THE STORY OF MEXICO
The steamer stops, and we are lying off Vera Cruz, in the Gulf of Mexico. Half a mile off, the long, low shore stretches north and south, with the white town upon it, flat roofs making level lines on the houses glaring in the morning sunlight, domes and church towers rising above the rest; glimpses of bright green tree-tops are to be seen, but outside the city all is barren and waste. The plain behind rolls up, however, and the background is the peak of snow-capped Orizaba, silent, lofty, 17,356 feet above our level.
This is what we see to-day, leaning over the bulwark of our large luxurious steamer which has brought us, easily, from Havana in a few days, over the smooth, green waters of the Gulf. Our only anxiety has been the possible chance of a "Norther," which may break loose at any time in that region, sweeping over the waters with fury and driving the stoutest vessels away from the coast they would ap-