning we had a great many visiters, and though there 
is here a good deal of that provincial pretension one ahvays meets 
with out of a capital, we found some pleasant people amongst them. 
The Seiiora H o came in a very handsome carriage, with beau- 
tiful northern horses, and took us out to see something of the town. 
Its extreme cleanness after Mexico is remarkable. In that respect 
it is the Philadelphia of the Republic ; with Avide streets, well paved ; 
large houses of two stories, very solid and well-built; magnificent 
churches, plenty of water, and withal a dullness which makes one 
feel as if the houses were rows of convents, and all the people, 
except beggars and a few business men, shut up in performance of 
a vow. 

The house of Don A o H o is, I think, more elegantly 

furnished than any in Mexico. It is of immense size, and the floors 
beautifully painted. One large room is furnished with pale blue 
satin, another with crimson damask, and there are fine inlaid tables, 
handsome mirrors, and every thing in very good taste. He and his 
wife are both very young — she not more than nineteen, very delicate 
and pretty, and very foir; and in her dress, neatness, and house, 
she reminds me of a Philadelphian, always Avith the exception of 
her diamonds and pearls. The ladies smoke more, or at least more 
openly, than in Llexico ; but they have so few amusements, they 
deserve more indulgence. There are eleven convents of nuns izi the 
city, and taking the veil is as common as being married. We dined at 


the Scnora H o's; found lier veiy amiable, and lieard a young 

lady sing, who has a good voice, but complains that there arc no 
music-masters in Puebla. 

The fine arts, however, are not entirely at a stand-still here; and 
in architecture, sculpture, and painting, there is a good deal, com- 
paratively speaking, worthy of notice. There used to be a proverb 
amongst the Mexicans, that " if all men had five senses, the Foblanos 
had seven." They are considered very reserved in their manners — 
a natural consequence of their having actually no society. Formerly, 
Puebla rivalled Mexico in population and in industry. The plague, 
which carried off fifty thousand persons, was followed by the pesti- 
lence of civil war, and Puebla dwindled down to a very secondary 
city. But we now hear a great deal of their cotton factories, and 
of the machines, instruments, and workmen, brought from Europe 
here, already giving employment to thirty thousand individuals. 

In the evening we drove to the new paseo, a pubhc promenade, 
where none of the pubHc were to be seen, and which will be pretty 
when the young trees grow. 

19th. — C n went out early, and returned the visit of the 

celebrated Don N. Ramos Arispe, now an old man, and canon or 
the cathedral, but formerly deputy in the Spanish Cortes, and the 
most zealous supporter of the cause of independence. It is said that 
he owed the great influence which he had over men of a middling 
character, rather to his energetic, some say his domineering dispo- 
sition, than to genius; that he was clear-headed, active, dexterous, 
remarkable for discovering hidden springs and secret motives, and 
always keeping his subordinates zealously employed in his afiliirs. 

C n also visited the bishop, Seilor Vasques, who obtained from 

Rome the acknowledgment of independence. 

We set out after breakfast with several gentlemen, who came to 
take us to the cotton factories, &c. We went first to visit the fac- 
tory established at the mill of Santo Domingo, a little way out of 
the city, and called " I^a Constancia Mejicana" (i\Iexican Constancy). 
It was the first established in the republic, and deserves its name 
from the great obstacles that were thrown in the way of its con- 
struction, and the numerous difiicultics that had to be conquered 
before it came into effect. 

In 1831, a junta for the encouragement of public Industry was 
formed, but the obstacles thrown in the way of every proposal were 
so great, that tlie members all abandoned it in despair, excepting 
only the Seilor Don Estehan Antuha7io, who was determined him- 
self to estabhsh a manufactory of cotton, to give up his commercial 
relations, and to employ his whole fortune in attaining this object. 

He bought the mill of Santo Domingo for one hundred and 
seventy-eight thousand dollars, and began to build the edifice, em- 
ploying foreign workmen at exorbitant prices. In this he spent so 
much of his capital, that he was obhged to have recourse to the Bank 
of Avio for assistance. This bank {avio meaning pecimiary assist- 


ance, or advance of funds) was established by Don Lucas Alaman, 
and intended as an encouragement to industry. But industry is not 
of the nature of a liotliouse plant, to be forced by artificial means; 
and these grants of funds have but created monopolies, and conse- 
quently added to the general poverty. Machinery, to the amount 
of three thousand eight hundred and forty spindles, was ordered for 
Antunano from the United States, and a loan granted liim of one 
liundi-ed and seventy-eight thousand dollars, but of which he never 
received the whole. Meanwhile his project was sneered at as absurd, 
impossible, ruinous; but, firmly resolved not to abandon his enter- 
prise, he contented lumself with living with the strictest economy, 
himself and his numerous family almost suffering from want, and 
frequently unable to obtain credit for the provisions necessary for 
their daily use. 

To hasten the arri-\^al of the machinery, he sent an agent to the 
north to superintend it, and to hire workmen; but the couamercial 
house to which he was recommended, and wliich at first gave him 
the sums he required, lost their confidence in the agent, and re- 
demanded their money, so that he was forced to sell his clothes in 
order to obtain food and lodging. In July, 1833, the macliinery 
was embarked at Philadelphia, and in August arrived at Vera Cruz, 
to the care of Seiior Paso y Troncoso, who never abandoned Antu- 
iiano in his adversity, and even lent liim imlimited sums ; but much 
delay ensued, and a year elapsed before it reached Puebla. There, 
after it was all set up, the ignorant foreign workmen declared that 
no good results would ever be obtained ; that the machines were bad, 
and the cotton w^orse. However, by the month of January, 1833, 
they began to work in the factory, to which was given the name of 
" Mexican Constancy." A mechanist was then sent to the north, 
to procure a collection of new macliinery; and, after extraordinary 
delays and difficulties, he embarked with it at New York in February, 

He was sliipwrecked near Cayo-Hucso, and, with all the machinery 
lie could save, returned to the north in the brig Argos; but on his 
way there he was shipwrecked again, and all the macliinery lost ! 
He went to Pliiladelpliia, to have new machines constructed, and 
in August re-embarked in the Delaware. Incredible as it may seem, 
the Delaware was wrecked off Cayo-Alcatraces, and for the third 
time the machinery was lost, the mechanist saving himself with 
great difficulty ! 

It seemed as if gods and men had conspired against the cotton 
spindles ; yet Antunano persevered. Fresh machinery was ordered ; 
and though by another fatahty it was detained, owing to the 
blockade of the ports by the French squadron, seven thousand 
spindles were landed, and speedily put in operation. Others have 
followed the example of Seiior Antuiiano, who has given a decided 
impulse to industry in Puebla, besides a most extraordinary example 
of perseverance, and a determined struggle against what men call 


had luck, wliicli persons of a feeble character sink under, Tvliile 
stronger minds oppose till they conquer it. 

It was in his carriage we went, and he accompanied us all over 
the building. It is beautifully situated, and at a distance has more 
the air of a summer palace than of a cotton factory. Its order and 
airiness are dehghtful, and in the middle of the court, in front of 
the building, is a large fountain of the purest water. A Scotchman, 
who has been there for some time, says he has never seen any tiring 
to compare with it, and he worked six years in the United States. 
Antuiiano is unfortrmately very deaf, and obliged to use an ear- 
trumpet. He seems an excellent man, and I trust he may be 
ultimately successful. We came out covered with cotton, as if we 
had been just unpacked, and were next taken to visit a' very hand- 
some new prison, which they are building in the city, but whether 
it will ever be finished, or not, is more doubtful. We also visited 
the Foimdling Hospital, a large building, where there are more 
children than funds. They were all clean and respectable-looking, 
but very poor. Antunano presented them with two lumdred 
doUars, as a memorial, he said, of our visit. 

C n then went to the convent of El Carmen, to see the 

paintings of the Life of the Virgin, supposed to be original works of 
Murillo, particularly the Ascension and Circiimcision, but which are 
ill-arranged, and have suffered greatly from neglect, many of them 
being torn. Indeed, in some of them are large holes made by the 
boys, who insisted that the Jewash priest was the devil. There is a 
Descent from the Cross, which is reckoned a fine painting; and it is 
a pity that these works should be shut up in tlris old convent, where 
there are about half a dozen old monks, and where they serve no 
pm-pose, useful or ornamental. Were they removed to the 
Mexican Museum, and arranged vAxh. care, they would at least 
serve as models for those young artists who have not the means of 
forming their taste by European travel. Zendejas as a painter, and 
Coro as a sculptor, both natives of Puebla, are celebrated in their 
respective arts, but we have not yet seen any of their works. 

C n also visited the bishop, and saw his paintings and Hbrary, 

wliich we hope to do to-morrow; and from thence went to the col- 
lege, the rector of wliich was attacht in Spain to the Minister Santa 

We dmed again in the house of Seilor H o. The manner in 

which his floors are painted is pretty and curious. It is in imitation 
of carpets, and is very rich in appearance and very cool in reality. 
A great many of the floors here are painted in this way, either upon 
canvass with oil colours, or upon a cement extended upon the bricks 
of which the floor is made, and prepared with glue, lime, or clay, 
and soap. 

Senor H o has four young and pretty sisters, all nuns in 

diflerent convents. As there are no other schools but these con- 
vents, the yoimg girls who are sent there become attached to the 
nrms, and prefer remaining with them for ever to returning home. 

274 bishop's palace. 

After dinner, accompanied by Don N. Ramos Arispe, wliom C n 

formerly knew intimately in ]\Iadrid, and by various other eccle- 
siastics, we visited the boast of Puebla, the cathedral, which we did 
not do when we passed through the city on our arrival last year. 
To my mind, I have never seen any thing more noble and magni- 
ficent. It is said that the rapid progress of the building was owing 
to the assistance of two angels, who nightly descended and added to 
its height, so that each morning the astonished workmen found their 
labour incredibly advanced. The name given to the city, " Puebla 
de los Angeles," is said to be owing to tliis tradition. 

It is not so large as the cathedral of Mexico, but it is more 
elegant, simpler, and in better taste. Sixteen columns of exquisite 
marble, adorned with silver and gold, form the tabernacle (in jNIexico 
called el Ciprts). This native marble, called Puebla marble, is 
brought from the quarries of Totamehuacan and Tecali, at two and 
seven leagues from the city. The floor of the cathedral is of 
marble — the great screens and high-backed chairs of richly carved 
cedar. Every thing was opened to show us; the tombs v/here the 
bishops are buried; the vault where a martyr lies, supj)osed to have 
been miraculously preserved for centuries, the gift of a pope to a 
bishop of Puebla. The figure appears to be of wax, enclosing the 
skeleton of the martja-, and has the most angelic countenance I ever 
beheld. It is loaded with filse emeralds and diamonds. 

We were also shown the jewels, which they keep buried, in case of 
a revolution. The CustocUa, the gold stand in which they carry 
the Host, is entirely encrusted with large diamonds, pearls, emeralds, 
amethysts, topazes, and rubies. The chalices are equally rich. 
There are four sets of jewels for the bishop. One of his crosses is of 
emeralds and diamonds ; another of topazes and diamonds, with 
great rings of the same, belonging to each. 

In the evening we Avent with the ]\I family, who have been 

very civil to us, to the theatre, where we saw a comedy better acted 
and more amusing than the tragedy which they murdered two 
nights before. We went early the next morning to the bishop's 
palace, to see his fine library and collection of paintings, where 
there were a few modern originals and many fine copies of the 

old masters. We then went with the Senora H o, to return 

the visits of the ladies who had called on us. The yomig ladies 
invariably complain that they have neither music, nor di'awing, 
nor dancing-masters. Tliere is evidently a great deal of musical 
taste among them, and, as in every part of Mexico, town or 
covmtry, there is a piano (tal cual) in every house ; but most of 
those who play are self-taught, and naturally abandon it very soon, 
for want of instruction or encouragement. We arc now going to 
dine out, and in the evening we go to a concert in the theatre, 
given by the Senora Cesari and Mr. Wallace. As we must rise 
at three, to set off by the diligence, I shall "ua-ite no more from 
this place. Our next letters will be from Mexico. 



Concert— Diligence— Leave Pnebla— Escort— View from the Catiiedral Towers 
—black torest— History of the Crosses— Tales of Murder— An Alarm- 
Report of a Skirmish— Rio Frio— Law concerning Robbers— TlieiriHorf6'ra//o'i 
— Return to Mexico— Carnival Ball — Improvement in Dress. 

Mexico, 24th. 

We went to tlie concert with our friends, the H o's. The 

music was better than the instruments, and the Senora Cesari 
looked handsome, as she always does, besides being beautifully 
dressed in white, with Paris wreatlis. We took leave of our 
friends at the door of the hotel, at one in the morning, and lay 
down for two hours, in the full expectation of being robbed the fol- 
lowing day, a circumstance which has now grown so common, that 
when the diligence from Puebla arrives in safety, it excites rather 
more sensation than when it has been stopjDed. The governor had 
ordered us an escort to Mexico, to be stationed about every six 
leao-ues, but last week the escort itself, and even the gallant officer 
at Its head, were suspected of being the plunderers. Our chief hope 
lay m that well-known miraculous knowledge which they possess as 
to the value of all travellers' luggage, which no doubt not only 
makes them aware that we are mere pilgrims for pleasure, and not 
fresh arrivals, laden with European com'modities, but also renders 
them perfectly familiar with the contents of our well-shaken port- 
manteaus; so that we trusted that a sarape or two, a few rings and 
€arrmgs, and one or two shawls, would not prove sufficient to tempt 
them. We got into the diligence in the dark, half asleep, having 
taken all the places but three, which were engaged before we came°; 
some sleepy soldiers on horseback, ready to accompany us, and a 
loaded gun sticking out of each window. Various beggars, who are 
here innumerable, already surrounded us; and it is, by the way, a 
remarkable circumstance, that notwithstanding the amazing numbers 
of the leperos in Puebla, the churches there are kept scmpulously 
clean, from which Mexico might take a hint with advantage. 

Puebla is one of the few cities founded by the Spanish colonists, 
mstcad of being built upon the ruins of former greatness. It was 
founded in the sixteenth century, on the plains of Acajete, in a site 
occupied only by a few huts belonging to the Chohda Indians. It 
IS surrounded by productive corn estates, and the landscape, when 
the light visited our eyes, was fertile tliough flat. The two finest 
views of Puebla may be seen from the towers of the cathedral, and 



from an azotea in tlie street of San Agustin. Tlie landscape is ex- 
tremely varied and very extensive. 

To the north we see the mountain of Tlascala, the Matlalcueyetl, 
better known as the Mahnchi ; next it the hill and temple of Gua- 
dalupe and the mountain of the Pinar, cro^vned by its white church. 
Other chm-ches and convents adorn the slopes of the mountains, the 
Church of Loreto, the Temple of Calvary, &c. The Mahnchi is 
fertile, but these inferior mountains are sterile and bare. 

To the south he the great volcanoes, and between them we can 
distinguish the difficult and steep road by wliicli Cortes undertook 
his first march to Mexico. We also see the city and pyi-amid of 
Cholula, the liill of San Nicolas, and that of San Juan, where Gene- 
ral Bustamante encamped in 1832, when he went out against Santa 
Anna ; near it the farm-houses of Posadas and Zavaleta, one cele- 
brated by a battle, the other by a treaty. 

To the east, but at a greater distance than the other mountains, 
rises the Peak of Orizava, the Star Mountain; the side now seen, 
that which rises over the table land of Mexico ; its other side de- 
scends rapidly to the burning plains of Vera Cruz, and is the first 
distinguishable land discerned by those who approach these coasts. 
Even at this distance, its snowy summit is seen contrasting -with its 
fertile woods and pleasant villages. It has, what mortals rarely 
possess united, a warm heart, with a clear, cold head. 

We were awakened at a posada by their bringing us some hot 
coffee, and a man with a white nightcap on, having poked his head 
in at the ^vindow, in defiance of a loaded musket, I concluded he 
was a lepero, and sleepily told him I had nothing for him, in the 
phrase of the cotmtry to importunate beggars; " Perdone V. por 
Dios !" " Excuse me, for God's sake !" — but he proved to be a 
gentleman, who merely came to put himself and his property at our 
disposal, at that early hour of the morning. 

Wlien we entered the black forest, and passed through the dark 
pine woods, then the stories of robbers began, just as people at sea 
seem to take a particular pleasure in talking of shipwrecks. Every 
cross had its tale of murder, and by the way, it seems to me, that a 
work written with connaissance de cause, and entitled " History of 
the Crosses," though it might not equal the "History of the Cru- 
sades,'' would be quite as interesting, and much more romantic, than 
the Newgate Calendar. The difficulty would consist in procurmg 
authentic information concerning them. There were a lady and two 
gentleman in the dilhgence, and the lady seemed to be very much 
au fait as to their purp'ort and history. Under one her own servant 
was buried, and she gave rather a graphic account of his murder. 
He was sitting outside, on the top of the dihgence. The party 
witliin were numerous but miarmed. Suddenly a number of rob- 
bers with masks on, came shouting down upon them from amongst 
the pine trees. They first took aim at the poor mozo, and shot Inm 
through the heart. He fell, calling in piteous tones to a padi-e who 


was ill tlie coach, entreating Kim to stop and confess liim, and 
groaning out a farewell to Lis friend the driver. Mortal fear pre- 
vailed over charity both in priest and layman, and the coachman, 
whipping up his horses, passed at full gallop over the body of the mvir- 
dered man, so that the robbers being on foot, the remainder of the 
party escaped. 

Wliilst we were listening to tales of blood and murder, our es- 
cort took leave of us, supposing that we should meet another im- 
mediately, whereas we found that we had arrived at the most 
dangerous part of the road, and that no soldiers were in sight. We 
certainly made up our minds to an attack this time, and got ready 
our rings and watches, not to liide, but to give, for we womenkind 
were clearly of opinion, that in case of an attack, it was much 
better to attempt no defence, our party having only two guns 
amongst them. 

Tliere was a dihgence some way behind us, full of people, and 
belonging to another Hne ; driven by a Yankee coaclunan, so drunk 
that he kept his seat with difficulty, and in defiance of all remon- 
strances, persisted in driving the coach at a gallop close by the 
brink of the great precipice along which the road wound ; so that 
the poor passengers were exposed to a double danger. 

Suddenly our escort appeared at the top of the liill, and the offi- 
cer, riding up, excused himself to C n for the delay, which had 

arisen from their having been engaged in a skirmish with the rob- 
bers in that very place. Two he said were taken, and he had 
marched them off to Puebla, where they will probably be let off in a 
few days, after a form of trial. Four had escaped, and had liid 
themselves amongst the trees and rocks, but could not, according to 
liis calculations, be very far off. However, we were quite reassured 
by the arrival of the soldiers, and the sight of Rio Frio was very 
reviving. We got a very tolerable dinner from the Bordelaise in 
the forest- valley ; and although the next part of the road is 
reckoned very insecure, we had no longer any apprehension, as, 
besides having an escort, the fact that some of the robbers had been 
taken a few hours before, made it very imHkely that they would 
renew their attempts that day. 

