« AnteriorContinuar »
blighting winds but is shut in by mountains, watered by mountain rivulets, and supplied with all the tropical fruits, which grow here spontaneously, and in the greatest abundance. It reminds one of the “happy valley” of “Rasselas.” Along the margin of the bay are trees of peculiar shape called the "amata," or tree of love, the form of the top resembling an umbrella, under which hammocks are slung—and people enjoy their siestas. (See Plate). The castle is a work of some strength mounting several brass pieces of heavy calibre; it is however much neglected, being garrisoned only by a few barefooted soldiers. Just back of the town is a stream of the purest water from springs on the mountain side; this is the bathing place of the inhabitants, and a more inviting one could not be imagined; the stream is so limpid, and of such a congenial temperature, that one feels that he could repose in its bosom forever. In taking a bath it was difficult to rid ourself of the presence half dozen señoritas who would come to the bank, towel in hand, offering to prepare you for your clothes, for the moderate sum of sixpence. They were all beautiful, but I preferred seeing them under other circumstances. This want of modesty, as it will be termed, is a characteristic of Spanish America, and although it may show a want of refined delicacy according to the frigid laws of the States, they are entirely unconscious of impropriety.
The females here are celebrated for their beauty, finely developed forms, and graceful bearing, as well as for their vivacity and winning pathos in conversation. They possess many peerless traits of character, and manifest a devoted attachment to their parents and offspring. The full dress of a lady consists of a white chemise, a colored skirt flounced at the bottom, and a scarf which serves alternately as a shawl and bonnet.
The market is well supplied with every variety of fruit and cakes, and beef by the yard. The stands are mostly attended by females. The first salutation upon entering the market-place is from the little girls, who hail you with, “Say, Americano! lemonade, picayune?" holding up to you a plate containing a glass of lemonade, as will be seen by the accompanying Plate. At the left, in the foreground, is seen a Señora making love to an hombre who looks from underneath his huge sombrero, and seems
to hold the tighter, his lemon basket and jug. Then there is little Niña with her picayune-lemonade, and Muchacho with his hat on his head, inverted, and filled with lemons. He was requested to stand for this drawing, and looked the very personation of a corn-field effigy. Then there is Señora, the second, standing demurely, supporting on her head, a basket of shells. Then comes one of the “immortal garrison;" he supports a high plume and long cigar. There is something extremely martial in his attitude, although he appears lame in one foot. Just behind this soldier, is a group of three; the man is a Californian; he was brought ashore by the boy, but does not seem anxious to pay his fare. The boy has his hand full of stones, by which he designs to convince the man that he had better pay. During the parley, a female runs out, and recognizing the man as having got his dinner of her without paying for it, she says, you thought I wouldn't know you, but I do know you.” This was coming too thick for the man, and, giving a kind of “b'hoy" bend of the knee, he runs both hands into his pockets, with a “Well, I guess if I owe you anything, I can p-a-y.” The range of buildings at the right are eating and drinking saloons. An officer is seen galloping across the plaza, with a sentinel at the left. Back of the town, an opening is cut through the mountain, presenting a very striking appearance, and is said to have been done by the Spaniards to give the town a circulation of air. Acapulco contains 3,000 inhabitants, many of whom are the native Indian race. It is somewhat subject to earthquakes, there being at present several ruins of buildings, including one church, that were prostrated a few years since.
In passing down from Acapulco to Realejo, there is a continuation of the same magnificent scenery, and as you near the har. bor, you see towering up from the Cordilleras, Viejo, the most elevated volcano in Central America. (See Plate.) It is seen rearing its head above the clouds, and belching forth a column of smoke. This volcano, for many years, ceased to burn; but a few years since, the whole of the surrounding country became agitated; the air was filled for several days, with smoke so dense and black, that it entirely obscured the sun, rendering it dark as night. The inhabitants were appalled with terror, some fled the country, others collected their families and shut themselves up