78 LETTERS OF CORTES. calans, and being so closely hemmed in on all sides by the territory of Muteczuma, that they could have no trade with any other province but their own ; whence they lived very poorly. The' next day I entered the pass between the two' mountains already mentioned, and in descending it we discovered the province of Chalco, in the territory of Muteczuma, two leagues from us, and when we had reached the inhabited parts, we found a newly constructed building for our quarters, and so large that all my men and myself were comfortably lodged in it, although I had with me more than four thousand Indians, natives of the provinces of Tascal- tecal, Guasucingo, Churultecal, and Cempoal, for all of whom' there was an abundant supply of provisions ; and there were large fires in all the lodging-rooms, with a plenty of wood, as it was very cold on account of the proximity of the two mountains*, which were covered with snow. There came to me at this place several persons, ap- parently of some rank, among whom was one that I was told was a brother of Muteczuma. They brought me gold to the value of 3,000 jjesos, and said on behalf of that sovereign, that he had sent me this present, and at the same time requested that I would retrace my steps, and not think of visiting his city, as the country was ill supplied with provisions, and the road that led to it was bad ; and that the city was all on the water, so that I could not enter it except in canoes, and with many other inconveniences that would obstruct my course. They added, that I might have all that I asked, which Mutec- zuma, their sovereign, had commanded them to give me ; and that they would agree to pay me every year a
- Popecatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, or Sierra Nevada.