Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/327

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295
SOCIETY.

and as the sun poured his rays down upon their gaudy colors, they looked like armies of living tulips. Here was to be seen a group of ladies, some with black gowns and mantillas, others, now that their church-going duty was over, equipped in velvet or satin, with their hair dressed—and beautiful hair they have; some leading their children by the hand, dressed—alas, how they were dressed! Long, velvet gowns trimmed with blonde, diamond earrings, high French caps befurbelowed with lace and flowers, or turbans with plumes of feathers. Now and then, the head of a little thing that could hardly waddle alone, might have belonged to an English dowager-duchess in her opera-box. Some had extraordinary bonnets, and as they toddled along, top-heavy, one would have thought they were little old women, without a glimpse caught of their lovely little brown faces and blue eyes. The children here are very beautiful; they have little color, with swimming black or hazel eyes, and long lashes resting on the clear pale cheek, and a mass of fine dark hair plaited down behind.

"As a contrast to the señoras, with their overdressed beauties, were the poor Indian women, trotting across the square, their black hair plaited with dirty red ribbon, a piece of woollen cloth wrapped round them, and a little mahogany baby hanging behind, its face upturned to the sky, and its head jerking along, somehow, without its neck being dislocated. The most resigned expression on earth is that of an Indian baby. All these groups are collected by hundreds, the women of the shop-keeper class in their small white embroidered gowns, with