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´╗┐Title: On the Banks of the Amazon
Author: Kingston, William Henry Giles, 1814-1880
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "On the Banks of the Amazon" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



On the Banks of the Amazon, by W.H.G. Kingston.

________________________________________________________________________

This is a quite long book, very well written, about a trip down the
Amazon.  There is rather a lot of "Natural History", but not too much,
because it has all been made easy to follow, and is very interesting.
All sorts of interesting things happen on this voyage.

The copy used for digitisation had a rather furry and small typeface.
Not one of the clearest we have ever seen.  Consequently it was rather
heavy labour trying to iron out the misreads and typos, and it may well
be that some remain, though nowhere near the prescribed limit of 99.95%.

There are 132,948 words in the book, so 1 in 2000 means that we must
have less than 66 errors still remaining, which I am sure is the case.

It is a rather curious thing that one is reminded at times of
Ballantyne's "Martin Rattler," written very much earlier, even down to
to the presence of a "recluse".  That doesn't mean you won't enjoy the
book just as much as you might have enjoyed "Martin Rattler."  Best, as
always, as an audiobook.

________________________________________________________________________

ON THE BANKS OF THE AMAZON, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.



CHAPTER ONE.

MY SCHOOL-BOY DAYS AND FRIENDS.

I might find an excuse for being proud, if I were so,--not because my
ancestors were of exalted rank or title, or celebrated for noble deeds
or unbounded wealth, or, indeed, on account of any ordinary reasons,--
but because I was born in one of the highest cities in the world.  I saw
the light in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, then forming the northern
part of the Spanish province of Peru.  The first objects I remember
beyond the courtyard of our house in which I used to play, with its
fountain and flower-bed in the centre, and surrounding arches of
sun-burned bricks, were lofty mountains towering up into the sky.  From
one of them, called Pichincha, which looked quite close through the
clear atmosphere of that region, I remember seeing flames of fire and
dark masses of smoke, intermingled with dust and ashes, spouting forth.
Now and then, when the wind blew from it, thick showers of dust fell
down over us, causing great consternation; for many thought that stones
and rocks might follow and overwhelm the city.  All day long a lofty
column of smoke rose up towards the sky, and at night a vast mass of
fire was seen ascending from the summit; but no harm was done to the
city, so that we could gaze calmly at the spectacle without
apprehension.  Pichincha is, indeed, only one of several mountains in
the neighbourhood from the tops of which bonfires occasionally blaze
forth.  Further off, but rising still higher, is the glittering cone of
Cotopaxi, which, like a tyrant, has made its power felt by the
devastation it has often caused in the plains which surround its base:
while near it rise the peaks of Corazon and Ruminagui.  Far more dreaded
than their fires is the quaking and heaving and tumbling about of the
earth, shaking down as it does human habitations and mountain-tops,
towers and steeples, and uprooting trees, and opening wide chasms,
turning streams from their courses, and overwhelming towns and villages,
and destroying in other ways the works of men's hands, and human beings
themselves, in its wild commotion.

These burning mountains, in spite of their fire and smoke, appear but
insignificant pigmies compared to that mighty mountain which rises in
their neighbourhood--the majestic Chimborazo.  We could see far off its
snow-white dome, free of clouds, towering into the deep blue sky, many
thousand feet above the ocean; while on the other side its brother,
Tunguragua, shoots up above the surrounding heights, but, in spite of
its ambitious efforts, has failed to reach the same altitude I might
speak of Antisana, and many other lofty heights with hard names? but I
fancy that a fair idea may be formed of that wonderful region of giant
mountains from the description I have already given.

I used often to think that I should like to get to the top of
Chimborazo, the way up looked so easy at a distance; but no one has ever
reached its summit, though several valiant philosophers and others have
made the attempt.

The mountain range I have described, of which Chimborazo was long
considered the highest point, till Aconcagua in Chili was found to be
higher, rises from the ocean in the far-off southern end of America, and
runs up along its western shore, ever proud and grand, with snow-topped
heights rising tens of thousands of feet above the ocean, till it sinks
once more towards the northern extremity of the southern half of the
continent, running along the Isthmus of Panama, through Mexico at a less
elevation, again to rise in the almost unbroken range of the Rocky
Mountains, not to sink till it reaches the snow-covered plains of the
Arctic region.

But I am becoming too scientific and geographical; and I must confess
that it was not till many years after the time of which I am speaking
that I knew anything about the matter.  My father, Don Martin Fiel, had
been for some years settled in Quito as a merchant.  His mother was
Spanish, or partly so, born in Peru--I believe that she had some of the
blood of the Incas in her veins, a matter of which she was not a little
proud, I have been told--but his father was an Englishman, and our
proper family name was Faithful.  My father, having lived for many years
in the Spanish South American provinces, had obtained the rights and
privileges of a Spaniard.  He had, however, been sent over to England
for his education, and was a thorough Englishman at heart.  He had made
during his younger days several visits to England for mercantile
purposes, and during one of them had married my mother.  He was, though
really a Protestant--I am sorry to have to make the confession--
nominally a Roman Catholic; for he, being a Spanish subject, could not
otherwise at that time have resided in any part of the territories of
Spain and carried on his business with freedom: but I feel now that no
person has a right to conceal their true faith, and to pretend to
believe what is false, for the sake of any worldly advantage.  My
mother, however, had stipulated that all her children should be brought
up as Protestants.  To this he had agreed, though he found when he had
sons that he was in consequence subjected to considerable annoyance from
the priests, who threatened to denounce him as a heretic.  To avoid
this, he had to send his children to England at an early age for their
education; indeed, had we remained at Quito we could only have obtained
a very poor one at any public school or college.  It will be understood
from what I have said, that though we were really English, and I have
always felt like an Englishman, we had both Spanish and native
connections, which will account for some of the circumstances which
afterwards occurred to us.

My father, though he himself resided at Quito, had also a house of
business at Guayaquil, which imported European manufactured goods, and
exported in return Peruvian bark and other articles, of which I shall
by-and-by have to speak.  He was greatly respected by his
fellow-citizens, although they might have been somewhat jealous of him
for succeeding in his business through his energy and perseverance,
while they themselves, sitting idle all the day smoking their cigarettes
without attempting to exert their minds, were left behind.  My dear
mother lived very much alone, for the society of the ladies of Quito,
though they are very charming in manner, afforded her but little
satisfaction, from their utter want of education.

I remember the joy which the arrival of my eldest sister, Fanny--or Dona
Francisca, as the Spaniards called her--who had gone to school in
England, and Aunt Martha, who brought her back, caused in the family.  I
had another sister, Ellen, much younger; a sweet, dear little girl, of
whom I was very fond.  She was indeed the pet of the family.  My elder
brother, John, was at school in England.  I remember thinking Aunt
Martha, who was my mother's elder sister, very stiff and formal; and I
was not at all pleased when she expressed her intention of teaching me
and keeping me in order.  My mother's health had been delicate, and I
had been left very much to the care of old Domingos, a negro servant of
my father's, who had been with him since his boyhood, and with my
grandfather before him.  He was the butler, or major-domo, the head over
all the other servants, and, I believe, deservedly trusted.  Among them
I remember best little Maria, a young negro slave girl who attended
especially on Ellen; and Antonio, a Gallego from the north of Spain, a
worthy, honest fellow, who had been in the family from his boyhood, and
was much attached to us all.  I soon learned to like Aunt Martha better
than I had expected, for though I thought her looks very terrible at
first--and she was certainly firm--she was really kind and gentle.
Under her instruction I gained the first knowledge of the letters of the
alphabet, of which I was before profoundly ignorant.  Of course she was
very gentle with Ellen, as everybody was, and Fanny seemed to be very
fond of her.  She was courageous, too, as I before long had evidence.  I
remember one night being suddenly lifted in her arms, and carried out by
her into the patio of courtyard.  There was a strange rumbling noise
underneath our feet, and I could see the stout walls of our house
rocking to and fro; and yet, though the earth was tumbling about, she
did not tremble in the least, but I heard her telling the servants not
to shriek out or to pray to the saints, who could not help them, but to
put their trust in God, who made the world, and who would save them from
danger if it was his good will.  It was a very fearful night, however,
and though I believe the earthquake did not last long, it tumbled down,
during the few minutes of its duration, a number of buildings, and many
of the inhabitants were buried beneath the ruins.  Our house, however,
which was on the outskirts of the city, and had no upper story, although
some of the walls were cracked, escaped without further injury; and
before morning we were in our beds again, and I, for my part, was
sleeping soundly.

A short time after this I found that some great event was about to take
place, and I saw trunks being packed; and my mother, who had been ill
for some time, was very busy, and looked, I often thought, somewhat sad;
and then I heard that she and Ellen and I were going to England, to be
accompanied by Domingos and Maria, and that we were to remain there some
time, and that I was to go to school, and then, if my father did not
join us, that John and Ellen and I were to come back together with our
mother, unless she returned before that time.  Aunt Martha and Fanny
were to stay and take care of my father.  Of course I was highly
delighted when I heard this, and began packing a box with my playthings,
and all sorts of articles, and was very indignant when Maria told me
that they were not to go.  I do not remember much about the journey,
except that my father came with us, and that the party rode on mules;
that Domingos carried me before him; that we went up and down mountains
and into deep valleys; and that sometimes it was very hot, and sometimes
very cold; and that we stopped at very uncivilised-looking
resting-places at night; and that at last we reached a large town, close
to the sea, which was, I have since learned, Guayaquil.  I remember
seeing some magnificent fruits--pine-apples, oranges, lemons, limes,
alligator-pears, melons, and many others--and eating some of them, or
probably I should not have recollected the circumstance.  The place was
very busy, and far more people were moving about than I had been
accustomed to see at Quito; and in the harbour were a number of
vessels--large ships and small ones, and curious rafts, on which the
natives were sailing or paddling about, called _balsas_.  They were made
of light balsa wood, which is very buoyant.  They were of all sizes, and
some had come in from a considerable distance along the coast.  Then my
father accompanied us on board a big ship, and took an affectionate
leave of my mother and sister and me; and we all cried very much at
parting, at least Ellen and I did, though I was so well pleased with all
the sights I witnessed that I soon forgot my sorrow.  Then the sails of
the _Pizarro_--that was the name of our ship--were set, and we glided
out of the harbour, while the boat containing my father returned to the
shore.  The _Pizarro_ was, I should say, a Spanish ship, commanded by
Captain Lopez, a very worthy man, in whom my father had great
confidence, or he would not have committed our mother and us to his
charge.  At that time Spanish vessels alone were allowed by the
Spaniards to trade to the ports of their colonies, which contributed
with many other causes greatly to retard their progress.  I, however,
knew nothing about such matters at that time.  I remember the compass in
the binnacle placed before a big wheel, at which a man was always
standing steering the ship, and I was told that we were sailing south.
I thought the ocean, which was blue, and calm, and glittering in the
sunshine, must be very wide, and wondered where it could end, or whether
it had an end towards the west.  On the east was the coast of Peru, and
I could see the lofty snow-capped mountains rising up out of the plain,
looking as if they were intended to bear up the sky should it come down
towards the earth.  Day after day we glided on.  There they were as high
as ever, apparently quite close to us, though I heard the captain tell
my mother that they were fifty miles off or more.  I scarcely believed
him, though I did not think so big and grave a man could tell a story.
I did not understand at that time to what a distance objects can be seen
in that pure, clear atmosphere.  We after that stood off the coast for
many hours, and yet they appeared almost as high as ever.  The mountains
I saw were the Andes or the Cordilleras, among which I had lived so long
without having a clear idea of their extent.

