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of hiring for the night the bedsteads of the principal inhabitants, but there was not one in the village; all slept on the bosom of mother earth, and we had part of the family bed. Fortunately, however, and most imoortant for us, our mules fared well. Early in the morning we resumed our journey. There are warm springs in this neighbourhood, but we did not go out of our way to visit them. A short distance from the village we crossed a river and commenced ascending a mountain. On the top we came upon a narrow table of land, with a magnificent forest on both sides far below us. The wind swept over the lofty height, so that with our ponchas, which were necessary on account of the cold, it was difficult to keep the saddle. The road was broken and stony, and the track scarcely perceptible. At about ten o'clock the whole surface of the mountain was a bare ridge of limestone, from which the sun was reflected with scorching heat, and the whiteness was dazzling and painful to the eyes. Below us, on each side, continued an immense forest of gigantic pines. The road was perfectly desolate; we met no travellers. In four hours we saw on our left, at a great distance below, a single hacienda, with a clearing around it, seemingly selected for a mágnificent seclusion from the convulsions of a distracted country. The ridge was broken by gullies and deep ravines; and we came to one across which, by way of bridge, lay the trunks of two gigantic pines. My macho always pulled back when I attempted to lead him, and I remained on his back, and was carried steadily over; but at the other end we started at a noise behind us. Our best cargo-mule had fallen, rolled over, and hung on the brink of the precipice, with her feet kicking in the air, kept from falling to the bottom only by being Vol. II.-FF o
entangled among bushes. In a moment we scrambled down to her, got her head turned up the bank, and by means of strong halters heaved her out; but she was bruised and crippled, and barely able to stagger under her load. Continuing along the ridge, swept by fierce blasts of wind, we descended again to a river, rode some distance along its bank, and passed a track up the side of a mountain on the right, so steep that I had no idea it could be our road, and passed it, but was called back. It was the steepest ascent we had yet had in the country. It was cruel to push my brave macho, but I had been tormented all day with a violent headache, and could not walk; so I beat up, making the best tacks I could, and stopping every time I put about. On the top broke upon us one of those grand and magnificent views which, when we had wiped off perspiration and recovered breath, always indemnified us for our toil. It was the highest ground on which we had yet stood. Around us was a sea of mountains, and peeping above them, but so little as to give full effect to our own great height, were the conical tops of two new volcanoes. The surface was of limestone rock, in immense strata, with quartz, in one piece of which we discovered a speck of gold. Here again, in this vast wilderness of mountains, deep in the bowels of the earth, are those repositories of the precious ores for which millions upon millions all over the world are toiling, bargaining, craving, and cheating every day. Continuing on this ridge, we came out upon a spur commanding a view, far below us, of a cultivated valley, and the village of San Sebastiano. We descended to the valley, left the village on our right, crossed the spur, and saw the end of our day's journey, the town of Gueguetenango, situated on an extensive plain, with
a mild climate, luxuriant with tropical productions, surrounded by immense mountains, and before us the great Sierra Madre, the natural bulwark of Central America, the grandeur and magnificence of the view disturbed only by the distressing reflection that we had to cross it. My macho, brought up on the plains of Costa Rica, had long seemed puzzled to know what mountains were made for; if he could have spoken, he would have cried out in anguish,
Our day's journey was but twenty-seven miles, but it was harder for man and beast than any sixty since we lest Guatimala. We rode into the town, the chief place of the last district of Central America and of the ancient kingdom of Quiché. It was well built, with a large church or plaza, and again a crowd of Mestitzoes were engaged in the favourite occupation of fighting cocks. As we rode through the plaza the bell sounded for the oracion or vesper prayers. The people sell on their knees and we took off our hats. We stopped at the house of Don Joaquim Mon, an old Spaniard of high consideration, by whom we were hospitably received, and who, though a Centralist, on account of some affair of his sons, had had his house at Chiantla plundered by Carrera's soldiers. His daughters were compelled to take refuge in the church, and forty or fifty mules were driven from his hacienda. In a short time we had a visit from the corregidor, who had seen our proposed journey announced in the government paper, and treated us with the consideration due to persons specially recommended by the government.
We reached Gueguetenango in a shattered condition. Our cargo-Inules had their backs so galled that it was
distressing to use them; and the saddle-horse was no better off. Bobon, in walking barefooted over the stony road, had bruised the ball of one of his feet so that he was disabled, and that night Juan's enormous supper gave him an indigestion. He was a tremendous feeder; on the road nothing eatable was safe. We owed him a spite for pilfering our bread and bringing us down to tortillas, and were not sorry to see him, on his back; but he rolled over the floor of the corridor, crying out uproariously, so as to disturb the whole household, “Voy morir" “voy morir s” “I am going to die!” “I am going to die!” He was a hard subject to work upon, but we took him in hand strongly, and unloaded him. : Besides our immediate difficulties, we heard of others in prospect. In consequence of the throng of emigrants from Guatimala toward Mexico, no one was admitted into that territory without a passport from Ciudad Real, the capital of Chiapas, four or five days' journey from the frontier. The frontier was a long line of river in the midst of a wilderness, and there were two roads, a lower one but little travelled, on account of the difficulty of crossing the rivers, but at that time passable. As we intended, however, at all events, to stop at this place for the purpose of visiting the ruins, we postponed our decision till the next day. The next morning Don Joaquim told us of the skeleton of a colossal animal, supposed to be a mastodon, which had been found in the neighbourhood. Some of the bones had been collected, and were then in the town, and having seen them, we took a guide and walked to the place where they had been discovered, on the borders of the Rio Chinaca, about half a mile distant. At this time the river was low, but the year
before, swelled by the immense floods of the rainy season, it had burst its bounds, carried away its left bank, and laid bare one side of the skeleton. The bank was perpendicular, about thirty feet high, and the animal had been buried in an upright position. Besides the bones in the town, some had been carried away by the flood, others remained imbedded in the earth; but the impression of the whole animal, from twenty-five to thirty feet long, was distinctly visible. We were told that about eight leagues above, on the bank of the same river, the skeleton of a much larger animal had been discovered.
In the afternoon we rode to the ruins, which in the town were called las cuevas, the caves. They lie about half a league distant, on a magnificent plain, bounded in the distance by lofty mountains; among which is the great Sierra Madre.
The site of the ancient city, as at Patinamit and Santa Cruz del Quiché, was chosen for its security against enemies. It was surrounded by a ravine, and the general character of the ruins is the same as at Quiché, but the hand of destruction has fallen upon it more heavily. The whole is a confused heap of grass-grown fragments. The principal remains are two pyramidal structures of this form:
One of them measures at the base one hundred and two feet; the steps are four feet high and seven feet deep, making the whole height twenty-eight feet. They are not of cut stone as at Copan, but of rough pieces cemented with lime, and the whole exterior was formerly coated with stucco and painted. On the top is a small square platform, and at the base lies a long slab of rough II - 20