the means of self-defence, you will believe. As it was, I had to put on all my address, and more bold effrontery than I generally affect, to decoy him to accompany me towards a more public thoroughfare, where he was pleased to leave me; and to tell the truth, I was pleased to leave him. This was the second warning I had had, what kind of trouble I was likely to get into by doing that which in this land even honest people could not comprehend, besides throwing myself in the way of danger from the vicious; and as I could not resolve to give up my pursuits, I, from this time henceforward, never stirred abroad without being well armed.
In the vicinity of San Bernardo, we met with the first regular plantations of the Agave Americana, or maguey, which I have alluded to as the source from which the present inhabitants of the table land of New Spain, as well as the Aztec aborigines, draw their ordinary beverage. It is a noble plant, and I will not forget some future day to give you a more detailed account of its appearance, culture, and uses.
The ninth of March is noted on my memoranda as having afforded us a singularly amusing day's travel.
The whole tract of country over which it lay was perfectly distinct in its features from any we had yet seen. The swelling forms, thick rank luxuriance of the lower country, and the sweet pastures and evergreen oaks of the first and lower steps of the tierras templadas, had alike disappeared; and as we held our course over the elevated hills west of the great defile, we saw around us tracts of most astonishing extent, partly level table land, and partly hill country, with rocky and precipitous sides, and furrowed with barrancas and ravines of astounding depth. The whole landscape, up to the foot of the distant Sierra Madre, appeared garbed in the most uninviting russet hue—the scanty grass covering the plain being now of a uniform brown, and in perfect harmony with the burnt, arid soil, or bare rock. Fertile spots there were, but they were hidden in the deep valleys. The scene was not lovely, but it was sublime. Its details