We were not idle during the voyage, for our mother set to work the
second day we were at sea to give us our lessons.  She had made a point
of teaching us English as soon as we could utter a word; but though
Ellen spoke it very well from being always with her, I spoke Spanish
mixed with Quichua, the native Indian tongue, much more readily.  We
now, however, learned all our lessons in English, and read a great deal,
so that I got on rapidly.

The weather at length began to grow unusually cold, and the sky was
covered with clouds.  We put on warm clothes, and kept much oftener than
usual in the cabin.  The ship too began to tumble about, and I thought
sometimes would be sent right over.  I remember inquiring seriously if a
_waterquake_ were taking place; for I had hitherto seen the ocean so
calm, that I fancied it would always remain so, and that it was only the
earth which was given to shaking and tumbling about.  The wind whistled
and roared, and the spray flew over the deck, and the sailors went out
on the yards and reefed the sails; but no one seemed to mind what was
happening, so I was soon content, and thought all was right; and when I
looked on the waves, it struck me that they were not a quarter as high
as the mountains I had been accustomed to see, and wondered how they
were able to tumble the great big ship about in the way they did.  Still
on we went day after day, and I discovered that we were sailing in an
opposite direction to that we had before steered.  I could not make it
out, till the captain showed me a chart, and gave me my first lesson in
geography on a grand scale; and I then saw that we had come down the
west coast of South America, and were now sailing northward along its
eastern coast.

I was very glad when I could go on deck again without greatcoat, and the
sun shone forth as brightly almost as it does at Quito.  Then in a
little time the weather got very hot again, and there was no wind, and
the ship lay on the glassy sea, her white sails flapping against the
masts.  There we lay day after day, and I began to think that at that
rate we should never get to England; but Captain Lopez told me that I
need not trouble myself about the matter, as the wind was sure to come
some day or other, and that then we should glide along as fast as ever.
I found that he was right, though we were becalmed several times after
that.

At length we saw the crew very busy in polishing up the ship, and
ranging the cables along the deck, as getting them ready for anchoring
in called; and men were aloft all day looking out ahead; and then came
the shout of "Terra! terra!--Espana!" and I found that we were
approaching the coast of Spain.  The next morning when I went on deck
the ship was at anchor, surrounded by land, with a large city on one
side, and other towns or villages scattered about on the other.  This
was the beautiful Bay of Cadiz.  Near us lay a large ship with the
English flag flying at her peak.  Captain Lopez went on board her, and
then hurried on shore with certain papers in his hand; and when he
returned, we all went on board the English ship.  Soon after, the anchor
was hove up, the sails let fall, and away we sailed out of the harbour.
Thus we did not even set foot on Spanish soil.  I asked my mother the
reason of this: she replied, that finding the ship on the point of
sailing, she did not like to lose the opportunity of going to England in
her; that the ship was called the _Inca_, commanded by Captain Byles,
with whom she and my father were acquainted.

I remember that Captain Byles was very kind and attentive, that the
cabin was very neat and clean--a quality for which that of the _Pizarro_
was not remarkable--while the English crew, many of whom were old
men-of-war's-men, paid off at the end of the war, were far more orderly
than the Spaniards.  There was a black cook, Sam by name, and a white
goat.  With the former we soon struck up a friendship, for he was
good-natured and kind to us, and a most intelligent fellow; the latter
used to chase us round and round the deck, and several times tumbled me
head over heels when I jumped before her to prevent her from butting at
Ellen.  Of Sam I shall have to speak more by-and-by.  I do not remember
many more incidents of the voyage till one day I saw the men heaving the
lead, and I found that we were in the chops of the Channel; and then I
heard the shout of "Land! land!" from one of the crew at the mast-head,
and I was told that England was in sight; and after a time I saw a
light-blue line away over the bow on the left side, and heard that it
was the Lizard, which I explained to Ellen was not a creature, but a
point of land at the west end of England.  With a fine breeze,
studdingsails on either side, the colours flying, the sky bright and the
sea blue, the big ship, her canvas glittering in the sunlight glided
proudly up Channel.  Even the gruffest old seaman began to smile, and
every one seemed in good spirits.  At last a little one-masted vessel
came dancing over the small waves towards us, our sails were brailed up,
a boat put off from her, and a big man with huge whiskers, and rough
greatcoat, and broad-brimmed hat climbed up the side, and shook hands
with the captain; and I heard that the pilot had come on board, and that
we were sailing into the Downs.  I went below, and on returning on deck
I looked up and saw, instead of the broad sheets of white canvas which
had so long been spread, the long yards above my head with the sails
closely furled.  The ship was at anchor.  In a short time the boat came
alongside, and my mother and sister and I, with our attendants, were
lowered into her.  We rowed on shore, and went to a big house, where all
the people were wonderfully polite.  I asked if this was to be our
future home, but my mother told me it was an inn--very unlike the
resting-places we had stopped at on our journey from Quito.

The next day we were all seated inside a yellow carriage, with Domingos
and Maria on the outside, and rolling away over the smooth road at a
great rate.  We went on and on, changing horses every now and then,
through a country dotted about with houses which looked very large and
grand, and green trees which looked very small after those I had been
accustomed to see.  At length the houses became thicker and thicker, and
we were driving through long streets with numberless carriages dashing
here and there, and carts, and vans, and vehicles of all sorts; and my
mother told me we were in London.  We drove on, and I thought we should
soon be on the other side; but I found that we had not got nearly into
the centre of it.  I had thought Quito a large city, but this, I
guessed, must be ten times larger.  All the houses, too, looked
wonderfully high, and I thought if an earthquake were to occur, how
quickly they would all topple down.  I asked my mother how people could
venture to build such tall houses.  She laughed, and said that happily
in England there were no earthquakes; and that, in another city in the
north, there were houses ten stories high.

We stopped at last before a house in a long, dull-looking street, and a
gentleman came to the door and handed us all out, and kissed my mother
and Ellen and me, and welcomed us to England; and I found that he was
Uncle James, my mother's brother; and there was our aunt, his wife, and
a number of cousins, boys and girls; and we were all soon quite at home
and happy, though I did not exactly know what to do with myself.

A few days after that, Uncle James and my mother and I drove out in a
carriage, and there was a box on the top of it full of my clothes, and
several other things; and then I found that I was going to school.  I
was rather pleased than otherwise; not that I wished to leave my mother
and Ellen, but I wanted to know what sort of a place school was.  We
went some distance away from London, and stopped before a house with an
iron gate, and a huge stone lion on each side of it.  We got out, and
were shown into a drawing-room, and there we sat, till a tall gentleman
dressed in black, with a very white head, made his appearance, and my
mother and Uncle James talked to him for some time; then he called me
up, patted me on the head, and told me he hoped that I should be a good
boy, and learn my lessons well.  I did not feel quite comfortable when
my mother got up and kissed me again and again, and looked somewhat sad;
and then Uncle James wished me good-bye; and out they went, while the
tall gentleman kept me by the hand.

"Now, Harry Faithful," he said, "I will introduce you to your
school-fellows;" and he conducted me through a passage, at the end of
which was a door which opened out into a large open space covered with
gravel, with high walls on either side.  A big tree stood in the centre,
and a vast number of boys of all ages were running about.  Some had
hoops, others were jumping over long ropes, and others, with reins
fastened to their arms held by bigger boys, were scampering round and
round, playing at horses.  Some were leaping over each other's backs,
and others were hopping about with their arms folded charging at each
other.  I thought it very good fun, and hoped that was the way they were
always employed.

The tall gentleman, after waiting a minute or two, called out, "Antony
Nyass, come here.  Here is the son of an old friend of your father's.  I
expect you to look after him."

Then he turned round to me, and said, "When the bell rings, you will
come in with the rest, and we will lose no time in placing you."

"And so you are the new boy," said my companion.  "What is your name?"
I told him.  "Well, I am very glad you are come," he observed, "for I
want a chum.  We will have all sorts of fun together.  Will you have a
hoop?  I have got a prime one which beats all those of the fellows in my
class; or will you go shares in a pair of leather reins?"  I told him
that I should be very glad to do what he liked, and that I had plenty of
money, though I could not say how much, as I was not accustomed to
English coin, and could not remember what it was called.  "Oh, I will
soon put you up to that," he said, laughing; "but do not show it now.
We will see by-and-by what you can do with it."

While we were speaking, a number of other boys collected round us, and
began to ask me all sorts of questions--who I was, who my friends were,
where I had come from, how old I was, and if I had ever been to another
school.

"Do not tell them," whispered Nyass.

"What is that you are saying, Master Tony!" exclaimed one of the boys.
"You are putting him up to some of your own tricks."

"I will tell you all by-and-by," I answered, taking my new friend's
hint.

"Can you run?" asked Tony.  "Tell them that you will race any one of
them," he whispered.

"I do not know, but I will try," I replied.

"Who is for a race?" exclaimed Tony.  "He will run you down to the
bottom of the play-ground and back again, and if he does not beat all
the fellows of his own size I shall be surprised."

I was light and active, and though I had never before run a race, having
no companions to run with, I did my best to follow out Tony's
suggestion.  At the word, off I set as hard as I could tear; five or six
other fellows besides Tony ran also.  He kept up with me, though we
distanced the rest.  He touched the wall at the bottom, and I followed
his example.

"Now, back again as hard as you can go!  I am the best runner of my size
in the school," he cried out, as he kept close to me; "if you beat me,
your fame is established, and the fellows will treat you with respect
after that."

I felt, however, very doubtful whether I could beat Tony; but I did my
best, and as we neared the point we started from I found myself drawing
ahead of him.  "That is it!" he shouted; "keep on, and you will do it."
I suspected that he was letting me get ahead of him on purpose, and I
reached the starting-point four or five paces before him.  I felt,
however, that I could not have run another minute if my life had
depended on it; while he came in without the slightest panting.  The
other fellows followed mostly together, a short distance behind.

It is curious how slight a thing gives a boy a position at once in a
school.  Thanks to Tony, I gained one at once, and ever afterwards kept
it.  I do not intend to give an account of my school-life and
adventures, as I have more interesting matter to describe.  I was placed
in the lowest class, as might have been expected.  Although I knew
nothing of Latin, I was up to several things which my class-mates were
not, and as I did my best to learn, I soon caught up a number of them.
My friend Tony was in the class above me, and he was always ready to
give me any help.  Though not quarrelsome, I had several battles to
fight, and got into scrapes now and then, but not often, and altogether
I believed I was getting on pretty well.  Tony, my first acquaintance,
remained my firm friend.  Although now and then we had quarrels, we
quickly made them up again.  He used to listen with eager ears to the
accounts I gave him of my voyage, and the wonders of my native land.  He
never laughed at my foreign accent, though the other boys did; but I
very soon got rid of it.  I used to try to teach him Spanish, and the
Indian language, which I had learned from the servants; but I soon
forgot them myself, and had difficulty even in recalling a few words of
the tongue which I once spoke with ease.

