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present director lives in a style of much greater sim- ' plicity than any of his predecessors.
If I were to stop here, however, I should not give a faithful picture of the appearance to a stranger, of the population of Buenos Ayres; the mixture of negroes and mulattoes, is by no means remarkable, not as great, perhaps, as in Baltimore, and the proportion of military, such as we might have seen in one of our towns during the last war, with the exception of the black troops, which, in this city, constitute a principal part of the regular force. But there are other figures which enter into the picture, and give a different cast to the whole from any thing I have seen. The modern European and North American civilization, and I will add South American, which differs but little from the others, was set off by a strange mixture of antiquity, and aboriginal rudeness. Buenos Ayres may very justly be compared to the bust of a very beautiful female, placed upon a pedestal of rude unshapen stone, Great numbers of gauchos,* and other country people, are seen in the streets, and always on horseback; and as there prevails a universal passion for riding, the number of horses is very great. The European mode of caparisoning is occasionally seen, but most usually, the bridle, saddle, &c. would be regard. ed as curiosities by us. The stirrups of the gauchos
* The gauchos of this province differ from those of the Banda Oriental. The degree of civilization they possess, may be estimated by the distance at which they live from the metropolis, and the frequency of their intercourse with the people of the town. The wild gaucho is almost a curiosity even here—“The peace and commerce of Buenos Ayres, have a happy and continually improving effect upon the neighboring inhabitants of the pampas." Mr. Bland's report.
are so small, as to admit little more than the big toe of the rider, who makes a very grotesque figure with his long flowing poncho. This is a kind of striped cotton, or woolen rug, of the manufacture of the country, fine or coarse, according to the purse of the wearer, with nothing but a slit in the middle, through which the head is thrust, it hangs down perfectly loose, resembling somewhat, a wagoner's frock. In rain, it answers the purposes of a big-coat, and in hot weather, is placed on the saddle. It is also used for sleeping on, as the Indians do their blanket. It is possible after all, that this singularity of dress, may not make any great difference in the man. There is nothing remarkable in the complexion or features, excepting where there happens to be a little dash of the Indian. There is more of indolence, and vacancy, (if I may use the word,) in the expression in their coun. tenances, and an uncouth wildness of their appear. ance; but it must be remembered, that we also of the north, are reproached by Europeans for our carelessness of time, and our lazy habits. These gauchos, I generally observed clustered about the pulperias, or grog shops; of which there are great numbers in the city and suburbs; these people frequently drink and carouse on horseback, while the horses of those that are dismounted, continue to stand still without being fastened, as they are all taught to do, and champing the bit. These carousing groups would afford excellent subjects for Flemish painters. The horses, though not of a large size, are all finely formed; I do . not recollect a single instance in which I did not remark good limbs, and head, and neck. The gauchos are often bare footed and bare legged; or, instead of
boots, make use of the skin of the hind legs of the horse; the joint answering the purpose of a heel, and furnishing a very cheap kind of suwarrow.
Besides the clumsy carts of which I have before spoken, and the class of people that I have just described, my attention was much attracted by the appearance of the great ox wagons, used in the trade with the interior. They are of an enormous size, and are the most clumsy contrivance imaginable. Five or six of these in a line, are sometimes seen groaning along the street, the wheels making a noise like the gates on their hinges of Milton's pandemonium. The wagoners use no tar to prevent them from making this harsh noise, as they say it is music' to the oxen. These are, in general, uncommonly large, and the finest that I ever saw. Their yokes, in proportion, are as ponderous as the wagon, and in drawing, nothing is used but the raw hide strongly twisted. In fact, this is the only kind of gears, or traces, used for all descriptions of carriages. To each of these epormous wagons there are, generally, at least three drivers. One sits in the wagon, with a long rod or goad in his hand, and above his head, suspended in slings, there is a bamboo or cane, at least thirty feet in length, as supple as a fishing rod, so that it can, occasionally, be used to quicken the pace of the foremost pair of oxen, wbich are fastened to the first by a long trace of twisted hide. The interval between the different pairs of oxen, is rendered necessary by the difficulty of crossing small rivers, whose bottoms are bad, and which are subject to sudden rises. Another driver takes his seat on the yoke, between the heads of the second pair of oxen, being also armed with a goad, with its point turned backwards; there was something extremely ludicrous to me, in the appearance of this last; bis bare, brawny legs dangling in the air, and nothing but a folded sheep skin to sit upon; yet content or rather inanity, was pictured in his countenance. Besides these two, there is a third on horseback, armed in the same manner. If such an exhibition were to pass through one of our streets, with its slow and solemn movement and musical groanings, I doubt not, but it would attract as much attention as half a dozen ele. phants.
As this is the fruit season, a great number of people were crying peaches up and down the street, but on horseback with large paniers made of the raw hides of oxen, on each side. Milk, in large tin cannisters, was cried about in the same way, and as they were car. ried in a tolerable trot, I expected every moment to hear the cry changed to that of butter. As I moved along towards the great square, a part of which is the principal market place, (immediately in front of the castle, or government house,) there appeared to be a great throng of people., I met some priests and friars, but by no means as many as I expected, and nothing like the number I met at Rio Janeiro. There are, perhaps, fewer monasteries and convents in Buenos Ayres, than in any Spanish town in the world. But as things are very much judged of by comparison, it is highly probable that if I had not touched at the place before mentioned, and had come directly here from one of our cities, I should have considered the number of regular and secular clergy, very considerable. It must be constantly kept in view, that in order to judge of these people fairly, we are to compare them with Spanish
or Portuguese, and look at what they have been, not to the state of things in the United States. The dress of the seculars when in their canonicals, is like that of the episcopal clergy, except that they wear a broad quaker hat. The monks and friars are easily dis-. tinguished by their habit of coarse cloth or flannel, girt round the waist, and with a cowl or hood behind. In speaking of the catholic clergy, we, who know little about them, are very much in the habit of confounding these two classes. They are very different, both in character and appearance. The seculars are, necessarily, men of education, and living and ming. ling in society, participate in the feelings of the people, and cannot avoid taking part in temporal affairs. The monks, on the contrary, are gregarious; not dispersed through the society, but shut up in their convents and monasteries, and not permitted to mingle in the affairs of the world. From the first it is natural to expect liberality and intelligence, as well as from . other christian clergy; but in the latter, it would not be surprising to find superstition and ignorance.
On approaching the market place, as it was still early in the day, I found that the crowd had not entirely dispersed. There is no market house or stalls, except in the meat market, situated on one corner of, the square which fronts on the plaza. Every thing offered for sale, was spread on the ground. I can say but little in favor of the appearance of cleanliness; dirt and filth appeared to have a prescriptive right here. One who had never seen any other than a Philadelphia market, can form no idea of the condition of this place. To make amends, it is admirably supplied with all the necessaries, and delicacies, that an
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