acquaintance who left the rancho at dawn to join in a tiger hunt in a distant part of the country, we continued our journey to the southward.
Our route led us down into the dell below La Messa, and over the hillside opposite, till we entered a broad, green glade, stretching through the forest for some miles to the foot of the eminences upon which the large Indian village of Osuhuama is situated. We were quite unprepared for the vast panoramic view which unrolled itself to our view from the summit of a high conical mound, perched on the very edge of the declivity, with which this, the first step as it were of the higher country, breaks down to the general level of the country in the vicinity of the coasts.
The village, with its picturesque huts and enclosures of bamboo, and little patches of cultivation, lies scattered over the ridges of a number of broken hills. The church is nearly on the highest point, and directly at the foot of the mound whose form and position, in defiance of its size, would suggest the idea of its being artificial.
Any description of the wide view to the north, west, and east, comprising in the latter direction the Laguna Tammiagua, and fading to the apparently illimitable horizon, would be utterly impossible. The slope of the hills displayed a wilderness of rank vegetation. To the south rose several groups of conical hills, in advance of the more distant chain to which we were gradually approaching.
The afternoon's march brought us some leagues on our road over an undulating country, covered for the most part with forests of palmetto; and we took up our night's quarters at a poor rancho, tenanted by an old woman, and, unfortunately for us, preoccupied by a gambling party, whose drunken and lawless demeanour was sufficiently offensive and menacing to keep us in hot water for some hours; when they were pleased to take their departure: relieving us from the necessity of either blowing out their brains, or being ourselves stabbed; a choice of evils truly, but one which appeared for a while almost inevitable.