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cities, of vast magnitude and marvellous mythology. And being, as it evidently appears, a man of unusual intelligence and scholastic acquirements, he had doubtless felt, as he states, a profound but hopeless curiosity concerning their origin and history. He had even seen and consecutively examined the numerous and ornate monuments of Copan ; but it was not until he had proceeded to the second stage of the journey from Coban to Quiche, that he was shown the engravings in the first volume of Stevens' Central America, in which they are so faithfully depicted. He recognized many of them as old acquaintances, and still more as new ones, which had escaped his more cursory inspection; and in all he could trace curious details which, on the spot, he regretted the want of time to examine. He, moreover, knew the surly Don Gregorio, by whom Mr. Stevens had been treated so inhospitably, and several other persons in the vicinity of the ruins whom he had named, and was delighted with the vraisemblance of his descriptions. The Senor confesses that these circumstances inspired him with unlimited confidence in that traveller's statements upon other subjects ; and when Mr. Huertis read to him the further account of the information given to Mr. Stevens by the jolly and merry, but intelligent old Padre of Quiche, respecting other ruined cities beyond the Sierra Madre, and especially of the living city of independant Candones, or unchristianized Indians, supposed to have been seen from the lofty summit of that mountain range, and was told by Messrs. Huertis and Hammond that the exploration of this city was the chief object of their perilous expedition, the Senor adds, that his enthusiasm became enkindled to at least as high a fervor as theirs, and that, “ with more precipitancy than prudence, in a man of his maturer years and important business pursuits, he resolved to unite in the enterprise, to aid the heroic young men with his experience in travel and knowledge of the wild Indians of the region referred to, and to see the end of the adventure, result as it may."
He was confirmed in this resolution by several concurring facts of which his companions were now told for the first time. He intimately knew and had several times been the guest of the worthy Cura of Quiche, from whom Mr. Stevens received assurances of the existence of the ruined city of the ancient Aztecs, as well as of the living city of the Candones, in the unsubjugated territory beyond the mountains. And he was induced to yield credence to the Padre's confident report of the latter, because his account of the former had already been verified, and become a matter of fact and of record. He, Senor Velasquez, himself, during the preceding summer, joined a party of several foreigners and natives in exploring an ancient ruined city, of prodigious grandeur and extent, in the province of Vera Paz, but little more than 150 miles to the east of Guatamala, (instead of nearly 200, as the Padre had supposed,) which far surpassed in magnificence every other ruin, as yet discovered, either in Central America or Mexico. It lay overgrown with huge timber, in the midst of a dense forest, far remote from any settlement, and near the crater of a long extinct volcano, on whose perpendicular walls, 300 or 400 feet high, were aboriginal paintings of warlike and idolatrous processions, dances, and other ceremonies, exhibiting, like the architectural sculptures on the temples, a state of advancement in the arts incomparably superior to all previous examples. And as the good Padre had proved veracious and accurate on this matter, which he knew from personal observation, the Senor would not uncharitably doubt his veracity on a subject in which he again professed to speak from the evidence of his own eye-sight.
The party thus re-assured, and more exhilarated than ever with the prospect of success, proceeded on their journey with renewed vigor. Although the Senor modestly abstains from any allusion to the subject, in the MSS. which have reached us, it cannot be doubted that Messrs. Huertis and Hammond considered him an invaluable accession to their party. He was a guide on whom they could rely; he was acquainted with the dialects of many of the Indian tribes through which they would have to pass; was familiar with the principal stages and villages on their route, and knew both the places and persons from whence the best information, if any, concerning the paramount object of their journey, could be obtained.
It appears also, from an incidental remark in his journal, that Senor Velasquez would have been at their right hand in a fight, in the event of any hostile obstruction on their way. As a volanteer, he had held a command under Morazan, during the sanguinary conflicts of the republic, and had been a soldier through several of the most arduous campaigns, in the fierce struggle between that general and Carrera. He was thus, apparently, in all respects, precisely such an auxiliary as they would have besought Providence to afford them, to accomplish the hazardous enterprise they had so daringly projected and commenced.
Unfortunately for the public, the Senor's journal, fragmentary throughout, is especially meagre concerning the incidents of travel between the capital of Vera Paz and Santa Cruz del Quiche. At this period, he appears to have left the task of recording them almost entirely to his two friends, whose memoranda, in all probability, are forever lost. Some of those incidents appear, even from his brief minutes of them, to have been of the most imminent and critical importance. Thus under the date of February 2nd, 1849, he says, “on the bank of a branch of the Salamo, attacked in the night by about thirty Indian robbers, several of whom had fire-arms. Sr. Hammond, sitiing within the light of the fire, was severely wounded through the left shoulder ; they had followed us from the hacienda, six leagues, passed us to the nor.h and lay in ambush ; killed four, wounded three ; of the rest saw no more ; poor Juan, shot through the body, died this morning ; lost two mules.”