"I say, Harry, I should so like to go out with you to that country,"
said Tony to me one day.  "When you go back I must try and get my father
to let me accompany you."

I, of course, was well pleased at the proposal, and we talked for days
together of what we should do when we got out there.  At last we began
to think that it was very hard we should have to wait till we had grown
big fellows like those at the head of the school, and Tony proposed that
we should start away by ourselves.  We looked at the map, and considered
how we could best accomplish our object.  We observed the mighty river
Amazon rising at no great distance--so it seemed on paper--from Quito
itself, and running right across the continent into the Atlantic.

"Will it not be fun paddling up by ourselves in a canoe!" exclaimed
Tony.  "We will have guns to go on shore and shoot birds and beasts; and
when we grow tired of paddling we will sail along before the wind; and
we will have a tent, and sleep in it at night, and light a fire in front
of it to cook our suppers and keep off the wild beasts; and then, when
we arrive at the upper end of the river, we will sell our canoe to the
Indians, and trudge away on foot with knapsacks on our backs up the
mountains, till we reach your father's house; and will not he be
astonished to see us!"

I agreed with him in his last idea certainly, but I was puzzled to think
how we were to reach the mouth of the Amazon, and when we were there how
we were to procure canoe.  All the rest appeared pretty easy in the way
Tony proposed it, and, after all, even on a big map, the river did not
look so very long.

"Well, my idea is," said Tony, "that we should save up all our
pocket-money, and then, some day when we have got very hard lessons to
do, or anything disagreeable takes place, run off, and get aboard a ship
sailing to South America.  I should not mind being cabin-boy for a short
time; and as you know Spanish and Indian, you could tell the captain you
would interpret for him, and of course he would be very glad to have
you; and then, you know, we should soon learn to be sailors; and it will
be much pleasanter climbing about the rigging and up the masts and along
the yards than sitting at our desks all day bothering our heads with
Caesar and Ovid and sums and history and geography, and all that sort of
thing."

"But I have not got Caesar and Ovid to do yet," I observed; "and I want
to have a little more schooling; for Uncle James says I shall not be fit
for anything until I do.  Do not you think we had better wait till I get
into your class, or rather higher still?"

Tony said he was much disappointed at my drawing back, which he argued I
was doing when I made these remarks.  However, I spoke in perfect
sincerity, and fully believed that I should enjoy the adventure he
proposed just as much as he would.  I had my doubts, however, whether we
should receive so favourable a reception at the end of our journey as he
supposed.  However, he continued talking and talking about the matter,
till I agreed to consider what could be done during another half.

I spent my first holidays in London at Uncle James's, and my brother
John came there, and I was surprised to find what a big fellow he was.
We were very good friends, and he took me out to see a number of the
sights of London.  We went, among other places, to Exeter Change, where
there were all sorts of wild beasts.  I had no idea until then that
there were so many in the world.  I was highly interested, and learned
the names of nearly all of them; and John told me where they had come
from, and all about their habits.  Then Uncle James gave me a book of
natural history, which I read with great delight.  I found by the book
that the beasts I had seen at Exeter Change were only a very small
number of those which exist in different parts of the world.  I liked
that book of natural history better than any I had ever read; except,
perhaps, "Robinson Crusoe," which Tony had lent me, and which he said
was the best book that ever was written.  I thus gained a very
considerable knowledge of the quadrupeds and the feathered tribes of the
animal kingdom, and Uncle James said he thought some day I should become
a first-rate naturalist, if I had opportunities of studying the
creatures in their native wild.  I resolved the next summer holidays,
which were to be spent in the country, to catch as many of the creatures
as I could, and form a menagerie of my own.  I should say I had not told
John of the plan Tony and I had in contemplation--of exploring the
Amazon by ourselves.  I thought, from some of his remarks, that he
possibly might not approve of it.

I soon got tired of London, after I had seen the usual sights, though I
was glad to be with my mother and Ellen and my cousins.  John also was
very kind, but he was such a big fellow that I stood in as much awe of
him as I did of my uncle.  I was not sorry, therefore, to find myself at
school with companions of my own age.  As the weather was very cold,
Tony and I agreed that we would put off our expedition till the summer,
and in the meantime we talked of the menagerie I proposed making, and
other subjects of equal importance, which prevented us thinking about
the former matter.

I had a good many friends among my school-fellows.  Arthur Mallet, next
to Tony, was my chief friend.  He was by several months my junior--a
delicate, gentle boy, amiable, sensible, and clever.  He was liked by
the masters as well as by the boys, and that is saying much in his
favour.  Poor fellow, notwithstanding this he was frequently out of
spirits.  I asked him one day why he looked so sad.  He was silent for
some minutes.  "I will tell you, Harry," he said at length.  "I am
thinking of my mother.  She is dying.  I know it, for she told me so.
She never deceived me.  When she has gone I shall have no one to care
for me--and--and--Harry, I shall have to depend on the charity of
strangers for support.  She urged me to work hard, that I might be
independent; but it will be a long time before I can become so.  For
myself I do not so much mind, but it troubles my mother greatly; and
then to have her die--though I know she is going to heaven--I cannot
bear the thought."  He said more in the same style.  "And then, should
my father come back--oh, what will he do!" he added.

"I thought from what you said that you had no father," I remarked.
"Where is he then, Arthur?"

"That is what I do not know," he answered.  "Do not speak about it to
any one, Harry.  He went away a long time ago, on account of something
that had happened.  He could not bear to stay in England.  But he was
not to blame.  That is all I know.  He could not take her with him; and
my grandmother and aunts with whom she was left died, and their fortune
was lost; and what she has now got is only for her life, and that
troubles her also greatly."

I tried as well as I could to comfort Arthur, and after this felt more
than ever anxious to stand by him an a friend.  "I may some day be able
to help him," I thought--but I did not tell him so.  Our friendship had
been disinterested, and thus I wished it to remain.

I said that I had many friends at school, but there were some few whom I
looked upon in a contrary light; especially one big boy, Houlston, of
whom all the little ones were dreadfully afraid.  He used to make us do
anything that seized his fancy, and if we ventured to refuse, often
thrashed us.  Poor Arthur Mallet frequently came in for his
ill-treatment, and bore it, we all thought, with far too much patience.
At last Tony and I and a few other fellows agreed that we would stand it
no longer.  One day Houlston and one of the upper form boys, who was
younger than himself, had a dispute.  We thought that he was going to
thrash the other fellow; but the latter standing up in his own defence,
Houlston walked off, not venturing, as we supposed, to encounter him.
This, of course, gave us courage.  A few day afterwards Tony was
reading, when Houlston, coming by, seized his book, saying he wanted it.
Tony watched his opportunity, and snatching it up, made off out of the
school-room, through the play-ground into a yard on one side, which, not
being overlooked by any of the windows from the house, was the usual
place for pugilistic encounters.  Houlston followed.  I saw Arthur
Mallet and several of those who had promised to side with us standing
near.  Arthur joined us, though somewhat unwillingly.  We made chase.
Tony, who had fled to the yard, was at length overtaken by his pursuer,
who began hitting him over the head and shoulders.  I signed to my
companions, and making a spring, jumped on Houlston's back and began
belabouring him with might and main.  I shouted to the others to come on
and attack him on either side.  He was furious, and struck out right and
left at them; but I, clinging pertinaciously to his back, prevented his
blows having due effect.  My companions on this closed in, and two of
them seizing him by the legs, down he came, with me still clinging to
his back.  The rest now threw themselves upon him.  Handkerchiefs were
brought out, and in spite of his struggles they managed to tie his arms
behind him, while I kept him down.  Though he kicked out furiously, by
jumping on his body we succeeded in securing his legs, and we thus had
him in our power.  It was in the evening of a half-holiday.  On one side
of the yard was a wood-shed.  Into this we dragged him.  Astonishment
and the efforts he made to free himself had prevented him from shouting
for help.  Before he had uttered a cry, Rawlings, one of the biggest of
our party, running up, shoved a handkerchief into his mouth, which
completely gagged him.  We then all ran away, leaving him without
compunction in the dark and cold.  Assembling again in the school-room,
we agreed to leave him till somebody coming by might release him.
Tea-time came, and Houlston did not make his appearance.  I began to
grow anxious, and communicated my fears to Arthur, who sat next to me.
Still he did not come.  Tea was over.  At last Arthur entreated that we
would go and ascertain what was the matter.  It was now quite dark.  I
remember quite well the uncomfortable feeling I had, as, stealing out,
we groped our way in the dark to the yard.  On approaching the
wood-house we heard a groan.  Could it proceed from Houlston?  My heart
beat more tranquilly, though, for the groan showed that he was alive.
We crept in.  He was where we had left him; but his hands were icy cold.
I bethought me first of withdrawing the handkerchief from his mouth.
Some of the fellows proposed leaving him again.

"Oh no, no; pray don't do that!" exclaimed Arthur.  "Perhaps he will
promise to give up bullying if we agree to cast him loose."

"You hear that, Houlston?" said Tony.  "Will you become a good fellow
and treat the little chaps properly, or will you spend the night out
here?"

Houlston only grumbled out some words which we could not understand.  At
last we heard him say, "What is it you want?"  It was evident from his
tone that he was greatly humbled.  That is not surprising, for he must
have been very cold and very hungry, and Tony repeated the question.

"He will not promise.  We must put the gag in again," said two or three
of the other fellows.

"Will you promise?" asked Tony again.

"Oh, do let him go!" again exclaimed Arthur, whose kind heart was moved
by the pitiable condition of our captive.  "He will promise--I know he
will; and I do not mind if he bullies me ever so much.  We should think
any one very cruel who kept us out in the cold as we have kept him.  I
am sure that he will promise what we ask--won't you, Houlston?"

"No, he will not," said another boy.  "He will have a couple of hours to
wait till the names are called over, and perhaps somebody will then come
and look for him.  He will be much colder by that time."

"Oh yes, I will promise!" cried Houlston.  "Let me go, and I will not
bully you little fellows any more.  Just try me.  And I will remember
what Mallet said--he has more feeling than any of you; I did not expect
him to have spoken as he has, for I treated him always worse than any of
you."

"You promise, on your word of honour," said Tony; "and you will not go
and complain of us?  You must promise that too."

Houlston was completely humbled.  He promised all we demanded.

"We may trust to his word.  I am sure we may!" exclaimed Arthur.  "Oh,
do let us loose him!"

