THE sea of the subsiding "norther" was still running heavily toward Vera Cruz, as if it would overwhelm it. It was a little Venice that we saw when we came to it. A half-mile or so of buildings, compact and solid, with blackened old rococo domes and steeples; yellow for the most part, scarlet, pink, green, and blue, in patches; a stone landing-quay, and a long, light iron pier projecting from it. At the end of the pier from a crane hung an iron hook, and to this the imagination instantly hooked on. It was the termination of the English railway to the capital. By that road, with all possible expedition, we should be borne up out of the miasmatic lands of the coast—the over-luxuriant Tierra Caliente—to the wonders of the interior.
To the left a reddish castellated fort. No suburbs—not a sign of them—only long, dreary stretches of sand. Very far down on the sand, with the sea breaking white over her, was the English steamer Chrysolite, dragged from her moorings by the gale and wrecked. We came in at evening, and joined ourselves to a little cluster of steamers and sailing-vessels made fast to buoys under the lee of a coral reef, on which stands the disreputable old castle of San Juan d'Ulloa. It is whitewashed in part, and partly as blackened by time and powder as the reef itself.