Page:Face to Face With the Mexicans.djvu/292

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solid gold;" and that he always allowed four days to elapse between the wearing of each suit.

In these latter days the taste displays itself in every way to be imagined, and they judge others from their own stand-point. Quickly is the dress of a stranger summed up, even before an impression has been made as to his face, being able to give a minute description of his clothes, even to the pocket-handkerchief and shoes, two articles of dress in which every Mexican takes pride.

To enter the higher strata of society, one must give external proof of his fitness by his dress. After this, his merits are duly weighed. The first appearance of a stranger, both in dress and manner, makes his future position. I have often been amused at seeing the very dignified and quiet manner in which the inspection is made, the distinguished invited guest never for a moment supposing himself a subject of scrutiny. But however incorrectly he may speak the language, under no circumstance will he encounter a smile, and he is kindly assisted in mastering its many difficulties.

The last decade—the period of railways—has marked a new era in dress, for even in the smaller cities and towns the people are leaving off to some extent the ancient styles of their progenitors and are donning the newer modes. The old-fashioned silks that stand alone, the laces and shawls, worthy heirlooms, have been relegated to the silent shades. Even the black lace mantilla is no longer used except for church. On Sunday mornings in the alamedas of all cities, hundreds may be seen, but the graceful devotees have already attended morning mass, and now the assembled sight-seers may view them in the national mantilla.

Later in the day, and on all other occasions, Parisian hats are worn. But the señorita is never so charming, so fascinating, so haloed by mystical romance, as when her glossy tresses are crowned with the graceful mantilla.

No people on the continent indulge more in the luxury of fine clothes than those of the Mexican capital. Here the votaries of wealth and fashion receive their toilets direct from Paris, from the