Page:A Study of Mexico.djvu/42

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32
A STUDY OF MEXICO.

is through one or more massive gates, which, when closed at night, are rarely opened until morning. The entire structure, or the enceinte is sometimes also surrounded by a moat, while the angles of the walls and the gateways are protected by projecting turrets pierced for musketry—defensive precautions which the experience of former times with bands of highwaymen or hungry revolutionists fully justified, and which in remote parts of the country even yet continue.

Within the court, upon one side, built up against an exterior wall, is usually a series of adobe structures—low, windowless, single apartments—where the peons and their families, with their dogs and pigs, live; while upon the other sides are larger structures for the use or residence of the owner and his family, or the superintendent of the estate, with generally also a chapel and accommodations for the priest, places for the storage of produce and the keeping of animals, and one or more apartments entirely destitute of furniture or of any means of lighting or ventilation save through the entrance or doorway from the courtyard, which are devoted to the reception of such travelers as may demand and receive hospitality to the extent of shelter from the night, or protection from out-side marauders. Such places hardly deserve the name of inns, but either these poor accommoda-