This pestilence of robbers, which infests the repubhc, has never 
been eradicated. Tliey are in fact the growth of civil war. Some- 
times in the guise of insurgents, taking an active part in the inde- 
pendence, they have independently laid waste the country, and 
robbed all whom they met. As expellers of the Spaniards, these 
armed bands infested the roads between Vera Cruz and the capital, 
ruined all commerce, and without any particular inquiry into poH- 
tical opinions, robbed and murdered in all directions. In 1824, a 
law was proposed in congress, which should subject all armed 
bands of robbers to military judges, in order to shorten proceed- 
ings, for many of those who had been apprehended and thrown 
into prison, fomid some opportunity to escape, wliile their trial was 

u 2 


pending, and many had been imprisoned four or five times for the 
same offence, yet never brought to justice. In this law were in- 
chided both robbers by profession and those bodies of insurgents 
who were merely extempore amateurs. 

But whatever measures have been taken at different times to 
eradicate tliis evil, its causes remain, and the idle and unprincipled 
will always take advantage of the disorganized state of the country, 
to obtain by force what they might gain by honest labour. 
Count says gTavely, that he camiot imagine why we com- 
plain of Mexican robbers, when the city of London is full of 
oro'amzed gangs of ruffians, whom the laws cannot reach; and 
when Enghsh ^highwaymen and housebreakers are the most cele- 
brated in the world. Moreover, that Mexican robbers are never 
unnecessarily cruel, and in fact are very easily moved to compassion. 
This last assertion may, occasionally, hold good, but their cruelties 
to travellers are too well kno^\ii to bear him out in it as a general 

As a proof of their occasional moderation, I may mention, that 

the ladies of the F a family, at the time of their emigration, 

were travelhng from Mexico with a j^adre, when they were met by 
a party of robbers or insurgents, who stopped the coach, and com- 
menced pillaging. Amongst other articles of value, they seized a 
number of silver dishes. The padre observed to them, that as 
this plate did not belong to the ladies, but was lent them by a 
friend, they would be obhged to replace it, and requested that one 
might' be left as a pattern. The reasonable creatures instantly re- 
turned a dish and a cover ! . , 

Another time, having completely stripped an Enghsh gentleman 
and his servant, and tied them both to a tree, observmg that the 
man appeared particularly distressed at the loss of his m.aster's 
spurs, they pohtely returned and laid the spurs beside the gentle- 
man. T T T -1 1 

About four o'clock, though nearly bhnded with dust, we once 
more looked down upon the Valley of Mexico, and at five, during 

our last change of horses, we were met by Don M 1 del C o 

and the English courier Beraza, who had rode out to_ meet us, and 
accompanied us on their fine horses as far as the Garita. Here we 
found our carriage waiting; got in and drove through Mexico, 
dusty as we were, and warhke as we seemed, with gmis at the win- 
dows. In the Calle San Francisco, the carriage was stopped by 

]\/[j^. ^ Secretary to the Enghsh Legation, who invited us to a 

grand masked and fancy carnival ball to be given on Monday, 
it being now Saturday. On our return home, we found every 
tiling in good order. Had some difficulty m procimng ball-dresses 

in time. , ^ , , ., 

On Sunday we had a number of people to dinner, by chance, it 
being Spanish ffishion to dine at a friend's house without imita- 
tion. This evening we go to the ball. 


26tli. — The ball was in tlic theatre, and very brilliant, but too 
many of the first people on these occasions keep their boxes, and 
do not dance; yet it was wonderfully select for so large an 
assembly. When we arrived, we were led up-stairs by some of the 

commissioners, those who had charge of the ball, to the E s' 

box, whom we found, as usual, elegantly dressed — the married 
ladies of the family with diamonds, the younger ones in wliite 
crape and gold. I had a black silk mask, but finding myself uni- 
versally recognised, saw no particular advantage in keeping it on, 
and promptly discarded it. We took a few turns in the ball-room, 
and afterwards returned to the box. There were some capital 
figm-es in masks, and some beautiful ball-dresses, and though there 
were a number of dominoes and odd figures, I could not help re- 
marking the great improvement in toilet which had taken place 
since the fmcy ball of last year. One or two girls, especially the 

Sefiorita M wore ball-dresses which could only have proceeded 

from the fingers of a Parisian modiste. Madame de , dressed 

as a peasant, and with a mask, was known everywhere by her 
small foot and pretty figure. But it is impossible to look on at a ball 
very long, not mingling with it without growing tired; and not 
even the numerous visiters to our box could prevent us from feel- 
ing much more sleepy, than during many a moonhght ride through 
the lovely lanes of tierra caliente. 

Next night there was a public masked ball, but we did not 
attend it. We feel much the better for our journey, and only hope 

that some day C n may have leisure sufiicient to enable us to 

take another ride through some other part of the coiuitry . This being- 
near Lent, we shall have no soirtes for six weeks, though balls are 
occasionally given during that time of fasting. The house has 
become very comfortable in the way of servants; our housekeeper 
a treasure, the coacliman and footman excellent, the cook tolerable, 
the soldiers rarely'tipsy more than once a week, and generally only 
one at a time, the others decent — so that we have nothing to com- 
plain of. —■ has estabHshed a hen-house near the stable, and 

any old Indian woman who brings her a manojo (several hens tied 
together) is sm-e to be received yAxh open arms. 

One of our first visits on our return was to Tacubaya, where we 

were sorry to find the Countess C a very much indisposed, and 

her courtyard filled with carriages, containing visiters making 
inquiries. I shall now send ofi" my letters by the packet, that you 
may see we are safely re-estabhshed in Mexico. 



Distinguished Men— Generals Bustamante, Santa Anna, and Victoria— Anecdote 
— Seiior Pedraza— Seiior Gutierrez Estrada— Count Cortina— Senor Goros- 
tiza— Don Carlos Bustamante—" Mornings in the Alameda"— Don Andres 
Quintana Roo— Don Lucas Alarnan— General Moran— General Almonte — 
Senor Canedo— Senors Neri del Barrio and Casaflores— Doctor Valentin- 
Don Francisco Tagle— f:ight Revolutions. 


H- in his last letter asks what distingiiislied men we have in 

Mexico ? and with a tone of doubt as to their being very numerous. 
Distinguished in what way ? As generals, as statesmen, as men of 
literature ? It seems to me that a country where we have known 
Bustamante, Santa Anna, General Victoria, Posada, Gomez Pedraza, 
Gutierrez Estrada, Count Cortina, Gorostiza, Don Carlos Busta- 
mante, Quintana Roo, General Moran, Don Lucas Alaman, General 
Almonte, Senor Canedo, Don Francisco Tagle, Senor Neri del 
Barrio, Seiior Fagoaga, Don Jose Valentin, the Coimt de Casaflores, 
&c. &c., is not so destitute of distinguished men as he supposes. Tlie 
preceding are, I confess, strimg together as they occur to me, without 
order^ or regularity ; soldiers, statesmen, and Hterary men, some on 
one side of poHtics, some on another, but all men of note, and men 
who have acted, or suifered, or been distinguished in one way or ano- 
ther in the revolutions of the last thirty-two years. And there is not 
one amongst those I have mentioned, who, if he were to write merely 
liis personal history, would not by so doing write the history of these 
civil wars. The three first, as principal figures in every revolution, 
are abeady liistorical ; Bustamante as an honest man and a brave 
soldier ; Santa Anna as an acute general, active and aspiring, whose 
name has o, prestige, whether for good or for evil, that no other possesses ; 
General Victoria, a plain, uneducated well-intentioned man, brave and 
enduring. A passage in his fife is well known, which ought to be men- 
tioned as an offset to the doubtful anecdote of the two-headed eagle. 
When Yturbide, alone, fallen and a prisoner, was banished from Mex- 
ico, and when General Bravo, who had the charge of conducting him 
to Vera Cruz, treated him with every species of indignity, Victoria, 
the sworn foe of the emperor during his prosperity, now, when 
orders were given him to see Yturbide embarked, surromided him 
with attentions, and loaded him with respectful distinctions ; so that 
Yturbide himself, moved ^\ath gratitude, after expressing his warm 
esteem for the General's consistent conduct, presented him with his 
watch as a memorial of liis grateful admiration. 



As for Don Manuel Gomez Pedraza, lie lias occupied too distin- 
guished a place in the pohtical occurrences of this country, not to be 
generally known. An officer in the time of the Spanish government, 
he was distinguished for his severe discipHne and strict moral conduct. 
In the time of Yturbide he was mihtary commandant ot Huasteca, 
and supported the emperor who afterwards made him commander- 
general of Mexico. Li 1827 he was minister of war, during the 
presidency of Victoria, and was distinguished for his extraordinary 
activity, which quahty was greatly wanting in that general. In 1828 
he and Guerrero were announced as candidates for the presidency, 
and after a terrible pohtical tempest, Gomez Pedraza was elected. 
The fermentation that succeeded, the fury of the two parties, the 
Guerreristas and Pedrazistas, which were mingled with Yturhdistas, 
was increased by the arrival of Santa Anna at Perote with eight 
hundred men, who, having shut himself up m the fortress, declared 
for Guerrero, and published a manifesto, which set forth that general 
as a hero, and his rival as a hypocrite. Then came the famous revo- 
lution of the Acordada, and both Pedraza and Guerrero disappeared. 
Pedraza left the Repubhc, and after another revolution, hearino;^tliat 
" the constitution and laws were re-estabhshed," returned to Vera 
Cruz ; but was met by an order which prohibited him from disem- 
barkino-. He then set sail for New Orleans. Another change brought 
him back ; and at this present juncture he hves m tranquilhty, to- 
gether with his lady, a person of extraordinary talent and learning, 
daughter of the Lizenciado (jurisconsuh) Sehor Azcdrate. Such are 
the disturbed hves passed by the " children of the soil. 

Of Gutierrez Estrada, now far from his household gods, and lan- 
guishing under unjust persecution, I have already spoken. _ Count 
Cortina'is a gentleman and a scholar, a man of vast information, and 
a protector of the fine arts. His conversation is a series of electric 
sparks ; brilhant as an ignis fatuus, and bewildering as a will-o -the- 
w4sp. I have seldom heard such eloquence even m trifles ; and lie 
writes with as much ease as he speaks. We have seen three clever 
pieces of his lately, sho^Ting his versatile genius ; one upon earth- 
quakes, one upon the devil, and one upon the holy fathers of the 
church !— the first in the form of a pamphlet, addressed to a lady, 
givino- a scientific explanation of the causes of these phenomena in- 
terspersed with compliments to her beaux yeux ; the second is a bur- 
lesque poem ; and the third a grave and learned dissertation. 

Don Jose Eduardo Gorostiza, though a native of Vera Cruz,_ is 
the son of a Spanish officer, and when very young wept to hpam, 
where he was known politically as a hberal. He was distmgmshed as 
a writer of theatrical pieces, which have been and still are very po- 
pular ; and those which he merely translated, he had the merit ot 
adapting to the Spanish stage, and CastUianizmg m grace and wit. 
One of his pieces, which we saw the other evening at the tlieatre— 
" Con tiqo, pan v cebolla.;' (With thee, bread and onions,) is deligiit- 
ful Besides occupying a place in the Cabinet of Mexico, he has beea 



Charge d'Affaires in Holland, and Minister at tlie Court of St. James. 
In conversation he is extremely witty and agreeable, and he has 
collected some good paintings and valuable books in the course of 
liis European travels. 

The reputation of Don Carlos Bustamante, deputy from Oajaca, 
IS altogether Hterary. He has made many researches in Mexican 
antiquities ; and has published a history of the " Discovery of Ame- 
rica," written by Padre Vega, which was unknown before ; also the 
" Gallery of Mexican Princes ;" " Tezcoco in the last Days of its last 
Kings," &c. He lately sent me his " Mornings in the Alameda," a 
book intended to teach Mexican young ladies the history of their own 
country. I have read but a few pages of it, but was struck with the 
liberality of his remarks in regard to the Spaniards, which, coming 
from such a source, are so much more valuable and worthy of credit 
than any that can be made by a foreigner, that I am tempted to 
translate the passage to which I allude. " The Spanish government 
founded colleges and academies in the reign of the wise Charles the 
Third ; it established that of fine arts, which it enriched with the 
most beautiful statues, which you can still see when you visit it. 
(" Their transportation," he says in a note, " cost seventy thousand 
dollars.") He sent excellent workmen, and imitated his predecessor 
Phihp the Second, who sent to Mexico whatever could not find a 
place in the works of the Escurial. Of his wisdom, we have proofs 
in those magnificent temples which attract the attention of travellers, 
such as the Cathedral of Mexico, San Ag-ustin, Santo Domingo of 
Oaxaca, and others. Spain did no more, because she could do no 
more, and Spain gave to this America a constitution, which the 
Mexicans themselves, who pride themselves most on their learnino-, 
are unacquainted with ; and whose analysis was formed by the 
learned padre Mier, in the History of the Revolution, which he 
printed m London ; a constitution, in which are made manifest the 
good intentions of the Austrian monarchs ; and their earnest desire 
to i-ender the Indians happy ; especially in the case of the great 
Phihp the Fourth, whose autograph law is preserved ; and which I 
have read with respect and emotion, prohibiting the bad treatment 
of the Indians. In short, this America, if it were considered in a 
state of slavery under the Spanish dominion, was at least on a level 
with the peninsula itself Kead over the frightful hst of taxes which 
oppressed the Spaniards, and compare it with those that were im- 
posed upon us, and you will find that theirs is infinitely greater than 
ours. _ These truths being granted, remark the progress which the 
colonies had made in sciences and arts, and this truth which escaped 
from the fight pen of the censor Beristain, will be confirmed. Mexico, 
he says, was the sunflower of Spain. When in her principal imi- 
versities there Avere no learned men to fill the mathematical chairs, 
Mexico could boast of Don Carlos de Siguenza y Gongora : when 
in Madrid there was no one who had written a good ejoic poem, in 
Mexico the Bernardo was composed ;" &c. &c. 


The next on my list is Don Andres Quintana lloo, the best 
modern poet of Mexico, a native of Yucatan, and who came to the 
capital when very yonng, to study law. He is said to possess immense 
learning, and was enthusiastic to fanaticism in the cause of inde- 
pendence ; insomuch that he and his wife Dona Leona Vicario, 
who shared in his ardent love of liberty, braved every clanger in its 
cause, suffered imprisonment, escaped from the Inquisition, from the 
hands of robbers, endured every privation, so that their history 
woidd form a romance. He is now devoted to hteratiu'c, and though 
he occasionally launches forth some political pamphlet, he is pro- 
bably wearied of revolutions, and possesses all the calmness of a man 
whose first years have been spent in excitement and troubles, and 
■who at length finds consolation in study alone ; the well of science 
proving to him the waters of Lethe, in wdiich he drinks the ob- 
livion of all his past sorrows. And it is very much the case in 
Mexico at present, that the most distinguished men are those who 
live most retired ; those who have played their part on the arena of 
pubhc life, liavc seen the inutiHty of their efforts in favour of their 
country, and have now retreated into the bosom of their families, 
■where they endeavour to forget public evils in domestic retirement 
and literary occupation. 

Amongst these may be reckoned Don Lucas Alaman, who 
passed many years in Europe, and in 1820, was deputy to the 
Spanish Cortes. Shortly after his return, he became minister of 
foreign relations, which high office he has filled during various 
seasons of difficulty.* He is a man of learning, and has always 
been a protector of art and science. In conversation he is more re- 
served, less brilliant, and more minute than Count Cortina, always 
expressing his opinion with caution, but very ready and able to give 
information on any thing in this country, imconnected with politics. 
General Moran, now infirm, and long since retired from public ser- 
vice, is universally respected both as a miUtary man and a gentle- 
man. He is married to a daughter of the late Marquis de Vivanco, 
general of division, who long held out against the independence, and 
when the colonial system Avas dissolved, would never go further than 
to desire a prince of royal birth in Mexico. General JNIoran has 
been exiled several times, and his health has not held out against 
bodily and mental suffering ; but he is ending his days in a tranquil 
retirement in the midst of his flimily. Of General Almonte and 
of Seiior Canedo, who are figuring in pubHc life in our own day, I 
have frequently Avritten. 

Senor Neri del Barrio and the Count de Casaflores, married to 
sisters, ladies of high birth, the eldest a countess in her own right, 
are, as well as their famihes, all that is most distinguished in Mexico. 
Senor Fagoaga, who is noAV in bad health, I know only by reputa- 
tion. He is brother of the Marquis of Apartado, and of the cele- 
brated Don Jose Maria Fagoaga, with whose family we have the 

* He . is now, September, 1842, once more filling the same situation under 
General Santa Anna. 


pleasure of being very intimate. C n says, that he is a man of 

great taste and a thorough gentleman, and that his house, which is 
one of the handsomest in Mexico, possesses that ornament so rare in 
this country — well-chosen paintings. Don Jose Valentin, who has 
figured in the political world, and who was curate of Huamautla, is 
one of the kindest and best old men I have ever met with ; so severe 
to himself, so indulgent to others — so simple in worldly matters, so 
learned in every thing else — so sincere, good, and charitable. He 
is a universal favourite with young and old, being cheerful, fond of 
music, and of gay conversation, in proportion as he is wise and 
learned in his observations, and serious in his conversation when the 
occasion requires it. Doctor Valentin as an ecclesiastic, and Padre 
Leon as a monk, are models. 

As for Don Francisco Tagle, he is a gentleman of the old school, 
and his name figures in all the pohtical events which have taken 
place since the Independence, of which he was one of the signers. 
He is very rich, possessing besides a profitable maguey estate near 
Mexico, enormous property bounding Texas, and being also the 
keeper of the Monte Pio, formerly the house of Cortes, a palace, in 
which he and liis family five. He is a man of great learning and 
information, and too distingiushed not to have suffered personally in 
political convulsions. Whether he would choose the same path, 
with his present experience of a Mexican republic, he is too wise to 
mention. He and his family are amongst our most intimate friends, 
and with a few exceptions all those whom I have mentioned have 
been here since our return, wliich is one of the reasons why their 
names occurred first to my memory ; for there are still many dis- 
tinguished persons remaining. 

Nearly all these, at least aU who are married, have had the good 
fortime to unite themselves with women who are either their equals 
or superiors, if not in ^education, — in goodness, elevation of senti- 
ment, and natural talent. They, as well as every Mexican, whether 
man or woman, not under forty, have lived under the Spanish 
government; have seen the revolution of Dolores of 1810, Avith 
continuations and variations by Morelos, and paralization in 1819 ; 
the revolution of Yturbide in 1821; the cry of Liberty (grito de 
Libertad) given by those generals " benemeritos de la patria," Santa 
Anna and Victoria, in 1822 ; the establishment of the federal sys- 
tem ui 1824; the horrible revolution of the Acordada, in Avhicli 
Mexico was pillaged, in 1828; the adoption of the central system 
in 1836; and the last revolution of the fcderahsts in 1840. An- 
other is predicted for next month, as if it were an eclipse of the 
sun. In nineteen years, three forms of government have been tried, 
and two constitutions, the reform of one of which is still pending 
in the Chambers. '■'' Dere is notink like trying T (as the old jper- 
ruquier observed, when he set out in a little boat, to catch the royal 
yacht, still in sight of Scottish shores, with a ncAV wig of his, own 
invention, which he had trusted to have been permitted to present 
to his most gracious majesty George the Fourth !) 



