Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/467

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Cruz, the weary animals straining every nerve to pull the heavy loads up the zigzag road which winds like a serpent up the almost perpendicular face of the mountain.

We stood at last, at the dividing line between the great Central Plateau or elevated Table Land of Mexico, and the Tierra Caliente of the Gulf coast. The gay cavalcade of horsemen who formed our escort, dashed down the steep declivity at a gallop, and the coach, with breaks hard set, went down with a speed like that of a railway train, turning the sharp angles of the road without an instant's slackening up, and rocking and swaying like a ship in a storm until we were at the bottom. We congratulated ourselves on the experience, and all agreed that we had never seen anything finer, or enjoyed a more exhilarating ride in our lives.

A few minute's pause to rest our panting animals, and then we ascended a little hill, and instead of finding ourselves in an open plain as we had anticipated, looked down on another and greater cañon, which by its size made the first seem a mere bagatelle, dwarfed the great Barranca of Beltran by comparison, and would even challenge and win admiration, side by side with the Great Yosemite, the wonder of the world in our day and generation.

Slope back the walls of rock which form the sides; of the Yosemite, so as to make them a little less than perpendicular, clothe them with low, green chaparral to hide the blue-grey stone, plant a little village with an old white church like that in the "Heart of the Andes," in the center of the narrow, green valley where Hutchings' house stands, and look down on the picture from Inspiration Point, and you have the greater