Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/170

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achieving, though we sought it for a week in advance on every hand. The possibility of rounding the southern end of Lake Tezcuco to the town of that name, was again and again positively denied. Distances were tripled; and as to the scheme of proceeding directly with our train from San Juan Teotihuacan to Huehuetoca, that was laughed at as quite chimerical. We found not only no great difficulty, as you read, but discovered that all the information we had received with regard to distances had been greatly overrated.

The town of Zumpango, where we made our main halt, presents nothing worthy of note so far as we could discover. The northern shore of the lake of that name, which we skirted in the course of the afternoon, is, however, very pretty.

Passing one or two picturesque villages, we gained the plains beyond. Our road led us close to the walls of the great Hacienda of Jalpa; and, in fine, at an early hour of the evening, to the village of Huehuetoca, whose massive church had long served us as our landmark in approaching from the eastward.

There is little either in the miserable town itself, or in the surrounding country, as far as its general features are considered, to allure the traveller to a halt; or to tempt me to put a tail to this long letter; but, in the Desague Real, this otherwise uninteresting corner of the valley of Mexico contains one of the most gigantic monuments of human design to be found in any country; and to visit it was the motive of our excursion thus far to the northward.

You may have gathered from what I have already communicated, that nature has provided no natural outlet for the waters of the five lakes of the valley; and that in times of extraordinary and sudden flood, the surplus of waters of all the more elevated lakes to the north and south must be discharged into Lake Tezcuco, which forms the lowest level of the valley of Mexico.

I have also remarked that both the ancient capital and the present city, have been exposed from this cause to