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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 PalenqueDescription 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, hard 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