Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/65

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passed, we found a numerous and brilliant company in attendance, and arranged near the door to allow the party to pass through into the main saloon.

The scene presented as the party entered was brilliant, and wonderfully beautiful. The main hall is in the form of a square, surrounded by wide corridors, separated by pillars and Moorish arches, with wide galleries corresponding above. The floors were covered with cloth, and sprinkled with gilt paper-clippings. The pillars, the arches, the walls, and the ceilings were loaded with the richest vegetation of the tropics; palm-leaves in all their varieties; the rich, cream-colored blossoms of the cocoa, looking like gigantic heads of wheat done in wax-work, the green fruit and flowers of the banana, and all the indescribable wealth of the tropical flora, in variety and brilliance beyond description. Mr. Seward exclaimed, "It is a tropical forest", with an oriental illumination." Rich Chinese lamps and glasses, filled with perfume and brilliant colored cocoa oil, with burning tapers, were on all sides.

The roof was hidden by a canopy of green, white and red gauze, and all around the hall were the flags of Mexico and the United States side by side. At one end of the hall, "Don Benito Juarez, Salvator de la Patria," looked down in grim silence from the canvas, and at the other, a handsome portrait of Mr. Seward, painted within two days by a native artist, was enwreathed with laurel and the flags of the two Republics. Around the corridor hung the portraits of Gen. Ramon Corona, commander of the Army of the West, and his compatriots, and the heroes of the Mexican War of Independence. On one side of the gallery was the illuminated legend "Al. H. W. H. Seward,"