Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/421

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407
BY RAIL TO PUEBLA.

Señor Don Antonio Mancillas, Deputy to Congress from the State of Zacatecas, with his beautiful young wife, accompanied the party all the way to Puebla.

The railway from Mexico to Puebla—about one hundred and sixteen miles, English,—is a first class one in every respect, and a part of the route was made at the rate of forty-five miles per hour. In the "Chief of Traffic,"Mr. Geo. Gliddon, who has control of the running of all the trains, and accompanied the party, I recognized an old friend, whom I had known in the south before the late "little onpleasantness" sent one of us to the other side of the continent, and the other into the ranks of the rebel army. The engineers were also Americans, and know their business. The engine and cars were of American manufacture, though the road was built, and is owned and run by an English company.

The road runs out from the city in a north-eastern direction, past the famous old church of Guadaloupe, and along the shores of Lake Tezcoco; then makes a long detour, and runs south-eastwardly to Puebla, through an open valley country skirted by high mountains all the way. The distance by wagon-road is only twenty-four or twenty-seven Spanish leagues, but the railway, in order to avoid the heavy grades, takes the longer circuitous route. For the first fifty miles the country is comparatively dry and poor, and the road runs through an almost uninterrupted aloe or maguey field, that plant requiring no cultivation, and paying better than any other crop on such ground. Though the plant yields material for rope, cordage, cloth, thatch for houses, etc., etc., it is used, almost exclusively, for the manufacture of the mildly inebriating swill called pulque, which forms a staple drink of the lower classes