"Thank you, Mallet.  Thank you, Faithful.  I am much obliged to you,"
whispered Houlston, as Arthur undid the handkerchief which bound his
wrists.  The others were in the meantime casting off those round his
legs.  We lifted him up, for he was so numbed and chilled that he could
not walk.  Arthur had brought a slice of bread and butter doubled up in
his pocket.  He offered it to Houlston, who took it gratefully.  His
clothes, I felt, were covered with chips of wood and dust.  We brushed
him with our hands as well as we could in the dark, and then led him
back into the playroom, where the boys were collecting after tea.  I
watched him narrowly, fearing mat he might tell some of the big fellows
what had happened; but he went to his box without speaking to any one,
and then taking up his books, proceeded to the school-room to learn his
lessons for the next day.  We kept our counsel, and were convinced that
Houlston wisely kept his, for not a word did he utter to any of his
companions of what had occurred.  From that day forward he was generally
kind and good-natured, and especially so to Arthur Mallet.  He helped
him in his lessons, and was constantly making him presents of such
things as boys prize, though older people may not set much value on
them.  Though he might lose his temper with others, he never did so with
Arthur, and always seemed anxious to show his friendly feeling in a
variety of ways.  I have seldom seen a fellow so greatly changed for the
better as Houlston became, owing, I believe, greatly to the way Arthur
had pleaded his cause when the rest of us seemed inclined to revenge
ourselves still further than we had already done.

I should not have mentioned the circumstance, except for the sake of the
moral it taught me.  There is an old saying, that when a bull runs at
you the best way of escaping him is to seize him by the horns; and from
the manner we overcame Houlston, I am convinced of the wisdom of the
advice.  Ever since, when a difficulty has occurred, I have seized it
boldly, grappled with it as we grappled with Houlston, summoned up all
my courage, resolution, and strength, just as Tony and I called our
companions to our assistance, and dragged it, metaphorically speaking,
to the ground, gagged it as we gagged the bully, and not let it loose
again till I have been convinced that it would no longer trouble me.
Again, when I have had any difficult thing to do, I have done it at
once, or tried my best to do it.  I have never put off a disagreeable
thing which I may have had to do till another day.  I have got it over
as soon as possible, whatever it may have been.  I have generally found
that the anticipation is worse than the reality.  I cannot understand
what made Houlston take to bullying; and I must say after this he showed
much good feeling, and became a firm friend both to Tony and me, not
appearing to harbour any ill-feeling for the way we had treated him.

I must hurry over my school-boy days.  I was not able to carry out my
plan of the menagerie the next summer.  My uncle, instead of going to
his country house, took us all to the sea-side.  I, however, on that
occasion picked up a good deal of knowledge about vessels and boats, and
fish, and marine animals; and instead of a menagerie we had an aquarium,
into which we used to put the small fish and other creatures we caught
in the pools on the rocks.  I was making an important step in the study
of natural history--gaining the custom of observing the habits of
creatures.  The following year I carried out my long-intended plan,
having induced one of my cousins to join me in it.  We made several
cages and boxes; and among our captives we numbered a couple of rabbits,
a weasel, hedgehog, ferret, and stoat, with a number of pigeons and
other birds, and, I may add, three or four snakes.  We caught a viper--
or, as it is frequently called, an adder--the only venomous creature
which exist in England; but my uncle objected to our keeping it alive,
though he consented to its being turned into a bottle of spirits.  We
killed another, and cut off its head to observe its poisonous fangs.  On
dissecting the head, we found that the fangs exist on either side of the
upper jaw, in which they lie down flat towards the throat.  They are on
hinges, the roots connected with little bags of poison.  When the
creature is irritated and about to bite, these fangs rise up.  They are
hollow, with small orifices at their points.  When biting, the roots of
the fangs are pressed against the bags of poison, which thus exudes
through the orifices and enters the wound they make.  All venomous
serpents are provided with fangs, but in the jaws of some species the
fangs, instead of lying down, are always erect, ready for action.  The
nature of the poison varies in different species.  The poison of some
produces paralysis; that of others causes the body when bitten to swell
and become putrid.  The venom of some is so powerful that it rapidly
courses through the veins and destroys life in a few minutes; that of
others makes much slower progress.  The English viper, or adder, has but
a small quantity of poison in its bag, and its bite rarely produces
death.  Some of the smallest snakes, in tropical climes, are the most
venomous.  However, I shall by-and-by have a good deal to say on the
subject.

From what I have mentioned, it will be understood that I had already got
a taste for and some insight into natural history, and when I returned
to school I was able to discourse very learnedly on the subject.  This
made Tony more anxious to carry out our long-projected undertaking.
Still, as we were very well treated at school, we had no excuse for
running away, and put it off from day to day.  At length, in truth, we
began to grow wiser, and look at it in a different light.  Tony, indeed,
one day confided his plan to Houlston.

"Well, when you make up your mind to go, just tell me," said Houlston.

"What I would you go with us?" exclaimed Tony.  "That would be capital.
With a big fellow like you we should be able to make our way anywhere."

"Not exactly that," was the answer.  "I'll tell you what I should do,
Nyass.  As soon as I found that you had started, I should make chase
after you and bring you back.  Depend upon it, it would be the best mark
of friendship I could show you!  Time enough by-and-by--when you have
gone through school and been at college, and got a little more knowledge
than you now possess in your heads--to start on such an expedition.  I
have a great notion that I should like to do something of the sort
myself; so, if you ever start on an expedition to South America or any
other part of the world, find me out if you can, and let me know, and
then perhaps I shall be ready to accompany you."

These sensible remarks of Houlston put Tony completely off his purpose,
and we finally agreed to follow the advice of our school-fellow, and
wait patiently till we had finished our studies.

In the meantime I should say that my mother had rejoined my father at
Quito.  When I first came to England I thought that the time when I
should leave school was a very long way off.  It seemed like a dream
when I found myself at last a big fellow of sixteen at the commencement
of the summer holidays.  There was Ellen, almost a grown-up young lady--
in my eyes, at all events--and John, who had been in Uncle James's
counting-house in London, a man with big whiskers.

"Well, Harry," said Uncle James, "would you like to go back to school,
or accompany John and Ellen to South America?  Your father wishes to
have John's assistance, and perhaps you also can make yourself useful."

Although by this time I found school a far pleasanter place than when I
was a little boy, yet, as may be supposed, I did not take long to
decide.

"I will accompany John," I said without hesitation.

"We shall have to part with you soon, then, I am sorry to say," observed
my uncle; "for Captain Byles, who still commands the _Inca_, is about to
sail for Guayaquil.  In consequence of the emancipation of the Spanish
South American provinces from the iron yoke of the mother country, their
ports are now free, and ships of all nations can trade to them, which
was not the case when you came home.  Captain Byles has twice before
been to the Pacific, and we have resolved to send the _Inca_ there
again.  He will be very glad to have you as passenger.  You must lose no
time, therefore, in getting ready."

I replied very honestly that I was sorry to leave him and aunt and
cousins; but, at the same time, I could not help feeling delighted at
the thought of again seeing my father and mother and Fanny, and
revisiting the magnificent scenes which had made so deep an impression
upon my mind, besides being able to indulge on a large scale in the
study of the natural history of that wonderful region.  I did not forget
my friends, Tony and Arthur Mallet, and as soon as I had time I sat down
and wrote to them both.  At the end of a week I received the following
reply from Tony:--

"Dear Harry,--Your letter threw me into a state of wild commotion.  You
to be actually starting for the country we have so often talked about,
while, as far as I could see, I was destined to stick quietly at a desk
in my father's counting-house.  After thinking the matter over, however,
and recollecting how kind and considerate he has always been, I
determined to show him your letter, and tell him frankly of my
long-cherished wish to go abroad.  He talked to me a good deal to
ascertain whether I was in earnest.  `I did not wish to send you from
me,' he said at last; `but I will now tell you that a few months ago I
received a letter from a cousin of mine who has lately established a
house of business at Para in Brazil, requesting me to send out two
steady lads as clerks, adding that he should be very glad to receive a
son of mine if I could spare him.'  I jumped at the idea; for though I
should have liked to have gone out with you, Harry, yet, as I have no
means of doing that, I am delighted to go to Para, because, as it is at
the mouth of the Amazon, it is the very place of all others I should
have chosen.  It is where we proposed going to when we used to talk of
our expedition up the mighty river, and perhaps, after all, we may be
able somehow or other to realise those wild fancies of our early days.
To be sure, when I come to measure off the distance on the map, which we
did not then think of doing, I find that Quito and Para are a tremendous
long way apart.  Still, perhaps some day or other we may be able to
accomplish a meeting.  At all events, I told my father that I was
willing to accept our cousin's offer, and at the same time I put in a
word for Houlston, from whom I had heard a few days before, telling me
that he was looking about for something to do, and ready to do anything
or go anywhere.  He has no parents, or brothers or sisters, or any tie
to keep him in England.  I showed his letter to my father, and told him
that he was a big, strong fellow, and that though I did not much like
him when I was a little fellow, he was greatly improved.  My father on
this said he would send for him, and should he possess the necessary
qualifications, he should be very glad to recommend him for the
appointment.  Houlston came, and as he writes well, and is a good hand
at arithmetic, and has a fair amount of knowledge on other matters, my
father told me that he would recommend him for the appointment.  The
long and short of the matter is, that Houlston and I are to go up to
London with my father in a few days, to get our outfits, and to secure a
passage by the first vessel sailing for Para or the nearest port to it
in Brazil.  We shall meet, Harry, and we will then talk matters over,
and, I hope, strike out some plan by which we may be able to carry out
our early designs, although perhaps not in the same way we formerly
proposed.  Houlston sends his kind regards to you, and says he shall be
very happy to meet you again _Adeos, meu amigo_--that is, Good-bye, my
friend.  I have lost no time in beginning to learn Portuguese, which is
the language the Brazilians speak, and I intend to work hard at it on
the voyage, so as to be able to talk away in a fashion when I land.--
Your sincere old friend, Antony Nyass."

I was very glad to get this letter, but was much disappointed at not
hearing from Arthur.  Another day's post, however, brought me a letter
from him.  I should have said that he had left school three months
before, and that I had not since heard from him.  His letter was a very
sad one.  I gathered from it that what he had dreaded had come to pass.
His mother was dead, and he was left almost destitute, though he tried
to hide from me as much as possible the fact of his poverty.

I at once made up my mind what to do.  I took the letter to my uncle,
told him all about Arthur, and entreated that he might be sent out with
us in the _Inca_.  "I will answer for it that he will amply repay all
the kindness he may receive," I added.  Uncle James said that he would
consider the matter, and in the course of the day told me, to my great
satisfaction, that I might write to Mallet and invite him to come up to
town.  Arthur lost no time in obeying the summons.  My uncle was much
pleased with him, and Arthur gratefully accepted the proposal that he
should accompany us to Quito.

Two days afterwards Tony and Houlston arrived in London.  A ship for
Para was on the point of sailing.  They had therefore to hurry on their
preparations.  They spent the evening with us at my uncle's, and John
told me that he liked Houlston very well, and hoped some day to see him
again.  Tony he thought a capital fellow--so enthusiastic and
warm-hearted, yet not wanting in sense; but Arthur, as I knew he would,
he liked better than either.  Tony brought with him a beautiful black
cocker spaniel.  "Here, Harry, I want you to accept this fellow as a
keepsake from me," he said, leading the dog up to me.  "Pat him on the
head, call him True, and tell him you are going to be his master, and he
will understand you.  He can do everything but talk; but though he does
not often give tongue, he is as brave as a lion."

I warmly thanked Tony for his gift as I patted True, who jumped up and
licked my hand.  "But you want a dog for yourself.  I scarcely like to
take him from you," I said.

