Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/394

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Meanwhile, Maximilian began to govern, according to his lights, which were liberal as far as the limit of absolute monarchy allowed. He sought to gain the friendship of the party allied to Juarez, holding the idea that this native chief of a half-civilized people had been driven off the field for good, and that it was to be an easy task to replace his crude government with one based on loftier planes. He paid no attention to the new code of the reform, but began to impose his own regulations, and to legislate on all matters as if Mexico were still in its natural and primitive state. He readily listened to all sorts of plans for the construction of telegraphs, railways, and other enterprises for the improvement of the country, with little heed to their vast expense.

Among these was the restoration of the palace at Chapultepec, then in dismal ruin since the attack of the Americans. From their first glimpse of it the new sovereigns decided that here should be their home, the chosen dwelling which should recall the delights of Miramar; recognizing it as the loveliest spot in all the broad valley of Anahuac. So thought the Aztec chiefs who sought its shade in their leisure moments; so thought the viceroy, Galvez; and so thinks every one now who drives from the city over the broad Paseo, built in the time of Maximilian, as a fit approach to the charmed palace.

It stands on a height of two hundred feet above the valley; a winding road from the avenue below, shaded by huge trees, leads to a platform where are the great stone buildings of the lower terrace be-