Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/467

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A RIDE THROUGH A MINING REGION.

keys laden with sacks of ore, going from Pachuca to the smelting establishments of Regla and San Miguel, and we had great difficulty in getting through them. There was not a bridle or rein amongst the whole lot of about sixty, yet they all kept together, guided by a peon and two men in leather jackets and breeches, who were almost covered up with arms of all kinds.

The Hacienda de Regla,[1] which we reached about noon, is seven leagues from Pachuca, the termination of the road; it is a heterogeneous collection of buildings, crowded into a mighty gorge, which is walled across. In describing this, the strongest of those silver works erected in the last century, I scarcely know how to approach it; stupendous works of nature vie with massive buildings erected by man, either one of which would arrest the attention of a tourist in any land. But let us examine the natural formation first, even as we would learn the general outline of the world's map before man's advent upon it. Here is the Giant's Causeway of America, as the late Bishop Haven called it. "It is worth a journey of a thousand miles to see the Barranca Grande and the Regla Palisades." The name is an exaggeration, even as are most of his descriptions and narrations, yet there is here material enough to warrant a comparison, and no mean one either. Here is a basaltic formation grander, perhaps, than any the United States can boast. Here are cliffs one hundred and fifty feet high, enclosing a basin deep and wide. Immense basaltic columns, perpendicular ranges of rock pillars, rise high above our heads, and from a deep gap, at the head of the gorge, a stream of water rushes out,—an immense volume,—which takes a leap of forty feet or more, and plunges into a rocky basin. It is a most striking picture, this foaming, roaring avalanche of milk-white water, suddenly projected into view from a deep black chasm, and precipitated into this rock-ribbed ravine. In one place the great columns are crowded out, as though by the superincumbent weight of earth

  1. It occurs to me that the term hacienda needs explanation. It puzzled me at first, for I thought the name only applied to a great farm, but it seems there are haciendas del campo, or farms, and haciendas de las minas, or mills; as in other places I have found ranchos, or small farms for cattle, and ranchos which were merely wood camps.