Page:Face to Face With the Mexicans.djvu/306

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
300
FACE TO FACE WITH THE MEXICANS.

The same rule, I found, existed in every State capitol that I visited, but not in every case was there a portrait of Washington.

A nephew of General Miramon, Señor Enrique Rodriguez y Miramon, the civil engineer of the State, together with his accomplished wife, bestowed upon the strangers most kindly attentions.

On one of our strolls we noticed a time-worn sign over a sadly defaced portal, which read: ''Boletas del sol" ("Tickets to the sun"). We had been constantly mystified by the signs on both stores and streets, but this one eclipsed them all. A closer investigation proved it to be the ancient bull-ring of the town, and this sign indicated that those who had depleted pocket-books might sit on the sunny side for a less price than in the shade, por el sombre (a canvas awning) making the only difference.

Living in Toluca is cheap, and as a summer resort for those who are not affected by the altitude, no place in the Republic offers greater inducements. The hotel El Leon de Oro (The Golden Lion) is neat and well kept, as well as reasonable in charges. There is an excellent market, pretty little Zocalo, and an admirable band of music composed of boys, from eleven to fifteen, belonging to the public schools.

In this country, on every hand, striking contrasts and marked characteristics present themselves. Everything is possessed of an individual interest—each person or object in itself striking—collectively furnishing fine groupings for pen or pencil.

It was in Toluca that I heard strains of natural, human music that could not be surpassed by the Miserere., or the most plaintive measures of the Requiem, and saw a life-picture that Hogarth, with his fine appreciation of the natural, would have loved to depict, and which would rival the real and the ideal creations of Salvator Rosa.

I was slowly walking along a humble street, noting the striking objects that to me had all the fascination of pictures for the child. I heard loud wails as of a woman in anguish, and in the plaintive patois of the town, the words "Pobrecita mia! Muerta! Muerta!" ("My poor little baby is dead! dead! ") Then followed low cries of calm-