Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/184

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grief and disappointment, and return to their ordinary gayety and good humour.

But, en avant!

The day had hardly dawned, when riding past the picturesque church of San Augustin, we were to be seen commencing the ascent of the mountains in the rear, by the great route of the Cruz del Marques, by which communication is kept up between the valley of Mexico and the states towards the Pacific to the west and southwest. It is impassable for carriages; and the whole trade is carried on by means of vast trains of mules. As we ascended, the morning broke over the summits of the mountains of Tlaloc, brightening the snows of the volcanoes, and gradually lighting up the barren tract of the pedrigal to the left, and the vast extent of plain, and the lakes of Xochimilco and Chalco, which lay behind us. The huge flanks of the Ajusco soon hid the part of the valley in which the capital is situated from our view.

Again and again, as we ascended, we turned to look back upon this scene, and it was with something like grief I saw it vanish for ever from my eyes. It seemed to me as if a splendid volume had been laid before me, and that I had been permitted to glance at its title and decorations, but had seen it shut in my face just as I had addressed myself to read.

Some hours elapsed before we reached the summit of the pass.

The road winds over the unequal surface of the mountain for many leagues before it passes the shoulder of the Ajusco. That noble mountain rises to the right, with sides clothed with dark pine forests, and furrowed by deep barrancas. From its highest summit, the height of which I have elsewhere indicated, it is said that the Western Ocean in the vicinity of Acapulco can be distinguished. On the most elevated ridge of the sierra, many short truncated cones mark the different craters by which the floods of lava, and beds of pumice, pebbles,