Page:A Study of Mexico.djvu/32

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A STUDY OF MEXICO.

traveler has little opportunity to see anything of the country apart from the city of Mexico, save what is afforded by the view from the car-windows, and yet it is from just such experiences that most of the recent books and letters about Mexico have been written.

There is a wonderful depth of truth in a remark attributed to Emerson, that "the eye sees only what it brings to itself the power to see"; and the majority of those who in recent years have visited Mexico would seem to have brought to their eyes the power of seeing little else than the picturesque side of things. And of such material there is no lack. In the first place, the country throughout is far more foreign to an American than any country of Europe, except that part of Europe in close proximity to its Asiatic border. Transport a person of tolerably good geographical information, without giving him any intimation as to where he was going, to almost any part of the great plateau of Mexico—outside of the larger cities—and he would at once conclude that he was either at Timbuctoo or some part of the "Holy Land." The majority of the houses are of adobe (mud), destitute of all coloration, unless dust-gray is a color, and one story in height. In Palestine, however, and also (according to report) in Timbuctoo, the roofs are "domed"; in Mexico they are flat. The soil dur-