Page:Face to Face With the Mexicans.djvu/114

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On this particular morning we went all around our half of the castle, bolting and barring windows and doors, so that even a cat might not intrude during our absence.

A first-class riding horse of large size was scarce indeed, although it was hard to find a really bad-looking one, for, owing to their Andalusian blood, they were all graceful and spirited. It had been our good fortune to procure a large, magnificent animal to be used solely for this purpose. His flowing tail touched the ground, and his mane was long and glossy. He was docile, and frequently ate sugar or salt from my hand. At a moderate speed his gait was easy and comfortable for the rider, but when urged to unusual exertion, it became something terrible. This horse Cosme mounted. Never did mozo start out with prospects more flattering for a pleasant canter over the smooth roads, than did Cosme on that 18th day of September.

Pulque in sheep skins - p.108.jpg



After passing through the narrow streets, our road lay for the most part across the usual Sahara-like expanse of country, only varied by the line of mountains on one hand, and on the other by several cotton factories, with their groves of cedar and other evergreens. They were not imposing, but by comparison with the neighboring monotony, to my tired eyes, were as interesting as the most famous castle on the Rhine.

Once or twice we passed strings of burros, overladen with marketable commodities —pulque in sheep-skins, filled even to the feet with the favorite beverage; also wood, stone for building purposes; and whole families of human beings were sometimes perched upon one of these weary animals.