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stones, with a foundation-wall still remaining. Probably a tower or temple had stood there, but the woods were as thick as below, and no part of the ruined city, not even the palace, could be seen. Trees were growing out of the top, up one of which I climbed, but could not see the palace or any one of the buildings. Back toward the mountain was nothing but forest; in front, through an opening in the trees, we saw a great wooded plain extending to Tobasco and the Gulf of Mexico; and the Indian at the foot of the tree, peering through the branches, turned his face up to me with a beaming expression, and pointing to a little spot on the plain, which was to him the world, cried out, “alli esta el pueblo,” “there is the village.” This was the only occasion on which I attempted to explore, for it was the only time I had any mark to aim at.
I must except, however, the exploration of an aqueduct which Pawling and I attempted together. It is supplied by a stream which runs at the base of the terrace on which the palace stands. At the time of our arrival the whole stream passed through this aqueduct. It was now swollen, and ran over the top and alongside. At the mouth we had great difficulty in stemming the torrent. Within it was perfectly dark, and we could not move without candles. The sides were of smooth stones about four feet high, and the roof was made by stones lapping over like the corridors of the buildings. At a short distance from the entrance the passage turned to the left, and at a distance of one hundred and sixty feet it was completely blocked up by the ruins of the roof, which had fallen down. What was its direction beyond it was impossible to determine, but certainly it did not pass under the palace, as has been supposed.
Vol. II.-S s
Besides the claps of thunder and flashes of lightning, we had one alarm at night. It was from a noise that sounded like the cracking of a dry branch under a stealthy tread, which, as we all started up together, I thought was that of a wild beast, but which Mr. Catherwood, whose bed was nearer, imagined to be that of a man. We climbed up the mound of fallen stones at the end of this corridor, but beyond all was thick darkmess. Pawling fired twice as an intimation that we were awake, and we arranged poles across the corridor as a trap, so that even an Indian could not enter from that quarter without being thrown down with some considerable noise and detriment to his person.
Besides moschetoes and garrapatas, or ticks, we suffered from another worse insect, called by the natives niguas, which, we are told, pestered the Spaniards on their first entry into the country, and which, says the historian, “ate their Way into the Flesh, under the Nails of the Toes, then laid their Nits there within, and multiplied in such manner that there was no ridding them but by Cauteries, so that some lost their Toes, and some their Feet, whereas they should at first have been picked out; but being as yet unacquainted with the Evil, they knew not how to apply the Remedy.”
This description is true even to the last clause. We had escaped them until our arrival at Palenque, and being unacquainted with the evil, did not know how to apply the remedy. I carried one in my foot for several days, conscious that something was wrong, but not knowing what, until the nits had been laid and multiplied. Pawling undertook to pick them out with a penknife, which left a large hole in the flesh; and, unluckily, from the bites of various insects my soot became so inflamed that I could not get on shoe or stock
Ing. I was obliged to lie by, and, sitting an entire day with my foot in a horizontal position, uncovered, it was assaulted by small black flies, the bites of which I did not feel at the moment of infliction, but which left marks like the punctures of a hundred pins. The irritation was so great, and the swelling increased so much, that I became alarmed, and determined to return to the village. It was no easy matter to get there. The foot was too big to put in a stirrup, and, indeed, to keep it but for a few moments in a hanging position made it feel as if the blood would burst through the skin, and the idea of striking it against a bush makes me shudder even now. It was indispensable, however, to leave the place. I sent in to the village for a mule, and on the tenth day after my arrival at the ruins, hopped down the terrace, mounted, and laid the unfortunate member on a pillow over the pommel of the saddle. This gave me, for that muddy road, a very uncertain seat. I had a man before me to cut the branches, yet my hat was knocked off three or four times, and twice I was obliged to dismount; but in due season, to my great relief, we cleared the woods. After the closeness and confinement of the forest, coming once more into an open country quickened every pulse. As I ascended to the table on which the village stood, I observed an unusual degree of animation, and a crowd of people in the grass-grown street, probably some fifteen or twenty, who seemed roused at the sight of me, and presently three or four men on horseback rode toward me. I had borne many different characters in that country, and this time I was mistaken for three padres who were expected to arrive that morning from Tumbala. If the mistake had continued I should have had dinner enough for six at least; but unluckily, it
was soon discovered, and I rode on to the door of our old house. Presently the alcalde appeared, with his keys in his hands and in full dress, i. e., his shirt was inside of his pantaloons; and I was happy to find that he was in a worse humour at the coming of the padres than at our arrival ; indeed, he seemed now rather to have a leaning toward me, as one who could sympathize in his vexation at the absurdity of making such a fuss about them. When he saw my foot, too, he really showed some commiseration, and endeavoured to make me as comfortable as possible. The swelling had increased very much. I was soon on my back, and, lying perfectly quiet, by the help of a medicine-chest, starvation, and absence of irritating causes, in two days and nights I reduced the inflammation very sensibly.
A Voice from the Ruins.—Buying Bread.—Arrival of Padres.—Cura of Palenque. —Card Playing.—Sunday.—Mass-A Dinner Party.—Mementoes of Home.— Dinner Customs.-Return to the Ruins.—A marked Change.—Terrific Thunder.—A Whirlwind.— A Scene of the Sublime and Terrible.
THE third day I heard from the ruins a voice of wailing. Juan had upset the lard, and every drop was gone. The imploring letter I received roused all my sensibilities; and, forgetting everything in the emergency, I hurried to the alcalde's, and told him a hog must die. The alcalde made difficulties, and to this day I cannot account for his concealing from me a fact of which he must have been aware, to wit, that on that very night a porker had been killed. Very early the next morning I saw a boy passing with some strings of fresh pork, hailed him, and he guided me to a hut in the suburbs, but yesterday the dwelling of the unfortunate quadruped. I procured the portion of some honest Palenquian, and returned, happy in the consciousness of making others so. That day was memorable, too, for another piece of good fortune; for a courier arrived from Ciudad Real with despatches for Tobasco, and a back-load of bread on private account. As soon as the intelligence reached me, I despatched a messenger to negotiate for the whole stock. Unfortunately, it was sweetened, made up into diamonds, circles, and other fanciful forms, about two inches long and an inch thick, to be eaten with chocolate, and that detestable lard was oozing out of the crust. Nevertheless, it was