New Minister— San Angel— Profitable Pulque Estate— The Village— Surround- 
ing Scenery— The Indians— The Fadre— The Climate— Holy Week in the 
Country— Dramatic Representations— Coyohuacan— The Pharisees — Image 
of the Saviour— Music and Dresses— Procession— Catholicism amongst the 
Indians— Strange Tradition— Paul the Fifth— Contrast between a Mexican 
and a New England Village— Love of Fireworks— Ferdinand the Seventh— 

INIilitary Ball — Drapeaux. 

San Angel, March 30th. 

It is a long wMle since I last wrote, but tliis week lias been em- 
ployed in moving into the coimtry, and making arrangements for 
tlie sale of our fui-niture, in consequence of our having received 
official news from Spain of tlie nomination of a new envoy extra- 
ordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the repubhc of Mexico. 
As, on account of the yellow fever at Vera Cruz, we shall not wish 
to pass through that city later than May, it is necessary to be in 
readiness to start when the new minister arrives. On Thursday last 
we came out to this place, witliin tliree leao-ues of Mexico, where 
Don Francisco Tagle has kindly lent us his unoccupied country 
house. As we had an infinity of arrangements to make, much to 
bring out, and much to leave, and all JSIexico to see, you will excuse 
tliis long silence. Om- house in town we leave to the guardianship 
of the housekeeper; the other servants follow us here. 

This house is very large, and has a fine garden and orchard full 
of fruit, with pretty walks all through it, and a_ sort of underwpod 
of roses and sweet peas. It is a great pulque hacienda, and, besides 
what is sent into Mexico for sale, the court is constantly filled with 
the half-naked Indians from the \illage, who come to have their 
jarros filled with that inspiring beverage. Tlien there isDona Bar- 
bara (the guardian of the pidque), a Spanish admimstrador,^ a 
number of good-looking Indian women, and babies a discretion. 
There is a small chapel, a piazza, with handsome _ pillars going all 
round the interior court-yard of the house, a billiard-table, and 
plenty of good rooms. In front of the house are the maguey-fields, 
and the azotea commands a beautiful ^-iew of the neighbouring ^al- 
lages, San Ano-el, Coyohuacan, IMiscuaque, &c., with their woods and 
gardens, as well as of the city itself, with its hikes and volcanoes. ^ 

As C n's aflairs take him to Mexico nearly every day, we feel 

a httle lonely in this large house, even though perfectly comfortable ; 
and besides the extreme stillness and soHtude, it is not considered 
safe for us to walk out alone; consequently the orchard must bound 
our wishes. And, of course, being prohibited from going further, 


we have tlie greatest desire to do so ! In tlie evening, However, 
when our cahalleros return, we frequently walk doAvn to the village, 
where the English minister has also a house. 

San Angel is pretty in its own way, with its fields of maguey, its 
scattered houses, that look hke the beaux testes of better days, its 
market-place, parish church, church of El Carmen, with the monas- 
tery and high-walled gardens adjoining ; Avith its narrow lanes, 
Indian huts, profusion of pink roses, little bridge and avenue, and 
scattered clusters of trees; its houses for temper amento {constitution, 
as they call those where Mexican famihes come to reside in summer), 
with their grated windows, and gardens and orchards ; and then the 
distant view of Mexico, with the cathedral towers, volcanoes, and 
lofty mountains, scattered churches and long hues of trees ; and 
nearer, the pretty villages of Coyohuacan and Miscuaque ; and every- 
where the old church, the broken arch, the ancient cross, with its 
faded flower-garlands, to commemorate a murder, or erected as an 
act of piety — all is so characteristic of Mexico, that the landscape 
could belong to no other part of the known world. 

There is the Indian with his blanket, extracting the pulque from 
the maguey; the ranchero, with her reboso and broad-brimmed hat, 
passing by upon her ass; the old lepero, in rags, sitting basking in 
the sun upon the stone seat in front of the door; the poor Indian 
woman, with matted hair arid brown baby hanging behind her, 
refreshing herself by drinking three elacos (halfpence) worth of pulque 
from ^jarrito (little earthen jar); the portly and well-looking padre 
prior del Garden (the Carmelite friar), sauntering up the lane at a 
leisurely pace, all the little ragged boys, down to the merest urchin 
that can hardly lisp, dragging off their large, well-holed hats, with 
z,'''' Buenos dias, padrecitor (Good morning, little father!) — the 
father replying "with a benevolent smile, and a slight sound in his 
throat intended for a Benedicite ; and all that might be dull in any 
other climate brightened and made light and gay by the purest 
atmosphere, and bluest sky, and softest air, that ever blew or shone 
upon a naughty world. 

We are now approaching the holy week once more — i)i IMexico a 
scene of variety in the streets and of splendour in the churches ; but 
in the country a play, a sort of melo-clrama, in wdiich the sufferings, 
death, and burial of our Saviovir are represented by Hving figures in 
pantomime. We have heard a great deal of these representations, 
and are glad to have the opportmiity of seeing them, which Ave intend 
to do in the village of Coyohuacan, where they are particularly 

curious. Besides this, our friends the A s have a house there 

for the season, and, as the city of Cortes's predilection, it is classic 
ground. Meanwhile, for the last few days, the country has been 
overrun with Pharisees, Nazarcnes, Jews, and figures of the Saviovu", 
carried about in procession; all this in preparation for the holy week, 
a sort of overture to the drama. 

The first evening we arrived here there was a representation of 


tlie Pharisees searclilng for Christ. Tlic Pharisees were very finely 
dressed, cither in scarlet stuff and gold or in green and silver, with 
helmets and feathers, mounted upon horses which are taught to 
dance and rear to the sound of music, so that upon the whole they 
looked hke performers at Astley's. They came on with music, 
riding up the lanes until they arrived in front of this house, which 
being the principal place hereabouts, they came to first, and where 
the Indian workmen and servants were all collected to see them. 
They rode about for some time, as if in search of Christ, until a full- 
length figure of the Saviour appeared, dressed in purple robes, car- 
ried on a platform by four men, and guarded on all sides by soldiers. 
It is singular, that after all there is nothing ridiciilous in these exhi- 
bitions ;° on the contrary, something rather terrible. In the first 
place, the music is good, which would hardly be the case m any 
but a Mexican callage; the dresses are really rich, the gold all real, 
and the whole has the effect of confusing the imagination into the 
belief of its being a true scene. _ 

The next evening the same procession passed, with some addi- 
tions, always accompanied by a crowd of Indians from the villages, 
men, women, and children. Bonfires were made before the door 
of the hacienda, which were hghted whenever the distant music was 
heard approacliing, and all the figures in the procession carried 
Hghted lamps. The Saviour was then led up to the door, and all 
the crowd went up to kiss his feet. The figure which is carried about 
this evening is called " Our Saviom- of the Column," and represents 
the Saviour tied to a pillar, bleeding, and crowned with thorns. 
All this must sound very profime, but the people are so quiet, seem so 
devout, and so much in earnest, that it appears much less so than you 

would beHeve. ... i -i j • i 

The cross was planted here in a congenial soil, and as m the 
Pao-an East the statues of the divinities frequently did no luorethan 
chimge their names from those of heathen gods to those of Christian 
saints, and image-worship apparently continued, though the mmd 
of the Christian'was directed from the being represented to the true 
and only God who inhabits eternity, so here the poor Indian still 
bows before visible representations of saints and virgins, as he did 
in former days before the monstrous shapes representing the unseen 
powers of the air, the earth, and the water; but he, it is to be leared 
hfts his thoughts no higher than the rude image which a rude hand 
has carved. The mysteries of Christianity, to affect his untutored 
mind, must be visibly represented to his eyes. He _ kneels before 
the bleeding image of the Sa^4our who died for him, before the 
o-racious form of the Virgin who intercedes for him; but he beheves 
tliat there are many Virgins, of various gifts, and possessing various 
deo-rees of miraculous power and different degrees of wealth, accord- 
in^ to the quahty and number of the diamonds and pearls with which 
they are cndowed-one even who is the rival of the other— one who 
will brino- rain when there is drought, and one to whom it is weU to 


pray in seasons of inundation. Mexico owes mucli of its peculiar 
beauty to the religious or superstitious feelings of its inhabitants. 
At every step we see a white cross gleaming amongst the trees, in a 
soHtary path, _ or on the top of some rugged and barren rock — a 
symbol of faith in the desert place; and wherever the footsteps of 
man have rested, and some three or four have gathered together, 
there, while the ruined huts proclaim the poverty of the inmates, the 
temple of God rises in comparative splendour. 

It is strange, yet well authenticated, and has given rise to many 
theories, that the symbol of the cross was abeady known to the In- 
dians before the arrival of Cortes. In the island of Cozmnel, near 
Yucatan, there were several; and in Yucatan itself, there was a stone 
cross; and there, an Indian, considered a prophet among his country- 
men, had declared that a nation bearing the same as a symbol, should 
arrive from a distant country ! More' extraordinary still was a tem- 
ple dedicated to the Holy Cross by the Toltec nation in the city of 
Cholula. _ Near Tulansingo also, there is a cross engraved on a rock, 
with various characters, which the Indians by tradition attribute to 
the apostle Saint Thomas. In Oajaca also there existed a cross 
which the Indians from time immemorial had been accustomed to 
consider as a divine symbol. By order of the Bishop Cervantes, it 
was placed in a sumptuous chapel in the cathedi'al. Information 
concerning its discovery, together with a small cross cut out of its 
wood, was sent to Rome to Paul the Fifth, who received it on his 
knees, singing the hymn, " Vexilla Regis prodeunt,'' &c, 

_ If any one wishes to try the effect of strong contrast, let him come 
direct from_ the United States to this country; but it is in the vil- 
lages especially that the contrast is most striking. Travelhno- in 
New England, for example, we arrive at a small and ilourisfing 
village. We see four new churches, proclaiming four different sects^ 
rehgion suited to all customers. These wooden churches or meeting- 
houses are all new, all painted white, or perhaps a bright red. Hard 
by is a tavern with a green pahng, as clean and as new as the 
churches, and there are also various smart stores and neat dwelKng- 
houses; all new, all wooden, all clean, and all ornamented Avith shght 
Grecian pillars. The whole has a cheerful, trim, and flourisliing 
aspect. Houses, churches, stores, and taverns, all are of a piece! 
They are suited to the present emergency, whatever that may be, 
though they will never make fine ruins. Every tiling proclaims 
prosperity, equahty, consistency; the past forgotten, the present all 
in all, and the future taking care of itself. No deHcate attentions to 
posterity, who can never pay its debts. No beggars. If a man has 
even a hole in his coat, he must be lately from "the Emerald Isle. 
Transport yourself in imagination from this New England village 

to that of , it matters not which, not far from Mexico. " Look 

on this picture, and on that." The Indian huts, with their half- 
naked inmates, and Httle gardens full of flowers; the huts themselves 
either built of clay, or the half-ruined beaux restes of some stone build- 


ing. At a little distance an hacienda, like a deserted palace, built 
of solid masonry, with its inner patio surrounded by thick stone 
pillars, with great walls and iron-barred windows that might stand 
a siege. Here a ruined arch and cross, so solidly built, that one 
cannot but wonder how the stones ever crumbled away. There, 
rising in the midst of old faithful-looking trees, the church, grey and 
ancient, but strong as if designed for eternity; with its saints and 
virgins, and martyrs and relics, its gold and silver and precious 
stones, whose value would buy up all the spare lots in the New Eng- 
land village; the lepero with scarce a rag to cover him, kneeling 
on that marble pavement. Leaving the cnclosiu-e of the church, 
observe the stone wall that bounds the road for more than a mile; 
the fruit trees overtopping it, high though it be, with their loaded 
branches. This is the convent orchard. And that great Gothic pile 
of building, that stands in hoary majesty, surmounted by the lofty 
mountains, whose cloud enveloped summits, tinged by the evening 
sun, rise behind it; what could so noble a building be but the 
monastery, perhaps of the Carmelites, because of its exceeding rich 
o-arden, and well-chosen site, for they, of all monks, are richest in 
this world's goods. Also we may see the reverend old prior riding 
slowly from under the arched gate up the village lanes, the Indians 
coming from their huts to do him lowly reverence as he passes. 
Here, every thing reminds us of the past ; of the conquering Spaniards, 
who seemed to build for eternity; impressing each work with their 
own sohd, grave, and religious character; of the triumphs of Catho- 
licism ; and of the Indians when Cortes first startled them from their 
repose, and stood before them hke the fulfilment of a half-forgotten 
prophecy. It is the present that seems hke a dream, a pale reflection 
of the past. All is decaying and gromng fainter, and men seem 
trusting to some imknown future which they may never see. One 
government has been abandoned, and there is none in its place. 
One revolution follows another; yet the remedy is not found. Let 
them beware lest half a century later, they be awakened from their 
delusion, and find the cathedral turned into a meeting-house, and all 
painted wliite ; the railing melted down ; the silver transformed into 
dollars; the Vii'gin's jewels sold to the highest bidder; the floor 
washed (which would do it no harm), and round the whole, a nice 
new wooden pahng, freshly done in green — and all this performed 
by some of the artists from the loide-aivake repubhc further north. 

Just as I wrote these words, a shower of crackers startled me from 
the profane ideas in which I was indulging, and the prancing of the 
horses of Jews and Pharisees, and the crackhng of bonfires, warn 
me that it is time to take an evening stroll, that the sun is down, 
and the air refresliing. However, as to crackers and rockets, the 
common people enjoy them by day as much as by night. It is their 
favourite method of commemorating any event, evil or rehgious. 
" What do you suppose the Mexicans will be doing now?" said 
King Ferdinand to a Mexican who was at the Spanish court, shortly 



after tlic final success of the Revolutionists. " Letting off rockets, 
your Majesty," answered the Mexican. " Well— I wonder what 
they are doing now in Mexico !" said the King in the afternoon. 
" Tirando coAefe^— letting off" rockets, your Majesty." His Majesty 
chose to repeat the question in the evening. ""What will your 
countryinen be doing now?" "The same thing, your Majesty. 
Still letting off rockets." 

Yesterday we drove into Mexico, to see how matters stood in our 
house, and received a number of visiters in our deserted apart- 
ments. Just before we left Mexico for this place, three very mao-- 
nificent aides-de-camp brought us an invitation from General Valen- 
cia, to attend a ball to be given by him and other officers, in the 
theatre, to the president, on the occasion of his excellency's beino- 
declared " benemerito de la patria." We did not go, as we were 

setting offfor the country, but C n being requested, as were the 

other ministers, to send the colours of his nation, did so, and to-day 
there is much talk in Mexico, besides a paragraph in the newspapers, 
connected with these matters. It appears that the drapeaux, 
whether by accident or design, were improperly placed, and these 
faults in etiquette are not uncommon here. The Eno-hsh minister 
having observed that his drapeau was placed in a suboKlinate rank, 
and finding that his warnings beforehand on the subject, and his 
representations on seeing it were neglected, cut it down and left the 
ball-room, followed by all the Enghsh who were there. 


Holy Thursday at Coyohiiacan— Hernan Cortes— His Last Wishes— Pot/res 
Camilas — Old Church — Procession— Representation of the Taking of Christ 
—Curate's Sermon under the Trees— A Religious Drama— Good Friday- 
Portable Pulpit — TTeat— Booths— Religious Procession— Symon the Cyre- 
nian — Costumes — Curate's Sermon — Second Discourse— Sentence Pro- 
nounced by Pontius Pilate— Descent from the Cross— Procession of the 
Angels— Funeral Hymn— Tlie Pesame to the Virgin— Sermon— " Sweet 
Kitty Clover" — Music in Mexico — Anecdote. 

On Holy Thursday we went early in the morning to Coyohuacan 
(now pronounced Cuyacan), which is almost a continuation of the \dl- 
lage of San Angel ; but there are more trees in it, and every house has 
its garden, or at least its inner court, filled with orange trees. Here, 


after tlic total destruction of the ancient Tenochtitlan, Cortes took 
up his residence for several months. Here he founded a convent of 
nuns, and in his testament he desired to be buried in this convent, 
'' in whatever part of the world I may finish my days." The con- 
queror's last wishes in this respect were not held sacred. At the 
time of the conquest, Coyohuacan, together with Tacubaya, &c., 
stood upon the margin of the Lake of Tezcuco ; most of the houses 
built within the water upon stakes, so that the canoes entered by 
a low door. This was undoubtedly the favourite retreat of Cortes, 
and it is now one of the prettiest villages near Mexico. Its church 
is wonderfully handsome ; one of the finest village churches we have 
3"et seen. 

One of the prettiest places in the village belongs to an order of 
monks called the Padres Camilos. It consists of a house and 
garden, where the monks go by turns to enjoy the country air. 
Comfortable padi'cs ! There is one room looking into the garden, 
and opening into a walk bordered by rose-bushes, which is such a 
place for a siesta ; cool, retired, fragrant. A hammock with a mat- 
tress on it is slung across the room, and here the good padre may 
lie, with one eye opened to the roses, and the other closed in inward 
meditation. However, its whole merit consists in being cleanly and 
neatly kept, for it is a large, empty house, and the garden so called, 
is Httlc more than a pasture-field, with nice gravel walks cut 
through it, bordered w^ith fine rose-bushes, and beautified by a 
clear fountain. 

We went to the A s house, which is half way between San 

Angel and Coyohuacan; the Seiiora A dri\dng mc herself in 

an open carrateUa Avith \7\\\lQfrisones (northern horses), which, com- 
pared "with tlie spirited httle Mexican steeds, look gigantic. Wc 
went first to sec the church, which was brilHantly illuminated, and 
ornamented -with loads of flowers and fruit (especially orangesj, and 
thronged ^\\i\\ ragged leperos and blanketed Indians. We then set 
off, to endeavour, if possible, to find a place in the crowd, who had 
hurried off to see el j^rendimiento (the taking of Christ), and to hear 
the cm-ate preach an appropriate sermon in a portable pulpit, 
amongst the trees. 

We made oiu' way through the patient, bronzed and blanketed 
•crowd, not without sundry misgivings as to the effects of evil com- 
munication; and at length reached the procession, all ranged on 
the grass under the trees, in a pretty and secluded httle grove ; in 
two long rows fronting each other; each person carrying a lamp 
surmounted by a plume of coloured feathers, very ingeniously made 
of coloured spun glass. They were all dressed in the costume of 
Pharisees, Jews, Romans, &c. The image of the Saviour was 
shortly after carried through on a platform, to the sound of music, 
followed by the eleven disciples, and was placed in a kind of bower 
amongst the trees, supposed to give a representation of the garden 
of Gethscmane. A portable pulpit, covered with shining stuff", was 


292 SERMON. 

carried in, and placed bencatli a tree just outside of tliis enclosure, 
and soon after, the curate arrived, and mounted into liis place. A 
number of little ragged^boys, who had climbed up on the very topmost 
branches of the trees, to have a good view, were piked down with 
lances by the Jews, notwithstanding their seemingly just remon- 
strances that they were doing no harm; but Avhen the Jews ob- 
served in ansvrer to their " Que hacemos?" " What are we 
doing?" — " The Seiior Cura will be angry;" — they tumbled down 
one on the top of the other like ripe apples, and then stood watch- 
ing for the first convenient opportunity of slipping up again. 

