Page:Face to Face With the Mexicans.djvu/137

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
131
FROM BORDER TO CAPITAL ALONG THE MEXICAN CENTRAL.

The remains of an old adobe fort that was captured by Donaphan when he was en route to join General Taylor are still standing.

Santa Rosalia is a fair representative of a country town. But though its resources are limited, the inhabitants are not without their national recreations, having a pretty little plaza, in which twice a week the band plays. Especially do they celebrate the 5th of May and the 16th of September.

I enjoyed the latter occasion with them, and attended the grand baile (ball) in the evening, for which extensive preparations were made. The lack of ball-room or public hall formed no impediment, merely permitting the exercise of their ingenuity.

The open patio of the city hall was utilized for this purpose, first excavating about four feet of uneven earth, and refilling with good soil, adding, when leveled, great square stone slabs—placing straw thickly on these, with mianta (brown domestic) stretched tightly over. And the floor of no salon could have been smoother for dancing. Lace curtains hung at each opening, mirrors and paintings alternating around the room, and garlands of the rich dark leaves of the cottonwood, tied with the national colors, filled the spaces between. A cover of manta, held firmly in place by maguey ropes, formed the ceiling of this unique ball-room, and numerous chandeliers illuminated the scene. When the baile opened and the gayly dressed señoritas and caballeros began the intoxicating movements of the danza, exhilarated by the excellent music, it was an enchanted bower.

The Santa Rosalians are a kind and hospitable people, but very fastidious in the observance of their social laws and obligations. On the night of the ball we went at half past eleven, but still the citizens had not arrived. The cotton-clad mozos, however, were going back and forth from the ball-room to the houses. I ascertained that the object of their stepping so cautiously to the front door, and peeping in, was to find out if any of the aristocracy had yet made their appearance. At twelve o'clock the labors of the mozo ceased, and with the rustle of silk and lace beauty and fashion entered. On the