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walk, but the rocks and roots were so slippery, the mud-holes so deep, and the ascents and descents so steep, that it was impossible to continue."
We have not room for any account of the sort of rough feeding which the traveller must be contented with at the end of such a stage; neither of the churlish treatment sometimes met with, as well as the inconvenience and provocation occasioned by rascally muleteers. If, however, any traveller could be expected to overcome all opposition, and baffle difficulties, it was the cool, the prudent, the firm, and the resourceful Mr. Stephens. But before reaching the sites of ancient cities, we must catch a glimpse of popular customs, manners, and feelings; the sketches of which, as well as of scenery, often diversify the pages of our agreeable and closely observant traveller.
Having reached the ridge of the Mico Mountain, they came, in the after progress of the party, to a large gate, which "was the first token we had seen of individual or territorial boundary, and in other countries would have formed a fitting entrance to a princely estate." It stood directly across the road like a toll-bar-a massive frame, with all its posts and supporters of solid mahogany. Soon after they approached a cochineal plantation, next passing through a "long lane thickly bordered and overshadowed with shrubs and trees, close to suffocation." In a short time they entered Gualan, where the heat was excessive. "At that moment there was a slight shock of earthquake." At length they reached the house of Donna Bartola, to whom they had a letter of introduction; and here, for the first time since they left Yzabel, they changed their clothes; for the first time, too, they dined. Matters of business, in due course, had to be attended to;
"The first was to hire mules, which could not be procured till the day but one after. Next I negotiated for washing clothes, which was a complicated business, for it was necessary to specify which articles were to be washed, which ironed, and which starched, and to pay separately for washing, ironing, soap, and starch; and, lastly, I negotiated with a tailor for a pair of pantaloons, purchasing separately stuff, lining, buttons, and thread, the tailor finding needles and thimble himself. Toward evening we again walked to the river, returned, and taught Donna Bartola how to make tea. By this time the whole town was in commotion preparatory to the great ceremony of praying to the Santa Lucia. Early in the morning, the firing of muskets, petards, and rockets, had announced the arrival of this unexpected but welcome visitor, one of the holiest saints of the calendar, and, next to San Antonio, the most celebrated for the power of working miracles."
We are also told that the tour of the Santa Lucia, at that particular time, was regarded as an indication of a change of government, as a prelude to the restoration of the influence of the church, and
the revival of ceremonies "dear to the heart of the Indian." As such, it was hailed by all the villages through which the image or doll was carried. But to quote more particularly, the night having arrived when she was to receive the prayers of the Christians of Gualan, and when Mr. Stephens was there to see:—
"The Santa Lucia enjoyed a peculiar popularity from her miraculous power over the affections of the young; for any young man who prayed to her for a wife, or any young woman who prayed for a husband, was sure to receive the object of such prayer: and if the person praying indicated to the saint the individual wished for, the prayer would be granted, provided such individual was not already married. It was not surprising that a saint with such extraordinary powers, touching so directly the tenderest sensibilities, created a sensation in a place where the feelings, or rather the passions, are particularly turned to love. Donna Bartola invited us to accompany her, and, setting out, we called upon a friend of hers. During the whole visit, a servant girl sat with her lap full of tobacco, making straw cigars for immediate use. It was the first time we had smoked with ladies, and, at first, it was rather awkward to ask one for a light; but we were so thoroughly broken in that night that we never had any delicacy afterward. The conversation turned upon the saint and her miraculous powers; and when we avowed ourselves somewhat sceptical, the servant girl, with that familiarity, though not want of respect, which exists throughout Central America, said that it was wicked to doubt; that she had prayed to the saint herself, and two months afterward she was married, and to the very man she prayed for, though at the time he had no idea of her, and, in fact, wanted