Nearing the summit of this most ferocious of glorified hills, they then had a most unexpected encounter...
"When, at a sudden turn, we met a solitary traveller. He was a tall, dark-complexioned man, with a broad-brimmed Panama hat, rolled up at the sides; a striped woolen Guatemala jacket, with a fringe at the bottom; plaid pantaloons, leather spatterdashes, spurs, and saddle, and the butts of a pair of horseman's pistols peeped out of the holsters. His face was covered with sweat and mud; his breast and legs were spattered and his right side was a complete incrustation; altogether, his appearance was fearful.
"It seemed strange to meet anyone on such a road; and, to our surprise, he accosted us in English. He has set out with muleteers and Indians, but had lost them in some of the winding of the woods, and he was seeking his way alone. He had crossed the mountain twice before, but had never known it so bad; he had been thrown twice; once his mule rolled over him, and nearly crushed him; and now she was so frightened that he could hardly urge her along. He dismounted and the trembling beast and his own exhausted state confirmed all that he had said.
"He asked us for brandy, wine or water, anything to revive him; but, unfortunately, our stores were ahead, and for him to go back one step was out of the question. Imagine our surprise, when, with his feet buried in the mud, he told he had been two years in Guatemala 'negotiating' for a bank charter. Fresh as I was from the world of banks, I almost thought he intended a fling at me; but he did not look like one in a humour for jesting; and, for the benefit of those who will regard it as an evidence of incipient improvement, I am able to state that he had the charter secured when he rolled over in the mud, and was then on his way to England to sell the stock."