Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/464

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
440
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.

for market are given by burned sugar, to gratify an artificial taste.

The hands are Chinamen and Mexicans. The superintendent tells us that the former do the most work and get less pay, but that there are certain things which they cannot do. They cannot plough, nor prune the vines, and they are awkward in the management of animals. Indeed, a Chinaman on horseback, or even in a wagon, seems almost as incongruous as Jack Tar.

We visited, one evening, the Chinese quarters, and it would have been hard to find a more clean, domestic-looking interior among men of any other nationality in the same circumstances of life. They seemed much more orderly in their arrangements than the Mexicans, either those from the village or those who had a settlement on a bold slope of the estate above. There is much native Indian blood among these latter, and their dwellings were half wigwams, patched up of rubbish. Mongrel dogs, a donkey, and a foundered horse wandered at ease among them. A reddish-brown urchin, with large, liquid eyes, coming out, paused to gaze at us.

"Cor-r-re, demonio de muchacho!" (R-r-run, demon of a boy!) cried a slatternly mother, who appeared behind, endeavoring to urge him upon some errand of peculiar expedition.

But the demon of a boy, exemplifying the traits of his race, had no idea whatever of being in a hurry. On the contrary, having removed to a safe distance, he dawdled in the most exasperating way, and continued to stare round-eyed during all of our critical tour of inspection.

The work of the year was now the pruning of the vines. Stripped of every superfluity, the rugged little stocks, regimented veterans, were to stand bare till the exuberance of a new spring should again break forth in