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ered by a dense forest of gigantic trees, with a growth of brush and underwood unknown in the wooded deserts of our own country, and impenetrable in any direction except by cutting a way with a machete. What lies buried in that forest it is impossible to say of my own knowledge; without a guide, we might have gone within a hundred feet of all the buildings without discovering one of them. Captain Del Rio, the first explorer, with men and means at command, states in his report, that in the execution of his commission he cut down and burned all the woods; he does not say how far, but, judging from the breaches and excavations made in the interior of the buildings, probably for miles around. Captain Dupaix, acting under a royal commission, and with all the resources such a commission would give, did not discover any more buildings than those mentioned by Del Rio, . and we saw only the same ; but, having the benefit of them as guides, at least of Del Rio (for at that time we had not seen Dupaix's work), we of course saw things which escaped their observation, just as those who come after us will see what escaped ours. This place, however, was the principal object of our expedition, and it was our wish and intention to make a thorough exploration. Respect for my official character, the special tenour of my passport, and letters from Mexican authorities, gave me every facility. The prefect assumed that I was sent by my government expressly to explore the ruins; and every person in Palenque except our friend the alcalde, and even he as much as the perversity of his disposition would permit, was disposed to assist us... But there were accidental difficulties which were insuperable. First, it was the rainy season. This, under any circumstances, would have made it difficult; but as the rains WoL. II.-Q Q
did not commence till three or four o'clock, and the weather was clear always in the morning, it alone would not have been sufficient to prevent our attempting it; but there were other difficulties, which embarrassed us from the beginning, and continued during our whole residence among the ruins. There was not an axe or spade in the place, and, as usual, the only instrument was the machete, which here was like a short and wide-bladed sword; and the difficulty of procuring Indians to work was greater than at any other place we had visited. It was the season of planting corn, and the Indians, under the immediate pressure of famine, were all busy with their milpas. The price of an Indian’s labour was eighteen cents per day; but the alcalde, who had the direction of this branch of the business, would not let me advance to more than twenty-five cents, and the most he would engage to send me was from four to six a day. They would not sleep at the ruins, came late, and went away early; sometimes only two or three appeared, and the same men rarely came twice, so that during our stay we had all the Indians of the village in rotation. This increased very much our labour, as it made it necessary to stand over them constantly to direct their work; and just as one set began to understand precisely what we wanted, we were obliged to teach the same to others; and I may remark that their labour, though nominally cheap, was dear in reference to the work done. At that time I expected to return to Palenque; whether I shall do so now or not is uncertain; but I am anxious that it should be understood that the accounts which have been published of the immense labour and expense of exploring these ruins, which, as I before remarked, made it almost seem presumptuous for me to
undertake it with my own resources, are exaggerated and untrue. Being on the ground at the commencement of the dry season, with eight or ten young “pioneers,” having a spirit of enterprise equal to their bone and muscle, in less than six months the whole of these ruins could be laid bare. Any man who has ever “cleared” a hundred acres of land is competent to undertake it, and the time and money spent by one of our young men in a “winter in Paris” would determine beyond all peradventure whether the city ever did cover the immense extent which some have supposed.
But to return: Under the escort of our guide we had a fatiguing but most interesting day. What we saw "does not need any exaggeration. It awakened admiration and astonishment. In the afternoon came on the regular storm. We had distributed our beds, however, along the corridors, under cover of the outer wall, and were better protected, but suffered terribly from moschetoes, the noise and stings of which drove away sleep. In the middle of the night I took up my mat to escape from these murderers of rest. The rain had ceased, and the moon, breaking through the heavy clouds, with a misty face lighted up the ruined corridor. I climbed over a mound of stones at one end, where the wall had fallen, and, stumbling along outside the palace, entered a lateral building near the foot of the tower, groped in the dark along a low damp passage, and spread my mat before a low doorway at the extreme end. Bats were flying and whizzing through the passage, noisy and sinister; but the ugly creatures drove away moschetoes. The dampness of the passage was cooling and refreshing; and, with some twinging apprehensions of the snakes and reptiles, lizards and scorpions, which infest the ruins, I fell asleep.
Precautions against the Attacks of Moschetoes.—Mode of Life at Palenque.— Description of the Palace.— Piers.-Hieroglyphics.-Figures.— Doorways.Corridors.-Courtyards.-A wooden Relic.--Stone Steps.--Towers.-Tablets. —Stucco Ornaments, &c., &c.—The Royal Chapel—Explorations.—An Aqueduct.—An Alarm.—Insects.-Effect of Insect Stings.-Return to the Willage of Palenque.
At daylight I returned, and found Mr. C. and Pawling sitting on the stones, half dressed, in rueful conclave. They had passed the night worse than I, and our condition and prospects were dismal. Rains, hards work, bad fare, seemed nothing; but we could no more exist without sleep than the “foolish fellow” of AEsop, who, at the moment when he had learned to live without eating, died. In all his travels through the country Pawling had never encountered such hard work as since he met us.
The next night the moschetoes were beyond all endurance; the slightest part of the body, the tip end of a finger, exposed, was bitten. With the heads covered the heat was suffocating, and in the morning our faces were all in blotches. Without some remedy we were undone. It is on occasions like this that the creative power of genius displays itself. Our beds, it will be remembered, were made of sticks lying side by side, and set on four piles of stones for legs. Over these we laid our pellons and armas de aguas, or leathern armour against rain, and over these our straw matting. This prevented our enemies invading us from between the sticks. Our sheets were already sewed up into sacks. We ripped one side, cut sticks, and bent them