Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/109

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103
BIRDS OF THE TROPICS.

brown hair, large, lustrous, black eyes, complexion just tinged with the hue of the olive, cheeks like the ripe, red peach, bright red lips, contrasting with the pearly teeth, and a slender, petite figure, moving with a willowy grace through the dreamily voluptuous mazes of the danza; in all the store-house of my memory there is not a sweeter picture than that.

At midnight we retired to rest, and all night long, heard the strains of soft music from harp, and guitar, and violin, which told us that the festivities still went on.

At day-break, as usual, we were off again on our journey. Our road all day—about thirty miles—lay along the margin of the Laguna de Seyula, and between fields of tall corn, sugar-cane, beans, red pepper, &c., &c, surrounded by high fences of solid stone, mostly of lava formation. The roads were heavy with mud from the recent rains, and our progress very slow. The lake, swollen by the storm—was from three to six miles, wide and thirty long. Geese, and little white cranes, curlew, plover, ducks, &c., abounded along the shores, and great flocks of pink-hued birds, resembling flamingoes, were seen from time to time. We saw two bright red birds, called "cardinals," perched on the tops of the great "pitilla," Cactus, which here forms a prominent feature in the vegetation; the castor-bean, which here becomes a permanent and beautiful tree, was seen all along the road, and the tree-cotton—a cotton-plant entirely unlike that of our Southern States, really a tree—abounded. The mountain sides were everywhere patched with fields of corn and barley—the first ripe and the latter two-thirds grown—far up towards their summits.

Villages, inhabited by working-people of Indian de-