The Coffin

The Coffin.

Falls Of Juanacatlan

Falls Of Juanacatlan.

City Of Mexico

City Of Mexico.

It was seven o'clock in the evening when our train arrived in the City of Mexico. A friend who had been notified of our arrival met us on the platform.

"You are in luck," he cried, "there is to be a splendid ball at the Jockey Club tonight. I have secured a ticket for you, and you must go."

"What! after ten days' constant travel?" I replied. "No, no, I am too tired." "But to-morrow you can rest." "I have not time now to get ready." "You need not go till midnight." "My dress suit is at the bottom of my trunk." "I will unpack it for you." "I do not know the way." "I will call for you in my carriage. Besides," he added, "you will have a chance to see our prettiest senoritas and our President."

The Railroad Station

The Railroad Station.

Some hours later, I found myself riding through the city. It was the hottest season of the year, yet both my comrade and myself were comfortable in light overcoats. Through the cab windows I could see block after block of buildings standing ghostlike in the silvery moonlight. Enormous windows, iron gratings, and frequently in front of them a line of donkeys driven by swarthy Indians, succeeded one another in a weird monotony. Two or three times my comrade pointed out a souvenir of history.

Street With Burros

Street With Burros.

A Mexican Cab.

" Along this street," he said, "Cortez retreated from the Aztec capital. Just here his leading general, Alvarado, made his famous leap for life, and this," he added, "was the residence of Marshal Bazaine during the French occupation under Maximilian."

" Stop a moment," I said, and leaning forward I surveyed the former dwelling of the man whose cruelties contributed so much to Maximilian's downfall, and who, on his return to France, betrayed his country by surrendering Metz to the Prussians, and, consequently, died a wretched exile in a foreign land. Nevertheless, in looking at these structures, I did not seem to realize where I was; for, though accustomed to unlooked-for incidents in travel, I had never made so strange an entry into a foreign city, when, four hours after my arrival, I drove through moonlit streets with a comparative stranger to a ball, and on the way beheld the forms of dusky Indians crouching in their blankets, and gazed on buildings dating from the days of Cortez. At last we reached the mansion of the Jockey Club, - a handsome structure covered with glazed tiles.

The Alameda

The Alameda.

This singular decoration owes its origin to caprice. The Mexicans, to exemplify an almost incredible climax of extravagance, are wont to say, "He never will build a house of tiles." Some years ago, however, one of the gilded youth of Mexico resolved to prove that such display was not impossible, and built a house which is enameled from roof to pavement with blue tiles. This, when I saw it on the night of my arrival, was gay with lights, and diffused its radiance through the darkness like a porcelain lamp. Alighting from the carriage, we entered the mansion which was thronged with guests. Around its spacious courtyard tropic plants formed fragrant walls of foliage and flowers; and over and around these banks of color floated soft music from an unseen orchestra. Meantime, in the rooms above, the music of a second orchestra invited all to join in dancing, the pastime in which Mexicans excel.

The Jockey Club

The Jockey Club.

Courtyard Of Jockey Club

Courtyard Of Jockey Club.

At length my comrade led me to a room apart and said, "Allow me to present you to the honored chief of our republic, President Diaz." I saw before me a tall, dignified man about fifty years of age. Although attired in civilian's dress, a glance would have assured me he had been a soldier. His manner was extremely courteous; but I could not forget, even amid these fashionable surroundings, that I was in the presence of a man accustomed to command and able to maintain his power against desperate odds. Porfirio Diaz is not only a brave soldier, and the best ruler Mexico has ever had; he is, besides, an able statesman, who has encouraged the building of railroads, promoted agricultural enterprises, and established friendly intercourse with other nations. At the same time, he has shown wonderful ability and tact in quieting and strengthening his own land, previously torn by frequent revolutions. On coming into power, instead of banishing or shooting his opponents, he won them over to his side. Thus, he would send for a man who had been a captain in some revolutionary faction, and would say to him: "My friend, you see you are defeated. I have the power now and mean to keep it; but far from wishing to be rid of you, I need just such brave men as you to help my administration. Let us be friends. You are a captain now; henceforth, in my army, be a colonel." This shrewd, conciliatory course proved remarkably successful, and the former enemies of Diaz are now his friends.