Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/541

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521
MEXICO REVISITED.

during all of his stay, and he was finally dismissed with profound regrets that things should not have been so he would have had access to the documents of which he was in quest. They thought something of the value of their lands would be taken away if the titles were copied.

M. Desiré Charnay, sent out by the French Society of Americanists and Mr. Lorillard, of New York, was of a far less skeptical turn, as we have seen, but it may be that the sort of spirit that prompts a man to this kind of adventure does not often coincide with the judicial habit best adapted for weighing the results. The two leading Mexican antiquarians, Chavero and Orozco y Berra, would not go out to Teotihuacan to see his discoveries, he tells us. "The greater part of the modern Mexican authors," he says, "have spoken of the ancient monuments after the accounts of foreign travellers and by hearsay, but how many of them have themselves ever visited the distant ruins of their country?" Charnay's casts from various monuments have been set up in the Trocadero Gallery at Paris, and copies in the Smithsonian Institute at Washington.

An enthusiast of a rather erratic sort is M. Le Plongeon, who has unearthed in Yucatan a large statue known as Chac-Mool, and claims to have pierced the mystery of the ancient inscriptions. He holds that the prehistoric cities are simply the product of a highly flourishing branch of Free-masonry. The French Society of Americanists has a standing offer of $25,000, however, for the discovery of a key to the inscriptions, which has not yet been called for. Fortunately, the antiquarian squabbles can take nothing from the value of the old Spanish remains, which stand in undisguised profusion and beauty on every side.