The curate began his sermon by an account of the sufferings and 
persecution of Christ ; of the causes and effects of his death, of the 
sinfulness of the Jews, &c. He talked for about half an hour, and 
his sermon was simple enough and adapted to liis audience. He 
described the agony of Christ when in the garden to which he 
often resorted with his disciples, and the treachery of Judas who 
knew the place, and who " having received a hand of men and 
officers from the chief pnests and jjharisees, cometh tltither with 
lanterjts and torches and weapons^ As he went on describing the 
circumstances minutely, one who represented the spy, "with a hor- 
rible mask Hke a pig's face, was seen looking through the trees 
where the Saviour was concealed; and shortly after, Judas, his 
face covered with a black crape, and foUowed by a band of soldiers, 
glided through stealtliily. " Now," said the curate, " observe what 
the traitor does. He hath given them a sign, saying, ' Whomsoever 
1 shall kiss, that same is he — hold him fast.' He goes — he approaches 
the sacred person of the Lord." Here Judas went forward and em- 
braced the Saviour. " It is done !" cried the preacher. " The hor- 
rible act of treachery is completed. And forthicith he ca7ne to 
Jesus, and said, Hail, Master, and kissed him. Bid note, Jesus 
knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth and said 
unto them, Whom seek ye 9 They ansiuered him, Jesus of Naza- 
reth. Jesus saitk unto them, I am heT As the curate said these 
words, they all fell prostrate on the ground. " Mark," cried he, 
"the power of the Word! They came out to take liim with 
swords and with staves, but at the sound of the Divine Word, 
they acknowledge the power of God, and fall at His feet. But it 
is only for a moment. Behold, now they bind him, they buffet 
him, they smite him with the palms of their hands, they lead him 
away to the high priest." 

All this was enacted in succession, though sometimes the curate 
was obhged to repeat the same things several times before they 
recollected what to do. " And already, in anticipation of the 
iniquitous sentence, behold what is written." This alluded to a 
paper listened upon a pole, which a man held above the heads of 
the crowd, and on which was wTitten, " Jesus of Nazareth, King of 
the Jews, condemned to death by Pontius Pilate, President of 
Upper Galilee." 


And now, escorted by Judas and tlie multitude, the Saviour was 
borne through the crowd, in conchision of the prendimiento. The 
curate wound up his discourse by an exhortation to abstain from sin, 
wliich had been the cause of this awful event. I regret to state 

that at this very moment, a man poked his hand into A 's 

pocket, who turned very sharply round, and asked him what he 
wanted; " Nada, Seiiorito," (Nothing, sir,) said he, with an inno- 
cent smile, showing two rows of teeth hke an ivory railing, but at 
the same time disappearing pretty swiftly amongst the crowd, who 
now all began to move, and to follow the procession, the band 
striking up a galope. In the evening we returned to San Angel, 
and visited the lighted churches there. As it was late Avhen we 
entered the parroquia (parish church), the Hghts were nearly all ex- 
tinguished, and a few alone of the devout were still kneehng before 
a figure of oiu- Saviour in chains 

On Good Friday we set off early for Coyohuacan, though rather 
afraid of the sun, which at present, in the middle of the day, is in- 
supportable, and even by ten o'clock disagreeable. The whole 
enclosure round the church, and to a great distance beyond it, was 
covered with people, and there were even a few carriages full of 
well-dressed persons, who had come from the different neighbouring 
haciendas ; amongst others, the family of the Marquesa de Vivanco. 
The padre Yturalde, who has some reputation for eloquence, was 
expected to preach three sermons at Coyohuacan that day, besides 
one in the village of Mizcuaque. "We found that one sermon was 
just concluded. By the time we arrived the sun was pouring down 
Ms beams like molten lead. Our carriage was open, and under 
every tree was a crowd, so there were small hopes of finding shade. 
Women were selling fruit ; and booths with ices and chia were 
erected all down the lane leading from the church. At last, however, 
a little room was made, and seats were placed for us close to the 
pulpit, and under a tree. 

The image of the Saviour was now carried forwards on a plat- 
fonn, with the heavy cross appearing to weigh him down; and on 
the same platform was Simon, the Cyrenian, assisting him to bear 
the weight. The Cyrenian was represented by an old man, with 
hair as white as snow, dressed in scarlet cloth; who, in a stooping 
posture, and without once moving his body, was carried about for 
hours in the whole force of the siin, the rays pouring down upon his 
imcovered head. For a long while we had beheved him to be a 
wooden figure dressed up, and when he came near he greatly excited 
our surprise and compassion. If he survives this day's work it will 

be a miracle. I can now almost give faith to 's assertion, that 

in some of the villages the man who represents Judas actually hangs 
himself, or is hanged upon a tree ! The Saviour was dressed in 
crimson velvet, with the crown of thorns ; and a figure of the 
Virgin, in deep mourning, was carried after him by Indian women. 
The procession consisted of the same men on horseback as we had 



seen on foot tlie preceding day; of the Spy, tlie Pharisees, the Jews, 
the Betrayer, and the mob. Some had hehnets and feathers, and 
armour. Some wore wreaths of green and gold leaves. One very 
good-looking man, with long curls and a gold crown, and a splendid 
mantle of scarlet and gold, was intended for a Roman. By his 
crown lie probably meant to personify the Roman Ca-sar. The 
sermon, or rather the discourse of the padre, was very good, and ap- 
peared to be extempore. He made an address to the Virgin, who 
was carried by and led up to the pulpit, and another to the Saviour, 
during which time the audience was breathlessly attentive, not- 
withstanding the crying of children and the barking of dogs. It 
was supposed that they were now leading Christ before the judg- 
ment-seat of Pilate, and the next scene was to be the delivery of the 

When the curate's discourse was finished, the procession went on ; 
the Indian women began to sell their nuts and oranges, and the 
band struck up an air in the distance, to which, when last I heard 
it, Ducrow's horses were dancing ! We, in a fiery sun, which made 
its way through our mantillas, now proceeded to search for a con- 
venient place from Avhich to hear the padre's next sermon, and to see 
the next scene in the sacred drama. The padre, who was walking 
under the shade of a lilac silk parasol, insisted upon resigning it to 

me. The Seiiora did not seem to feel the heat at all. At 

last, in order to avoid the crowd, we got up on the low azotea of a 
house, beside which the pulpit was placed ; but here the sun was 

The padre's sermon was really eloquent in some passages, but 
lasted nearly an hour, diuing wlrich time we admired the Ibrtitude 
of the unhappy Cyrenian, who was performing a penance of no ordinary 
kind. The sun darted down perpendicularly on the back of his ex- 
posed head, which he kept bent downwards, maintaining the same 
posture the whole time, without flinching or moving. Before the 
sermon was over we could stand the heat no longer, and went in 
imder cover. I felt as if my brains were melted into a hot jelly. 
We emerged upon hearing that the procession was again moving 
towards the pulpit, where it shortly after formed itself into two lines. 
In a few moments a man with a plumed helmet, mounted on a fiery 
horse, galloped furiously through the ranks, holding a paper on the 
point of his lance, the sentence pronounced by Pontius Pilate. 

Arrived at the pulpit, he handed it up to the priest, who received 
it with a look of horror, opened it, tried to read it, and threw it on 
the ground with an air of indignation. The messenger galloped 
back more furiously than he came, and his horse bolting at the 
end of the lines, occasioned a laugh amongst the spectators. 
Then followed the parting address to the Saviour, wdiose bearers 
now brought him up to the pulpit, ibllowed by tlie ]nournful 
figure of the Virgin. Reflections on the event concluded this act. 

We returned in the afternoon, to see the descent from the cross, 


wlaich was to be performed witliin tlie cliurcli. The claurcli was 
crowded, and a black curtain bung before the altar. The padre 
now recapitulated all that had taken place, and described the 
Saviour's parting Avith his mother at the foot of the cross, address- 
ing the Virgin who stood in her sable robes not far from the 
altar, and interrupting his sermon to pray for her intercession with 
her Divine Son. I observed all the women in tears as he described 
the Virgin's grief, the torments of the crucifixion, the indignities 
that the Saviour had suffered. All at once he exclaimed in a loud 
voice, "Draw back the veil, and let us behold him!" The 
curtain was drawn, and the Saviour crucified appeared. Then the 
sobs of the women broke forth. They clasped their hands, beat 
their breasts and groaned, Avhile the soldiers Avho stood below the 
cross clashed their swords, and one of them struck the body with 
a lance. At the same time the Virgin bowed her head, as if m 
grief. Unfortunately I was near enough to see how this was 
effected, which peep bcliind the scenes greatly diminished the effect. 

Then the soldiers mounted a ladder near the crucifix, and took 
down the body, to bear it away. As it came by the pulpit, the 
priest seized the hands, and showed the marks of the nails, at the 
same time breaking out into exclamations of grief. The soldiers 
stood below, impatiently clashing their swords; the women sobbed 

violently; the procession passed on, and we returned to the A s 


In the evening the " Procession of the Angels" took place. 
Figures dressed in silk and gold, with silver wings, were carried by 
on platforms to the sound of music. The body of the Saviour lay 
in a sort of glass hearse, carried by men chanting a dirge, and fol- 
lowed by the Virgin. This procession was really pretty, but had an 
odd, unnatural effect amongst the fresh green trees, the smell of in- 
cense minghng with the fragrance of the flowers, and the gaudy silk 
and gold and plumes of feathers gilded by the soft setting sun, as 
they flashed along. I climbed up an old stone cross near the church, 
and had a good view. Every thing looked gaudy when near ; but 
as the procession wound along under the broken arches and through 
the green lanes, and the music came fainter upon the ear, and the 
beating of drums and the tolHng of bells and the mournful chant were 
all blended into one faint and distant harmony, the effect was 
beautiful. I thought of the simple service of the Scottish kirk, and 
of the comatry people coming out after a sermon, with their best 
Sunday gowns on, and their serious, intelhgent faces, discussing the 
merits of their minister's discoiu:se ; and wondered at the contrasts m 
the same rehgion. ... 

As the evening was cool and pleasant we walked through the fields 
to the church of La Concepcion, where the procession was to pass, 
and sat down on the grass till we heard it coming. As the body 
was carried by, all went on their knees. At night commenced the 
pesame, or condolence to the Virgin, in the church. She stood on 


lier slirine, with lier head bowed down ; and the hymns and prayers 
were all addressed to her, while the sermon, preached by another 
cura, was also in her honour. I plead guilty to having been too 
sleepy to take in more than the general tenor of the discourse. The 
musicians seemed to be playing " Sweet Kitty Clover," with 
variations. If Sweet Kitty Clover is genuine Irish, as who can 
doubt, how did these Indians get hold of it? Did Saint Patrick 
go round from the Emerald Isle by way of Tipperary? But, if 
he had, would he not have killed the alacrans, and chicaclinos, 
and coralillos, and vinagrillos ? Tliis requires consideration. 

In the Ora j^ro nobis, we were struck Avitli the fineness of the 
rustic voices. But music in this country is a sixth sense. It was 
but a few days before leaving Mexico, that, sitting alone at the open 
window, enjoying the short twihght, I heard a sound of distant 
music; many voices singing in parts, and coming gradually nearer. 
It sovmded beautiful, and exactly in unison with the hour and the 
scene. At first I concluded it to be a rehgious procession ; but it 
was not a hymn — the air was gayer. When the voices came imder 
the window, and rose in full cadence, I went out on the balcony to 
see to whom they belonged. It was ihcforqats, returning from their 
work to the Acordada ! guarded by soldiers, their chains clanking 
in measure to the melody, and accompanied by some miserable- 
looking women. * 

We left the church feeling very tired and sleepy, and walked to- 
wards the booths, where, in the midst of fiowers and evergreens, 
they were still selHng ices, and lemonade and chia. We sat down 
to rest in the cleanest of these leafy bowers, and then returned to 
Coyohuacan. There was no drunkenness, or quarrelhng, or confu- 
sion of any sort. An occasional hymn, rising in the silence of the 
air, or the distant flashino; of a hundred lights, alone o-ave notice 
that the funeral procession of the Saviour had not yet halted for the 
night; but there was no noise, not even mirth. Every thing was 
conducted v/ith a sobriety befitting the event that was celebrated. 
That some of the curate's horses were stolen that night, is only a 
proof that bad men were out, and took the opportunity of Ms ab- 
sence from home to j)lunder his stables. We were told an anecdote 
concerning Simon the Cyi'enian, which is not bad. A man was 
taken up in one of the villages as a vagrant, and desired by the jus- 
tice to give an account of liimself — to explain why he was always 
wandering about, and had no employment. The man, with the 
greatest indignation, rephcd — "No employment! I am substitute 
Cyrenian at Coyohuacan in the Holy Week !'' That is to say, he 
was to be substituted in the Cyrenian's place, should any tiling occur 
to prevent that individual from representing the character. 



Balloon-San Bartolo-Indian Women-A Beauty-Different Castes-Indians 
— Tlieir Character, &c.-Tliose of Noble Race-Ball at the French Ministers 
—Abedlta-Dauger of Walking Unattended— Shooting Paily— A Murder- 
Robbery of a Farmhouse-Discomfited Robber Captain— The Zambos — 
Letters and Visiters— Country Life in Mexico. 

'23d April. 
We went to Mexico yesterday to see a balloon ascend from the 
Plaza de Toros, with an aeronaut and his daughter; Erench people, 
I beheve. The scene was really beautiful. The plaza was hlled with 
well-dressed people, and all the boxes crowded with ladies m luU 
toilet. The president was there with his staff, and there were 
two bands of music. Tlie day was perfectly brilhant, and the streets 
crowded with handsome carriages, many of them open, i he baUoon 
swayed itself up and down in the midst of the plaza hke a hvmg 
thing Every thino- seemed ready for the ascent, when it was an- 
nounced that there was a hole in the balloon, and that, consequently, 
there could be no ascent that day. The people bore their disappoint- 
ment very good-hmnouredly, although it was conjectured that the 
air traveller had merely proposed to himself to get their money, with- 
out the shghtest intention of performing his voyage. One amusmg 
circumstance was, that some pcnny-a-Hne rhymer had mitten an ac- 
count of it in verse beforehand, giving a most grandiloquent account 
of the ascent of the balloon; and when we came out, the plaza was 
full of men selhng these verses, wliich the people were all buymg 
and reading with roars of laughter. 

The first of May being Sa7i Felipe, there will be a ball at the 
Trench Minister's, to which we shall probably go. 

25th.— We have just retimied from a ride to San Jiartolo, an In- 
dian viUage, four leagues from this, where we went with a large 
party, some on horses, some on asses, others on miiles, and one ad- 
venturous Jehu driving himself in a four-wheeled carriage, with a 
pair of horses, over a road formed of ruts, stones, holes, and rocks, 
where, I will venture to say, no carriage ever made its appearance 
before. Even the horses and asses got along with di&culty. In 
spite of large straw hats and green veils, we were burnt the colour 
of red Indians. In the middle of the day, we find the sun intolera- 
ble at present, and, o^^ang to the badness of the roads, we chd not 
reach our destination until twelve or one o'clock. 



San Bartolo is a small, scattered Indian village, with a clinrch 
and IS remarkable for a beautiful spring of water, that jets cold and 
clear from the hard rock, as if Moses had but just smote it; for its 
superb taU pme trees; for the good looks and cleanness of the Indian 
women, who are for ever washing their long hair in the innumerable 
clear streamlets formed by the spring; and for a view of Mexico, 
which IS particularly fkvourable, owing to the thick, dark screen of 
pme wood m the foreground, and the distinct view of the Lag-una. 
Our dinner was carried by Indians, who had trotted off with ^it at 
day-dawn; but who had taken the wrong road, and did not arrive 
till long after us. We dined under the pine trees by the side of the 
stream, but surrounded by crowds of gaping Indians, in too close 
vicinity to be agreeable. Some of the young women were remark- 
ably iiandsome, %vith the most beautifhl teeth imaginable, lauo-hino- 
and talking m their native tongue at a great rate, as they were wash- 
ing in the brooks, some their hair and others their clothes The 
men looked as dirty as Indians gencraUy do, and by no means on a 
level with these handsome damsels, who are so much superior to the 
cominon race of Indians near Mexico, that one would think they had 
some intermixture of Spanish blood in their veins. A sister of the 
woman who takes charge of the hacienda where we live, is one of 
the most beautiful creatures I ever beheld. Large eyes, with lono- 
dark lashes, black hair nearly touching the irround, teeth like sno^ 
a dark but glowing complexion, a superb figure, with fine arms and 
iiands, and small beautifully-formed feet. All that is best of Indian 

and Spanish, " of dark and bright," seems united in her. C n 

says he has seen peasant women in Andalusia in the same style of 
beauty, and quite as handsome. She is only nineteen. Such beauties 
as these startle one every now and then in some remote villa o-c She 
belongs, no doubt, to the mestizos~i\iQ descendants of whftes and 
Indians, the handsomest race in IMexico. 

You ask if the castes in Mexico are distinct. There are seven 
supposed to be so. 1st, the Gachupinos, or Spaniards born in Eu- 
rope; _2d, the Creoles, that is, whites of European family born in 
America; 3d, the Mestizos; 4th, the Mulattoes, descendants of Avhites 
and negroes, of whom there are few; 5th, the Zambos, descendants 
of negroes and Inchans, the ugHest race in Mexico; 6th, the IncHans- 
and 7th, the remains of the African negroes. ' 

_ Of pure Indians, Humboldt in his day calculated that there ex- 
isted two miUions and a half in New Spain (without coimting mes- 
tizos), and they are, probably, very little altered from the inferior 
Jjidians, as Cortes found them. The principal flimilies perished at 
the time of the conquest. The priests, sole depositaries of know- 
ledge, were put to death; the manuscripts and hieroglyphical paint- 
ings were burnt, and the remaining Indians fell into that state of 
Ignorance and degradation, from which they have never emero-ed. 
Ihe rich Indian women preferred marrying their Spanish conque?ors 
to allying themselves with the degraded remnant of theii- comitry- 


men; poor artisans, workmen, porters, &c., of wliom Cortes speaks 
as filling the streets of the great cities, and as being considered little 
better than beasts of burden ; nearly naked in tierra caliente^ dressed 
pretty much as they noAV are in the temperate parts of the country ; 
and everywhere with nearly the same manners, and habits, and cus- 
toms, as they now have, but especially in the more distant villages 
where they have little intercourse with the other classes. Even in 
their rehgion, Christianity, as I observed before, seems to be formed of 
the ruins of their mythology; and all these festivities of the church, 
these fireworks and images and gay dresses, harmonize completely- 
with their childish love of show, and are, in fact, their greatest source 
of delight. To buy these they save up all their money, and when 
you give a penny to an Indian child, it trots off to buy crackers, as 
another would to buy candy. Attempts have been made by their 
curates to persuade them to omit the celebration of certain days, 
and to expend less in the ceremonies of others ; but the indignation 
and discontent which such proposals have caused, have induced them 
to desist in their endeavours. 

Under an appearance of stupid apathy they veil a great depth of 
cunning. They are grave and gentle and rather sad in their ap- 
pearance, when not under the influence of pulque; but when they 
return to their villages in the evening, and have taken a drop of 
comfort, their Avhite teeth light up their bronze countenances like 
lamps, and the girls especially make the air ring with their laughter, 
which is very musical. I think it is Humboldt who says that their 
smile is extremely gentle, and the expression of their eyes very 
severe. As they have no beard, if it were not for a little moustache, 
wliich they frequently wear on the upper lip, there would be scarcely 
any dificrence between the faces of men and women. 

