Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/403

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At sunset of the day of our descent, Popocatapetl seemed on fire, as his peak took on a rosy glow that soon suffused the whole cone; and later, as the sun sank down, and spread its warm coloring over the eastern sky, he appeared as though encased in burnished gold; but as the glowing orb disappeared entirely, he relapsed into livid white, standing there, a mountain of marble, against a cold steel-blue sky. The Woman in White did not share in this after-glow of the sun, but remained resting without change upon her bier, a slight mist draping and giving her the pallor of a corpse.

It snowed that night at the rancho, and the next morning the whole cone was covered deep, even down among the pines. The sand-field that we had ploughed through the day before was heaped high with drifts, so that we could not have crossed it. El Pico del Fraile was hung with huge icicles, and our hut was white with snow, which dripped off as the sun came up. The day was calm and clear, the valley below was buried in a dull blue vapor, through which lakes and villages barely glimmered; and sparrows and snowbirds gathered about the door, thus completing the illusion of a northern day in spring. Finally, we filed through the valley pass, beneath the silent pines, breathing an air delicious with balsam, brisk and exhilarating, and so turned our backs, with deep regret, upon Popocatapetl, monarch by natural right of Mexico.

TLM D403 Mexican volcanoes.jpg


1 Popocatapetl. 3 Nevada de Toluca. 5 Orizaba.
2 Iztaccihuatl. 4 Ajusco. 6 Cofre de Perote.