Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/570

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TRAVELS IN MEXICO.

is here a colony of Indians, descended from the Tlascalans who fought by the side of Cortés, and whose ancestors were sent here to form a nucleus of civilization in the centre of the barbarous tribes who then overran the "Kingdom of Nuevo Leon."

At seven o'clock, and sunset, we entered a gap in the mountain wall which separates the valley of Monterey from the wretched country below, and were in an entirely different region. Hacks were in waiting to convey us to the city, which is a mile distant from the station, and to which also a fine tramway leads.

Perhaps that enterprising American who built the tramway from the railroad station to and through the city, whose expenses are about a hundred dollars a day, and who is constantly experiencing annoyances from the civil authorities,—being obliged, among other things, to carry a policeman on every car, who promptly returns every man ejected for nonpayment of fare,—rejoices exceedingly that his lines have been cast in such a pleasant place. It is presumed that he expects to recover a fair interest on his investment; and perhaps he will, if the powers that be cannot find a pretext for confiscating the line, and turning it over to some deserving native,—it being well known to the Mexican that the American has great constructive skill, but no executive ability. Everybody rode at first, from the novelty of the thing, but everybody did not pay; and doubtless the proprietor of the line realized the difference between his position and that of the owners of Northern street railways, whose patrons pay a six-cent fare for a five-cent ride. But the Mexicans are older, as a people, than the dwellers of the North, and perhaps more competent than they to deal with grasping monopolies.

Monterey lies on a fertile plateau enclosed by spurs from the Sierra Madre Mountains, at an altitude above the sea of sixteen hundred feet, and at a distance, in a direct line, from Mexico City of about four hundred and fifty miles. The scenery about Monterey is attractive, especially noteworthy objects being the mountain peaks. One of these, to the east, is known as La Silla, or Saddle Mountain, from a hollow in its ridge giving