After this, there is nothing written until the 16th, when they had arrived at a place called San Jose, where he says, “Good beef and fowls ; Sr. Huertis much better ; Sr. Hammond very low in intermittent fever ; fresh mules and good ones.” Next on the 5th of March, at the Indian village of Axitzel, is written, “Detained here five days ; Hammond, strong and headstrong. Agree with Huertis that, to be safe, we must await with patience the return of the good Cura." Slight and tantalizing memoranda of this kind occur, irregularly, until April 3d, when we find the party safely arrived at Quiche, and comfortably accommodated in a convent. The jovial Padre, already often mentioned, who may be regarded as the unconscious father of the expedition, had become helplessly, if not hopelessly, dropsical, and had lost much of his wonted jocosity. He declared, however, that Senor Velasquez's description of the ruins explored the previous summer, recalling as it did his own profoundly impressed recollection of them, when he walked through their desolate avenues
and deserted palaces ; and corroborating as it did, in every particular, his own reiterated account of them, which he had often bestowed upon incredulous and unworthy ears, would “act like cannabis upon his bladder,” as it already had upon his eyes; and if he could but live to see the description in print, so as to silence all gainsayers, he had no doubt it would completely cure him, and add many years to his life. He persisted in his story of the unknown city in the Candone wilderness, as seen by himself, nearly forty years ago, from the summit of the sierra ; and promised the travellers a letter to his friend, the Cura of Gueguetenango, requesting him to procure them a guide to the' very spot from whence they could behold it for themselves.
This promise, in the course of a few days, the Senor says, he faithfully performed, describing from recollection, by the hand of an amanuensis to whom he dictated, not only the more striking but even minute and peculiar landmarks for the guidance of the guide. On the 10th of April, the party, fully recruited in health and energy, set out for Totonicapan ; and thence we trace them by the journal through a succession of small places to Quezaltenango, where they remained but two days ; and thence through the places called Aguas Calientes, and San Sebastiano, to Gueguetenango ; this portion of their route being described as one of unprecedented toil, danger, and exhaustion, from its mountainous character, accidents to men and mules, terrific weather, and loss of provisions. Arrived, however, at length, at the town last named, which they justly regarded as an eminently critical stage of their destiny, they found the Cura, and presented him with the letter of introduction from his friend, the Padre of Quiche. They were somewhat discouraged on perceiving that the Cura indicated but little confidence in the accuracy of his old friend's memory, and asked them rather abruptly, if they thought him really serious in his belief in his distant vision of an unknown city from the sierra, because, for his own part, he had always regarded the story as one of Padre's broadest jokes, and especially since he had never heard of any other person possessing equal visual powers. “The mountain was high, it is true, but not much more than half as high as the hyperbolous memory of his reverend friend had made it, and he much feared that the Padre, in the course of forty years, had so frequently repeated a picture of his early imagination as to have,
at length, cherished it as a reality.” This was said in smooth and elegant Spanish, but, says the Senor, “ with an air of dignified sarcasm upon our own credulity, which was far from being agreeable to men broken down and dispirited by almost incredible toil in pursuit of an object thus loftily pronounced a rediculous phantom of the brain.” This part of Senor Valesquez' journal being interesting and carefully written, we give the following translation without abridgement:
“ The Cura, nevertheless, on finding that his supercilious scepticism had not proved so infectious among us as he expected, and that we were rather vexed than vacillating, offered to procure us guides, in the course of a day or two, who were familiar with many parts of the sierra, and who, for good pay, he doubted not, would flatter our expectations to the utmost extent we could desire. He advised us, however, in the same style of caustic dissuasion, to take with us both a barometer and a telescope, if we were provided with those instruments, because the latter, especially, might be found useful in discovering the unknown city, and the former would not only inform us of the height of the mountain, but of the weather in prospect most favorable to a distant view. Senor Huertis replied, that such precautions would be adopted, as a matter of course, and we would, moreover, furnish hm, on our return to Gueguetenango, with the exact latitude and longitude of the spot from which the discovery might be made. He laughed very heartily, and rejoined that he thought this operation would be much easier than to furnish the same interesting particulars concerning the location of the spots at which the discovery might fail to be made; and saying this he robed himself for mass, which we all, rather sullenly, attended.
“ Next morning, two good looking Meztitzos, brothers, waited on us with a strong letter of recommendation from the Cura, as guides to that region of the sierra which the Padre's letter had so particularly described, and which description, the Cura added, he had taken much pains to make them understand. On being questioned concerning it, they startled and somewhat disconcerted us by calm assurances, in very fair Spanish, that they were not only familiar with all the land-marks, great and small, which the Cura had read to them, but had several times seen the very city of which we were in search, although none but fullblooded Indians had ever ventured on a journey to it. This was rather too much, even for us, sanguine and confiding as we were. We shared a common suspicion that the Cura bad changed his tactics, and resolved to play a practical joke upon our credulityto send us on a fool's errand and laugh at us for our pains. That he had been tampering with the two guides for this purpose, struck us forcibly; for while he professed never to have known any man who had seen the distant city, he recommended these