The Indians in and near the capital are, according to Humboldt, 
either the descendants of the former labourers, or are remains of 
noble Indian famihes, who, disdaining to intermarry with their 
Spanish conquerors, preferred themselves to till the ground which 
their vassals formerly cultivated for them. It is said that these 
Indians of noble race, though to the vulgar eye undistinguishable 
from their fellows, are held in great respect by their inferior country- 
men. In Cholula, particularly, there are still caciques with long 
Indian names; also in Tlascala — and though barefoot and ragged, 
they are said to possess great liidden wealth. But it is neither in or 
near the capital that we can see the Indians to perfection in their 
original state. It is only by travelhng through the provinces that 
we can accomplish this; and should the lateness of the season 
oblige us to remain here any time after another minister arrives, we 
may probably take a longer journey in some different direction from 
tierra caliente, where we may see some tribes of the indigenous 
Mexicans. Certainly no visible improvement has taken place in 
their condition since the Independence. They are quite as poor and 
quite as ignorant and quite as degraded as they were in 1808, and 


if they do raise a little grain of their oAvn, they are so hardly taxed 
that the privilege is as nought. 

2nd May. — We returned from Mexico this morning, having gone 
in to attend the hall given at the French Minister's, on the day of 
Louis Philippe. It was very pretty, and we staid till it was very 
late. We met with such a cordial reception from all our friends, 
whom we have not seen for a month, that we arc tempted to beUeve 
ourselves as much missed in Mexico as they say we are. The 

Sei'iora L and the E s were amongst the best dressed 

Mexican ladies last night; the latter in white crape and diamonds, 
and the other in black blonde over rose colour, also Avith diamonds. 

The Sefiora A , who went with us, looked very pretty in a 

white blonde dress, with a small black velvet turban rolled round 
with large diamonds and pearls. There were a great number of 
small crimson velvet turbans, and an amazing niunber of black blonde 
dresses. There were certainly some very pretty women. The corps 
diplomatique went in miiform. 

7th. — Abecilla, a favourite Spanish actor, died a few days ago, 

and, as C n took several boxes on the night of a play given for 

the benefit of his widow, we went in to the theatre on Saturday 
last. We are now looking out for another house in Mexico, for 
when the rainy season begins, we shall find this too far from the 
city for C n, who is obhged to be there constantly. 

We ventm-ed to take a walk alone yesterday morning tlirough 
the lanes, clown to San Angel and Coyohuacan, for wliich piece of 
imprudence we were severely reprehended, and to-da}?- it appears 
that two women had been robbed and ill-treated on the road, near 
here; so we are too ready to subscribe to the renewal of oiu* sen- 
tence of imprisonment in the house and orchard, Avhen we have no 
gentlemen with us ; but it must be confessed, that it takes greatly 
from the charms of a country hfe, not to be able to walk out 
fearlessly. . . . 

The quietness and stillness of this place is incredible. There is 
actually not a somid in the air; not a sight but a ragged Indian. 
The garden is in great beauty. The apricots are ripe and abundant. 
The roses are in full blow ; and there is a large pomegranate tree at 
the gate of the orchard, wliich is one mass of pongeau blossom. It 
is much warmer in the middle of the day this summer than it was 

We spent a pleasant day lately at a great hacienda a few leagues 
from this, belonging to a Spanish milhonaire, on occasion of a 
shooting party. We went there to breakfast, and afterwards set off 
on horseback, sitting sideways on metis saddles, to see the sport. It 
would have been very agreeable but for the heat. The sportsmen 
were not very successful, — saw a flight of rose-coloured flamingoes, 
who sailed high over their heads, imhurt; killed some very hand- 
some birds called tricjueros, with beautiful yellow plumage, and some 
ducks. The trigueros are considered a deHcacy. We rode with 


tlie admlnistrador all round tlie estate, wliicli is very productive and 
profitable. He told us that tliey sell in Mexico, annually, fifteen 
thousand dollars' worth of corn, and ten thousand dollars' worth of 
milk, sending in this produce in canoes, by the canal which passes 
this way. We dismounted from our horses in a green meadow 
covered mth daisies and buttercups, wloich, from association, I pre- 
fer to the tuberoses and pomegranate blossom, which now adorn the 

gardens. The Seiior, gave us an excellent dinner a T Esjoa/jnole ; 

after which I made an attempt to fire at some birds which shook 
their tails, and fiew away in the most contemptuous manner. . . . 

The new Secretary of Legation, Sciior T , and the new 

attache, Seiior G , have just arrived in Mexico. 

10th. — The Baron and Madame de , with their secretary, the 

Count de B , came out yesterday morning unexpectedly to break- 
fast, and spent the day with us. 

13th. — We went out with C n last evening, to take a walk; 

when a man rushed by us in a state of great agitation, and on going 
further we met some workmen, who told us that an Indian labourer 
had stabbed a man in the next field, and that he had died before a 
padre could be procured. We heard the cries of his wife and children, 

and A , crossing the ditch that bordered the field, went to see 

the man. He was a master- workman, or director, and had foimd 
fault Avith one of the men for his idleness. High words ensued, and 
the laboiu'er (probably the man who had passed us) drew liis knife 
and stabbed him. He was lying stone dead, with liis hand half cut 

through in his eflbrts to defend liimself. A asked an adminis- 

trador, who was standing near, what would be done to the guilty 
man. " Probably nothing," said he, shrugging his shoulders ; " we 
have no judges to pimish crime." This rencontre, as you may beUeve, 
took away from us all inchnation to pursue our rambles. 

There is a pretty farmhouse in the village, in which we took 
shelter the other day from a shower of rain. The farmers are civil 
and respectfid, a superior kind of people, with good manners rather 
above their station. The daughters are good looking, and the house 
clean and neat. One of the girls gave me an account of a nocturnal 
visit which the robbers paid them last winter. She showed me the 
little room where she was alone and asleep, when her mother and 
sister, who slept in the chamber adjoining, being wakened by the 
breaking in of their door, sprang out of the window to make their 
escape, and she was left in the house alone. She jrunped out of bed 
and bolted the door (her room had no other egress), and there she 
held a parley with these night ^dsiters, promising to imlock every 
drawer and closet, if they would wait till she put on her clothes, and 
would do her no personal injury. The agreement was made, and 
they kept their word. They cleared the house of every article it 
contained, leaving nothing but the blanket in which the girl had 
wi-apped herself All their clothes, household utensils, money, every 
thing was carried oflT with astonisliing precision ; and having made 


her swear not to move till tliey had time to leave the village, they 
paid her no further attention. The other women, who had given 
the alarm, found no one inclined to move in the middle of the night 
against a party whose numbers their fears had probably magnified. 

The administrador gave us an amusing account this evening of a 
visit which a band of no less than thirty robbers once ventured to 
pay this strong and well defended hacienda. He was hving there 
alone, that is, without the family, and had just barred and bolted 
every thing for the night, but had not yet locked the outer gate, 
when looking out from his window into the courtyard by moonlight, 
he saw a band of robbers ride up to the door. He instantly took 
his measures, and seizing the great keys, ran up the httle stair that 
leads to the azotea, locking the gate by which he passed, and, calling 
to the captain by name (for the robbers were headed by a noted 
chieftain), requested to know what he w^anted at that hour of the 
night. The captain politely begged him to come down stairs and 
he would tell him ; but the agent, strong in the possession of his great 
keys, and well knoAving the solidity of the iron-barred windows, 
continued his parley in a high tone. The captain rode round, ex- 
amined every thing with a practised eye, and ibund that it would re- 
quire a regular siege to make good his entry. He threatened, en- 
treated, observed that he would be content w^ith a small sum of money, 
but all in vain. There stood the sturdy administrador on the house- 
top, and there sat the captain on his horse below, something like the 
fox and the crow ; but the agent with the keys was wiser than the 
crow and her cheese, for no cajoHng would induce him to let them 
out of his grasp ; and worse than all, shooting him would have done 
them no good. At last the captain, finding himself entirely out- 
witted, took off his hat, politely wished the agent a very good night, 
drew oif his men and departed. 

Another time, being also alone, he was attacked in broad day- 
light by tAvo men who came imder pretence of buying pulque ; but 
having time to get hold of a sword, he overpowered one, which 
frightened the other, upon which they both began to laugh, and 
assured him it was mere experiment to see what he Avould do — a 
perfect jest, which he pretended to beheve, but advised them not to 

try it again, as it was too good a joke to be repeated. Senor 

pointed out to us the other day a well-known robber captain, Avho 
was ridincy on the hio-h road with a friend. He had the worst-look- 
ing, most vulgar and most villanous face I ever saw ; a low-lived and 
most unpoetic-looking ruffian ; fat and sallow. 

We saw a horribly ugly man to-day, and were told he was a lohoy 
the name given here to the Zambos ; who are the most frightful 
human beings that can be seen. La Guera Rodriguez told us that 
on an estate of hers, one woman of that race was in the habit of at- 
tending church, and that she was so fearfully hideous, the priest had 
been obhged to desire her to remain at home, because she distracted 
the attention of the congregation ! 


We spent yesterday at tke house of the minister at San Angel, 

where he gave us and the minister and his family a beautiful 

breakfast. How consistent every thing looks in a good English 
house ! so handsome without being gaudy — the plate so well cleaned, 
the servants so well trained. 

8 th June. — We were sitting under an apple tree the other day, 
trying to tame the fiercest little deer I ever saw, who was butting 
and kicking with all his might, when a large packet of letters was 
brought us, the reading of which insured us an agreeable afternoon. 
We continue to lead a very quiet life here, occasionally taking a short 
ride in the evening, and making acquaintance Avith the neighbouring 
villages, the prettiest of which is Tesapan, a most rural and leafy spot, 
where there are fine fruit trees, plenty of water, and good-looking 

peasant-girls. Sometimes we go to San Antonio to see the V o 

lamily ; occasionally to San Agustin, where they are preparing for 
the great fete. We are in treaty for a house in Mexico, having now 
given up all idea of passing through Vera Cruz this summer. We 
are in hopes of having that of the late Marquesa de San Roman, who 
died some time ago, but the delays that take place in any transaction 
connected Avitli a house in Mexico, and the difficulty of obtaining a 
decisive answer, are hard trials of patience. 

We generally have a number of visiters from Mexico on Sunday, 
and those who come in carriages may be considered as real friends, 
for they decidedly risk their necks, not to mention their carriage- 
springs at a bad hit on the road, which the owners, who are Indians, 
will not allow any one to mend for them, and will not mend them- 
selves. When we reach it, we are obliged regularly to get out of 
the carriage, go about a hundred yards on foot, and then remain in 
much anxiety at the top of the hill, till Ave see whether or not the 
carriage ;jrrives unbroken, Avhlch it rarely does. A few dollars Avould 
make it perfectly safe. 

Our chief visiters during the week arc from the Carmelite convent 
of San Angel. The old jmdre guardian is about eighty. Each 
convent has a prior, but the padre guardian exercises authority over 
all the convents of his order as Avell as over his own. 

There are many excellent houses and fine gardens in San Angel, 
and a number of families from Mexico are now there for the season. 
Tacubaya and all the environs arc beginning to be occupied, and 
Mexico looks Avarm and deserted. But there are so fcAV incidents in 
our quiet life among the magueys, that I shall Avrite no more till Ave 
return from San Agustin after the fete. If you Avish to hear how we 
pass our time, you must knoAV that Ave generally rise about six, and 
go out into the orchard and stroll about, or sit down Avith a book in 
a pleasant arbour at the end of one of the Avalks, which is surrounded 
by rose-bushes, and has a httle stream of Avater running past it. 
Nor do Ave CAX'r enter the orchard unarmed Avlth a long pole, for its 
entrance is guarded by a flock of angry geese, hissing like the many- 
headed Hydra that Avatched over tlie golden apples of the Hespe- 


rides. At eight we breakfast, and by nine the sun is abeady power- 
ful enough to prevent us from leaving the house. We therefore sit 
down to read or -write, and do occasionally take a game at billiards. 

C n generally rides to Mexico, but if not, goes up to the azotea 

with a book, or writes in his study until four o'clock, when we dine. 
After dinner we walk into the village, if we have any attendant 
esquire ; if not, we go to the azotea and see the sun set behind the 
volcanoes, or walk in the garden till it is dark, and then sit down in 
the front of the house, and look at the Hghts in Mexico. Tlien we 
have tea or chocolate — and the candles are lighted — and the last 
Indian workman has gone oft to his village — and the house is barred 
in, and we sit down to read, or wiite or talk, or sometimes we play 
bilHards by lamp-light. And then indeed the silence and the sohtude 
make us feel as if the world were completely shut out. I never 
experienced such perfect stillness. Even the barking of a dog sounds 
like an event. Therefore, expect no amusing letters from this place ; 
for though we are very comfortable, there are no incidents to relate. 
The Indians come in the morning to drink pulque, (which, by the 
way, I now think excellent, and shall find it very difficult to Hve 
without !) a little child from the village brings us some bouquets of 
flowers, which the Indians have a pretty way of arranging in a pine- 
apple or pyi-amidal form; the Cliinese cook, with his httle shts of 
eyes, passes by with meat and fruit which he has been buying at the 
market of San Angel ; the prior samitcrs in to see how we are — a 
chance visiter comes on horseback from Mexico, with a long sword 
by his side, as if he were going to fight the Saracens. And excepting 
that a padre came last Sunday and said mass to us in the pretty Httle 
chapel of the hacienda, which saved us the trouble of going down 
to the village, and, moreover, took chocolate with us afterwards, 
there has been nothing to vary the usual routine of our country fife. 



Gambling — Fete at San Agiistin — Breakfast at San Antonio — Report — Cock 
Fight — Ladies — Private Gambling — A Vaca — The Culvai-io — Bonnets — Din- 
ner — Evening Ball — Mingling of Classes — Copper Tables — Dresses and De- 
corations — Indian Bankers, Male and Female — Decorum — Habit — Holders 
of Banks — Female Gambler — Robbery — Anecdote — Bet — Casa de Moneda — 
Leave San Angel — Celebration — Address — Cross and Diploma — Reply — 
Presentation of a Sword — Discourses and Addresses — Reflections. 

loth June. 

OxE year since I last wrote of San Agustin ! An entire year has 
fled swiftly away on rushing pinions, to add its unit to the rolling 
century. And again, ou a bright morning in June, we set off for 
the hospitable San Antonio, Avhere we were invited to breakfast and 
to pass the night on the second day of the fete. We found a very 
brilliant party assembled ; the family with all its branches, the Ex- 
Ministcr Cuevas, with his handsome sister-in-law, La GLlera Rodri- 
guez, with one of her beautiful grand-daughters (daughter of the 

Marquis of G e), now making her first appearance in INIexico, 

and various other agreeable people. The first day of the fete, a 
rumoiu' v»^as afloat that an attack was to be made on the banks by 
the federal party ; that they expected to procure the sinews of war 
to the extent of a milhon of dollars, and then mtended to raise a 
grito in Mexico, taking advantage of the temporary absence of the 
president and his officers. The plan seemed rather feasible, and the 
report, true or false, was current yesterday; but if there was any 
truth in it, the discovery has been made in time, for nothing has 
occurred. San Agustin appeared even gayer and more crowded 

than it was last year. We spent the day at the E s, and went 

•with them to a box in the plaza to see the cock-fight, which I had 
no particular pleasure, I must confess, in witnessing again, but went 
for the sake of those who had not seen it before. The general coup 
cVceil was exceedingly gay, and the improvement in the dress of the 
ladies since last year very strildng. There were neither diamonds 
nor pearls amongst the most fashionable. The bonnets were chiefly 
Parisian, as were many of the gowns. One box looked a veritable 
parterre of flowers. The ladies of our party wore dresses and bonnets 
as simple, fresh, and elegant as could be seen in any part of the 
world. A young and titled heiress, jiewly arrived from her dis- 
tant estates, wore pink satin with a white hat and feathers, and we 
observed, that according to the ancient San Agustin fashion, she 
changed her dress four or five times a-day. But the ladies may 


dress, and may smile, and may look tlielr very best; tliey are little 
tliouglit of this day, in comparison witli tlie one all-powerful, all- 
pervading object. It is even "whispered that one cause of the more 
than usual crowd at San Agustin this year, is that many failvires are 
expected in mercantile houses, and that the heads of these houses or 
their agents are here on the desperate hope of retrieving their 
falling ibrtunes. 

A good deal of play on a small scale goes on in tlie private houses, 
among those who do not take much jDart in the regidar gambling; 
but all are interested more or less; even strangers, even ladies, even 
ourselves. Occasional news is brought in, and received with deep 
interest, of the state of the banks, of the losses or gains of the dif- 
ferent individuals, or of the result of the vacas, (a sort of general 
purse, into which each puts two or three ounces,) by different strag- 
glers from the gambling-houses, who have themselves only ventured 
a few ounces, and who prefer the society of the ladies to that of the 
Monte players. These are generally foreigners, and chiefly English. 

We found the road to the Calvario, wdiere, as usual, there was a 
ball in the afternoon, blocked up with carriages, and the hill itself 
coA^ered with gay figures ; who were dancing as well as the tremen- 
dous crowd would permit. This was really tolerably repubHcan. 
The women generally were dressed as the better classes of Mexicans 
used to be, years ago, and not so many years neither (and as many 
in the country, still are) in blonde dresses, mth very short petticoats, 
open silk stockings and white satin shoes; and such a collection of 
queer bonnets has probably never been seen since the days Avhen 
les Anglaises jiour rire first set foot on GalKc shores. Some were 
like small steeples, others resembled helmets, some were like sugar- 
loaves, and most seemed to have been set on, for convenience-sake, 
all the way ovit. Amidst these there was a good sprinkling of pretty 
Herbaidts and Paris dresses, but they belonged to the more fashion- 
able classes. The scene was amusing from its variety, but we did 
not remain long, as it threatened rain. As we looked back, the 
crowd on the hill presented the appearance of a bed of butterflies 
dancing with black ants. 

We returned to the 's to dinner, which was very handsome, 

and entirely French. There were about twenty-eight persons at 
table, some of them looked as if they had rather lost than otherwise. 
After dinner — music, and conversation on the events and probabili- 
ties of the day, till it w^as time to dress for the bail at the plaza. We, 
however, preferred going to a box, which saves the trouble of dress- 
ing, besides being " de mucho tono,'^ very fashionable; but when we 
arrived, not a box was to be had, the crowd was so great, and there 
•were so many people of tono, besides ourselves, who had preferred 
doing the same thing; so we were obliged to content ourselves with, 
retreating to a third row of benches on the floor, after persuading at 
least a dozen of very goodnatured women to turn out, in order to 
let us in. "We were afterwards joined by the Minister and his 


Wife. The ball looked very gay, and was prodigiously crowded, and 
exceedingly amusing. 