"Set your mind at rest; I have his brother--whom I left at our
lodgings--his equal in most respects, if not quite so great a beauty,"
he answered.  "You will excuse me, I know.  I have called my dog
`Faithful,' after you.  As I cannot have you with me, I wanted something
to remind me of you; and faithful I am sure he will prove to me, as
yours will prove true to you."

I thanked Tony for his kind feeling for me, and assured him that I
considered it a compliment that he had called his dog after me.

True was indeed a beauty--a Welsh cocker--somewhat larger than usual
perhaps.  He came up in his moral qualities to all Tony had said about
him.  He took to me at once, and a true friend he ever proved.  We
accompanied our friends aboard their ship, which was a Portuguese,
called the _Vasco da Gama_.  She was a fine large vessel.  The crew were
small and swarthy, but active-looking fellows, most of them wearing long
red caps on their heads, and blue or pink-striped shirts, with knives
stuck in their girdles.  They jabbered and shouted tremendously as they
got under weigh.  Tony and Houlston stood on the poop bidding us
farewell.  "We shall meet, Harry! we shall meet!"  Tony cried out.
"Good-bye, Harry; good-bye, Arthur; good-bye, old fellows!"

"Perhaps we shall overtake you on the voyage!" shouted John.

"Not much fear of that," answered Houlston.

We were soon too far off to exchange further words, though we could hear
the voices of the crew even when we had got to a considerable distance
from the ship.



CHAPTER TWO.

OUTWARD BOUND.

Nearly a week after this we were on board the _Inca_, silently gliding
down the Thames, the only voices heard on board being that of the pilot
or the officers who repeated his orders.  We had a quick run down
Channel, and Captain Byles said he should not be surprised if, after
all, we should reach the Equator before the Portuguese ship.  I found
that several of the crew had been on board when I came to England, Sam
the black cook among the number.  He was the only one, however, who
remembered Ellen and me.  I inquired after my old friend the goat.

"What! you remember her, Massa Harry!" exclaimed Sam.  "Dat good.  Goat
gone to live on shore; eat fresh grass instead of hay!"

He was well pleased to find that I had remembered the dumb animal, and
still more so that I had not forgotten him.  Sam told me that he had
become a Christian since I had seen him.  I told him I thought that he
was so then.

"Berry different, Massa Harry, between what is called Christian and real
Christian.  One night I was on shore, and not knowing where I go, I turn
into small chapel where a man talk to de people, and I heard him say,
`God lubs you!'  He lubs bad man and bad woman, and black man, and brown
man, and white man all de same.  Him pure, holy God, and no bad, impure,
unholy person dwell wid him; and all men ever born unholy, impure, and
so dey must all be punished.  But he say he let One be punished for de
oders, and so him sent his Son into de world to suffer for dem, and dat
ebery one who trust dat Son, and lub him, go free, and come and live wid
him for ever and ever.  You ask how dat is.  Hear God's words: `God so
loved de world dat he gave his only-begotten Son, dat whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.'  Oh, he is a
kind, good, merciful God!  Him hear de prayers of all who come unto him.
Him no want any one to say prayers for dem; but dey may come boldly
t'rough Jesus Christ, and he hear black man pray, and brown man pray,
and leetle child pray, just as well as learned white man; and so when I
hear dis I say, `Dat just de God for me;' and so I go to de minister--
dat is de man who was preaching--and he tell me a great deal more; and I
go ebery day I was ashore, and now I bery happy, because I know dat when
I die dere is One who has taken my sins upon himself, who was punished
instead of me who paid de great debt I owed to God."

I have tried to give Sam's remarks as nearly as I can in his words.
They made a great impression on me; for before I must own that I did not
understand God's simple plan of salvation.  Sam had a Bible, which he
was constantly reading, and delighted to explain to the crew.  He had
gained considerable influence with them, and though many were careless,
and did not listen to him, all treated him with respect.  Captain Byles
spoke in very high terms of Sam, who had, I found, been the means of
bringing home the truth to him.  He had prayers every day, when the
weather permitted, in his cabin, and a service on the Sunday for the
whale of the crew, while I never heard a harsh or wrong expression
escape his lips.

"You t'ink, Massa Harry, perhaps, I go into dat chapel by chance,"
observed Sam to me one day; "now I t'ink dere is no such t'ing as
chance.  God orders everyt'ing.  He sees us all day and all night long,
and orders all for de best."

I agreed with Sam, and I may say that I never forgot the lessons I
received from him.  I found great pleasure in listening to him while he
read the Bible and explained it in his own somewhat curious way, as far
as language was concerned.  I had before been accustomed to read the
Bible as a task, but I now took to reading it with satisfaction and
profit.  From others of the crew I learned a good deal of seamanship,
especially how to knot and splice,--an art which I found afterwards very
useful.

We had been several weeks from England, and had thus far carried the
fine weather with us, when clouds appeared in the horizon which soon
began to rush in dense masses over the sky.  The sea, hitherto so calm,
tossed and foamed, and the wind howled and shrieked through the rigging.
I asked the captain if he thought we were going to have a severe gale.

"It looks very like it," he answered, "but we must do our best and trust
in God.  Once I used to think that while I was doing my best, God was
fighting against me, but now, Harry, I see it the other way.  It is a
great thing to feel that the All-Powerful who rules the world is with
us.  It makes a man far happier and more courageous."

The crew had gone aloft to furl the sails, and the ship was soon under
her three closely-reefed topsails.  Still the wind increased, and the
seas rose up on either side as if they would overwhelm her.  The night
was coming on.  The captain held a consultation with his mates.  The
first mate and one of the best hands went to the helm.  The main and
mizzen-topsails were furled, the helm was put up, and the ship was kept
away before the wind.  The huge seas followed close astern, roaring and
hissing after us.  Arthur and I had remained on deck.

"I must beg you to go below," said the captain; "for if one of these
seas was to break on board, you might be swept off, and no one could
save you."  Still, I was very unwilling to obey.  John, however, coming
on deck, saw the danger we were in, and pulled us down the hatchway.  We
found Ellen in the cabin kneeling at the table with Maria at her side.
She had the Bible open, though it was a difficult matter to read by the
flickering light of the lamp, which swung backwards and forwards.
Still, every now and then, by keeping her finger on a verse, she was
able to catch a few words; while Maria, with her large eyes wide open
fixed on her young mistress, was listening eagerly to what she said.  So
engaged were they, that neither of them observed our entrance.  Now
Ellen stopped, and I heard her lifting up her voice in prayer for the
safety of the ship and all on board.  John and I, making our way to the
other side of the table, knelt down likewise.  Though she saw us she did
not stop.  We remained thus for some time, when a shout from the deck
reached us.  I could not help rushing up again.  John followed me.
During the few minutes we had been below the darkness had increased, but
at that instant a vivid flash of lightning bursting from the sky, showed
a large ship ahead of us.  We were running on towards her.  Again all
was darkness, and I expected to hear the fearful crash of the two ships
meeting.  Again another flash, followed by a fearful peal of thunder,
lighted up the atmosphere.  The ship was no longer there, but an object
floating on the foaming waves.  It was a boat full of people.  It seemed
impossible that she could live many moments in so fearful a sea.
Presently I saw our crew running with ropes to the side.  Already the
stern of the boat was sinking beneath the waves.  There was a thundering
sound, as if a big gun had been fired.  Our foresail had burst from the
bolt-ropes.  We rushed on close to the boat.  John, Arthur, and I sprang
to the side.  Several persons were clinging to the ropes which had been
thrown over to them.  We assisted in hauling them up.  A sea struck us
at that moment, and two were washed away.  Three others clung on, and
were partly hauled and partly washed on board; while a dog which was
swimming near them was lifted up by a wave and let directly down on the
deck.  We and they had to cling to the bulwarks to save ourselves from
being carried off to leeward.  One of our men, who had let go his hold
while assisting the strangers, was carried off by the rush of water
across the deck, and before any one could help him, he was seen
struggling amid the foaming billows astern.  On flew the _Inca_ over the
spot where the ship had just before been seen.  We managed to drag the
strangers to the companion hatch, and, with the assistance of Sam,
carried them below, followed by the dog which had been so curiously
saved with them.  True, when he entered the cabin, instead of barking,
ran up to him wagging his tail and showing every sign of pleasure.  I
observed how like the two animals were to each other.  The mystery was
soon solved.  The officers and crew remained on deck to bend another
sail.  As the light of the lamp fell on the features of the first person
we got into the cabin, what was my astonishment to recognise my old
friend Tony Nyass.  His surprise at seeing me was equally great.

"Is Houlston saved?" were the first words he uttered.  "He was close to
me!"

"Yes, all right!" exclaimed a young man, who, helped by Sam, tottered
into the cabin.  It was Houlston himself, though I should not have known
him, so pale and scared did he look.  The third was one of the mates of
the Portuguese ship.

"And Faithful, too," cried Tony, kneeling down and embracing his dog.
"My old fellow, I am indeed very glad you have escaped."  Faithful
seemed as well pleased as his master; and True knew him at once, and
welcomed him by leaping up to lick his face, though as he did so the
ship gave a tremendous roll, and over he tumbled to the other side of
the cabin.

I need not say how thankful we were that the lives of our old
school-fellows had been preserved.  They were shivering with cold, so,
taking them into our cabin, we got off their wet clothes and put them to
bed.  Tony then told me that after the commencement of the gale, the
ship had sprung a leak, and that though the crew had behaved very well,
and stood manfully to the pumps, the water could not be got under.  When
it was found that the ship must go down, the boats were prepared.  He
and Houlston, with the second mate and several of the crew, had got into
one of them, and shoved clear of the ship just as she sank; but the
other, he was afraid, had been immediately overwhelmed; indeed, it
seemed scarcely possible that any boat could have lived many minutes in
the heavy sea then running.  It was wonderful that the boat he was in
had remained long enough afloat to allow our ship to get near her.

During the whole of that night the hurricane blew as hard as ever, we
continuing to run before it.  Every moment I expected to hear that the
ship had sprung a leak, and that we should have to share the fate of the
unfortunate _Vasco da Gama_.  We were dreadfully knocked about.  Our
bulwarks were stove in, and two of our boats carried away.  We lost our
topmasts, and received other damage; but the stout old ship still
battled bravely with the seas.  As the morning broke the wind began to
abate.  By noon the sun was shining brightly, and the sea had gone much
down.

"Perhaps, after all," observed Tony, "we shall go round the Cape with
you to Quito, and then have to find our way down the Amazon to Para, as
I suppose that will then be the shortest road there."

"I am afraid, young gentleman, you would find that a very long road,"
observed Captain Byles.  "As the ship requires repairs, I must run into
Rio de Janeiro, and from thence you will more easily get to Para, though
I should have been very happy to have had your company round Cape Horn."

Tony was much disappointed on hearing this.  We had still a long run
before us, and the prospect of Tony and Houlston's company on board for
many days.  The Portuguese mate, Mr Lima, had friends at Para, and he
undertook to assist Houlston and Tony in getting there.  He was a very
well-mannered, amiable man, and as he spoke a little English, we were
able to converse together.  He gave me much information regarding the
Brazils, which is by far the largest country in South America.  Although
a very small portion only is cultivated, it is also the richest both in
vegetable and mineral wealth.  He told me of its magnificent forests,
its plantations of coffee and tobacco, and certain of its valleys, in
some of which gold in abundance is found, and in others diamonds of
extraordinary value.

