Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/196

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THE PLAINS.

with indignation a number of the sculptured blocks, from the Teocalli of Xochicalco, lying half buried in the soil.

 

The haze which I had remarked in the earlier hours of the day continued to clothe all objects, without absolutely hiding them; but the outlines of the more distant ranges were so indistinct, that we could scarcely trace them. Such was the difficult character of the surface, and the continual checks we met with from barrancas, that the day was far spent before we arrived at the brink of the magnificent gorge which forms the intrenchment of Cuernavaca on the west. In the morning we had crossed it many miles farther down. It is splendidly varied in its character, and in the light of the sun, setting in gold and purple over the plain behind us, formed a magnificent picture.

The twilight fell upon us before we had extricated ourselves from the depth of the abyss, and when we did so by gaining the farther edge, the moon was shining without rival in the heaven.

I cannot describe to you the delicious feelings which came over us, as we felt the cooling night air fanning our temples, while riding through the rich and luxuriant groves and gardens in the outskirts of Cuernavaca, which we reached a quarter of an hour after.

What a strange machine the human body is. All this positive suffering seemed to be forgotten as soon as it was past! We supped as usual, drank inordinate quantities of ice—a luxury rendered a common one to the inhabitants of this torrid clime, by the vicinity of the volcanoes—threw ourselves upon our serapis on the floor, and the next morning rose, with both bodies and minds refreshed and invigorated, to enter upon another day's adventure.

 

The plains of Cuernavaca lie at an elevation of nearly five thousand five hundred feet above the Pacific, and four thousand four hundred below the Cruz del Marques; those of Yautepec and Cuautla Amilpas, to which we were now about to repair, at a general level of eight