Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/47

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41
A CHANCE FOR SPECULATION.

came in to inform Mr. Seward, that the stream was too high to allow of the passage of the stages, but that during the night it would subside. They would then put the wheels of one side of the stage in one boat, and those of the other side in a second, and so row the cumbersome vehicles across. Meantime, he and all he had was "at His Excellency's service." He had two coaches in tolerable repair, which he was ready to hitch up to convey us on three leagues more to the "Hacienda Calera," the residence of Don Juan Firmin Huarte, where we were to pass the night. The old gentleman told us that he had about four thousand five hundred acres of the best sugar, cotton, and Indian corn land in America, and, he did not know exactly how many, though quite a number of square miles of good pasture lands in this rancho, which he would sell me [some one had wickedly represented me as the rich man the of the party] for $8,000 in gold. He had a few thousand cattle, all good stock, though diminutive, which he would also dispose of cheap. There might be 2,000 or 10,000, but he would not be particular about a few hundred head any way. He wanted to move upon a larger rancho somewhere up in the interior. I agreed to think it over until I came back, and give him my answer then. I trust that he will not get tired out, and die waiting to hear from me.

Dinner, consisting of a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, sweetmeats, and wines, was placed on the table, and I take occasion to say that a cleaner, better cooked, and better served dinner could not be obtained at any hotel in the United States, though there was not a sign of a stove, carpet, or even floor about the premises.

At sunset, we saw our baggage train of pack mules