Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/145

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The Indian remains are various in their character; but for the most part heaps of rubbish. The wall of the palace is, however, one of the greatest curiosities in the country. It is still of considerable extent; and, where uninjured, seems to have been between twenty and thirty feet in height, and of six to eight feet in thickness. It is not built in a uniform manner, but varies in the form and distribution of the masonry at different points of elevation. About the mid height there is a layer of compact stonework, composed of long cylindrical masses, disposed with the circular ends outward. In following this wall for some distance to the eastward, it is found to abut suddenly upon a deep fissure or barranca, running east and west, and forming a natural defence on that side. The road crosses it by the celebrated arched bridge, concerning which antiquaries are divided in opinion; the sanguine and hot headed insisting that, however improbable, it is of genuine Indian construction, and formed a part of the original erections in its vicinity; at the same time that the cool and plodding deny the probability, and even assert the impossibility. It certainly would be a singular anomaly, to find in this single instance, the principle of the arch so well developed, while in every part of the continent to the northward, and on the plateau of Mexico, you evidently see that the ancient architects were ignorant of the science and principle; but for all that, my impression after I had studied it in every part was, that there was as much to be said on one side as upon the other. It is of the rudest construction, far too much so to be Spanish in its origin; and precisely of that acute form which, as it appears to me, would be the most natural for a timid architect, upon whose mind the truth of the principle had just dawned, to adopt in his first trials. The height above the bed of the barranca is about forty feet. A hunt after portable antiquities among the Indian huts was rewarded by the acquisition of an ugly monster of an idol in a sitting posture, delftly carved in a hard volcanic substance. He was perfect, with the exception of a corner of his mouth, into which the Indian who unearthed him had