The Irish peasant was half starved, half naked, and half housed; the canopy of heaven being often the only roof to the mud-built walls of his cabin. The fewness of negroes gave the West India proprietor an interest in the preservation of his slave; a superabundance of helots superseded all interest in the comfort or preservation of an Irish cottier.
When Cortez made his advent here he found Cholula to be the sacred city of the Aztecs, where their main body of high priests and their most venerated temples were located. Is it possible that these mud-built cabins represent a city once so grand and so populous?
Not but that it has its varieties of scene, and more or less of circumstances too: there are, on one flank, the breezy Heights, with flag-staff and panorama; on the other, broad and level water-meadows, skirted by the dark-flowing Mullet, running to the sea between its tortuous banks: for neighbourhood, Pacton Park is one great attraction the pretty market-town of Eyemouth another the everlasting, never-tiring sea a third; and, at high-summer, when the Devonshire lanes are not knee-deep in mire, the nevertheless immeasurably filthy, though picturesque, mud-built village of Oxton.
I found Phil Doolan's mansion to be a mud-built tenement, larger, and standing apart from, the houses that then constituted the village. It was ostensibly a sailor's lodging-house and tavern for wayfarers, but, like the 'Molly Bawn, was in reality a rendezvous of smugglers, occasionally patronized by fugitive poachers and patriots.
Here and there were walls of loose stones more of a danger than a protection rude shelter-trenches, and mud-built, wattle-knitted refuges, round-topped, and disguised with branches. They had made the position strong; but they should have gone in for more spade and less stones, more mole and less beaver.
Amid empires shrivelled into deserts, amid the wrecks of great cities, a single column or obelisk of which nations import for the prime ornament of their mud-built capitals, amid arts forgotten, commerce annihilated, fragmentary literatures and populations destroyed, the European talks of progress, because, by an ingenious application of some scientific acquirements, he has established a society which has mistaken comfort for civilisation.
"The village is extensive, and about it there is a very large quantity of land in cultivation; calavances, or beans, of different sorts, rice, and pumpkins, are the principal things. I saw also about here some wild cotton, apparently of very good quality, but none is cultivated. "At this village is a very large house, mud-built, with a court-yard.
I found only fresh woods and pastures new that were like the old; other lanes leading to other farm-houses, each in its familiar pretty setting of orchard and garden; and, finally, other ancient villages, each with its ivy-grown grey church tower looking down on a green graveyard and scattered cottages, mostly mud-built and thatched with straw.
During the hours of noon, many persons come to repose beneath the cool shade of the vaulted roof of the colonnade; a custom which not only accounts for the mode of construction observed in the old Mohammedan temples of Egypt and Arabia, but for that also of the ancient Egyptian temples, the immense porticoes of which were probably left open to the idolatrous natives, whose mud-built houses could afford them but an imperfect refuge against the mid-day heats.
Bare as a barn seen from far and near showed this little church, and we often walked thither for the sake of its picturesque surroundings. The portal of the quaint old building is a mass of ancient sculpture, close round it being grouped a few mud-built, timbered, one-storeyed dwellings all of a pattern.