Like the generality of posadas, that in which we had hired our two chambers was disposed in the form of a hollow square, of which three sides were occupied by the lodging rooms and stables, and the fourth opened into a kind of paddock. The whole was surrounded by a wall; and a large gate formed the only mode of communication with the street.
Don Juan, the master, was soon discovered to be a churl, who, for some reason or other, had determined not to give a civil answer to any question or any request we made of him. Indeed insult and abuse were not spared. Doña Dolores, his wife, and her female assistants, were also evidently disposed, as far as was in their power, to fall in with his humour; and, far from performing the customary offices for the traveller, in the hope of good payment, answered our request for food by jeering us, and pointing to the door. They would give us nothing, not even a glass of water.
Our arriero and valets did not disguise their opinion that we had fallen into bad hands; but the mules were unloaded—it was already dark—and altogether too late to seek another lodging.
After an hour of patient endurance, two of us sallied forth on the scout; and purchasing a pile of tortillas, and a basin of frijoles, with sundry other nondescript eatables, from the poor Indian women who occupied a corner of the market place, returned with them to our companions. The necessary information with reference to our route for the morrow, towards Zacualpam Amilpas, and Cholula, was with difficulty picked up in the shops which we entered to make trifling purchases.
Shortly after our return to our inhospitable quarters, Don Juan, who seemed to be really possessed by a diabolical spirit, and unable either to rest or to leave others in repose, hit upon a method to provoke us to take a more active part than hitherto in the quarrels which had been incessant between his family and our servants, from the hour of our arrival. At eight o'clock he locked the gate of the posada, and refused the liberty of exit to any of the party, stating that such was the order of the