Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/438

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and figs, and heaped high with sweet peas and poppies, the little fellow runs before you to the hotel where he deposits his burden, and goes away fully content with a medio in his hand—6¼ cents.

A Mexican market is interesting, apart from such simple purchases as the traveller may be inclined to make on his own account, because the people are all so absorbed in their own affairs. They scarcely give a thought to the few foreigners with European clothes and staring manners poking about among them. This good Indian mother has come to buy the daily food of her family. Some dreadful viand is dipped for her out of a deep dish, and transferred to her little pottery bowl. A violent discussion ensues about the price to be paid, and neighbors gather round to offer their opinions. The rebozos of the women slip off their heads and show their white shirts—not always white—and their brown well-formed arms. The men look on idly and let their better halves fight it out. A compromise is effected, and the excitement subsides as suddenly as it rose. The contested sum was probably a tlaco—small, but much-beloved coin, worth one cent and a half.

Besides the manufacture of pottery, the Indians make themselves all the wearing apparel they use, such as cotton and woollen cloth, including serapes and rebozos, the two picturesque garments in constant use. The serape is a woollen blanket which every man winds about him whenever the air is a little chilly. It serves him many a time for not only blanket, but sheet and bed as well, since his sleeping place is often a sheltered door-way, and no more.