"What do you say, Harry--shall we go and hunt for them?" exclaimed Tony
when he heard this.

Mr Lima laughed.  "The Government are too wide-awake to allow you to do
that," he observed.  "No one is allowed to go into that part of the
country except those employed in collecting the diamonds; but I will
tell you one thing, it is the poorest part of the Brazils.  If the same
number of people who are engaged in collecting the diamonds were
employed in cultivating the waste ground, the country would, I believe,
be far richer.  However, perhaps my friends here may obtain permission
to visit the mines, and if so, I dare say they will some day give you an
account of them."

Of course Tony said he would do so.  If he was fortunate enough to get
there.

When the weather grew fine we passed our time very pleasantly, for we
had a number of interesting books, especially of natural history, in
which we old school-fellows fortunately took great delight.  Houlston
and Tony had agreed to make collections of objects of natural history
when they were settled at Para, and as they had lost all their own
books, I gave them some of mine, as there was little prospect of their
getting any at Rio de Janeiro--so the captain told us.  At length one
morning, just at sunrise, when I went on deck to enjoy the cool air, I
heard the shout of "Land!" and looking out, I saw a line of blue
mountains rising out of the water.  The breeze carried us quickly
towards them, and in a short time we could distinguish a lofty height,
shaped like a sugar-loaf, which stands at the south side of the entrance
into the harbour of Rio.  A little to the left rose three peaks, which
Mr Lima, the Portuguese mate, called the _Tres Irmaos_, or the "Three
Brothers," with the lofty peak of Corcovado a little further south.  On
the right of the entrance we could distinguish the white walls of the
fortress of Santa Cruz, which commands it, with another range of
mountains rising above it, and terminating in a bold, lofty promontory,
known as Cape Frio, while far beyond towered up the blue outline of the
distant Organ Mountains.  We sailed on, passing between the lofty
heights I have described, being hailed, as we glided under the frowning
guns of Santa Cruz, by a stentorian voice, with various questions as to
who we were, whence we came, our object in entering the port, to all of
which Captain Byles replied through his speaking-trumpet.  It would be
difficult to describe the beautiful scene in which we now found
ourselves,--curious-shaped canoes and boats of all rigs, manned by
half-naked blacks, sailing about, and a number of vessels at anchor in
the vast harbour; numerous white forts, backed by picturesque hills
rising above them, covered with the richest verdure, and villages
peeping forth here and there in beautiful little bays; while higher up
the bay the vast city appeared, extending for miles along its irregular
shore, and running back almost to the foot of the Tijuca Mountains, with
hills and heights in every direction.  In the midst of this scene we
dropped our anchor under the frowning fortress of Villegagnon, the first
castle erected by Europeans in that region.

I cannot hope to convey by words a correct idea of the beauty of the
scenery or the magnificence of the harbour.  All visitors agree that it
is one of the finest in the world.  We went on shore, and were very
kindly received by an English merchant--the correspondent of the house
to which the _Inca_ belonged.  John and I were anxious to help Tony and
Houlston as far as we had the power, but our new friend undertook to
supply their wants, and to enable them to reach Para by the first vessel
sailing for that port.

I will not attempt to describe Rio fully.  It is a large city, with
heights rising about in various parts, covered with buildings.  Most of
the streets are very narrow, the architecture very unlike anything I had
seen in England.  Numbers of priests; gangs of slaves, carrying loads;
ladies in black hoods reaching to the feet, called mantilhas; gentlemen
in cloaks; soldiers on foot and on horseback, were moving about in all
directions.  We made a few interesting excursions in the neighbourhood
of the city, and several expeditions about the bay.

Captain Byles was, of course, anxious to proceed on his voyage, and
therefore used all expedition in getting the ship ready for sea.  We,
however, had time to make one long excursion with our new friend to the
Organ Mountains, which we could see from the bay in the far distance.  I
was sorry that Ellen could not go, as it was considered that the trip
would be too fatiguing for her.  We sailed up to the head of the bay for
many miles in a pleasure-vessel belonging to our friend, sleeping on
board the first night.  Early the next morning we started on mules
towards the mountains.  The air was most delicious, pure, though warm,
and the scenery very beautiful, as we made our way among heights covered
with a great variety of tropical trees and creepers bearing magnificent
flowers.  Among them were the tall, gently-curved palmetto, elegant tree
ferns, unsurpassed by any of their neighbours in beauty, fuchsias in
their native glory, passion-flowers, and wild vines, hanging in graceful
festoons, and orchids with their brilliant red spikes.  As we passed
through the valley we saw directly before us the mountains we were about
to visit, and from their shape we agreed that they were well called the
Organ Mountains; for as we then saw them, the centre height especially
wore the appearance of a huge organ.  "A grand instrument that," said
Tony, "such as I suppose an angel might choose to sound forth the music
of the spheres."

We wound our way up amid the tame beautiful and wild scenery till we
reached the summit, whence we enjoyed a magnificent view over the
surrounding country, with Rio and the blue ocean in the far distance.
We had not come without provisions, nor had the scenery taken away our
appetites.  We had also brought our guns, and led by our friend, we
started off on foot in search of game.  We had gone some distance, when,
as we were approaching one of the numerous pools of dear water which are
found even in the higher parts of the Organ Mountains, our friend
stopped us and pointed towards a large tree, beneath the shade of whose
wide-spreading boughs lay a creature apparently asleep.  At first I
thought he was a large horse or hornless cow, but as we crept closer to
it, and could see the shape of its head, I discovered that it was a very
different animal.  "That is a tapir--the largest wild animal we have in
South America," whispered our friend.  As we approached the animal got
up and looked about.  We remained perfectly quiet, to examine it at
leisure.  It appeared to be nearly four feet in height, and perhaps six
in length, the colour a deep brown, almost black.  It had a stiff mane,
and a very short stumpy tail, while its body appeared destitute of hair.
It was not so, however, as I afterwards found; but the hair could not
be perceived in consequence of being closely depressed to the surface.
Its legs were short and thick, and its feet of great size.  The head was
unlike that of any other animal I had ever seen.  It was very long, and
the upper lip or snout was lengthened into a kind of proboscis, which
looked as if it might grow up into the trunk of an elephant.  We were to
leeward of the animal, but it quickly discovered us, and began to move
off, when Faithful and True rushed forward, barking vehemently.
Houlston fired, but the shot bounded off the tapir's thick shield-like
hide, and away it went dashing through the dense underwood with a force
which broke down the shrubs opposing its progress.  We had great
difficulty in getting back our brave little dogs.  They returned at
length, panting with their exertions.  Fortunately the tapir was
frightened, or they would have found him more than a match for them.
Our friend told us that it has four toes on its front feet, and three on
the hinder ones, cased with horn.  It manages with its flexible upper
lip to tear away the leaves and to pick up the water-melons and gourds
which it finds when it goes forth at night in search of food.  However,
it is in no way particular, being almost as omnivorous as the hog.  Its
senses of smell and hearing are very acute.  Its eyes, though, are small
and its ears short.  Its voice is a shrill kind of whistle, such as one
would not expect to proceed from an animal of such massive bulk.  It is
extremely fond of the water, and delights in floundering about in the
mud.  It can swim and dive also admirably, and will often remain
underneath the surface for many minutes together, and then rising for a
fresh supply of air, plunge down again.  It indeed appears to be almost
as amphibious as the hippopotamus, and has consequently been called
_Hippopotamus terrestris_.

We all laughed at Houlston's ill success.  It was the first attempt, I
believe, he had ever made at shooting.

"The aim was not bad though," observed Tony, "and if the hide had been
soft, the shot would have gone into it."

"It was a good large object, however, to aim at," said John.  "A bullet
would have been more effectual in bringing the creature to the ground."

"I am not quite so certain of that," observed our friend, "for its tough
hide is almost bullet-proof."

Houlston stood our bantering very good-naturedly, and managed in the
course of the day to bring down a couple of birds.  "You see, I improve
by practice," he observed; "and one of these days I may turn out a
dead-shot."

I have described the tapir here as it was the first I met, but I
afterwards had better opportunities of observing the animal.  As soon as
our mules had rested we commenced our return, as our friend could not be
long absent from Rio.  We were at length once more on board the _Inca_.

Tony and Houlston expected to start with the Portuguese mate for the
north in the course of two or three days, and they promised to send me
an account of their adventures as soon as possible on their arrival at
Para.  The _Inca_ appeared once more in fit trim to encounter any storm
we might meet with in our passage round Cape Horn.  At first the weather
was very lovely; but as we were running down the coast of Patagonia a
heavy gale sprang up from the southward, which threatened to drive us
back again.  Fortunately a sheltering bay was near at hand.  Running
into it, the ship was brought to an anchor, and we there lay as calmly
as if no storm was raging without.  The country, however, was wild and
desolate in appearance.  I should have thought no human beings would
have been found on it, but on looking through our glasses we observed a
number moving about, some on horseback, others on foot, apparently
watching us.  "Are you inclined to go on bore, gentlemen?" said the
captain to us.  Of course we replied Yes.  Ellen begged that she might
go likewise.  We objected, fearing that she might be exposed to danger.
"She will be perfectly safe," answered Captain Byles; "for though the
people on shore are not very prepossessing, I have always found them
perfectly harmless.  We will, however, carry our muskets, and the crew
shall be armed likewise."

We were soon on shore, proceeding over the rough ground towards the
natives.  They seeing Ellen and Maria in our midst, advanced without
fear.  They halted, however, at a little distance from us, when we put
out our hands and walked towards them.  They were big, stout men of a
brown complexion, with long black hair hanging down their necks.  Their
only dress consisted of skins fastened across their shoulders, leaving
bare their enormous limbs.  When we put out our hands they put out
theirs.

"Good day, my friends," said Captain Byles.

"Good day," exclaimed the savages in almost the same tone.

"Hillo! what, do you speak English?" cried Arthur.

"Hillo! what, do you speak English?" echoed the Patagonians.

"Of course I do," answered Arthur.

"Of course I do," said the natives.

