I feel more regret than I can describe, at the hasty manner in which we were obliged, by a sort of necessity, to slur over our survey of this interesting site, which is one of those to which I should more particularly direct the attention of any friend of mine who may turn his steps towards New Spain.
Here Cortez made his preparations for his last successful attempt upon the capital of the empire; and the spot where he launched his brigantines is still indicated by a bridge called the Puente des Brigantinas, almost close to the town. At that time, the lake must have been in near proximity; but, as at Mexico itself, a long level of nearly two leagues in breadth is to be traversed before you gain its shallow waters.
There was one remarkable object upon this broad extent of plain, to which our attention had been particularly directed by the virtuosi of the capital; and that was the Contador, a grove of cypress vulgarly called "Montezuma's Garden."
Accordingly, the following morning we mounted our horses early, and left the carriage to be packed during our absence. We had no sooner escaped from the gardens and enclosures in the immediate vicinity of the town, than we saw the Contador before us, breaking the uniformity of the great level in advance, by its mass of dark foliage.
Not a tree or a hillock is to be found in the vicinity of this remarkable grove; which formerly must have been completely surrounded by the lake.
The trees composing it may be between three and four hundred in number, disposed to a square of considerable size, partly open to the east. A smaller parallelogram, higher than the surrounding soil, is to be observed at the northeast corner, with a deep ditch round it. I found, upon examination, that this was a porphyritic rock.
The interior of the great square, even at this day, is very slightly elevated above the present level of the lake to the west, and so spongy that we nearly buried our