Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/36

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30
BATTLE OF THE SHARKS AND ALLIGATORS.

the French, when they levied $300,000 on the City of Colima, a town of 20,000 to 30,000 people, but were forced to decamp by the arrival of the Liberal army under Gen. Ramon Corona, when only $100,000 had been collected. There are still many French families residing in the country, and considering the provocations which the Mexicans have suffered, they are remarkably well treated everywhere.

The verdure on the hills is magnificent, and wonderfully soothing to the eye grown wearied with the sight of the bare, red hills of Lower California, and blinking under the rays of the fierce sun of the tropics. All the freighting between vessels and the shore, is done by lighters; there is only one miserable old rickety disused wharf, and everything has to be carried through the surf to the dry land on men's backs. The bay swarms with sharks, and the lake with alligators. Two years ago a sudden freshet drove the alligators out of the lake into the bay, and a fight, long, bloody, and terrible to witness, took place between them and the sharks. The inhabitants looked on with calm indifference—it was none of their funeral anyhow—and finally saw the alligators "cleaned out bag and baggage" by the sharks. This fact is well attested by numerous eye-witnesses still living here. On the beach is found the machinery for a large sugar-mill, imported six years ago at a cost of $30,000, and now lying rusting away in the sand. The want of a wagon-road, and the then disturbed condition of the country, prevented its reaching the plantation for which it was intended, near Guadalajara, and may now be left there for as many years to come, before the owners will take a new start and get it up into the interior, and put it in operation.