There were people of all classes ; modistes and carpenters, shop- 
boys, tailors, hatters, and hosiers, mingled with all the haut ton of 
Mexico. Every shop-boy considered himself entitled to dance with 
every lady, and no lady considered herself as having a right to refuse 

him, and then to dance w4th another person. The Sefiora dc , 

a most high-bred and dignified person, danced with a stable-boy in 
a jacket and without gloves, and he appeared particularly gratified 
at the extraordinary opportunity thus afforded him of holdino- her 
white gloves in his brown paws. These fellows naturally select the 
first ladies as their partners, and, strange as it may seem, there is 
nothing in their behaviour that the most fiistidious can complain of. 
They are perfectly polite, quiet and well conducted ; and what is 
more remarkable, go through a quadrille as well as their neighbours. 
The ball was quietness itself, until near the end, when the wind- 
instruments were suddenly seized with a fit of economy, the time 
they were paid for having probably expired, and stopped short in 
the midst of a waltz ; upon which the gentleman waltzers shouted 
" Viento! Viento!" at the full extent of their voices, clapping their 
hands,_ refusing to dance, and entirely drowning the sound of some 
little jingHng guitars which were patiently twanging on, until the 
hired sons of ^olus had to resume their labours. 

There were some pretty faces among the secondary class of small 
shopkeepers, but their beauty is not striking, and takes a long 
time to discover ; Q?,-^Qcm\\y fagottes as they are in their overloaded 
dresses. Amongst the handsomest of the higher classes, were the 
Seiiora C — — s, and a daughter of the Marquis of G e. 

On the third night of the fete, C n and I having left the ball- 
room about ten o'clock, walked out in the direction of the copper- 
tables which filled the middle of the square, and were covered with 
awnings. It is a sight that, once seen, can never be forgotten. No- 
thing but the pencil of Hogarth, or the pen of Boz, could do justice 
to the various groups there assembled. It was a gambhno- fete- 
champetre, conducted on the most liberal scale. 

On each table were great mountains of copper, with an occasional 
sprmkhng of silver. There was a profusion of evergreens, small 
tin lamps dripping with oil, and sloping tallow candles shedding 
grease upon the board. Little ragged boys, acting as waiters, were 
busily engaged in handing round pulque and chia in cracked tum- 
blers. There was, moreover, an agreeable tinkhng produced from 
several guitars, and even the bankers condescended to amuse their 
guests with soothing strains. The general dress of the company con- 
sisted of a single blanket, gracefully disposed in folds about the per- 
son ; so as to show various ghmpses of a bronze skin. To this some 
added a^pair of Mexican pantaloons, and some a shirt of a doubtful 
colour. There were many with large hats, most of which had crowns 
or parts of crowns, but all affording free entrance to the fresh air. 



Generally speaking, however, the head was uncovered, or covered 
only with its native thatching of long, bushy, tangled black hair. 

This might be out of compliment to the ladies, of whom there 
were several, and who ought in pohteness to have been mentioned 
first. Nothing could be simpler than their costume, consisting of a 
very dirty and extremely torn chemise, -with short pleeves, a shorter 
petticoat, and a pair of shoes, generally of dirty satin : also a reboso, 
and the long hair hanging down as Eve's golden locks may have 
done in Paradise. " They cah tliis place a Paradise," a Spanish 
soldier wrote to his father ; " and so I think it is, it is so full of 

There was neither fighting, nor swearing, nor high words. I 
doubt whether there be as much decorum at Crockford's; mdeed, 
they were scrupulously pohte to each other. At one table, the 
banker was an enormously fat gentleman, one-half of whose head 
was bound up with a dirty white handkercloief, over wliich a torn 
piece of hat was stuck, very much to one side. He liad a most 
roguish eye, and a smile of inviting benignitjr on his dirty counte- 
nance. In one hand he held and tingled a guitar, while he most m- 
geniously swept in the copper with the other. _ By his side sat two 
wretched-looking women, with long matted hair, their elbows on the 
table, and their great eyes fixed upon the game with an expression 
of the most intense anxiety. At another, the brmker was a pretty little 
Indian woman, rather clean, comparatively speaking, and whp appeared 
to be doing business smartly. A man stood near her, leaning against 
one of the poles that supported the awning, who attracted all our 
attention. He was enveloped in atom blanket, his head uncovered, 
and his feet bare; and was glaring upon the table with his great, 
dark, haggard-looking eyes, his brown face livid, and liis expression 
bordering on despair. It needed no one to tell us that on the table 
was his last stake. Wliat will such a man do but go upon the road? 

I have heard it mentioned, as a strong circumstance in favour of 
the Mexican character, that there is neither noise nor distui-bance m 
these reunions; none of that uproar and violence that there would 
be in an English mob, for example. The fact is certain, but the 
inference is doubtful. These people are degraded, and accustomed 
to endure. They are gentle and cunning, and their passions are not 
easily roused, at least to open display; but once awakened, it is 
neither to uproar that these passions will be excited, nor by fair 
fight that they wiU be assuaged. In England, a boxmg-match de- 
cides a dispute amongst the lower orders; in Mexico, a knife; and 
a broken head is easier mended than a cut throat. Despair must 
find vent in some way; and secret murder, or midnight robbery, are 
the fatal consequences of this very cahnness of countenance, which 
is but a mask of Nature's o^vn giving to her Lidian offsprmg._ 

Another reason for this tranqifiUity is the habit of gambhng, m 
which they have indulged from cliildhood, and which has taught 
them that neither high words nor violence will restore a single doUar 


once fairly lost; and in point of fairness, every tiling is carried on 
with tlie strictest honour, as amono- gamblers of hio-h deo-ree. 

Wliile_ " high life below stairs"' is thus enacting^ and these people 
are courting fortune in the fresh air, the gentlemanly gamblers are 
seated before the green cloth-covered tables, with the gravity befit- 
ting so many cabinet councils; but without their mystery, for doors 
and windows are thrown open, and both ladies and gentlemen may 
pass m and out, and look on at the game, if they please. The heaps 
of oiinces look temptingly, and make it appear a true El Dorado. 
Nor is there any lack of creature-comforts to refresh the flaggino- 
spirits. There _ are supper-spread tables, covered with savory meat's 
to appease their hunger, and with generous wines to gladden their 
hearts; and the gentlemen who surrounded that board seemed to be 
playing, instead of Monte, an excellent knife and fork. 

You must^ not suppose that those who hold gamblino--tables are 
the less considered on that account; on the contrary, a? the banks 
generally win, they arc amongst the richest, and, consequently, the 
most respected men in Mexico. These bankers are frequently Spa- 
niards, who have found gambhng the readiest stepping-stone to for- 
tune. Sefior explained to me one plan of thosc°who hold the 

banks, a sort of hedging, by Avhich it is next to impossible that they 
can lose. For example, one of these gentlemen proposes to his 
friends to take a share in a vaca, each contributing a few ounces. 
Having collected several hundred ounces, they go to play at his bank. 
If they win, he receives his share, of course; and if they lose, his 
bank wins the whole. It is proceeding upon the principle of 
" Heads I win, tails you lose." 

At the tables, few words are spoken. The heaps of gold chano-e 
masters ; but thfe masters do not change countenance. I saw but 
one person who looked a httlc out of humour, and he was a foreigner. 
The rich man adds to his store, and the poor man becomes a beo-gar. 
He is ruined, but " makes no sign." 

The ladies who have collected ounces and made purses, send th'-ir 
friends and admirers to the tables to try their luck for them ; and 
m some of the inferior houses, the Senoras of a lower class 'occa- 
sionally try their fortune for themselves. I saw one of these, who 
had probably lost, by no means " taking it coolly." She looked 
Hke an overcharged thundercloud; but whether she broke forth in 
anger or in tears, thunder or rain, we did not stay to see. 

In short, it is an all-pervading mania, and as man is " a bundle of 
habits," the most moral persons in this country (always exceptiuo- 
one or two ladies who express their opinions strongly against it) see 
nothing in it to condemn, and are surprised at the'effect it produces 
on a stranger; and, indeed, after a few years' residence here, a fo- 
reigner almost becomes reconciled to these abuses, by the veil of 
decorum with which they are covered. 

We returned to San Antonio in the brightest possible moonho-ht, 
and in perfect safety, it bemg on the high-road to Mexico, and 

Y 2 


therefore guarded by soldiers. We heard tlie next morning, tliat a 

nephew of General B s, who had ventnred upon going by a 

cross-road to his house, at Mizcuaque, has been attacked and_ robbed 
of his winnings, besides being severely wounded. This being the 
natural consequence, the morale to the story can excite no surprise. 
Tlie robbers who, in hopes of plunder, flock down at the time of the 
fete, hke sopilotes seeking carrion, hide themselves among thebaiTcn 
rocks of the Pedrcgal, and render all cross-roads insecm-e, except with 
a very strong escort. 

An anecdote was related to us this morning, by a member of the 
cabinet, a striking one amongst the innumerable instances of For- 
tune's caprices. A very rich Spaniard, proprietor of several haci- 
endas, attended the fete at San Agustin, and having won three 
thousand ounces, ordered the money to be carried in sacks to his 
carriage, and prepared to return to Mexico along with his wife. His 
carriao-e was just setting off, when a friend of his came out of an ad- 
joining hoLise, and requested him to stay to breakfast, to which he 
agreed. After breakfast, there being a monte table in the house, at 
which some of his acquaintances were playing, he put do^Ti two 
ounces, and lost. He continued playing and losing, until he had lost 
his three thousand ounces, which were sent for and transferred to the 
winners. He still continued playing with a terrible infatuation, till 
he had lost his whole fortune. He went on bhndly, staking one 
hacienda after another, and property of all sorts, until the sun, 
which had risen upon liim a rich and prosperous man, set, leaving 
him a beggar ! It is said that he bore this extraordinary and sudden 
reverse with the utmost equanimity. He left a son, whoin we have 
seen at San Agustin, where he earns his livelihood as croupier at the 
gambhng tables. 

29th. — No particular occurrence has taken place since the fete ; a 
visit from the new Secretary of Legation and the Attache, a diplo- 
matic dinner at the minister's, much going and coming and 

writing on the subject of a house in Mexico, a correspondence con- 
cerning the sale of our furniture, mules, &c. &c., a good deal of 
interest excited by a bet between two English gentlemen,_as to whe- 
ther it were possible for one of them to ride from Mexico to San 
Angel in tAventy minutes, which feat he performed, starting from the 
gate called " El Nino Perdido" and reaching the old church of San 
Angel within the given time ; these I think are the most remarkable 
circJimstances that have taken place. We are now in treaty for the 
furnished apartments of the director of the Casa de 3Ioneda (the 
mint), a great building next the palace, from which upwards of one 
thousand three hundred miUions of coined gold and silver have issued 
since the beginning of the sixteenth century. The house is a palace 
in extent and soHdity; and the residence of the director is very spa- 
cious and handsome, besides having the great advantage of being 
furnished. We expect to return to Mexico in a few days. 


Casa de Moneda, Gtb July. 

Here we are, re-establislied in Mexico, for a slaort time at least, 
and not without difficulty has it been accomphshed. We left the 
country with some regret, as this is the pleasantest time of the year 
for being there, and every thing was looking green and beautiful. We 
came in, ourselves, in a loaded carriage, and in advance, fourteen 
asses loaded with boxes, four Indians with ditto, and two enormous 
loaded carts, one drawn by four, and another by eight mules. We 
were a regular caravan, as our friend the alcalde called us. Imagine 
the days of packing and unpacking consequent thereupon ! . . . 

On the 1st of July, the victory gained by the government over 
the federalist party was celebrated with great eclat. The president 
was presented with a diamond cross, valued at six thousand dollars, 
and General Valencia with a splendid jewel-hilted sword of great 
value. " Yesterday morning," says the newspaper of the day, " a 
general pealing of the bolls and the usual salutes announced to the 
capital that it was a day of rewards and of universal joy. At twelve 
o'clock, his Excellency the President of the Republic went to the 
palace, to fulfil the formality of closing the sessions, and to receive 
from the hands of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, the 
diploma and cross of honour mentioned in the decrees of the second of 
March and second of May of this year. An immense multitude 
occupied the galleries; and the President, Don J. Maria Bravo, 
addressed liis ^Excellency General Bustamante, in the following 
speech : 

" Citizen General, and illustrious President: — Nations never forget 
the distingmshed services that are done to them, nor fail to reward 
those heroic actions performed for the common good. Sooner or 
later they show themselves grateful, and reward as they ought their 
good and vahant servants. The Mexican nation has not forgotten 
yours, and its congress has ever borne in mind those which you per- 
formed for it at that happy period when the unfortunate hero of 
Iguala, causing the voice of freedom to resound to the remotest lands 
of the Mexican territory, gave a terrible lesson to those who wish to 
subdue weak nations, with no other title than that of strength. You 
were one of the first and most valiant chiefs, who, placed by his side, 
assisted in this important and happy work; you it was who shewed 
to the tp-ant in the fields of Juchi, Aztcapozalco and others, that the 
sword of the Mexicans once unsheathed for liberty and justice, fights 
without softening or breaking; and knows how to triumph over its 
enemies, even when superior forces oppose it ; you it was, in short, 
who with intrepid valour co-operated in re-establishing a liberty, which 
torn from the ancient children of the soil, was converted by their 
oppressors into a hard and shameful tyranny. History has already 
consecrated her pages to you ; she will record to posterity your heroic 
deeds, and congress has already busied itself in rewarding such 
interesting services. 

" If some Mexicans, erring in their opinions, by a fatality in this 

312 president's reply. 

country, have disowned tliem, makin^ an attempt against your per- 
sonal Liberty, notwithstanding the dignity of the first maLastrate ; 
tramphng upon laws and overturning order ; they have a't length 
been obhged to respect you ; and your valour, firmness, and decision, 
have made them preserve the consideration due to an ancient chief 
of our independence, and to a first magistrate who has known how to 
set an example of subordination to the laws, and to give with dignity 
lessons of valoiu- and of honourable conduct. 

" A diploma and a cross are the rewards which the sovereign 
congress has decreed for these services and merits. Do not regard 
in the one the eftaceable characters in wliich it is written, nor be 
dazzled ^ by the brilHancy of the other. See in both a proof of your 
country's gratitude, and engraving it in your soul, continue to give 
testimonies to your country that she is the first object of your care ; 
that your watchings, fatigues, andlabours are dedicated only to procure 
for her those benefits which may bring about the durable and sohd 
peace that she so much desires, and for which you v/ould, if necessary, 
sacrifice yourself on her altars. 

"Do not forget that to-day she shews herself grateful, and that tliis 
is the day decreed by the august national representative body, to put 
you in possession of the title and insignia which manifest her gratitude. 
I, ni the name of the congress, congratulate you on this fortunate 
event, and having the honour to fulfil the desire of the sovereign 
power, place in your hands this diploma of deserving reward from 
your country, and give you possession of this cross." 

His Excellency having received the diploma and cross above men- 
tioned, with his native modesty replied thus : 

" In hearing, by the organ of the august national representation, 
the great encomiums with which it favours me, putting me at the 
same time in possession of these precious gifts, my soul overflows with 
ineffable pleasure, and is overwhelmed with the deepest gratitude. 
My satisfaction and my glory are immense. What could I have 
done, that thus the generous hand of the representatives of the 
Mexican people should load me with honours? Have my triflmg ser- 
vices been able to fix the attention of the country, on whose altars 
have been sacrificed so many and such illustrious heroes of liberty? 
My glory woidd have been yet greater, had I, hke them, descended 
to the sepulchre, when the sun of victory brightened the existence 
of this sovereign and independent nation, to the glory of the imiverse. 

" The honours which I receive to-day are certainly great; but I 
should have preferred them before the never-sufiiciently mourned 
catastrophe of the immortal Yturbide. Let us throw a tlfick veil 
over so irreparable a loss. It is true that, surviving such great mis- 
fortunes, I have been enabled to consecrate my existence and my 
vigilance to the peace^ order, and fehcity of this beloved country. 
But how difficult is the conduct of those who govern in the midst 
of the conflict of civil dissensions ! In these, my conscience has 
chosen, and my resolution has never vacillated between ignominy 


and lionour. Do I, on tliis account, deserve the national gratitude 
and munificence manifested by such distinguished rewards? I re- 
tm-n for tliem to the representatives of the nation my frankest grati- 
tude; fixing my mind only on the grandeur and benevolence of the 
sovereio-n power which rewards me in the sacred name of the 
country. I shall preserve till death these precious objects which 
render my name illustrious as a soldier and as a supreme magistrate. 
They will stimulate me more and more every ^ day to all kinds of 
sacrifices, even to the giving up my hfe should it be necessary; that 
I may not be unworthy of the favourable conception and of the 
recompencc Avith which the worthy representatives of so magnani- 
mous a nation have to-day honoured me. Receive, gentlemen, this 
frank manifestation of my sentiments, and of my fervent vows for 
the fehcity of the repubhc, with the most sincere protestations of 
my eternal gratitude." 

" The Hvehest emotions of satisfaction" (I still quote from the 
Diario) " followed this expressive discourse. Joy was painted on 
every countenance. The frank satisfaction which every one felt 
gave to tlris act a solemnity which words are incapable of describing. 
His Excellency, accompanied by the corporations and by a brilhant 
and mmierous concourse, then passed to the hall of the court-martial, 
to put in possession of his Excellency General D. Gabriel Valencia 
the sword of honoiu- which the august national representation had 
granted him, for his loyal and valiant conduct in the affair of July 
of 1840. His Excellency the President began this ceremony by 
expressing his sentiments to liis Excellency the Gefe^ de la plana 
mayor (head of the staff), in these terms : 

" Citizen General:— In this day, the most flattering of my hfe, m 
which the august representatives of the nation have just put me m 
possession of the rewards granted to my small services, I fulfil the 
law which imposes upon me the grateful task of presenting you with 
the sword of honour, with which their munificence has also chosen 
to remmierate yours. 

