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304

CARACAS.

[and three counts. All the wliites pretend to be noble,
and nearly one third of them are acknowledged to be
ko. The whites are all either planters, merchants, sol
diers, priests, monks, financiers, or lawyers. A
Spanish white person, especially a Creole, however
poor he may be, thinks it the greatest disgrace to
labour as a mechanic. The Europeans in Caracas
form at least two very distinct classes ; the first com
prises those who come from Spain with apjjoint
ments : the second those actuated by industry and
a spirit of enterprise, and who emigrate to acquire
wealth ; the greater part of these come from Cata
lonia and Biscay ; their views are purely mercan
tile. Both Catalonians and Biscayans are dis
tinguished among their fellow-citizens by the good,
faith they observe in their business, and by their
punctuality in their payments. The former class,
the European placemen, are most obnoxious to the
Creoles, and these are in point of ability and edu
cation almost always the superiors. The Spa
niards from the Canary islands, who are impelled
by want, rather than fired by ambition, to quit
their native soil and to establish themselves at Ca
racas, import with them tlie united industry of
the Catalonians and Biscayans. Their genius
assimilates more to that of the latter than to that of
the former ; but, in fine, both are useful citizens,
like all who strive by honest means to gain their
livelihood, and who are not ashamed to prove by
example, that man is born to labour. The women
of Caracas are agreeable, sensible, and engaging ;
few of them are fair, but they have jet black hair,
with complexions as clear as alabaster ; their eyes
are large, well set, and lovely, whilst the car
nation of their lips marks a health and vigour
of constitution. There are a very few, however,
above the middle size, whilst there are a great
many under ; and their feet too are rarely hand
some. As they pass a great part of their lives at
their windows, it may be said that they are soli
citous to display that in which nature has most
favoured them. There are no female schools here ;
the women therefore learn nothing but what their
parents teach them, which is confined, in many
cases, to praying, reading badly, and writing
Avorse ; it is diflicult for any but an inspired lover
to read their scrawl. They have neither dancing,
drawing, nor music masters ; all they learn of
these accomplishments is to play a fgw airs on the
guitar and pianoforte; there are but a very few
who understand the rudiments of music. But in
spite of this want of education, the ladies of Ca
racas know very avcU Jiow to unite social manners
with politeness, and the art of coquetry with ferni
ainc modesty. 'I'his is, however, a picture only

of those women whose husbands or fathers possess
large fortunes or lucrative places ; for that part of
the female sex who are doomed to procure their
own livelihood, seldom know of any other means
of existence than the public prostitution of their
virtue : about 200 of these poor creatures pass
their days in rags and tatters in the ground-floors
of houses, and stroll out only at night to procure
the pittance for their next day’s fare ; their dress
is a white petticoat and cloak, with a pasteboard
bonnet covered with lustring, to which they at
tach a bunch of artificial flowers and tinsel. The
same dress often serves in one evening for two or
three of these unhappy beings. The class of do
mestic slaves is considerable at Caracas, since a
person believes himself rich only in proportion to
the number of slaves he has in his house. In ge
neral, four times more servants are kept than are ne
cessary, for this is thought an etfectual method of
concealing poverty. Thus a white Avouian goes to
mass with two Negro or Mulatto women in her
train, without having an equal value in any other
species of property. Those who are reputedly
rich, are followed by four or five servants, whilst
as many attend every white person of the same
family going to another church. Some houses at
Caracas contain 12 or 15 servants, Aritliout count
ing the footmen in attendance on the men.

22. Freed persons , — Probably there is not a
city throughout all the West Indies that has so
great a proportion, Avith respect to other classes,
of enfranchised persons and their descendants, as
Caracas ; they carry on all the trades which the
whites disdain. Every carpenter, joiner, mason,
blacksmith, locksmith, tailor, shoemaker, and
goldsmith, &c. is or has been an enfranchised
slave ; they do not excel in any of these trades,
because in learning them mechanically they al
ways err in the principle : moreover, indolence,
which is so natural to them, extinguishes that
emulation to Avhich tlie arts owe all their progress.
However, their masonry and their carpentry are
sutiiciently correct, but the joiner’s art is yet in
its infancy. They Avork very little; and Avhat
appears rather contradictory is, that they work
much cheaper than the European artists ; in .ge
neral, burdened with families, they live heaped up
together in poor houses, and in the midst of priva-'
tions : In this state of poverty, to employ them,
you must aflbrd an immediate advance of money.
The blacksmith never has coals nor fire. The
carpenter is always Avithout Avood even for a table ;
even the wants of their families must be administer
ed to by the employer. In fine, the predominant
passion among this class of people is to consume]

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