Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/178

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172
ARRIVAL AT LEON.

After more than three miles of floundering in the mud, running along the embankments, and climbing in and out of the stage, we reached higher ground at noon, and went on more comfortably, over an open, rolling country wholly devoted to stock raising, until we reached the boundary of the State of Jalisco, and entered the State of Guanajuato, nine miles from Leon.

Just at this point, we saw a body of troops moving along the road in advance of us. When they discovered us, they made off at full speed and disappeared. A mile further on, I saw some of them peeping at us from behind a stone wall, and we subsequently learned that in order to give an appearance of perfect safety, to the road—our regular escort left us at Lagos, and returned to Guadalajara—they had been instructed to keep out of our sight entirely, and we were to travel through the State of Guanajuato without any apparent escort.

Seven miles from Leon we came out upon the summit of a range of broken hills, and looked down into a lovely valley, highly cultivated, filled with fields of green, growing grain, and tall ripe maize, and dotted here and there with rich and beautiful, white-walled haciendas.

Entering the city, we found, for the first time in our journey, no deputation with carriages waiting to receive the party, and drove directly to the magnificent house just finished and beautifully furnished for the occasion—fronting on the grand plaza—which had been prepared for us. The Prefecto Politico of Leon, Col. Rosado, and a deputation of the ayuntamiento, called at once to say that they had not received the telegram announcing the departure of Mr. Seward from Lagos,