Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/381

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367
THEIR SOCIAL CONDITION AND CHARACTER.

"But L—— is too tired to walk home, and she had better be carried there!"

"Oh yes, but it is only two blocks, and I can take her directly there in the carriage!" I remarked in my Californian simplicity.

"That will never do in Mexico!" was her prompt reply.

So I took them both to the young lady's house, left her there, and returned in the carriage with the married lady to her residence. That this incessant watching, and implied want of all confidence in the honesty and virtue of the young, is subversive of virtue, and tends to the defeat of its own object, seems to me quite clear; nevertheless, it is the custom of the country, and must be complied with by all residents in the capital. In justice to the women of Mexico let me say, that in my opinion, the custom is as unnecessary, as it is oppressive and odious in our sight.

None of the fields for independent effort and self-sustaining labor, which are open to the women of the United States, can be entered by the women of Mexico, and the future of a poor young widow, or an orphan girl with no immediate relations to care for her, may well be considered a dark and doubtful one. The natural kind-heartedness of the people, induces the most distant relatives, in such cases, to come forward to the support of the widow and the fatherless; but a life of unceasing dependence—often upon those least able to grant even that boon—is something only to be accepted as an alternative to the one thing worse.

Mexico is full of young women, naturally gifted, accomplished, and fitted to become good, loving wives and mothers, who are unmarried and have no prospect of