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myself; but I soon discovered that the for- mon in a colder climate, and among a more mer was the case, upon the presumption, progressive people, conspires to keep the doubtless, that each one knew how much Indian Yucatecos in a state of listless his case required better than any one else. bondage, which they endure without a This penitential ceremony continued for murmur, and we may add, from our own the space of fifteen minutes, at least, with- observation, without much of any positive out intermission. When it ceased, which suffering. Legalized slavery, as it is well was at the tinkling of a bell, the candles known, does not exist in any part of were relighted, and the assemblage slowly Mexico. left the church, apparently perfectly satis. " The dress of the Indian is of the most fied that they had received no more than simple kind. His food principally consists they deserved."

of corn; which is prepared by parboiling,

and crushing on a stone by means of a The Indians constitute the larger roller. When ready, it is made into balls; portion of the population of Yucatan, and, after being mixed with water, it is and to those who associate them with deemed fit to be eaten. Corn is broken the architects of the ruins which are in the same way, and made into cakes soon destined to make the plains of called tortillas, which is the favorite food Chi-Chen, of Uxmal, and of Zayi clas

of all classes of society in this province. sic ground, are by far the most inter

The wages for Indian service is from one

to four dollars per month; the largest poresting. The interest is, however, of a

tion of which, in very many cases, is exmelancholy kind. Few of the linea

pended for candles and other offerings to ments of face or character remain their chosen saint. They are an extremewhich must have marked the aborigi- ly mild and inoffensive people. Drinking nal inhabitant of Yucatan. Mr. Nor- is their most decided vice; but even this, man seems to have partaken of the in- as we have already remarked, cannot be terest which all must feel in this un- called a prevailing one. They are a listfortunate people, and thus anticipates less rather than indolent race, and never our inquiries:

“think for the morrow." They have quite

an amiable expression in their countenan" A stranger, on his first arrival in this ces, and their mode of conversation is country, is at a loss where to place the per

pleasing. Their features remind one of Indian in the scale of social life. He sees

those of the Asiatic more than of any him clean and well dressed, mingling with

other. Their stature is short, and thick the whites, and without distinction. To

set, leaving but little resemblance to that have Indian blood is no reproach, and fa

of the North American Indian. We mily groups, in many cases, show this most

looked in vain for their pastimes- they palpably. It is not unusual to hear mo

have none, except those connected with thers threaten to send their children home

the church. They seldom dance or sing. to their respective fathers, whenever their

They are wholly under the surveillance of rudeness requires chiding. The Indian,

the priests, and are the most zealous dehowever, performs the menial labor of

of votees to their rites and ceremonies. Their the country-and there is an appearance

hours of leisure are passed in their hamof apathy in his looks and actions, which

mocks, or else in silently squatting about seems to carry with it the signs of a brok

the corners of the streets.” en, or at least a subdued spirit-resting upon him like a melancholy vision, à But we are doing our readers injusdreamy remembrance, of better days. For, tice in detaining them upon matters say what we please of him, he is the hum- which in comparison with the rest of ble descendant of a once great and power- this work are of altogether secondary ful people—the children of the sun,' who interest. We hasten with our author were lords of that soil on which their off- therefore to the Ruins. After a month's spring are now held in humiliating vassalo stay at Merida, Mr. Norman makes preage. Though they wear the outside show

" parations for visiting the ruins of Chiof freedom, they have not even as much

Chen, of which he accidentally heard liberty as 'the most abject vassal of the middle ages. They are literally degraded

while staying at Merida. He passes to the position of serfs. They are always

through Ticoxo, Calcachen, Tuncax, in debt, and are, consequently, at the

Sitax, and Valladolid, which places he mercy of their creditors, who, by the law de

their creditors who huche law describes with all the minuteness of the country, have a lien upon their ser- which they appear to have deserved. vices until their debts are cancelled. This, He tells us, that he was the first visi. together with the absence of nearly all the tor to the ruins of Chi-Chen, who has ordinary encouragements to exertion, com- left the world any record of the visit. He thus describes his sensations, when sufficiently under control to enable me to he for the first time finds himself in examine them with any minuteness. The the presence of these time-defying me- Indians for many leagues around, hearing morials of antiquity :

