Page:Mexico as it was and as it is.djvu/296

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EXCURSION TO TEZCOSINGO.

At the village of Huejutla there are some interesting remains of the ancient Indians. A large ruined wall, about twenty-five feet in height and five or six in thickness, is pointed out as part of a palace, and terminates, to the eastward, on the steeps of a barranca. This barranca is crossed by an ancient arched bridge, which we neglected visiting. The most interesting, and certainly the most picturesque, antique in the vicinity, is a noble row of seventeen olive trees, in an inclosure near the church, alleged to have been planted by the conquerors.

We stopped at the house of an Alcaldé in the village of Natividad, to procure an Indian guide, who had promised his services to aid Ignacio in discovering certain fossil remains that lay on the edges of the mountains to the eastward; but, after waiting a considerable length of time, neither Ignacio nor the Indian appeared, and we determined to proceed alone toward Tezcosingo, under the escort of L——, who professed to be well acquainted with the hill and its antiquities.

The conical mountain rose out of the plain directly north of us; but in order to reach its base, we were obliged to descend a ravine three or four hundred feet in depth, and to ascend afterward along cliffs and herbage like those that opposed us on our journey to Xochicalco. At length we gained the foot of the mountain, and commenced a zig-zag ascent to the eastward among nopals and rocks that seemed almost impassable.

We managed, nevertheless, to reach the summit of the ridges after an hour's labor, and beheld Ignacio in the distance, scouring the plain at a gallop. A shout from our party soon arrested his attention, and wheeling his horse, he was quickly vat our side at full dash over cliff and ravine. I felt mortified at having lost confidence in him at the village, as we found, on explanation, that he had been most anxiously engaged in endeavoring to persuade the Indian to guide us. The savage, however, steadily persisted for a long time in refusing to accompany him; believing that if he pointed out the fossil remains, we would certainly carry off some of them, "to which he would never consent, as they were the bones of certain giants who had been the ancestors of his race!"

I know not by what witchcraft Ignacio managed finally to prevail with the Indian; but he pointed him out, waiting for us at the foot of a group of palmettos on an opposite hill. Thither we quickly ascended; yet, scarcely had we reached the trees, when the rain commenced pattering down from the eastward, where it had been brewing as usual for the last hour around the brow of old Tlaloc.

The day was already far advanced and we had as yet seen nothing of remarkable interest. At the distance of a couple of leagues to the eastward, was the edge of the barranca containing the bones; while, a league to the west, was the unexplored hill of Tezcosingo. To see both of these spots on that evening was impossible, and yielding, therefore, to the earnest solicitation of the Indian, who pointed out to us the resting-place of the "huesos de sus antepasados" in the clayey soil of the eastern