Page:Mexico as it was and as it is.djvu/244

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189
A RANCHO.

and bed, yet as there are none of these comforts in the house for me, I wrap myself in my serape on the hard settee, with full expectation of a night of sound repose.


* * * * * * *


21st September—Wednesday. We left Tetecala rather late this morning, without other refreshments than a cup of chocolate and a biscuit, as our intention was to stop at the hacienda of Cocoyotla, where we arrived about 11 o'clock.

We had no letter of introduction to Señor Sylva, the proprietor; but we were, nevertheless, most kindly received by him. He requested us to dismount, and to amuse ourselves by inspecting his garden and orange-grove while he ordered breakfast.

This is a small, but one of the most beautiful estates in the tierra caliente. A handsome chapel-tower has recently been added to the old edifice; a wing on broad arches has been given to the dwelling, and the garden is kept in tasteful order.

Back of the house and bordering the garden, sweeps along a sweet stream, some twenty yards in width, and, by canals from it, the grounds are plentifully supplied with water. But the gem of Cocoyotla is the orangery. It is not only a grove, but a miniature forest, interspersed with broad-leaved plaintains, guyavas, cocos, palms, and mammeis. It was burthened with fruits; and a multitude of birds, undisturbed by the sportsman, have made their abodes among the shadowy branches.

We sauntered about in the delicious and fragrant shade for half an hour, while the gardener supplied us with the finest fruits. We were then summoned to an excellent breakfast of several courses, garnished with capital wine.

When our repast was concluded, Señor Sylva conducted us over his house; showed us the interior of the neat church, where he has made pedestals for the figures of various saints out of stalactites from some neighboring cavern; and finally dismissed us, with sacks of the choicest fruit, which he had ordered to be selected from his grove.


RANCHO DE MICHAPAS.


P. M. Our journey from this hacienda was toward the Cave of Cacahuawamilpa, which we propose visiting to-morrow, and we have reached, to-night, the rancho of Michapas.

This is a new feature in our travels. Hitherto we have been guests at haciendas and comfortable town dwellings, but to-night we are lodged in a rancho—small farmer's dwelling—an Indian hut.

We arrived about five o'clock, after a warm ride over wide and solitary moors, with a back ground of the mountains we passed yesterday. In