another girl. With this encouragement, locking the house, and accompanied by children and servants, we set out to pay our homage to the saint. The sound of a violin and the firing of rockets indicated the direction of her temporary domicile. She had taken up her residence in the hut of a poor Indian in the suburbs; and, for some time before reaching it, we encountered crowds of both sexes, and all ages and colours, and in every degree of dress and undress, smoking and talking, and sitting or lying on the ground in every variety of attitude. Room was made for our party, and we entered the hut. It was about twenty feet square, thatched on the top and sides with leaves of Indian corn, and filled with a dense mass of kneeling men and women. On one side was an altar, about four feet high, covered with a clean white cotton cloth. On the top of the altar was a frame, with three elevations, like a flower-stand, and on the top of that a case, containing a large wax doll, dressed in blue silk, and ornamented with gold-leaf, spangles, and artificial flowers. This was the Santa Lucia. Over her head was a canopy of red cotton cloth, on which was emblazoned a cross in gold. On the right was a sedan chair, trimmed with red cotton and gold-leaf, being the travelling equipage of the saint; and near it were Indians in half-sacerdotal dress, on whose shoulders she travelled; festoons of oranges hung from the roof, and the rough posts were inwrapped with leaves of the sugar-cane. At the foot of the altar was a mat, on which girls and boys were playing; and a little fellow about six years old, habited in the picturesque costume of a straw hat, and that only,
was coolly surveying the crowd. The ceremony of praying had already begun, and the music of a drum, a violin, and a flageolet, under the direction of the Indian master of ceremonies, drowned the noise of voices. Donna Bartola, who was a widow, and the other ladies of our party, fell on their knees; and, recommending myself to their prayers, I looked on without doing anything for myself, but I studied attentively the faces of those around me. There were some of both sexes who could not strictly be called young; but they did not, on that account, pray less earnestly. In some places people would repel the imputation of being desirous to procure husband or wife; not so in Gualan: they prayed publicly for what they considered a blessing. Some of the men were so much in earnest, that perspiration stood in large drops upon their faces; and none thought that praying for a husband need tinge the cheek of a modest maiden. watched the countenance of a young Indian girl, beaming with enthusiasm and hope; and, while her eyes rested upon the image of the saint, and her lips moved in prayer, I could not but imagine that her heart was full of some truant, and perhaps unworthy lover. Outside the hut was an entirely different scene. Near by, were rows of kneeling men and women, but beyond were wild groups of half-naked men and boys, setting off rockets and fireworks. As I moved through, a flash rose from under my feet, and a petard exploded so near, that the powder singed me; and, turning round, I saw hurrying away my rascally muleteer. Beyond, were parties of young men and women dancing by the light of blazing pine-sticks. In a hut at some little distance were two haggard old women, with large caldrons over blazing fires, stirring up and serving out the contents with long wooden ladles, and looking like witches dealing out poison instead of love-potions. At ten o'clock the prayers to the saint died away, and the crowd separated into groups and couples, and many fell into what in English would be called flirtations. A mat was spread for our party against the side of the hut, and we all lighted cigars and sat down upon it. Cups made of small gourds, and filled from the caldrons with a preparation of boiled Indian corn, sweetened with various dolces, were passed from mouth to mouth, each one sipping and passing it on to the next; and this continued, without any interruption, for more than an hour. We remained on the ground till after midnight, and then were among the first to leave. On the whole, we concluded that praying to the Santa Lucia must lead to matrimony; and I could not but remark that, in the way of getting husbands and wives, most seemed disposed to do something for themselves, and not leave all to the grace of the saint."
We must now on to the ruins at Copan. In the meanwhile, however, we shall introduce the few extracts which are to follow by some prefatory observations, the result of our own general reading, and collected from previous accounts, as well as from the speculations of certain theorists concerning the ruins which are strewed over Central America.
