land, stretching into the bright haze as far as the eye could penetrate.
As we proceeded, the heat increased; and, as we wound along the edge of the ravines, the road became almost impassable for the horses, from the quantity of rock and stone with which they were strewed: and right glad were we, after passing through a picturesque village, at the foot of the mountain, to find ourselves and our train housed in a comfortable posada, in the town of Cuernavaca, after an uninterrupted ride of sixteen leagues, without halt or refreshment.
I think we treated both ourselves and our quadrupeds with unusual severity on the occasion. But there seemed to be no alternative.
In resolving to take the circuitous route upon which we had now set out, we had a further end in view than that of merely extending our observations a little, by seeing a part of the country which was less known and less hackneyed, than the direct and ordinary one from the capital to Puebla. Ever since we had entered New Spain, it had been a pet scheme to visit certain remarkable remains, existing in the vicinity of Cuernavaca. I refer to the fortified hill and palace of Xochicalco, or the "House of Flowers," of which little was known, but what was to be culled from a small pamphlet in Spanish, written many years ago, from which Humboldt probably gives the few facts mentioned in his Researches. He was unable to visit Xochicalco himself.
Our inquiries in Mexico with regard to the precise position and character of these ruins, were productive of no kind of certain information. Among all our acquaintances, European and native, we could not find more than two or three who had ever heard of their existence; and further, "Quien sabe?" was the answer to everything.
However, hurried as we found we should be, if we intended to leave Vera Cruz on the first of May, we kept steadily to our purpose; and, no sooner had we refreshed ourselves by ablutions and a hearty meal, followed by a basin of excellent lemon ice, and had seen