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HOUSE OF THE GOVERNOR.
excavation in this platform, from the impression that underneath would be found a vault, forming part of the immense reservoirs for supplying the city with water.
In the centre of the platform, at a distance of two hundred and five feet from the border in front, is a range of stone steps more than a hundred feet broad, and thir. ty-five in number, ascending to a third terrace, fifteen feet above the last, and thirty-five feet from the ground, about equal to the height of the City Hall, which, being elevated on a naked plain, formed a most commanding position. The erection of these terraces alone was an immense work. On this third terrace, with its principal doorway facing the range of steps, stands the noble structure of the Casa del Gobernador. The façade measures three hundred and twenty feet. Away from the region of dreadful rains, and the rank growth of forest which smothers the ruins of Palenque, it stands with all its walls erect, and almost as perfect as when deserted by its inhabitants. The whole building is of stone, plain up to the moulding that runs along the tops of the doorway, and above filled with the same rich, strange, and elaborate sculpture, among which is par. ticularly conspicuous the ornament before referred to as la grecque. There is no rudeness or barbarity in the design or proportions; on the contrary, the whole wears an air of architectural symmetry and grandeur; and as the stranger ascends the steps and casts a bewildered eye along its open and desolate doors, it is hard to believe that he sees before him the work of a race in whose epitaph, as written by historians, they are called ignorant of art, and said to have perished in the rudeness of savage life. If it stood at this day on its grand artificial terrace in Hyde Park or the Garden of the Tuil. eries, it would form a new order, I do not say equal. ling, but not unworthy to stand side by side with the remains of Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman art.
But there was one thing which seemed in strange want of conformity with all the rest. It was the first object that had arrested my attention in the house of the dwarf, and which I had marked in every other building. I have mentioned that at Ocosingo we saw a wooden beam, and at Palenque the fragment of a wood. en pole; at this place all the lintels had been of wood, and throughout the ruins most of them were still in their places over the doors. These lintels were heavy beams, eight or nine feet long, eighteen or twenty inches wide, and twelve or fourteen thick. The wood, like that at Ocosingo, was very hard, and rang under the blow of the machete. As our guide told us, it was of a species not found in the neighbourhood, but came from the distant forests near the Lake of Peten. Why wood was used in the construction of buildings otherwise of solid stone seemed unaccountable; but if our guide was correct in regard to the place of its growth, each beam must have been carried on the shoulders of eight Indians, with the necessary relief carriers, a distance of three hundred miles ; consequently, it was rare, costly, and curious, and for that reason may have been considered ornamental. The position of these lintels was most trying, as they were obliged to support a solid mass of stone wall fourteen or sixteen feet high, and three or four in thickness. Once, perhaps, they were strong as stone, but they showed that they were not as durable, and contained within them the seeds of destruction. Most, it is true, were in their places, sound, and harder than lignum vitæ; but others were perforated by wormholes; some were cracked in the middle, and the walls, settling upon them, were fast overcoming their remaining strength;