the sign to mount. We mounted, and followed on a narrow, winding path, leading through deep ravines and broken cliffs until daylight, not one word passing between us during this long ride. At the appearance of day he turned off the trail, and went into the hollow of a mountain covered with thick shrubbery. Here he dismounted, and giving us the sign, we did the same. Placing by our side his goatskin bags filled with provisions and a gourd of water, he told us that night precisely at 8 o'clock he would come, and we must answer a particular whistle which he then made. So saying, he and his comrades led away the horses and mules. After eating, we laid ourselves upon the ground, and slept soundly until near night.
At eight o'clock P.M. we heard the concerted whistle, and answered it, when our robber stealthily approached, with the never-failing caution of his fore finger across his lips. He made the sign to follow, which we did, and after winding us through a very rough tract for about a mile, another whistle and its response discovered to us his companion, holding our animals.
At the given signal we mounted, and followed this night, as we had done the last, under that dead silence, which made our journey the more oppressive. Our rugged and winding way through the mountains, which caused us frequently, in the same hour,  to travel to every point of the compass, showed that our conductor knew the country well. Our faithful animals, so well used to that mountainous region, were astonishingly sure footed. Frequently, in passing around almost perpendicular cliffs, in paths exceedingly stony and frightfully narrow, with a dark abyss on the one hand and a perpendicular mountain on the other, the thought of our animals stumbling would make our hair stand on end. Those, however, who are used to these paths seem not to apprehend danger, and they have the utmost confidence in their animals, which pick their way with a loose rein, and seem to know the necessity of a sure foothold.
Nearly the whole of this night we rode in a heavy rain, and for two hours in the most tremendous storm. About one hour before daylight we approached the Rio Antigua, near the puente nacional,1 and across the great road leading from Vera Cruz to the capital. Keeping the river to our right, we travelled through a flat, marshy bottom until daylight, when we were told to "dismount and lay low." We had been drenched the whole night with a cold rain, and had now to repose in water ankle deep, which covered the bottom. Excessive fatigue soon brought sweet sleep to us, from which we were aroused at noon by the known whistle of our guide.
He had under his blanket a delightfully-cooked chicken, eggs, and tortillas, smoking hot, which  showed that he was in the vicinity of his accomplices. We never enjoyed a meal better. After we had finished eating, he threw around his shoulders his dark-coloured serape, and with his usual sign of silence disappeared through the bushes.
Everything in this life is good by comparison. We had slept several hours,