Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/468

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452
DESCENT INTO THE TIERRA CALIENTE.

of Las Cumbres, as we looked down into it on that bright, sunny afternoon of the 24th of December, 1869. By Heaven! it was a sight worth coming all these thousands of miles by sea and land, to look upon!

Away we went again, down, down, down, as the eagle fixes his wings and glides swiftly from his airy height in the mountains into the valley below. In half an hour more all had changed around us, and we stood again amid the scenes and surrounded by the rankly luxuriant vegetation of the tropics. We had descended six thousand feet within ten miles, and the land of the aloe and maize was behind us. Around us was the banana, the orange, sugar-cane and coffee, and the thousand glorious flowers of the tropics, high mountains—green-clad and glorious—on either hand, and before us, Orizaba in all his unspeakable majesty.

Through the green valley, skirted with Indian villages of low cone-thatched and open-sided huts, we drove at full speed for an hour, and then halted at a village a league only from the quaint old city of Orizaba, where we found carriages in waiting, and the authorities standing ready to receive Mr. Seward and escort him to our lodgings in the town, as the guest of the State of Vera Cruz within whose boundaries we had just entered.