elegance; strength having been evidently much more valuable in the eyes of the builders.
The distribution of the different parts was that usual in monastic erections, and the whole style heavy in the extreme. The cloisters and many of the cells still retained their strong-arched roof, and the stucco on their walls.
Here, sheltered in the wooded hills, far away from the great roads; perched a thousand feet above the broad plain, and its glistening lakes and splendid city, with many a league of rough hill and deep barranca between, it might have been supposed that the barefooted brethren would surely have been permitted to lead their life of retirement and reflection in undisturbed quiet; and that their bells would continue to wake the echoes of the hills, as long as their faith was the faith of the thousands in the plain below: but no! they were richly endowed; and throughout their former seat it was evident that the hand of violence, more than that of time, had produced the utter ruin visible on every side. The view from the Desierto, owing to the peculiarity of the situation between two hills, is confined almost altogether to the surrounding woods.
A solitary family of Indian woodcutters occupied one of the outbuildings; and here upon the grass, under the shade of a group of ancient trees, we luxuriated for several hours in the delicious air of the mountains, till the heat of the day being on the wane, we awoke our sleeping mozos and mounting our horses, began our descent towards the city.
The view which burst upon us, as, escaping from the ravine of the Desierto, we gained a projecting woody knoll on the side of the mountain, impending over the great barranca before mentioned, was of matchless magnificence. The day had been altogether cloudless; but during our ascent, the sun shone too brightly; and a rich purple haze had thrown a kind of veil over the more