When an antiquarian subject is not treated with pedantic display, but with the desire to obtain lights regarding the condition or the degree of civilization of some branch of the human family that
must have existed at a very distant period, especially if that subject have novelty to recommend it, while still such obscurity broods over it as to be pierced only here and there by some flickering rays, the utmost interest is begotten the moment we find that even these faint guides have been subjected to an earnest contemplation. If Egypt has been long made the scene of antiquarian speculation and discovery, and yet continues to supply new and marvellous monuments, the witnesses of primitive times, without exhausting the curiosity of the popular reader, or fatiguing the scholarly and the learned, with how much greater eagerness should we rush to the study of the recently discovered relics in Spanish America, seeing that very strong reasons exist for believing that these are not only as ancient as those to be found in the valley of the Nile, but are equally rich as works of art, and valuable as evidences of a peculiar development of mind and manners! The field is all but untrodden, although it is known that immense treasures are there buried; buried not only by the operations of time and physical nature, but by the crude lumber which most of the few who have yet explored it, have contrived to add. Owing to these absurd accumulations, together with the hasty and disparaging representations of historians, Robertson particularly, the Mexican antiquities have been undeservedly neglected.
It is true that Humboldt and some other travellers, as well as a commission at one time sent out by the Spanish government, gave such accounts, and drew such pictures, both by pencil and pen, of a considerable number and variety of the antiquities in question, as must have satisfied every reflecting mind and competent judge that these remains are not less stupendous, magnificent, grotesque, or tasteful than those of Egypt. Indeed, the former bear a striking resemblance to the latter; with such differences as local circumstances and national peculiarities would originate. Thus in New Spain are to be met with pyramidal graduated fabrics,-evidences of like modes of primeval worship with those which exist in the country of the Pharaohs, such as that of the solar god,-relics of temples and palaces, of sepulchres and domestic edifices which present the strong Cyclopean features. The idols, sculptures, and hieroglyphics exhibit a manifest affinity to the Egyptian. The ground-work plan of one of the palaces is, in fact, the Egyptian Tau.
Boldness of conception and skilful execution distinguish many of the relics which are scattered over Central America, and which crowd vast areas in many places; although, as was to be expected of any nation who arrived at such eminence, there are evidences of different stages having been attained in the progress of the characteristic refinement. It has been said that their architecture is marked by stately grandeur and melancholy beauty. Some of the
discovered statues are in a pure classical style. In like admirable taste are the vessels that have been found in their tombs; and to refer to other tokens of social advancement, it may be sufficient to state, that roads constructed like the Roman military roads extend to considerable distances from the cities, some of them carried by great artificial efforts around acclivities, or so as to unite mountains, great regard being had not only to the construction of levels, guarded too by parapets, but fixed stages being appointed for facilitating travelling by post in some way analogous to what distinguishes our turnpike roads. Now, could the people who contrived these gigantic structures,-these social accommodations, and who attended with such exquisite skill to details, be barbarians or savages? The supposition is self-contradictory. Could it be a nation no further advanced in civilization than the Mexicans were at the period of the Spanish conquest? Even this is a conjecture that may be as summarily disposed of, and upon abstract principles or the necessities of things, although there were no historical facts to direct us.
The monuments of which we have been particularly speaking are not Mexican, but belong to an age and some great nation long prior to the invasion of Cortes and Pizarro; a nation whom the natives at that date could not describe more precisely than to call them "giants and wandering masons." Now, these vague reports, but significant appellations, have by some been held to characterize, in every district in ancient Europe, the Cyclopean family, a conjecture which the relics themselves so remarkably corroborate. Others maintain that the monuments date no further back than the era of the Tultecans, who only preceded the Mexicans proper by about six hundred years. But even this appears a period approaching too closely upon the present time, or at least upon that of the Spanish conquest, to enable us to account for such majestic and perfect works, without any distinct traditions or remnants of a people that must have been amazingly superior either to the Tultecan or Mexican tribes. How can we think of the authors of such Titanian architecture but as having formed a nation of extraordinary power in America, of which all certain memorial has been lost many centuries ago?
There is one theory which, if true, would give us a sufficiently remote and imposing idea of the nation whose works are desolate in New Spain, and which are such a mystery to antiquaries. This theory has been advanced by Lord Kingsborough and others, viz., that the ten tribes of the Israelites, who were carried away captive by the king of Assyria, in the reign of Hoshea, king of Judah, and who were scattered by the conqueror over north-eastern Asia, passed over into America, which they originally peopled. And indeed several observances and customs distinguish the Red Indian,