Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/68
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.
falques and mourning-cars, running smoothly along, with funeral processions. You may graduate from a hearse with six horses, driver, lackey, and four pall-bearers, all in livery, for $120, to one drawn by a single mule for $3; and there are cars for the mourners in the grand style at $12 and plain for $4.
Both these ideas, it would seem, might be advantageously adopted by suburban lines of our own.
Presently comes by a more economical funeral a couple of peons (as the Indian laborers are called), at a jog-trot, bearing a pine coffin on their shoulders.
Battered old churches and convents on a great scale, and of a grand architecture, now for the most part devoted to other purposes, are extraordinarily frequent. Before the sequestration of Church property—in the war called of the Reform, under Juarez, in 1859—Mexico was well-nigh one great ecclesiastical estate. Without going into the religious question, and supposing only the operation of ordinary causes, it is easy to see how the Church corporations—repositories of the gifts of the faithful, moved by no feverish haste in speculation, and with no reckless heirs to spend their gains-must in course of time have become possessed of an enormous share of worldly goods.
There is no lack of sculptured old rococo palaces, of the conquerors and their successors, either. Many of these are of a peculiar, rich red stone, with carved escutcheons above their door-ways. There is one of which I was fond, in the Calle de Jesus, with immense water-spouts to its cornice, in the shape of field-pieces. Wheels and all project in high relief.
Only infinitesimal quantities of vacant land exist within the compass of the city. All is compactly built. The Continental system of portes cochères and interior court-