Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/34

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TAMPICO.

vited, to garb ourselves in our best—in which you will recollect we were not much embarrassed by variety of choice—to sneak out of our den at the Bolza, and ride about the environs.

These rides, however, were principally confined to the evening hours preceding sunset, and to the back of the ridge on the San Luis Potosi road, from many of the banana and sugar plantations on which line, the view over the nearer lakes, and towards the distant Sierra Madre, a spur of which appeared far to the southward, was uncommonly beautiful.

A rocky bluff overhanging the Panuco, at the upper end of the town just above the market, was the scene of almost a daily visit, as it commanded an extended view over the distant country both far and near. A little above this point, the river Tammasee, draining the Lago Chairel, and many other lagoons covering a vast tract of country to the westward, forms its junction with the Panuco or Tula, which comes from afar, flowing in a most graceful sweep among low wooded islands from the south west. Beyond the farther shore lies the lagoon of Pueblo Viego; and farther to the south, far in the distance, the fertile uplands of the Huastec, and the advanced spurs of the eastern Cordillera of Mexico.

There is yet a distant object, which excites the marvel of the traveller at Tampico, and this is the Bernal, an isolated mountain, rising like a huge stack, with smooth perpendicular sides, and a jagged summit, over the level line of the horizon to the westward. It is about thirty leagues distant, if we were rightly informed.

Immediately above Tampico, the peninsula, which is rendered such by the lagoon Carpentaro at the back of the town, continues to rise gradually towards the westward, and appears crowded by the Indian huts. They and their bamboo enclosures are nearly buried in a tangled labyrinth of weed of the Solanum species, over-topped occasionally by a banana, or the tall mutilated trunk of a yellow-wood tree.

At early morning the landing below the bluff might be