Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/252

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244
PULQUE AND THE PULQUERIES.

poverty, standing there by the dusty roadside, on the lonely highway, in such attitude as could not fail to strike the eye of the painter or the poet—I am neither—on the instant; a picture unpainted, a poem un-written, but a picture and a poem filled with tender sentiment and touching pathos, nevertheless.

After a ride of ten miles, over a rough, hard mountain road, through a poor, barren country, we emerged at last, upon the summit of a divide, and looked down for the first time upon the valley of Mexico. The day was bright and beautiful. Lake Zupango lay off to our left, on the south-eastward, and beyond it the little city of that name, with its tall old church tower peeping out from among the embowering trees. The valley immediately before us was broken up with small hills which interrupted the view, somewhat, at first. Numerous small lakes, natural or artificially formed for irrigating purposes, were scattered here and there among the hills, and on the right, on the left, and all around, were little hamlets, often half in ruins, with dilapidated old stone churches and abandoned convents and monasteries, in endless profusion. The valley grows richer as you advance towards the Capital. The vegetation is more luxuriant—and the villages larger and more thrifty in appearance. The corn-fields on either side of the road were large, and the ripe crop heavy, and the maguey plantations grew more extensive at every mile. The road is bordered with tall trees—beeches, willows, fresnos, and pepper trees, in full bearing. At the little towns we noticed the potteries at which the delicate, red earthenware of Mexico is made and kept for sale, and numerous pulqueries" with the pulque-drinkers standing around them leaning against