Page:A Study of Mexico.djvu/26

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A STUDY OF MEXICO.

made his journey and explorations, he is still quoted as the best and, in many particulars, as the only reliable authority in respect to Mexico.

In 1850, Bayard Taylor, returning from California, visited Mexico, landing at Mazatlan, and crossing the country by way of the city of Mexico to Vera Cruz. His journey lasted from the 5th of January to the 19th of February—a period of about six weeks—and the distance traversed by him in a straight line could not have been much in excess of seven hundred miles—a rather small foundation in the way of exploration for the construction of a standard work of travel; yet, whoever reads his narrative and enters into sympathy with the author (as who in reading Bayard Taylor does not?) is heartily glad that it is no longer. For Mungo Park in attempting to explore the Niger, or Bruce in seeking for the sources of the Nile, or Livingstone on the Zambesi, never encountered greater perils or chronicled more disagreeable experiences of travel. It was not enough to have "journeyed," as he expresses it, "for leagues in the burning sun, over scorched hills, without water or refreshing verdure, suffering greatly from thirst, until I found a little muddy water at the bottom of a hole"; to have lived on frijoles and tortillas (the latter so compounded with red pepper that, it is said, neither vultures nor wolves will ever touch a dead