Indeed, whatever words we uttered they repeated.  We on this burst into
fits of laughter, our new acquaintances doing the same, as if we had
uttered a capital joke.  They beat us, however, at that, for though we
stopped, they continued laughing--ay right heartily.  At all events they
knew what that meant.  Friendship was thus speedily established.
Pointing to their skin tents at no great distance, supported on poles,
and in shape like those of gipsies, but rather larger, they seemed to
invite us to them.  We accordingly accompanied them.  In front of the
tents sat a number of women.  They differed somewhat from the men, by
having more ample robes of skin, and their hair bound by fillets round
their heads.  They were, however, very unprepossessing-looking ladies.
They all seemed to regard Ellen with looks of astonishment now gazing at
her, now at her black attendant, and were evidently discussing among
themselves how it was that they were of such different colours.  We saw
a number of horses scattered about the plain, and several of the men
were riding backwards and forwards armed with bows, and having at their
backs large quivers full of arrows, and small round shields.  The women
were broiling meat at fires before the tents.  They offered us some, and
from the bones and feathers scattered about, we concluded that it was
the flesh of the ostrich, which bird inhabits in large numbers the vast
plains of Patagonia.  Savage as they looked, they evidently wished to
treat us civilly, for they spread some skins on the ground inside one of
their tents, and signed to us to take our seats on them.  To please them
we ate a little of the food they set before us, although I must say
their style of cookery was not attractive.  After we had sat for some
time, they continuing to imitate everything we said or did, we took a
stroll round the encampment.  We had not gone far when a large grey bird
with a long neck and long legs, having three toes on its feet, stalked
up to us, and putting out its head, grunted in our faces.  Arthur and I
took off our hats and made it a bow in return, greatly to the amusement
of the Patagonians, who burst into loud fits of laughter at the joke.
We recognised the bird at once as the _Rhea Americana_, or American
ostrich.  As we did not retreat, it uttered a sharp hiss, and then
poised itself as if it was about to attack us, and so I think it would
have done, had not the natives driven it away.  It was about five feet
high, the neck completely feathered, the back of a dark hue, with the
plumes of the wings white.  It is said that the male bird takes care of
the eggs which several hens lay scattered about on the sand.  He sweeps
them together with his feet into a hollow, which serves as a nest, sits
to hatch them, and accompanies the young till they are able to look
after themselves.  On such occasions he will attack a man on horseback
who approaches his charges, and will leap up and try to kick him.

Captain Byles now told us it was time to return on board.  We
accordingly shook hands and made our way towards the boat.  The people,
however, began to assemble round us in considerable numbers.  The
captain therefore ordered us all to keep together and to hurry on,
without, however, showing any signs of fear.  I was very thankful, for
Ellen's sake, when at last we reached the boat in safety.  Whether the
natives had thought of attempting to stop us or not, I do not know.
Perhaps they only purposed to do us honour by thus accompanying us to
the beach.  We agreed that though the men at first looked gigantic, yet
this was owing probably to their style of dress; and the captain was of
opinion that very few of them were much above six feet.  He told me that
they live chiefly on flesh--that of horses, or emus, or guanacoes (a
species of llama), and any other animal they can catch.  We did not
venture on shore again; and after waiting a few days, once more put to
sea.  I thought that these natives were about as savage in appearance as
any people could be.  I discovered, however, shortly afterwards, that
there are other people sunk still lower in the scale of humanity.

Captain Byles purposed running through the Straits of Magellan.  Just,
however, as we were entering them, a strong south westerly gale sprang
up, which prevented us from making the attempt.  We accordingly stood
into a sheltered bay in Terra del Fuego.  The shore looked very
inhospitable--dark rocks rose up at a little distance from the water and
seemed to form a barrier between the sea and the interior.  There were a
few trees, all stunted and bending one way as if forced thus by the
wind.  Still, John and Arthur and I had a fancy for visiting the shore,
in the hope of obtaining some wild fowl.  Having landed with one of the
mates and True, we took our way along the shores of the bay till we
arrived at some high rocks.  Over these we climbed.  On descending, we
found ourselves on the side of an inlet.  We had reached the shore, when
heavy showers of snow began to fall, driven against our faces by the
sharp wind.  We were about, therefore, to turn back, when we saw several
figures moving at a little distance.  Curious to see the natives, which
we concluded these were, in spite of the snow we pushed on.  We advanced
cautiously, keeping a much as possible behind the rocks till we were at
a short distance from them.  We were thus able to observe them before we
were discovered.  They were wild-looking savages.  Their colour was that
of mahogany or rusty iron; their dresses, skins loosely wrapped round
them and very scanty.  One fellow was seated on the side of a canoe with
a couple of dogs near him; while a woman, perhaps his wife, sat at a
little distance, crouching on the ground, covered by her skin robe.  As
soon as they discovered us, instead of approaching as the Patagonians
had done, they sat stupidly gazing at us, lost apparently in
astonishment.  They did not, however, exhibit any sign of alarm as we
walked up to them.  At length they got up, shouting out some words and
patting their breasts, which we concluded was a sign of friendship.
Their dogs snarled at True and he barked in return, and I had to hold
him tight to prevent his flying at them.  Perhaps they understood each
other better than we did the ill-favoured curs' masters or their masters
did us.  Still the greeting did not sound amicable.  The natives were
small, thin, and dirty in the extreme.  Their weapons were bows and
arrows.  The only habitations we could see were wretched lean-tos, just
capable of sheltering them from the wind.  Having an old clasp-knife in
my pocket, I presented it to the chief, who received it with evident
signs of satisfaction.  As there was no inducement to hold further
intercourse with him, we returned by the way we had come, without having
seen a single bird near enough to shoot.

"Yet, Harry, those people have souls, destined to live for ever," said
Arthur, in answer to a remark I made that they were little better than
brutes.  "Don't you think if the gospel were taken to them it would have
its never-failing effect?  I will speak to Captain Byles on the subject
when we get on board."

He did so.  Long since then several noble Christian missionaries visited
that benighted region.  Some perished, but others are still labouring to
make known the glad tidings of salvation to the rude inhabitants of
Patagonia and Terra del Fuego.

Finding it impossible to pass through the Straits, we had to go round
Cape Horn.  A couple of weeks, however, elapsed before we were clear
into the Pacific.  After this we had a quick run, and once more the
lofty summits of the Cordilleras greeted our eyes.  Though I was but a
young child when I had last seen them, so deep was the impression they
had made on me that I recognised them at once.



CHAPTER THREE.

A JOURNEY ACROSS THE CORDILLERAS.

At length the _Inca_ was at anchor off the city of Guayaquil.  I had a
faint recollection of its appearance, with Chimborazo's snow-capped dome
towering up in the distance.  Ellen, who had forgotten all about being
there, was delighted with the scenery.  Guayaquil is situated at the
mouth of the river Guayas--the largest on the Pacific coast.  On going
on shore, however, we were somewhat disappointed, as the buildings,
though grand at a distance, have a tumbledown appearance, partly owing
to the earthquakes to which they are subjected, and partly to the
carelessness of the inhabitants in repairing them.  We had great hopes
of meeting our father, but his correspondents in the city had not heard
from him for some time.  The country, we found, was in a very unsettled
state, owing to which, probably, he had not come down from Quito.  We
bade farewell to our kind captain and the crew of the _Inca_.

Some time before, Peru, Chili, and the other Spanish provinces of South
America had thrown off their allegiance to the mother country, forming
themselves into republics.  Their government, however, especially in the
northern provinces, had been as yet far from well established.
Disturbances were continually occurring, preventing the progress of the
country.  First one party took up arms to overthrow another in
authority, and in a short time those who had been superseded played the
same trick to those who had stepped into their places.

We lost no time in making preparations for our journey, the first part
of which was to be performed on board a boat,--seventy miles up the
river to Bodegas.  We were there to engage mules to proceed over the
mountains to Quito, of the difficulties of which journey I had some
slight recollection.

We spent two days at Guayaquil.  Had we not been anxious about our
father and the rest of our family, we should have been well amused.
From the balcony of our house we had a magnificent view of the towering
range of the Andes seen from the east of us, and extending like a mighty
wall north and south.  Far away on the left, and fully a hundred miles
off, appeared the mighty Chimborazo, whose snow-capped summit, rising
far above its fellows, formed a superb background to the range of lesser
mountains and grand forests which cover the intermediate space.  I have
before mentioned the delicious fruits that may be found in abundance in
the city; and I described the curious balsas, on board of which the
natives navigate the coasts and rivers.  We all supplied ourselves with
straw hats, such as are shipped in great numbers from this place under
the name of Panama hats.  They are made from the leaves of an
arborescent plant about five feet high, resembling the palm called
_toquilla_.  The leaf grows on a three-cornered stalk, and is about a
yard long.  It is slit into shreds, and after being immersed in boiling
water is bleached in the sun.  The plaiting is very fine, and the hat is
so flexible that it can be turned inside out, or rolled up and put into
the pocket.  It is impenetrable to rain and very durable.  The chief
export from the place are chinchona, tobacco, orchilla weed, hides,
cotton, coffee, and cacao.

Our friends, we found, were anxious about the difficulties we might
encounter on our journey, on account of the disturbed state of the
country.  They advised us, indeed, to postpone our departure till our
father's arrival, or till we should hear from him.  The thought,
however, that he and our mother and sister might be exposed to danger
made us the more desirous of proceeding; and at length our friends--
against their better judgment, they assured us--concluded the
arrangements for our journey.  We were seated taking coffee the evening
before we were to start, with the magnificent scene I have described
before us, when a stranger was ushered into the room.  He wore over his
shoulders a gay-coloured poncho, and held a broad-brimmed hat in his
hand.  His breeches were of dark cloth, open at the knee, and he had on
embroidered gaiters, and huge spurs, with rowels the size of a
crown-piece.  His jet-black hair, which hung over his shoulders, his
reddish-olive complexion, dark eyes, and somewhat broad face, though his
features were in other respects regular and handsome, told us at once
that he was a native Peruvian.  Our friends saluted him as Don Jose.  He
addressed us in a kind tone, and told us that, having heard we were
about to proceed to Quito, as he was also going in that direction, and
might be of service, he should be happy to accompany us.  Our friends at
once replied that we would thankfully accept his offer, and all
arrangements were quickly made.  We were glad to obtain so intelligent a
companion.  His kind and gentle manner at once gained our confidence,
and though his dress and appearance were those of ordinary Indians of
the upper class, he looked like one accustomed to receive the respect of
his fellow-men.  That he was no common person we were sure.  Why he took
the interest in us which he evinced we could not tell.  John and I
talked the matter over, and at length, recollecting that our father's
mother was of Indian descent, we came to the conclusion that besides
being a friend of our father, he was connected by the ties of blood with
our family.  Still, from the way our friend spoke, there appeared to be
some mystery about him; but they did not offer to enlighten us, nor
could we with propriety ask them, he also was evidently not inclined to
be communicative about himself.

