Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/387

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355
FRENCH INTERVENTION.

heard the noise of cannon and the call to arms. The old troubled life had come back again. Repose was only a dream.

On the 5th of May, every year, there are great rejoicings all over Mexico, but especially in the capital, where a broad handsome street, well paved and lighted, is called the Cinco de Mayo. All the troops are reviewed on that day by the President. The buildings are hung deep with flags and decorations, and the streets crowded with a joyous population swarming to and fro, crying Vivas! over the long procession of regiments marching through the city to the stirring sound of the Mexican national march.

An adventure of which the French are very proud occurred in the following month. After retreating from Puebla, the army of Lorencez was quartered in Orizaba where they were closely watched by Zaragoza's men. A body of four or five thousand Mexican troops placed themselves upon the Cerro de Borrego, high above the town, whence they threatened to bombard it. The condition of the French within the town grew more and more uncomfortable, food was giving out, and the presence of the overlooking enemy was, to say the least, annoying.

A young captain, lately promoted, watched and followed a Mexican woman whom he saw day by day, as she climbed a steep path to the height, carrying a water jar upon her head to supply the Mexican army. The French officer entreated permission of his general to attempt the dislodgement of the enemy. This granted, in the deep darkness of night one hundred and fifty soldiers crept cautiously up the narrow path, unconsciously betrayed by the Indian woman, close