of my arrival, came to visit me daily; but

the object of my toil was quite beyond « It was on the morning of the 10th of their comprehension. They watched my February, that I directed my steps, for the every motion, occasionally looking up to first time, toward the ruins of the ancient

each other with an air of unfeigned astoncity of Chi-Chen. On arriving in the im

ishment; but whether to gather an exmediate neighborhood. I was compelled to planation from the faces of their neighcut my way through an almost impermea

bors, or to express their contempt for my ble thicket of under-brush, interlaced and proceedings, I have permitted myself to bound together with strong tendrils and remain in doubt up to this day. Of the vines ; in which labor I was assisted by builders or occupants of these edifices my diligent aid and companion, José. I which were in ruins about them, they had was finally enabled to effect a passage; 1.

er not the slightest idea; nor did the quesand, in the course of a few hours, found

funa tion seem to have ever occurred to them myself in the presence of the ruins which

in which before.


After the most careful search, I I sought. For five days did I wander up could discover no traditions, no superstiand down among these crumbling monua tions, nor legends of any kind. Time and ments of a city which, I hazard little in foreign oppression had paralyzed, among saying, must have been one of the largest this unfortunate people, those organs the world has ever seen. I beheld before which have been ordained by the God of name, for a circuit of many miles in diame- tions to transmute history into tradition. ter, the walls of palaces and temples, and All communication with the past here pyramids. more or less dilapidated. The seems to have been cut off. Nor did any earth was strewed, as far as the eve could allusion to their ancestry, or to the former distinguish, with column's, some broken occupants of these mighty palaces and and some nearly perfect, which seemed to monumental temples, produce the slightest have been planted there by the genius of thrill through the memories of even the desolation which presided over this awful oldest Indians in the vicinity. Defeated solitude. Amid these solemn memorials in my anticipations from this quarter. I of departed generations, who have died addressed myself at once to the only and left no marks but these, there were no course of procedure which was likely to indications of animated existence save give me any solution of the solemn mystefrom the bats, the lizards, and the reptiles ry. I determined to devote myself to a carewhich now and then emerged from the ful examination of these ruins in detail. crevices of the tottering walls and crumbling stones that were strewed upon the

Mr. Norman first visits the temple, ground at their base. No marks of hu- of which only broken walls and pillars man footsteps, no signs of previous visi- are now standing. It must have been tors, were discernible; nor is there good originally about four hundred and fifty reason to believe that any person, whose feet long, and built of carefully hewn testimony of the fact has been given to the stone. Within this building was a world, had ever before broken the silence room fourteen feet long and six wide. which reigns over these sacred tombs of The parts of it yet remaining “are a departed civilisation. As I looked about finished with sculptured blocks of stone me and indulged in these reflections, I felt of about one foot square, representing awed into perfect silence. To speak then, Indian figures. with feather headhad been profane. A revelation from dresses, armed with bows and arrows, heaven could not have impressed me more

their noses ornamented with rings; carprofoundly with the solemnity of its communication, than I was now impressed on rying in one hand bows and arrows, and finding myself the first, probably, of the

in the other a musical instrument, simi. present generation of civilized men walk- lar to those that are now used by the Ining the streets of this once mighty city, dians of the country. These figures were and amid

interspersed with animals resembling

the crocodile. “Near this room," he "Those temples, palaces, and riles stupendous, of which the very ruins are tremendous."

feet of which remained above the ruins. For a long time I was so distracted with It was carved on all sides with Indian the multitude of objects which crowded figures, as large as life, and apparently upon my mind, that I could take no note in warlike attitudes. Fragments of a of them in detail. It was not until some similar kind were scattered about in hours had elapsed, that my curiosity was the vicinity." A few rods to the south

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