“Around the mission,” De Mofras continues, “are the huts of the neophytes, and the dwellings of some white colonists. Besides the central establishment, there exists, for a space of thirty or forty leagues, accessory farms to the number of fifteen or twenty, and branch chapels (chapelles succursales). Opposite the mission is a guard-house for an escort, composed of four cavalry soldiers and a sergeant. These act as messengers, carrying orders from one mission to another, and in the earlier days of conquest repelled the savages who would sometimes attack the settlement.”
Of the daily life and routine of a mission, accounts of travelers enable us to form a pretty vivid picture; and though doubtless changes of detail might be marked in passing from place to place, the larger and more essential features would be found common to all the establishments.
At sunrise the little community was already astir, and then the Angelus summoned all to the church, where mass was said, and a short time given to the religious instruction of the neophytes. Breakfast followed, composed mainly of the staple dish atole, or pottage of roasted barley. This finished, the Indians repaired in squads, each under the supervision of its alcalde, to their various tasks in workshop and field. Between eleven and twelve o’clock, a wholesome and sufficiently generous midday meal was served out. At two, work was resumed. An hour or so before sunset, the bell again tolled for the Angelus; evening mass was performed; and after supper had been eaten, the day closed with dance, or music, or some simple games of chance. Thus week by week, and month by month, with monotonous regularity, life ran its unbroken course; and what with the labours directly connected with the management of the mission itself, the tending of sheep and cattle in the neighboring ranches, and the care of the gardens and orchards upon which the population was largely dependent for subsistence, there was plenty to occupy