Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/75

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thing to lose, for if I defended myself, and even beat off or killed my assailants, I am known to every robber in the country, and I should be stabbed secretly, if not shot openly! It is different with Ios signores estrangeros, if they choose to run the chance; but los signores ladrones Mejicanos seldom attack when they are not sure to overpower."

During the morning's ride over the wide plains, in the bright and cloudless sunshine towards Real del Monte, we were led to reconsider our plans for the day, on finding that, as we were desirous of seeing the hacienda and barranca of Regla, we might attain that object in the course of the day, by going a few leagues out of the direct road to the silver mines, without falling short of our arrangement to arrive that night at Real del Monte. Accordingly we resolved to leave the mules to their fate: and, sending them forward on the main road, under the conduct of Miguel, and a little valet of Espindola's, our small party turned aside, under the escort of the latter. We soon reached the town of Puebla Grande de Mittan, the situation of which, more to the east, had long been indicated by the huge church which rises over its motley collection of habitations. We allowed ourselves no breathing time here, further than a hasty glance at the church and a draught of pulque required; but continued our route over an elevated district of singular sterility, commanding, however, noble views of the surrounding chains. After two hours' ride, we descended into a valley, with occasional haciendas scattered over its surface, and shortly after found ourselves at the brink of the Barranca of Regla. A well-constructed road, upon which we had been pacing for some time, conducted us by a rapid descent into the recesses of this celebrated ravine, when we suddenly came in sight of the immense pile of the hacienda and its Moorish church tower overtopped by the lofty colonnades of columnas basalt which form the sides of the barranca. In the abundant supply of water which rushes down it, you find the reason which has led to the choice of this singular locality for the erection of those colossal works for the smelting and