Milk Boys

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Two milk boys and horses are getting ready to deliver milk carried in jars hanging from the saddles
Milk boys.
(Facing p. 33.)

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The Getty Research Institute, The Internet Archive

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Description

Hand-colored aquatint showing two Argentinian milk boys and their horses getting ready to go and deliver milk carried in jars hanging from the saddles.
The author describes such Buenos Aires milk boys in the following terms:

The city of Buenos Ayres is regularly supplied with milk from the surrounding estantias, or farms, from one to three miles distant. It is brought on horseback in earthen or tin bottles, four and sometimes six of which are carried by each horse in hide pockets, attached to the saddle, and laced up with a piece of thong.

The milk-boys may almost be said to be born on horseback, so early are they initiated into their occupation. Most of them are children under ten years of age, so small that they are obliged to climb up their horses by means of one long stirrup, which is used for no other purpose. They sit between the jars, and in that insecure position ride most furiously. When out of the city, they run races one against another; and after they have sold their milk, may often be seen in parties gambling, or chucking rials and quarter-dollars, as among us children do farthings.

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