" Receive it as the distinguished reward of your loyalty, and of 
the valour with wliich you fought at that memorable period, from 
the 15th to the 26th of July, defending with bravery the constitution 
and supreme powers of the Repubhc. I congratulate myself with 
you, not doubting that you will always employ the edge of this steel 
in defence of the'honom", of the sacred rights, and of the laws of 
tliis country. Yes, general, of this beloved country, to whom we 
owe all kinds of sacrifices ; yes, of this beloved mother, who now 
more than ever reclaims the fraternal union of all her children, to 
conquer the internal and external enemies who oppose her felicity 
and aggrandizement, let us pledge ourselves to correspond thankfully 
to thc'generosity with which the representatives of the nation have 
rewarded us, and let us march united in the same path which honour 
and duty traced out for us, in that day of honourable memory lor 


the defenders of the laws. Eternal praise to the brave soldiers and 
citizens who co-opcratcd with us in the cstabHshment of order '" 

To which General Valencia rephed:-" That a correspondent re- 
ward should follow an heroic action, nothing more natural; but to 
remunerate a service which does not go beyond tlic sphere of ordi- 
nary things such as mine in the affair of the 15th to the 26th of 
July ol 1840, by such a noble distinction as the sword of honour 
with which your Excellency has deigned to gird me, in the name of 
the JSational Congress, of this the magnanimity of the sovereignty 
is alone cjipable; and so it is that I remain annihilated by a present 
worthy of the ages of the Roman Senate and Rcpubhc. What did 
1 do your ExceUcncy, m those days, that any one of my countrymen 
would not have done better? Nothing, sir; so that, in receiving 
tins sword of honour my confusion equals my doubt as to my plac? 
m the gratitude of the congress which has given it tome, of your 
Excellency who has deigned to present it to me, and of my worthy 
countrymen who bestowed it that I might wear it 

" In this condition, your Excellency, °of content and satisfaction, 
1 can say no more, but that I hope your Excellency will manifest to 
congress my eternal gratitude ; that your Excellency will receive 
my noble acknowledgments, and my companions the assurance that 
every time I put it on I shall remember the names of all and each of 
them who accompanied me on the loth of July of 1840, together 
with the pleasure that to them I owe so great a mark of respect." 
^ Amongst the congratulations given to the president, the foUow- 
mg congratulation from his Excellency General Valencia to his 
Excellency the President, on his receiving the decoration of the 
cross of honour from congress," is very remarkable. " God said, 
the hrst day of the creation of tlie world, when it was in a state 
of chaos Let there he light, and there teas light: And God saw 
his work and pronounced it good! With how much more reason 
ought the garrison of Mexico to do so every day in which, by any 
action, the loth of July of 1840 is celebrated-in which, by their 
strength and heroic valour, that passage of Genesis was pohtically 
repeated m this capital. Society arose in chaos. Its president is 
taken. Authorities no longer exist, and those who ought to save 
them are converted into their oppressors. ' God said let there he 
light and there ivas light r The honourable troops, reunited in tlie 
citadel, m the midst of chaos, said, ' Let order be re-estabhshed— 
let the supreme magistrate be set at hberty, and let things resume 
their proper march.' Order tvas re-estabhshed, your Excellency was 
set free, andthe pohtical body followed the regular path, without 
which no society exists. So it is that those worthy troops who thus 
said, thus undertook, and thus accompHshed, now also resemble the 
creator of the world (hog tamhien se asememejan al Criador del mundo) 
m his content, when satisfied with his work. 

" The cross which has been worthily placed on your Excellency's 
breast this day, reflects in such a singular manner upon the hearts of 

A BALL. 315 

tlic valiant men of that period {I'ejlecta de un modo tan singular sdbre los 
corazones de los valientcs de aquella epoca), tliat tlieir souls are expanded 
in contemplating it, by the honour which results to them from it. 

" May your Excellency be happy one and a thousand times, with 
such a noble and worthy decoration. Let your Excellency receive 
in it the sincere congratulations of the garrison of Mexico, which 
figures in each stone of this cross, like the stars in the firmament." 

" This ceremony being concluded, the two rewarded generals pre- 
sented themselves on the principal balcony of the palace, in front of 
which passed the brilliant column of honour ; at its head marched 
the commandant-general, Don Valentin Canalizo; and the brilliancy, 
neatness, and elegance, which all the corps of the garrison displayed, 
is above all praise. When the regiment had passed, a sumptuous 
entertainment was served in one of the halls of the Minister of War, 
in wliich elegance, good taste, and propriety, rivalled one another; 
while repeated toasts showed the most sincere joy, united with the 
most patriotic and fraternal sentiments. Rain having begun to fall 
at about three in the afternoon, the paseo was on this account not so 
crowded as might have been expected; nevertheless, the rnihtary 
bands were present, and at six in the evening their Excellencies 
Generals Bustamante and Valencia having presented themselves 
there, were received with vivas and universal joy. 

' ' At night the chiefs and officers of the plana mayor gave a ball 
in the college of the Mineria ; and the theatre of New Mexico dedi- 
cated its entertainment to his Excellency the President. Nothing 
disturbed the joy of this day; one sentiment alone of union and 
cheerfulness overflowed in the capital, proving to those illustrious 
generals the imanimous applause with which Mexicans see their 
country reward the distinguished services of their children, who are 
so deser^dng of their love and gratitude." 

Notwithstanding the ineffable joy which, according to the Diario, 
is generally felt on this occasion, there are many who doubt the 
policy of this celebration, at a time when the troops are unpaid — 
when the soldiers, womided at the last pronunciamieyito, are refused 
their pensions, while the widows and orphans of others are vainly 
suing for assistance. " At the best," say those who cavil on the 
subject, "it was a civil war — a war between brothers — a subject of 
regret and not of glory — of sadness and not of jubilee." As for 
General Valencia's congratulation to the president, in which he 
compares the " honourable troops" to the Supreme Being, the re- 
estabhshment of order in Mexico to the creation of the world from 
chaos, it is chiefly incomprehensible. Perhaps he is carried away 
by his joy and gratitude, and personal affection for Bustamante — ■ 
perhaps he has taken a leaf from a translation of Bombastes Furioso. 

One thing is certain : the whole aflair had a brilHant appearance ; 
and the handsome carriages, fine horses, gaily-dressed officers and 
soldiers, together with the miUtary music and the crowds of people 
collected, produced an imposing effect. 



Italian Opera— Artists, Male and Female— Prima Donna— Lucia de Lam- 

mermoor— Some Disappointment — Second Representation— Improvement 

Romeo and Giiilietta— La Ricci— La Senora Cesari— Tlie Mint— False 

Coining — Repetition of Lucia— Procession by Night— A Spanish Beauty 

Discriminating Audience— A little Too Simple— Gold Embroidery— Santiago 
-—Pilgrims— Old Indian Custom— Soiree — Mexico by Moonlight— Myste- 
rious Figure — Archbishop — Viceroy. 

13th July. 

"We little expected to be still liere at tlie opening of tlie new Italian 
opera, and had consequently given up our box. Senor Roca, who 
went to Italy to bring out the requisites, has arrived at the end of a 
wonderfully short period, with the singers, male and female, the 
new dresses, decorations, &c. ; and the first opera, Lucia de Lam- 
mermoor, was given last week. Tlie theatre is the former Teatro 
des Gallos, an octagonal circus, which has been fitted up as elegantly 
as circumstances would permit, and as the transition from the crow- 
ing of cocks to the soft notes of Giulietta rendered necessary. The 
prima donna ^ assoluta, is the Signora Anaide Castellan de Giam- 
pietro, born in Paris, bred in Milan. The prima donna soprano is 
the Signora de Ricci; and the second donna is called Branzanti. 
The first tenor is Signor Giampietro, husband of the prima donna; 
andthe second tenor is the Signor Alberti Bozetti. The first bass 
is Signor Tomassi, and the bouffo bass Signor Spontini. They have 
been so much pront, and public expectation has been so much 
excited, that we supposed it probable that the first evening at least 
would be a failure to a certain extent. Besides, the Mexican audi- 
ence, if not very experienced, is decidedly musical; and they have 
already had a pretty good opera here, have heard Madame Albini, 
la Cesari, Garcia (the father of Malibran), and the beaux restes of 
Galli; therefore can compare. 

The first evening, the Castellan made her appearance as Lucia. 
She is about twenty; slight and fair, mth black hair, gTaceful, and 
with a very sweet, clear, and pure yoimg voice, also very correct. 
The tenor rests upon his wife's laurels. He looks well, but httle 
more can be said in his praise. Tomassi has some good notes, and 
a fine figure. Of the others who sang that evening there is little to 
be said. The theatre is extremely well got up, the dresses are new 
and rich, and the decorations and scenery remarkably good. The 
pubKc, however, were disappointed. They had prepared for won- 
ders, and were not satisfied with a fair performance. The applauses 
were few and far between. The Castellan was not called for, and 

THE MINT. 317 

the following day a certain degree of discontent pervaded tlie aristo- 
cracy of the capital. 

At the second representation of the same oj)era things mended. 
Tlie voice of La Castellan was appreciated. Applauses were loud 
and long, and at the end of the opera she and the director were 
called for, and received with enthusiasm. She seems likely to become 
a favourite. 

Last evening we had Romeo and Giuhetta, in which La Ricci and 
La Cesari made their appearance, the former as Giulietta, the latter 
as Romeo. The Ricci is a thin young woman, "\Adth a long, pale 
face, black eyes and hair, long neck and arms, and large hands; 
extremely pretty, it is said, off the stage, and very ineffective on it; 
but both on and off with a very distinguished air. Her voice is 
extensive, but wanting cultivation, and decidedly pea-hennish ; be- 
sides that, she is apt to go out of tune. Her style of dress was exces- 
sively unbecoming to her style of beauty. She wore a tight white 
gown, a tight blue satin-peaked body, with long tight blue sleeves. 
The public were indulgent, but it was evident that they were dis- 

La Cesari, Irighly married, and who for the last three years has 
not appeared upon the stage, came out as Romeo, with tunic and 
mantle, white silk stockings, hat and feathers, &c. She was very 
much frightened and ill at ease, and it required all the applause with 
which the pubHc greeted the entree of their former favourite to 
Tcstore her to self-possession. She looked remarkably well — tall, 
handsome, beautifully formed, rather pale, with fine dark eyes, 
dark hair, and moustaches. Her acting was greatly superior, as 
much so as was her beauty, to any of the others. She has more 
knowledge of the theatre, more science, taste, and energy, than any 
of them ; but her voice, a soft contralto, is out of use and feeble. 
The theatre, besides, is ill-constructed for the voice, and must have 
a bad effect upon the fulness and tone. On the whole, it seems 
doubtful whether the opera will endure long. Were we going to 
remain here, I shoidd trust that it might be supported, for, with all 
its faults and drawbacks, it is decidedly the best pubhc exliibition in 
Mexico. The coup cCceil was exceedingly pretty, as all the boxes 
were crowded, and the ladies were in full dress. 

July 20th. — As we are Hving in the mint, the directors have 
called on us ; and this morning they came to invite us to descend 
into the lower regions, to see the silver coined. We went all over 
this immense establishment, a fine pictm'e of decayed magnificence, 
built about one hundred and ten years ago by the Spaniards. 
Dirty, ill-kept, the machinery rude, the workmen discontented ; its 
fine vaulted roofs, that look like the interior of a cathednil, toge- 
ther with that grandiose style which distinguished the buildings of 
the Spaniards in Mexico, form a strong contrast with the occu- 

We saw the silver bars stretched out, the dollars cut and 



whitened and stamped; and in one place we saw the macliines 
for coininff false money, which have been collected in such numbers 
that there is hardly room for them ! We saw the place where the 
silver and gold is tested; and the room with the medals, amongst 
which are some ancient Roman, Persian, and English, but especially 
Spanish, and many of the time of Charles III.; when we were 
looking at which, an old gentleman exclaimed, "Would to Hea- 
ven those days would return !" without doubt the general feehng. 
This old man had been forty-four years in the Casa de Mo- 
neda, and had hved under several viceroys. He could remem- 
ber, when a boy, being sent with a commission to the Viceroy 
Eevillagigedo, and beino- very much frightened, but soon re-as- 
sm-ed by the hind reception of the Representative of Majesty. He 
spoke ol the llourisliing condition of the mint in those days, which 
coined twenty-seven milHons annually, and was a royal house. He 
said that the viceroys used to praise them and to thank them for 
their exertions; that the house was then kept in the most perfect 
order, the principal officers wearing a uniform, &c. 

Hereupon another old gentleman took up the theme, and im- 
proved upon it; and told us, that, on one occasion, they had one 
milHon three hundred thousand dollars' worth of gold in the house; 
and described the visit of the vice-queen Yturriguary, who came 
to see It, and sat down and looked round her in amazement at the 
quantity of gold she saw accumulated. This old gentleman had 
been thirty years in the mint, and seemed as though he had never 
been anywhere else; as if he were part and parcel in it, and had 
been coined, and beat out, and chpped there. 

^Hearing him, another fit man, rather imchpt-looking than other- 
wise, began to bewail the state of the times, till it was a chorus 
universal,_ where all sang in one key. One had a very large, under- 
hanging hp,_ with a kind of tragi-comic countenance!^ and Avas con- 
stantly making lugubrious puns. Another, who seemed bred to 
the mint, (though by his account the mint was not bread to him,) 
was insatiably curious, as a man born in a mint might be. We 
passed about three hours in a mixture of admiration of the past 
and sorrow for the present, and we were reconducted to our domi- 
cile by the poor emjAoyes ^ ^Y\\o seemed to think that a Spanish 
minister was the next best to a Spanish viceroy, of any thing they 
had seen for some time. 

"The Past is nothing ; and at last, 
The Future will but be tiie Past," 

says Lord Byron. Here the Past is every thing; and the Future?— 
Answer it who can. 

We were assured, while wondering at the number of machines 
lor lalse coming which had been collected, that there are twice that 
number now in full force in Mexico; but that they belono- to such 
distinguished personages, the government is alraid to interfere with 
them. Lesides this, there is now no sufficient punishment for tliis 


crime, a capital offence in the days of tlie Spanish government. 
A lady here is said to have exclaimed with much simplicity on hear- 
ing her husband accused of false coining, " I really wonder why they 
make so much noise about it. It seems to me that my husband's 
copper is as good as any other !" 

24th. — We went last evening to the opera, which was a repeti- 
tion of Lucia, as it appears they cannot venture, in the fice of pub- 
lic disapprobation, to repeat Romeo and Giulietta at present. As 
we were passing through the square, the carriage suddenly drew 
up, the coachman and footman uncovered their heads, and an im- 
mense procession came passing along the cathedral, with hghts and 
mihtary music. There Avere officers in full uniform, with their 
heads uncovered, a long file of monks and priests, and a carriage 
carrying the host, siurrounded by hundreds of people on foot, all 
bearing Hghted torches. A band of mihtary music accompanied 
the procession, all which astonished us, as it was no fete day. 
"VVlien, at length, being able to pass along, we arrived at the opera, 
we were informed that they were carrying the viaticum to a rich 
acquaintance of ours, a general, who has been indisposed for some 
time, and whose iUness has now exliibited fital symptoms. 

For him, then, these great cathedral bells are tolhng heavily; for 
him, the torches and the pompous procession — the sandalled monks, 
and the officers in mihtary array; while two bands of music are 
playino- at his door and another in front of the cathedral, and in the 
midst of these sounds of monkish hymn and mihtary music, the 
soul is preparing to ^ving its flight alone and unattended. 

But the sweet notes of Lucia drown all other from our ears, if 
not from our thoughts. In a house not many hundred yards off, 
they minister the liost to the dying man, while here, La Castellan, 
with her pretty French graces and Itahan singing, is drawing 
tears from our eyes for fictitious sorrows. 

The theatre was pretty well filled, though there were some 
empty boxes, sights more hideous in the eyes of actors than tooth- 
less mouths. We sat with Madame la Baronne de , and 

nearly opposite was Madame , related to the "-Principe de 

la Paz,'' a handsome woman, with a fine Bohemian cast of face, 
dark in complexion, with ghttering teeth, brilhant eyes, and dark 
hair. La Castellan sang very well, with much clearness, pre- 
cision, and faciUty. She is certainly graceful and pretty, but, ex- 
cept in her method, more French than Italian. Her style suits 
Lucia, but I doubt her having Vair noble sufficient for a Norma or 
a Semiramis. The bass improves upon acquaintance, but the hand- 
some tenor is nought. The audience seemed to me both indulgent 
and discriminating. They applauded the pretty_ prima donna con 
furor; they praised the bass when he deserved it, the tenor when 
'it was possible; but where he sang false, nothing could extort from 
them a sohtary viva. This discrimination makes their applause 
worth having, and proceeds less from experience or cultivation, than 
from a musical instinct. 



In a visit we made tliis morning, we were sliown a piece of em- 
broidery, which, from its splendour and good taste, is worthy of ob- 
servation, though by no means imcommon here. We went to call 
on the wife of a judge, who showed us all through their beautiful 
house, which looks out on the Alameda. In one of the rooms, their 
daughter was engaged on a piece of embroidery for the altar of the 
chapel. _ The ground was the very richest and thickest white satin ; 
the design was a garland of \anc-leaves, with bunches of grapes. The 
vine-leaves were beautifully embroidered in fme gold, and the grapes 
were composed of amethysts. I can conceive nothing richer and 
more tasteful than the general effect. The gold embroidery done in 
Mexico IS generally very beautiful, and there are many ladies who 
embroider m great perfection. There is an amazing quantity of 
It used m the churches, and in military uniforms. I have also seen 
beautiful gold embroidered ball-dresses, but they are nearly out of 

fashion We hear that General , though stiU ill, is 

hkely to recover. 

25th. — This being the day of Santiago, the patron saint of Spain, 

P 1^ was invited by the padres of San Francisco to attend mass 

m the church there. We were shown to the tribuna (gallery) of 
the_ Countess de Santiago, where they gave us chairs, and put down 

a piece of carpet. C- n and the rest of the legation were in the 

body of the church, in velvet chairs, with hghted tapers in their 
hands. The saint was carried in procession, going out by the prin- 
cipal door, making the tour of the streets, and returning by a side door. 
The music was pretty good, especiaUy one soprano voice. Twelve 
little boys were placed on crimson velvet benches, on either side of 
the altar, representing pilgrims of Gahcia (of which Santiago is the 
capital),_ handsome little fellows, belonging to respectable famihes, 
dressed in robes of dark green or crimson, or violet coloured velvet, 
with falhng lace collars, and the neck ornamented with gold and 
silver shells ; a large pilgrim's hat fastened on beliind, and hanc^ing 
down, and in their hands staffs with gold bells. They were beautiful 
children, and all behaved with becoming gravity and decormn dur- 
ing the ceremony, walking with much dignity in the procession. 

After the funcion, we went out to Santiago, an old church near 
Mexico, where the Indians annually come in procession on this day, 
and sell their fruit, flowers, pulque, &c. All the waste ground near 
the church was covered mth green booths, and there was a great 
crowd of carriages and horsemen, and people on foot. Tlie troops 
were drawn out, escorting the procession to the church. But though 
the scene was curious, as the remnant of an old estabhshed ceremony, 
and the Indians, with their booths and flowers, and great show of 
fruit,^ were all very picturesque, the sun was so intense, that after 
walking about a little while, and buying tunas and nuts and peaches, 
we returned home, together with the Guera Rodriguez, who was in 
the carriage with us, and giving us a Hvely description of what this 
fete used to be m former days. Had a visit the same morning from 


tlie Senora M , wliom I think even liandsomer by dayliglit, than 

she appeared to be at the opera ; not always the case vdth dark 

26th. — Another representation of Vaccaj's Romeo and Ginhctta, 
with the second appearance of La Ricci. Music and Ricci seem 
considered a failure. The Senora Cesari made the handsomest of 
Romeos, as usual, but was ill, and out of spuits. The opera as a 
whole was coldly received ; the boxes and pit were nearly empty, 
and La Ricci seems unhkely to gain any favour with the public, 
though it must be confessed that she looked better, was more becom- 
ingly dressed, and both sang and acted better than the preceding 
night. Yesterday we went to a soiree at the Minister's. Ma- 
dame Castellan and her tenor were there, and had come from a 
dinner given by a rich curate to the whole corps operatique, from the 
prima donna down to the Joueur dufagote, and even to the tailor 
who makes the opera dresses, and his wife. This nch padre, it is 
said, spends a great part of his fortune in entertaining actors and 
singers. La Castellan (permission to that effect ha\dng been ob- 
tained from the manager, for it is against their agreement to perform 
in private houses) sang several airs to the piano, with much expres- 
sion, especially from Robert le Diable ; andiVma Pazzaper Amore ; 
but I prefer her voice in the theatre. She is not at all beautiful, but 
has a charming face, with a very musical expression. 

