Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/78

This page has been validated.
72
REAL DEL MONTE.

stances over the abyss, by bridges equally without parapet.

We kept, as well as the ear and touch would permit, one exactly behind the other, momentarily passing the word to halt, or advance, rapidly from one to another. Now and then we came to a full halt, from the utter doubt whether the next step would not be over the precipice. The passage of each bridge in turn, was a moment of great interest, yet through God's mercy, we met with no accident, but gradually ascended, till the freshening air and the expansion of the valley, as we might see by an occasional flash, indicated our approach to the town. In fine, there we arrived, and after some little search, found our valets, and a room prepared for our reception in a meson or inn.

The mules and their cargoes had fortunately escaped pillage; some thought, from the fact that there were no robbers to attack them, and others, from the intimidation produced by the formidable and suspicious appearance of the leather case of my gun, which, in its empty state, was always carried in advance upon the leading mule, in the hands of little Raphael. Pointed forward between the ears of the animal, it certainly might pass for a bow gun of extraordinary construction.

We made a halt of two days at Real del Monte, which we found to be a singularly picturesque town, containing, among others, one large decorated church, and many substantial buildings. It is surrounded by forests of oak and pine, and mountain slopes carpeted by white, red, and yellow flowering shrubs. It is situated at the height of upward of nine thousand feet above the sea. We found our time fully taken up by the overground and underground excursions which we were enabled to make with much interest to ourselves, through the polite attention of the gentlemen connected with the mining company. Among the former I distinguished a climb to the summit of a singular rock rising, at the distance of some miles, about one thousand feet higher than the town, and commanding a view of extraordinary interest and extent