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DISTRIBUTION OF MEDICINE 8. 129
lieve it was the fame of these drawings that procured us the honour of their visit. In his heart Mr. C. was not much happier to see them than the old don was to see us, as his work was stopped, and every day was precious. As I considered myself in a manner the proprietor of the city, I was bound to do the honours; and, having cleared paths, led them around, showing off all the lions as the cicerone does in the Vatican or the Pitti Palace; but I could not keep them away, and, to the distress of Mr. C, brought them all back upon him.
Obliged to give up work, we invited them down to the hut to see our accommodations. Some of them were our patients, and reminded us that we had not sent the medicines we promised. The fact is, we avoided giving medicines when we could, among other reasons, from an apprehension that if any one happened to die on our hands we should be held responsible; but our reputation was established; honours were buckled on our backs, and we were obliged to wear them. These ladies, in spite of Don Gregorio's crustiness, had always treated us kindly, and we would fain have shown our sense of it in some other mode than by giving them physic; but, to gratify them in their own way, we distributed among them powders and pills, with written directions for use; and when they went away escorted them some distance, and had the satisfaction of hearing that they avenged us on Don Gregorio by praises of our gallantry and attentions.
Survey of the Ruins.—Account of them by Huarros and by Colonel Galindo. —Their Situation.—Their Extent.—Plan of Survey.—Pyramidal Structures.— Rows of Death's Heads.-Remarkable Portrait.—“Idols.”—Character of the Engravings.-Ranges of Terraces.—A Portrait.—Courtyards.-Curious Altar. —Tablets of Hieroglyphics.-Gigantic Head.—Stone Quarries.—More Appli cants for Medicine. —“Idols” and Altars.-Buried Image.—Material of the Statues.—Idols originally painted.—Circular Altar.—Antiquity of Copan. THAT night there was no rain, and the next day, as the ground was somewhat dry, we commenced a regular survey of the ruins. It was my first essay in engineering. Our surveying apparatus was not very extensive. We had a good surveying compass, and the rest consisted of a reel of tape which Mr. C. had used in a survey of the ruins of Thebes and Jerusalem. My part of the business was very scientific. I had to direct the Indians in cutting straight lines through the woods, make Bruno and Frederico stick their hats on poles to mark the stations, and measure up to them. The second day we were thoroughly in the spirit of it. *. That day Don Jose Maria refused to execute the contract. Don Gregorio was the cause. He had ceased to interfere with us, but at the idea of our actually taking root in the neighbourhood he could not contain himself, and persuaded Don Jose Maria that he would get into difficulty by having anything to do with us; he even told him that General Cascara's passport was worthless, and that General Cascara himself had gone over to Morazan. He carried his point for the moment, but in the end we beat him, and the contract was executed. After three days of very hard but very interesting labour, we finished the survey, the particulars of which I intend to inflict upon the reader; but before doing so
ACCOUNT OF THE RUINS. 131
I will mention the little that was previously known of these ruins.
Huarros, the historian of Guatimala, says, "Francisco de Fuentes, who wrote the Chronicles of the Kingdom of Guatimala, assures us that in his time, that is, in the year 1700, the great circus of Copan still remained entire. This was a circular space surrounded by stone pyramids about six yards high, and very well constructed. At the bases of these pyramids were figures, both male and female, of very excellent sculpture, which then retained the colours they had been enamelled with, and, what was not less remarkable, the whole of them were habited in the Castilian costume. In the middle of this area, elevated above a flight of steps, was the place of sacrifice. The same author affirms that at a short distance from the circus there was a portal constructed of stone, on the columns of which were the figures of men, likewise represented in Spanish habits, with hose, and ruff around the neck, sword, cap, and short cloak. On entering the gateway there are two fine stone pyramids, moderately large and lofty, from which is suspended a hammock that contains two human figures, one of each sex, clothed in the Indian style. Astonishment is forcibly excited on viewing this structure, because, large as it is, there is no appearance of the component parts being joined together; and though entirely of one stone, and of an enormous weight, it may be put in motion by the slightest impulse of the hand."
From this time, that is, from the year 1700, there is no account of these ruins until the visit of Colonel Galindo in 1836, before referred to, who examined them under a commission from the Central American government, and whose communications on the subject were published in the proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Paris, and in the Literary Gazette of London. He is the only man in that country who has given any attention at all to the subject of antiquities, or who has ever presented Copan to the consideration of Europe and our own country. Not being an artist, his account is necessarily unsatisfactory and imperfect, but it is not exaggerated. Indeed, it falls short of the marvellous account given by Fuentes one hundred and thirty-five years before, and makes no mention of the moveable stone hammock, with the sitting figures, which were our great inducement to visit the ruins. No plans or drawings have ever been published, nor anything that can give even an idea of that valley of romance and wonder, where, as has been remarked, the genii who attended on King Solomon seem to have been the artists.
It lies in the district of country now known as the State of Honduras, one of the most fertile valleys in Central America, and to this day famed for the superiority of its tobacco. Mr. Catherwood made several attempts to determine the longitude, but the artificial horizon which we took with us expressly for such purposes had become bent, and, like the barometer, was useless. The ruins are on the left bank of the Copan River, which empties into the Motagua, and so passes into the Bay of Honduras near Omoa, distant perhaps three hundred miles from the sea. The Copan River is not navigable, even for canoes, except for a short time in the rainy season. Falls interrupt its course before it empties into the Motagua. Cortez, in his terrible journey from Mexico to Honduras, of the hardships of which, even now, when the country is comparatively open, and free from masses of enemies, it is difficult to