726 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
pendcnce, and who wrote a very popular book on her travels in Mexi- co, published in 184.'}, also notes and thus graphically describes this predominance of the "picturesque" in Mexico :
" One circumstance," she says, " must be observed by all who travel in Mexican territory. There is not one human being or passing object to be seen that is not in itself a picture, or which would not form a good subject for the pencil. The Indian women, with their plaited hair, and little children slung on their backs, their large straw hats, and petticoats of two colors ; the long string of arrieros with their loaded mules, and swarthy, wild-looking faces ; the chance horseman who passes with his serape of many colors, his high, ornamental saddle, Mexican hat, silver stirrups, and leather boots — all is picturesque. Salvator Rosa and Hogarth might have traveled here to advantage hand-in-hand ; Salvator for the sublime, and Hogarth taking him up where the sublime became ridiculous."
Where Indian blood greatly predominates in the women, the head, neck, shoulders, and legs, to the knee, are generally bare, and their garments little else than a loose-fitting white cotton tunic, and a pet- ticoat of the same material, often of two colors.
At Aguas Calientes, within a hundred yards of the station of the Mexican Central Railroad, men, women, and children, entirely naked, may be seen bathing, in large numbers, at all hours of the day, in a ditch conveying a few feet of tepid water, which flows, with a gen- tle current, from certain contiguous and remarkably warm springs.
Shoes in Mexico are a foreign innovation, and properly form no part of the national costume. The great majority of the people do not wear shoes at all, and probably never will ; but in their place use sandals, composed of a sole of leather, raw-hide, or platted fibers of the maguey-plant, fastened to the foot with strings of the same material, as the only protection for the foot needed in their warm, dry climate. And these sandals are so easily made and repaired, that every Mexican peasant, no matter what may be his other occupation, is always his own shoemaker. As a general rule, also, the infantry regiments of Mexico wear sandals in preference to shoes. Very curiously, the pegged shoes of the United States and other countries are not made and can not be sold in Mexico, as, owing to the extreme dryness of the atmosphere, the wood shrinks to such a degree that the pegs speedily become loose and fall out.
In the country, the so-called peons, or agricultural laborers, who comprise nearly all the population, are, as a matter of fact, perma- nently attached to the soil of the great estates, through conditions respecting the obligation of debts that practically amount to slavery ; and it is claimed that the keeping of the peons constantly in debt — a matter not difficult to accomplish by reason of their ignorance and improvidence — and so making permanent residence and the perform- ance of labor obligatory on them — is indispensable for the regular