Our preparations for an early start were seconded with such good will by our people, that soon after day-break the whole party was ready to march. Neither Don Juan nor Doña Dolores made their appearance; but using a valet as a cat's paw, they received their payment, and graciously wishing us "Bueno Viaggio!" opened the gate for our welcome departure.
Such is the souvenir which we have brought away from our visit to the patriotic Cuautla Amilpas.
Our next halting place was the town of Zacualpam Amilpas, which we reached after seven hours' ride to the eastward, over a very rough line of open country, sweeping up towards the base of Popocatepetl, which we were gradually approaching and rounding.
Zacualpam Amilpas vies with Cuernacava and Yautepec, in beauty of situation, and in the luxuriance of the cultivation in the immediate vicinity. The plain in which it lies has a general level of about five thousand feet above the sea. Immense perpendicular masses of trachite rise from its bosom, and form isolated hills of very considerable elevation. The Great Volcano bore now almost due north of us, at the distance of perhaps ten leagues.
Here we had previously the intention of spending a few days with two of the gentlemen of the diplomatic corps from Mexico, who had preceded us hither, with the ultimate intention of attempting the ascent of Popocatepetl; but under the present uncertainty when the packet would sail, we had no alternative but to proceed without delay—and therefore, in the course of the evening, after parting from Mr. E., who had proved himself a useful and agreeable companion, and a good man and true, in the hour of peril, we hired a guide to direct us on our road to Cholula, and resumed our pilgrimage. Four leagues of very rugged upland road, over hill and barrancas, brought us after dusk to the Indian village of San Mateo, situated among the mountains directly under Popocatepetl.
The whole ride, that immense cone, rising in unclouded majesty directly over against us, had been the principal