Page:A Study of Mexico.djvu/41

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31
THE HACIENDAS.

economy, or of providing for the future. The lives of most of them seem to be occupied in obtaining food and amusement for the passing hour, without either hope or desire for a better future. As the strongest proof of this improvidence on the part of the city mechanic and laborer, is the constant demand for money in advance—from the mechanic, under the pretext of getting materials to enable him to fill some order, and from the laborer, to get something to eat before he begins work."

On each estate, or hacienda, there are buildings, or collections of buildings, typical of the country, borrowed originally, so far as the idea was concerned, in part undoubtedly from Old Spain, and in part prompted by the necessities for defense from attack under which the country has been occupied and settled, which are also called haciendas; the term being apparently used indifferently to designate both a large landed estate, as well as the buildings, which, like the old feudal castles, represent the ownership and the center of operations on the estate. They are usually huge rectangular structures—walls or buildings—of stone or adobe, intended often to serve the purpose, if needs be, of actual fortresses, and completely inclosing an inner square or court-yard, the entrance to which