Then, too, they often quarrelled over their right to certain places and spaces among themselves; then very suddenly their hilarious gabble would change to wild cries of anger and torrents of abuse. By and by I discovered that their greatest rages and worst language were when certain young gentlemen of the upper classes visited the spot to amuse themselves by baiting the lavanderas.
Then there were the water-carts going and coming in scores and hundreds, for at that period there was no water supply to the houses, and every house-holder had to buy muddy water by the bucket at his own door from the watermen. One of the most attractive spots to me was the congregating place of the lavanderas, south of my street.
His family consisted of his wife, Juana, chief of the lavanderas, or washwomen, and several children, the oldest of whom, Magdalena, was now growing into the fresh and early womanhood of these Southern races. But she held herself aloof from all.
The candles were important, no doubt; so was the new altar-cloth, for the present one had become shockingly worn under the unskillful treatment of the Indian lavanderas; so were the seeds, all the more so because he had included in the list seeds for an onion-bed, and onions were a delicacy to which his soul had long been a stranger.