say, shooting from under the other. In parts of the country where rocks, or inequalities of the original surface, had interposed impediments to the gentle flow of the volcanic matter, the scene of confusion was truly terrific. Here, the surface would be heaped with huge blocks of solid rock, hundreds of tons in weight, masses which had evidently once floated like corks upon the irresistible flood; and their black rifts and yawning caverns would mark the struggles of the fluid, as it pitched down some mountain steep to a lower level.
We halted for breakfast at a hamlet situated in the very centre of this volcanic matter, and afterward resumed the sharp descent. Below the lavas, the forests became more luxuriant, teeming with curious trees and shrubs; and the views far more open. Judging from what we saw, they must be of a most splendid description, and that epithet may be worthily bestowed upon the situation of the city of Jalapa, where we arrived at two o'clock in the afternoon, having left Perote at four a.m. The change from the sterility of the table land above to the luxuriant and teeming vegetation of this lovely region, was more striking than the contrast between the characteristic features of the great level plains with their barren volcanic cones, to the varied and beautiful wooded hills, vales, and mountains, which characterize this most lovely region of New Spain.
You and others have asked me, what comparison can be drawn between the Alps of Europe and the Cordillera? I was going to say none, but the traveller must learn not to be rash. The lines of just comparison are very faint. The highest summits are covered with snow; the green swelling mountain and pastures of the middle region have a general resemblance with the lower Alps of Switzerland, in their outlines and colouring, though hardly in their climate; and there is something in the general features of the upland vales of the Cordillera, where they break down towards the coast, which puts you in mind of the scenery of those magnificent valleys, where the icy streams of the great southern chain of the Alps precipitate themselves towards the sunny plains of