We returned home by moonhght, the most flattering medium 
through which Mexico can be viewed ; with its broad and silent 
streets, and splendid old buildings, whose decay and abandonment 
are softened by the silvery hght ; its ancient churches, from which 
the notes of the organ occasionally come peahng forth, mingled with 
faint blasts of music borne on the night wind from some distant pro- 
cession ; or with the soft music of a hymn from some neighboiuring 
convent. The white-robed monk — the veiled female — even the 
ragged beggar, add to the picture ; by dayhght liis rags are too vi- 
sible. Frequently, as the carriages roll along to the opera, or as, at 
a late hour, they return from it, they are suddenly stopped by the 
appearance of the mysterious coach, with its piebald mules, and the 
Ei/e surromided by rays of light on its panels ; a melancholy appari- 
tion, for it has come from the house of momiiing, probably from the 
bed of death. Then, by the moonlight, the kneehng figm-es on the 
pavement seemed as if carved in stone. The city of Mexico by moon- 
light — the environs of Mexico at daybreak — these are the hours for 
viewing both to advantage, and for making us feel how 
" All but the spirit of man is divine." 

In front of our house, I should say of the 3Imf, is the arch- 
bishop's palace, and in front of this palace an object which has 
greatly excited our cmiosity. It is an old man, who, whether as a 
penance, or from some motive which we do not know, kneels, wrapt 
in liis scrape, beside the wall of the Arzohispado from sunset till 


midnight, or later — for we liave frequently gone out at nine in the 
evening, and left him kneeling there; and on our return at one in 
the morning have found him in the same position. He asks no alms, 
but kneels there silent and motionless, hour after hour, as if in the 
performance of some vow 

We made a call this evening on the archbishop in his own 
palace, an enormously large building ; a sort of street, hke this Casa 
de Moneda. He received us very cordially, and looked very com- 
fortable^ without his robes of state, in a fine cloth drcssino--o-own, 
lined with violet-coloured silk. 

August 1st. — We had a visit last evening from one of the direc- 
tors of the mint, a curious and most original genius, a Mexican, 
who has served nearly thirty years in that and other capacities, and 
who, after speaking of the different viceroys he had seen, proceeded 
to give us various anecdotes of the Viceroy Revillagigedo, the most 
honoured for his justice, renowned for his energy, and feared for his 
severity, of the whole dynasty. Our friend was moved to enthu- 
siasm by the sight of an old-fashioned but very handsome musical 
clock, which stands on a table in the drawing-room, and which he 
says was brought over by this viceroy, and was no doubt con- 
sidered a miracle of art in those days. 

Some of the anecdotes he told us are already generally known 
here, but his manner of teUing them was very interesting, and he 
added various particulars which we had not heard before. Besides, 
the stories themselves seem to me so curious and characteristic, that 
however much they lose by being tamely ^vritten instead of drama- 
tized as they are by him, I am tempted to give you one or two 
specimens. Biit my letter is getting beyond all ordinary Hmits, 
and your curiosity mil no doubt keep cool till the arrival of another 


Revillagigedo— The False Merchant and the Lady— The Viceroy, the Unjust 
Spaniard, tlie Indian, and the Golden Ounces— Horrible Murder— Details- 
Oath— Country Family— The Spot of Blood— The Mother unknowino-Iy 
denounces her Son— Arrest of the T/;;-ff— Confession— Execution— The 
Viceroy fulfils his Pledge— Paving of the Streets— Severity to the Monks- 
Solitary Damsel— Box on the Ear— Pension— xMorning Concert— New Mini- 
ster— " Street of the Sad Indian"— Traditions— A Farewell Audience— In- 
scription on a Tomb. 

August 3d. 
A LADY of fortune, owing to some combination of circum- 
stances, found herself in difficulties, and in immediate want of a 


small sum of money. Don being licr compadre, and a re- 
spectable merchant, she Avcnt to him to state her necessities, and 
offered him a case of valuable jewels as security for repayment, pro- 
vided he would advance her eight hundred dollars. He agreed, 
and the bargain was concluded without any written document, the 
lady depositing her jewels and receiving the sum. At the end of a 
few months, her temporary difficulties being ended, she went to her 
co7npadres house to repay the money, and receive back her jewels. 
The man readily received the money, but declared to his astonished 
comadre, that as to the jewels, he had never heard of them, and that 
no such transaction had taken place. The Senora, indignant at the 
merchant's treachery, instantly repaired to the palace of the vice- 
king, hoping for justice from this Western Solomon, though unable 
to conceive how it could be obtained. She was instantly received 
by Revillagigedo, who listened attentively to her account of the 
circumstances. " Had you no witnesses?" said the count. "None," 
replied she. " Did no servant pass in or out during the transaction?" 
*' No one." The viceroy reflected a moment. " Does your com- 
padre smoke?" "No, sir," said the lady, astonished at this irreva- 
lent question, and perhaps the more so, as the count's aversion to 
smoking was so well known, that none of his smoking subjects 
ventured to approach him without having taken every precaution 
to deaden any odour of the fragrant Aveed which might lurk about 
their clothes or person. "Does he take snuff ?" said the viceroy. 
" Yes, your Excellency," said his visiter, who probably feared that 
for once his Excellency's wits were wool-gathering. " That is 
sufficient," said the viceroy; "retire into the adjoining chamber 
and keep quiet — your jewels shall be restored." His Excellency then 
despatched a messenger for the merchant, who immediately pre- 
sented himself 

" I have sent for you," said the viceroy, " that we may talk over 
some matters in which your mercantile knowledge may be of use 
to the state." The merchant was overwhelmed Avith gratitude and 
joy ; while the viceroy entered into conversation with him upon 
various affairs connected with his profession. Suddenly the vice- 
roy put his hand first in one pocket, then in the other, with the air 
of a man who has mislaid something. " Ah !" said he, " my snuff- 
box. Excuse me for a moment while I go to fetch it from the next 
room." " Sir !" said the merchant, " permit me to have the honour 
of offering my box to your Excellency." His Excellency received 
it as if mechanically, holding it in his hand and talking, till pre- 
texting some business, he went out, and calling an officer, desired 
him to take that snuff-box to the merchant's house, asking his Avife 
as from him, by that token, to dehver to the bearer a case of jcAvels 
which he had there. The viceroy returned to the apartment A\dierc 
he had left his ilattered guest, and remained in conversation with 
him until the officer returned, and requesting private speech of the 



viceroy, delivered to liim a jewel-case "which he had received from 
the merchant's wife. 

Revillagigedo then returned to liis fair complainant, and imder 
pretence of showing her some rooms in the palace, led her into one, 
where amongst many objects of value, the jewel-case stood open. No 
sooiier had she cast her eyes upon it than she started forward in joy 
and amazement. Tire viceroy requested her to wait there a Httle 
longer, and returned to liis other guest. " Now," said he, " before 
going further, I wish to hear the truth concerning another affair in 
which you are interested. Are you acquainted with the Seiiora de 

? " " Intimately, sir — she is my comadre." " Did you lend 

her eight hundred dollars at such a date?" " I did." " Did she 
give you a case of jewels in pledge?" " Never," said the merchant, 
vehemently. " The money was lent without any secmity; merely 
as an act of friendsliip, and she has invented a story concerning some 
jewels, which has not the shghtest foundation." In vain the viceroy 
begged him to reflect, and not, by adding falsehood to treachery, 
force him to take measures of severity. The merchant "with oaths 
persisted in liis denial. The viceroy left the room suddenly, and re- 
turned with the jewel-case in his hand; at which imexpected appa- 
rition the astonished merchant changed colour, and entirely lost his 
presence of mind. The viceroy ordered him from his presence, with 
a severe rebuke for his falsehood and treachery, and an order never 
again to enter the palace. At the same time he commanded him to 
send him, the next morning, eight hundred dollars with five hundred 
more; which he did, and which were, by the viceroy's order, dis- 
tributed amongst the hospitals. His Excellency is said to have added 
a severe reprimand to the lady, for having made a bargain without 

Another story which I recollect, is as follows": A poor Indian 
appeared before the viceroy, and stated that he had found in the 
street a bag full of golden ounces, Avhich had been advertised with 
the promise of a handsome reward to the person who should restore 

them to the 0"svner; that upon carrying them to this Don , 

he had received the bag, counted the omices, extracted two, wliich 
he had seen him slip into his pocket ; and had then reproached the 
poor man "with having stolen part of the money, had called liim a 
thief and a rascal, and, instead of rewarding, had driven liim from the 
house. With the viceroy there was no delay. Immediate action 
was his plan. Detaining the Indian, he despatched an officer to 

desire the attendance of Don with his ba"; of oimces. He 

came, and the viceroy desired him to relate the circumstances, liis 
practised eye reading his falsehood at a glance. " May it please 
your Excellency, I lost a bag containing gold. The Indian, now in 
your Excellency's presence, brought it to me in hopes of a reward, 
having first stolen part of the contents. I drove him from the house 
as a thief, who, instead of recompence, deserves punishment." 


" Stay," said the viceroy, " there is some mistake here. How- 
many ounces were there m the bag you lost?" " Twenty-eight." 
" And how many are here?" " But twenty-six." " Count them 
down. I see it is as you say. The case is clear, and we have all been 
mistaken. Had this Indian been a thief, he would never have 
brought back the bag, and stolen merely two ounces. He would 
have kept the whole. It is evident that this is not your bag, but 
another which this poor man has found. Sir, our interview is at an 
end. Continue to search for your bag of gold ; and as for you, 
friend, since Ave cannot find the true owner, sweep up these twenty- 
six pieces and carry them away. They are yours." So saying, his 
Excellency bowed out the discomfited cheat and the overjoyed rustic. 

Mr. says that this story, he thinks, is taken from something 

similar in an oriental tale. However, it may have occurred twice. 

A horrible murder took place in 1789, during the viceroy altyship 
of Revillagigedo, which is remarkable in two particulars ; the trifling- 
circumstances which led to its discovery, and the energy displayed 
by the _ viceroy, contrasting strongly with the tardy execution of 
justice in our days. There hved in Mexico at that period, in the 
street of Cordovanes, No. 15, a rich merchant of the name of Don 
Joaquin Dongo. A clerk named Jose Joaquin Blanco, who had 
formerly been in_ liis ofiice, having fallen into ^dcious courses, and 
joined in companionship with two other young men, FeHpe Aldama 
and Baltazar Quintero, gamblers and cock-fighters (with reverence 
be it spoken !) like himself, formed, in concert \Ai\\ them, a plan 
for robbing his former master. 

They accordingly repaired to the house one evening when they 
knew that Dongo was from home, and imitating the signal which 
Blanco knew the coachman was in the habit of maldng to the porter 
when the carriage retmiied at night, the doors were immediately 
thrown open, and the robbers entered. The porter was their first 
victim. He was thrown down and stabbed. A postman, who was 
waiting with letters for the retiu-n of the master of the house, was 
the next, and then the cook, and so on, until eleven lay welterino- in 
their blood. The wretches then proceeded to pick the locks of °the 
difierent bureaux, guided by Blanco, who, in his former capacity, 
had _ made himself au fait of all the secrets of the house. They 
obtained twenty-two thousand dollars in specie, and about seven 
thousand dollars' worth of plate. 

Meanwliile, the imfortunate master of the house returned home, 
and at the accustomed signal the doors were opened by the robbers, 
and on the entrance of the carriage, instantly relocked. Seeiuo- the 
porter bathed in blood, and dead bodies lying at the foot of the 
staircase, he comprehended at once liis desperate situation, and 
advancing to Aldama, who stood near the door, he said, " My life 
is in your hands; but, for God's sake, show some mercy, and do not 
murder me in cold blood. Say what sums of money you want. Take 
all that is in the house, and leave me, and I swear to keep your 


secret." ^ Aldama consented, and Dongo passed on. As lie ascended 
tlie^ stairs, stepping over the body of the postman, he encountered 
Quintero, and to him he made the same appeal, with the same success; 
when Blanco, springing forward, held his sword to Quintero's breast, 
and swearing a great oath, exclaimed, " If you do not stab him, I 
will kill you on the spot." Conceive, for one moment, the situation 
of the unfortunate Dongo, surrounded by the murdered and the 
murderers, in his own house, at the dead of night, and without a 
hope of assistance ! _ The suspense was momentary. Thus adjured, 
Quintero stabbed him to the heart. 

The murderers then collected their spoil, and it being still dark, 
two of them got into Dongo's carriage, the third acting as coachman, 
and so drove swiftly out of the gates of the city, till, arriving at a 
deserted spot, not far from a village, they turned the carriage and 
mules adrift, and buried their treasure, which they transported after- 
wards to a house in the Calle de la Aguila (the street of the eagle), 
No. 23 ; and went about their avocations in the morning, as if nothino- 
had occurred. Meanwhile, thepubHc consternation maybe conceived, 
when the morning dawned upon this bloody tragedy. As for the 
viceroy, he swore that the murderers should be discovered, and 
hanged before his eyes, that day week. 

Immediately the most energetic measures were taken, and the 
gates of the city shut, to prevent all egress. Orders were given 
through all the different districts of the capital, that every guest, or 
visiter, or boarder, whether in inn or lodging, or private house, should 
have their names given up to the pohce, with an account of their con- 
dition, occupation, motives for hviiig in Mexico, &c. Strict cognizance 
was taken in all the villages near the capital, of every person who 
had passed through, or entered, or left the village within a certain 
space of time. All the roads near the capital were scoured by parties 
of soldiers. Every hidden place was searched by the police ; every 
suspected house entered. The funeral of the ill-fated Dongo and of 
the other victims, took place the following day; and it was afterwards 
remembered that Aldama was there amongst the foremost, remarkino- 
and comnienting upon this horrible wholesale butchery, and upon the 
probabilities of discovering the murderers. 

A country family from a neighbouring village, hearing of all these 
doings in Mexico, and with that love of the marvellous which charac- 
terizes persons uneducated, or unaccustomed to the world, determined 
to pay a visit to the capital, and to hear, at the fountain head, all 
these wonderful stories, which had probably reached them under a 
liundred exaggerated forms. No sooner had they entered their 
lodgings than they were visited and examined by the police, and 
their deposition taken down as to their motives for visitino- the 
capital, their place of birth, &c. As a gratuitous piece of information, 
one of them mentioned, that, passing by a barber's shop (probably 
with his eyes opened wide in the expectation of seeing horrible sights), 
he had observed a man talking to the barber, who had a stain of blood 


upon his queue, (liair being tlien worn powdered and tied beliind). 
Trifling as this circumstance appears to us, the viceroy ordered that 
the person who mentioned it should instantly conduct the police 
officers to the shop where he had observed it. The shop being 
found, the barber was questioned as to what persons he had been 
conversing with that morning, and mentioned about half a dozen ; 
amongst others Aldama, who did not bear a very good reputation. 
Aldama was sent for, confronted with the man who gave the infor- 
mation, identified as the same, and the stain of blood being observed, 
he was immediately committed to prison upon suspicion._ Being 
questioned as to the cause of the stain, he replied, that being at a 
cock-fip-ht. on such a day, at such an hour, the blood from one of the 
dying cocks, which he held, had spirted up, and stained the collar of 
his shirt and his hair. Inquiries being made at the cock-pit, this was 
corroborated by several witnesses, and extraordinary as it is, it is 
most probable that the assertion teas true. 

But raeanwliile, the mother of Blanco, deeply distressed at the 
dissolute courses of her son, took the resolution (which proves more 
than anything else Revillagigedo's goodness, and the confidence which 
all classes had in him) to consult the viceroy as to themeans of con- 
verting the young man to better habits. It seems as if the hand of 
an aveno-ing Providence had conducted this unfortunate mother to 
take a stq? so fital to her son. She told the viceroy that she had 
in vain attempted to check him, that his days and nights were spent 
with profligate companions in gambhng-houses and in cock-pits, and 
that she feared some mischief would come some day from his fight- 
ing and swearing and drinking ; that but a few days since he had 
come home late, and that she had observed that his stockings were 
dabbled in blood; that she had questioned him upon it, and that he 
had answered surhly he had got it in the cock-pit. Her narration 
was hardly concluded, before Blanco was arrested and placed m a 
separate cell of the same prison with Aldama. Shortlv after, Qum- 
tero, only as being the intimate friend and companion of both parties, 
was taken up on suspicion and lodged in the same prison, all being 
separately confined, and no communication permitted between them. 

It seems as if Quintero, perhaps the least hardened of the_ three, 
was struck with the conviction, that in the extraordinary combination 
of circumstances which had led to the arrest of himself and his com- 
panions in \411any, the finger of God was too distinctly visible to 
permit a doubt of uhimate discovery to rest upon his mmd, for he 
confessed at once, and declaring that he saw all denial was useless, 
gave a circumstantial account of the whole. He begged for nine 
days' grace to prepare himself for death, but the viceroy would grant 
but three. When Aldama confessed, he made the avowal that he 
was guilty of a previous murder, when he was alcalde of a viUage 
near Mexico, which was before the time of Revillagigedo, and for 
which he had been tried and acquitted. He being alcalde, the post- 
man of the %411age was in the habit of passing by his house, giving 


him an account of whatever money he had collected, &c. One even- 
ing this man stopped at Aldama's, and told him he was entrusted 
with a sum of fifteen hmidred dollars to carry to a neighbouring 
village. At twelve o'clock he left Aldama's house, who, taking a 
short cut across the fields, reached the postman by this other direc- 
tion, stabbed him, and carried back the money. Next day, when the 
murder was made known, the alcalde, in his robes of justice, visited 
the body, and affected to institute a strict search for the miu'derer. 
Nevertheless he was suspected and arrested, but escaped by bribery, 
and shortly after, leaving the village, came to the wider theatre of 

Tlie murderers having thus made their confession, were ordered to 
prepare for death. A scaffold erected between the central gate of 
the palace, and that which is now the principal gate of the city guards, 
was hung with black to denote that the criminals were of noble blood. 
An immense crowd were assembled ; and the viceroy, standing on 
the balcony of his palace, witnessed the execution in the great square, 
the verrj day iveek that the murders were committed. 

The streets were then kept in perfect order, both as to paving and 
lighting ; and on one occasion, ha^dng rode all through the city, as 
was his custom, to observe whether every tiling was in order for the 
holy week, he observed that several parts of the different streets were 
unpaved, and out of repair ; whereupon, sending for the head of the 
police, he desired that these streets should be paved and in order 
before the holy week, of wliich it wanted but a few days. The offi- 
cer declared the thing to be impossible. The viceroy ordered it to 
be done, on the penalty of losing his place. Early on the morning 
of Palm, he sent to know if all was in readiness ; and as the 
bells tolled for early mass, the last stone was laid on the Calle San 
Francisco, which completed tlie work 

It is said he frequently went about incog. ^ attended by one or two 
aides-de-camp, by which means, like another Haroun Al Raschid, he 
was enabled to discover and correct hidden abuses. By his orders, 
no monk could be out of his convent after vespers. Walking one 
evening along the streets, he encoimtered a monk in the Calle San 
Francisco, taking his pleasure long after the appointed hour. The 
viceroy walked directly to the convent ; and on maldng himself 
known, was received by the abbot "with all due respect. " How 
many monks have you in your convent, father ?" asked the