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CUERNAVACA.

hundred feet lower. Great as this degree of elevation may appear, the peculiar conformation of the surface — its exposure to the south, while it is protected to the north and east by the great wall of the Sierra Madre — the extraordinary heat generated by the reflection of the sun's rays from those vast naked plains, all conspire to give them a climate more approaching to the tierras calientes than that of the tierras templadas. Wherever mould of any description is found in a position which admits of either natural or artificial irrigation, there the fruits of the tropics are produced in the greatest perfection, and with a strength of vegetation which none can imagine but those who have observed it. The barrancas of these plains form the hothouses of the capital above, and from them the market is daily supplied with abudance of the richest fruits. These are chiefly reared by the Indian population, whose little bamboo enclosures, overshadowed by the broad leaves of the banana and papaya, form many a beautiful picture in the vicinity of Cuernavaca.

 

We quitted the town by a mule track, traversing a barranca to the east; and shaped our course towards the mountains bounding the plain in that direction. Our arriero and his mules had, according to his orders, left the town the preceding day. This was so far a disadvantage to us, as we were without a proper guide, and we soon experienced the inconveniences consequent upon this circumstance.

The plains of Cuernavaca are separated from those of Yautepec, lying more to the southeast, by a range of secondary mountains, clothed with wood, and exhibiting in their grotesque and broken outline more of the characteristics of the Dolomite ridges of the Tyrol, than any other to which I can compare them: I believe that they are principally composed of breccia. The view opens full upon them immediately below Cuernavaca, while above them tower the long elevated ridge of the sierra, and at their termination the huge forms of the great volcanoes rise into the sky.

But I want words to describe the sublimity and beauty