Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/76

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REGLA.

amalgamation of the silver ores, which the enterprise and unlimited means of a former Count of Regla have constructed within this horrible gulf, at the cost of nine millions of dollars. At the present time, this property, together with an almost boundless extent of country on the neighbouring cordillera and in the plain, including the silver mines of Real del Monte, has been, since 1824, rented in perpetuity of the noble possessor, by a British mining company, for the paltry sum of sixteen thousand dollars per annum.

We were hospitably received and entertained for some hours by Mr. M., the company's superintendent at the hacienda; and through his kindness were furnished with every facility for a detailed inspection of the various works, which of course have been brought to far greater perfection by the present proprietors. Not the least remarkable feature of these immense works, are the ponderous bulwarks of hewn stone, built to protect the works from the impetuous torrents of debris brought down by the river in the rainy season. We did not of course fail to ascend the barranca to the celebrated cascade, which you reach by tracing the course of the stream between two walls of basaltic columns, upward of a hundred feet in height. It is to be found at some distance above the hacienda, where a screen of the same singular geological structure, composed of perpendicular columns of twenty-five or thirty feet in elevation, stretches across the ravine, and bars the course of the river which pours over it from the upper part of the barranca; disjointed sections of rock half covered with moss, and shaded by trees, lie at the foot of either precipice. In the rainy season, the whole scene must be very grand. The colour and texture of the basalt differ in some respects from any I have seen in Europe, if I except that on Ben More, in the north of Ireland. The form of the columns, however, is very complete, and in most cases hexagonal or pentagonal. The barranca of Regla lies about seven thousand feet above the gulf.

The kindness of our entertainer made us prolong our