Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/267

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257
THE FLOATING GARDENS OF MEXICO.

after the fall of Queretaro, Colonel Green, with the American Legion of Honor, had his head-quarters on Piñon Island in Lake Tezcoco, about a mile off shore, in front of the city on the east. They, stopped all the boats on the canal, and with sixteen hundred of them, built a pontoon bridge from the main land to the island. This island is evidently of volcanic origin. At this time a deep rumbling sound is to be heard beneath it, and the matter is attracting the attention of scientific men, who think it worthy of careful investigation.

The famous "Floating Gardens of Mexico," lie along the shore of this lake, for miles, and on both sides of the Grand Canal. They were, all, sections of a great "float" or "raft," composed of the roots and stalks of water plants, originally, and thickened into a thin sheet of rich soil, in time, by alluvial deposits, such as may be seen in various parts of the Western States, and along the borders of the sluggish rivers of the far south-west. This float, originally, rested on the surface of the water; but most of that nearest the solid land has, already, become attached to the bottom, and in course of years all will become so. The old descriptions of these gardens will, in the main, hold good, to day, allowing only for the gradual change in their condition. Between each is a narrow strip of open water, or canal, and most of them are highly cultivated and covered with garden vegetables. The flat-bottomed boats with awnings to keep off the sun, looking not unlike the Chinese "Sampans," run down the canal through these gardens, a long distance, and you can hire one to carry you twelve miles and back for less than a dollar; human muscle is cheaper here than steam.