Notes and Documents
a dainty manner, that nothing is seen but their sparkling, bewitching
black eyes, the small mouth and finely chiseled nose.
The common class of Mexican women are not overburdened with
modesty. They, like all Indian squaws, can swim, and they do not
mind to go in bathing perfectly nude, while men, at a not far distance
do the same; yet should a man attempt to swim to them, he would
get a good drubbing as well as ducking, and be glad to get clear of
What surprised and puzzled me most when I saw the first woman in
New Mexico, was her remarkably deep red cheeks. As I could not be
close to them, I thought at first they might be mothermarks, but being
so uniform, I concluded might be a peculiar rash or disease among
A month afterwards, some women accompanying our guard to
Chihuahua, some parties being on a trading expedition, I found one
making her morning toilet. She daubed on her cheeks some kind of
red pigment with her fingers.
Now think of it, what fashion or fancy can do with females; they
really disfigured their copper colored features with a daub of nasty
ground up soil.
I saw no common women wearing ear rings, finger rings or gloves,
probably for good reason that they were to poor to buy them.
In the interior of Mexico, the women have more taste; they do not
use that half Indian style of ornamentation of bedaubing their other-
wise fair and pretty faces.
Again here I must state, that in Mexico there are nearly only two
classes, one very wealthy in lands and stock, the other class extremely
poor. A middle class exists only in large cities, and they are either
mechanics or small tradesmen.
Hereafter when further in Mexico, I will describe the life of the
The intelligent and white Mexicans descended from pure Spanish
stock; they are still proud of their Spanish descent and call them-
selves Castilians, and speak pure Spanish, which they also say is the
Castilian language. I was surprised that in a Republic like Mexico,
this class of people were called by, and still retained their former
ancestral titles of Count or Countess, etc.
Another to me singular habit was that they always addressed a
person not by his sirname, but by the given name. For instance,
if a person was of ordinary parentage, they would address him as
Senor Juan (that is Mr. John, leaving out his sirname); if of high
family, they addressed him as Don, nearly equal to our English word,
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed April 26, 2015.