Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/176

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TLM D176 Statue from Palenque.jpgSTATUE FROM PALENQUE. pied by the descendants of its original builders. The ruins of former races may be traced throughout all Southern Mexico, through Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, and Yucatan, until they culminate in the latter State in the wonderful structures that are the amazement of the present generation; but all are silent cities,—all their inhabitants departed, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years ago.

But here is said to be a veritable aboriginal city, not only preserving its own people, but retaining all the ancient customs and rites of their progenitors.

This is a region more worthy of investigation than the heart of Africa. To find the key to lost arts and manufactures, to find a people still preserving the rites of sacrifice,—this were enough to incite hundreds to exploration.

Unfortunately, those who go in never return! It is easy enough, apparently, to penetrate to that city, but no one who has once been there has ever been known to reach the coast again.

On the borders of that region is the wonderful Lake Peten, with its lovely town of Flores, on an island, in which the simple inhabitants set up an effigy of a horse of the Spanish con-