Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/290

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GRAND BANQUET AT THE PALACIO NACIONAL.

ard in Mexico, were the grand banquet at the Palacio Nacional, and the grand ball at the Teatro Nacional, which concluded the festivities.

The banquet took place on the night of Saturday, Dec. 27th, in the hall—four hundred feet in length—at the southern end of which Maximilian's throne once stood, and where the crimson canopy of rich silk brocade which surmounted it still stands, as if in mockery of the past, and a perpetual sermon on the vanity of human ambition. As if to add point to the lesson, the sword and sceptre of Iturbide, inclosed in a frame and covered with glass, were hanging against the wall, right above the chairs occupied by the Citizen President, Don Benito Juarez, and the Ex-Premier of the United State, Wm. H. Seward.

The invitations were issued by "El Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores" Señor Lerdo de Tejada, in the name of the President of the Republic, and in honor of the Hon. Wm. H. Seward.

The guests were "received in the great drawing-rooms hung with crimson satin tapestry, brought over and placed there by Maximilian; and the kind, amiable, and accomplished ladies of the family of the President,—though not participating in the dinner, as no ladies were invited—were in attendance to welcome them.

Four hundred guests, including all the prominent American gentlemen in the city, the sons-in-law and staff of the President, all the Cabinet, and the principal officers and heads of departments of the Government, with many members of Congress—among them some of the most distinguished leaders of the opposition—sat down at the table at 7 p. m.

The scene, when all the guests were seated at the ta-