Page:Guatimala or the United Provinces of Central America in 1827-8.pdf/82

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foremost the immoderate use of tobacco by both sexes. In private or in public—alone or in society, the Guatimalian must have his cigar, and the lady her cigarrito.[1] His proudest accomplishment is to strike a light with his pocket match, neatly cased in silver, and present his lighted cigar to her genteely, and she in return, permits him to spit in every corner of her room, without molestation. A gentleman consumes daily from fifteen to twenty puros, and a lady of moderate pretensions to celebrity, fifty cigarritos. Here far from being “destructive of society's chief joys,” the “pernicious weed” gives a zest to every conversation, and supplies all those vacuums which, in English society, are filled up by gazing on the carpet. No business can be transacted, no bargain made, without exchanging the cigar, and both in the streets and public places of amusement, the ladies are to be seen smoking as composedly as in their own houses.

A history of the occupations of a domestic man during one day, will lay ,open in great measure the habits of the more respectable families.—At six he rises, and if it be one of their numerous feast days, accompanies his wife to mass, at which rich and poor, masters and servants indiscriminately

  1. A diminutive cigar, made by rolling a small portion of tobacco in the leaf of maize; ten of these are esteemed equal to a common cigar, called for the sake of distinction, puros.