Next morning at daylight we went on board our boat.  In the centre was
an awning, or _toldo_, which served as a cabin.  The crew, consisting of
eight native Indians, urged her on with long broad-bladed oars when the
wind was contrary, while their chief or captain stood astern and steered
with another.  When the wind was favourable a large sail was hoisted,
and we glided rapidly up the river.  The banks are beautifully green,
and covered with an exuberant growth of many varieties of trees; indeed,
the plains on either side vie in richness of vegetation with any other
spot between the tropics.  Several times we cut off bends of the river
by narrow canals, the branches of the trees, interwoven by numberless
creepers, which hung down in festoons covered with brilliant blossoms,
forming a dense canopy over our heads.  Although the stream is sluggish,
we were unable to reach Bodegas that night.  We stopped therefore at the
house of a gentleman engaged in the cultivation of cacao.  The tree on
which it grows somewhat resembles a lilac in size and shape.  The fruit
is yellowish-red, and oblong in shape, and the seeds are enveloped in a
mass of white pulp.  It is from the seeds that chocolate is prepared.
The flowers and fruits grow directly out of the trunk and branches.
Cacao--or, as we call it, cocoa--was used by the Mexicans before the
arrival of the Spaniards.  It was called by them _chocolatt_, from
whence we derive the name of the compound of which it is the chief
ingredient--chocolate.  So highly was it esteemed, that Linnaeus thought
it worthy of the name of _theobroma_--"food for gods."  The tree is
raised from seed, and seldom rises higher than from twenty to thirty
feet; the leaves are large, oblong, and pointed.  It is an evergreen,
and bears fruits and blossoms all the year round.  The fruits are
pointed oval pods, six inches long, and contain in five compartments
from twenty-five to thirty seeds or kernels, enveloped in a white pithy
pulp with a sweet taste.  These seeds when dried form the cocoa of
commerce, from which the beverage is made and chocolate is manufactured.
There are three harvests in the year, when the pods are pulled from the
trees and gathered into baskets.  They are then thrown into pits and
covered with sand, where they remain three or four days to get rid of,
by fermentation, a strong bitter flavour they possess.  They are then
carefully cleaned and dried in large flat trays in the sun.  After this
they are packed in sacks for the market.  Our friend in the morning
showed us some blossoms which had burst forth from the roots during the
night, which happened to be somewhat damp and warm--an example of the
expansive powers of vegetable life in that region.  An oil is extracted
from another species of cacao, the nut of which is small and white.  It
is called cacao-butter, and is used by the natives for burns and sores
and cutaneous diseases.  A large quantity of cacao for the manufacture
of chocolate is exported to Spain.  Among the trees were numbers of the
broad-leaved plantain and banana, which had been planted to protect the
young cacao trees from the heat of the sun.  The fruit of the banana,
one of the most useful productions of the Tropics, is eaten raw,
roasted, boiled, and fried.  It grows in large bunches, weighing from
sixty to seventy pounds each.

Continuing our voyage the next day, we passed amid groves of oranges and
lemons, whose rich perfume was wafted across the water to us.  Here also
the mango, bearing a golden fruit, spread around its splendid foliage;
while, above all, the beautiful cocoanut palm lifted its superb head.
Now and then we saw monkeys gambolling among the trees, as well as many
birds of brilliant plumage.  Among others, a beautiful bird got up from
a bed of reeds we were passing, spreading wide its wings and broad tail
directly before us.  John shot it, and the small canoe we sent to pick
it up.  It was about the size of a partridge, with a crane-like bill, a
slender neck, and shorter legs than ordinary waders, though a wader it
was.  The plumage was shaded curiously in bands and lines with brown,
fawn-colour, red, grey, and black, which Ellen said reminded her of a
superb moth she had seen.  It was the caurale, or sun-bird (_Scolopax
Helios_), our books told us, found also in Demerara.  Less attractive in
appearance were the gallinazos, or vultures, the scavengers of those
regions; while frequently on the mud banks we caught sight of alligators
basking in the hot sun, often fast asleep, with their mouths wide open.

We reached Bodegas early in the day.  It is a large village, built on a
flat.  In the rainy season it is so completely flooded that the people
have to take refuge in the upper stories of their houses.  Thanks to our
friend Don Jose, and the exertions of his chief attendant, Isoro, mules
were quickly procured; and as the attractions of Bodegas were not great,
we immediately set off towards the mountains.  John called Isoro Don
Jose's henchman.  He was, like his master, of pure Indian blood, but of
not so high a type.  Still, he was good-looking, active, and
intelligent.  His dress differed only from that of Don Jose in being of
coarser materials.  We were at once struck with the respect and devotion
with which Isoro treated his master, and with the confidence Don Jose
evidently reposed in him.  We had a journey before us of two hundred
miles, which would occupy eight or ten days.  The first village we
passed through was built high up off the ground on stilts, for in the
rainy season the whole country is completely flooded.  After passing the
green plain, we entered a dense forest.  Road, I should say, there was
none.  Nothing, it seemed to me, could surpass the rich luxuriance of
the vegetation.  On either side were numerous species of palms, their
light and feathery foliage rising among the other trees; bananas, with
their long, glossy, green leaves; and here and there groves of the
slender and graceful bamboo, shooting upwards for many feet straight as
arrows, their light leaves curling over towards their summits; while
orchids of various sorts, many bearing rich-coloured flowers, entwined
themselves like snakes round the trunks and branches.  Don Jose told us
that in the rainy season this road is flooded, and that then the canoe
takes the place of mules.

We put up the first night at a _tambo_, or road-side inn, a bamboo hut
of two stories, thatched with plantain leaves.  As the lower part was
occupied by four-footed animals, we had to climb into the upper story by
means of a couple of stout bamboos with notches cut in them.  We here
hung up our hammocks, and screened off a part for Ellen and Maria.  Next
day we began to ascend the mountains by the most rugged of paths.
Sometimes we had to wind up the precipice on a narrow ledge, scarcely
affording footing to the mules.  It was trying to the nerves, for while
on one side rose a perpendicular wall of rock, on the other the
precipice went sheer down for several hundred feet, with a roaring
torrent at the bottom.  Wild rocks were before and above us, trees and
shrubs, however, growing out of every crevice and on each spot where
soil could rest, while behind spread out a wide extent of forest, amid
which we could distinguish the river winding its way to the Pacific.
Few birds or beasts were to be seen--the monkeys and parrots we had left
below us; gallinazos, or black vultures, were, however, still met with,
as they are everywhere throughout the continent, performing their
graceful evolutions in the air, wheeling round and round without closing
their wings, in large flocks, above the watery region we had left.  The
black vulture (_Cathartes atratus_), which closely resembles the
well-known turkey buzzard in habits and appearance, performs, like it,
the duty of scavenger, and is protected therefore by the inhabitants of
all parts of the country.  It may be distinguished from the latter by
the form of the feathers on the neck, which descend from the back of the
head towards the throat in a sloping direction; whereas the turkey
buzzard has a frill of them completely round the throat.  The head and
part of the neck of the black vulture are destitute of feathers, and are
covered with a black wrinkled skin, on which a few hairs only grow.
"See, what grand fellows are these!" exclaimed Arthur.  I gazed up.  On
a rock close above us stood a couple of large birds, which were
unmistakably vultures.

"Dreadful-looking creatures," cried Ellen.  "They make me shudder.  They
seem as if preparing to pounce down on some little innocent lambs to
carry them off."

"It would prefer a dead mule, I suspect," observed John.  "Like other
vultures, it is not nice as to the nature of its food.  It is called the
King of the Vultures (_Sarcoramphus papa_), properly so, for it is the
strongest and bravest of the vulture tribe though inferior in size to
the condor.  Observe its head and neck, brilliantly coloured with
scarlet and yellow to make amends for the want of feathers.  On the
crown of its head, too, is a rich scarlet patch.  Close to the eye there
is a silvery blue mark, and above it part of the skin is blue and part
scarlet.  The bill is orange and black, and those curious lumps or
carbuncles on its forehead are rich orange.  At the lower part of the
neck it wears a black ruff.  The wing feathers and tail are black, and
the lower part of the body white, and the rest a fine grey satin
colour."

While John was speaking, the birds, spreading out their huge wings,
glided off the rock, and then by an imperceptible movement of them
soared upwards, and, hovering for a few seconds in the air, they darted
downwards into the plain, and were lost to sight.

"You need not be afraid of their attacking any living creature, Senora
Ellen," observed Don Jose.  "They have no relish for meat till it has
gained a higher flavour than we should like, and dead lizards and snakes
are much to their taste.  Even those they discover, I believe, rather by
sight than by scent."

We had been proceeding along a somewhat broader part of the road than
usual, though, as it was very steep, we climbed but slowly.  Now
rounding a sharp point, we came to a spot which made me wonder if those
ahead could possibly have got by; and I could not help gazing anxiously
downwards, almost expecting to find that some one had fallen over the
precipice.  Ellen kept up her courage admirably, and never hesitated to
follow where others led.  I could not help asking once if she did not
feel afraid.  "No," she answered.  "I always look upwards when I come to
a difficult place, and so pass without alarm."  Ellen's plan is the
right one, metaphorically speaking, to adopt in all the difficulties and
trials of life: look upwards, and we shall be carried safely through
them.  On we went till we found ourselves among a chaos of mountains,
separated by ravines so deep that the eye could scarcely distinguish the
rapid streams which found their way below.  On one side rose into the
clear blue sky the majestic summit of Chimborazo, while other peaked and
round-topped mountains reared their heads proudly around.  At length the
summit of the sierra was reached, and our mules commenced a descent into
the valley, drawing their legs together and sliding down with fearful
velocity.  I had bean anxious before, I was doubly so now; but the
animals with wonderful sagacity kept the centre of the path, and in time
I lost all sensation of fear, and could admire the beautiful scenery.

The tambos, or road-side inns, we stopped at were mostly huts of the
rudest kind, with mud walls and floors, kept by Indians, and dirty in
the extreme.  The entertainment provided for us was boiled chicken and
potato-soup, called in the mountains _locro_.  Wooden spoons were served
to enable us to ladle up the soup, but our fingers had to be used for
the chicken, instead of knives and forks.

We seldom had an opportunity while on mule-back of exchanging thoughts
except at the top of our voices, as in most places we were compelled to
travel in Indian file, one following the other.  We were once more
ascending the steep side of the mountain, when, on rounding a point, we
saw coming towards us a single traveller.  As he caught sight of us he
stopped his mule, and made signs for us to come on toward the spot where
the greater width of the road would allow us to pass him.  As we got up
to him I saw that he was a negro, dressed in the usual poncho and
broad-brimmed hat of the traveller in the Andes.  Don Jose, John, and
Arthur had ridden by, when the stranger's eye fell on Maria.

"It must be, after all!"  I heard him exclaim in Spanish.  "Maria! yes,
it is you!  Si, _si_, and I rejoice greatly."

"And you are Domingos; I am sure you are," exclaimed Maria.

"Yes, that is true," answered the old man.  "I have come expressly to
find you.  I have brought bad news; but it might be worse, so be not
alarmed."

"What is it?"  I asked eagerly.  "Are my father, or mother, or sister
ill?"

"No; they are all well," said Domingos; "but sad events have occurred at
Quito.  There has been a great disturbance--a revolution--no new thing
unhappily; and your father's house has been burned down, and they have
had to fly, and try to escape from the country.  They are safe by this
time, I hope.  I came on to conduct you to them.  I have been riding
fast to try and meet you to prevent you taking the direct road to Quito.
A body of troops are marching along the road, and if you were to fall
into their hands you would be ill-treated.  We will descend some
distance by the way you have come, and take shelter in yonder forest
which clothes the side of the mountain.  We shall be safe there, and I
doubt not obtain shelter in one of the huts of the chinchona gatherers."

Domingos had given me this account in a few hurried words.  I instantly
called to the rest of our party who were ahead, and we were all soon
collected in a nook in the side of the mountain, where we held a
consultation as to what should be done.  We quickly agreed to follow the
advice of Domingos.  Don Jose was greatly agitated at hearing what had
occurred.

"They would treat me with but scant ceremony, were I to fall into their
hands," he observed; "and I am afraid that you would suffer also were I
to be found in your company.  However, we may easily escape in the
forest should any search be made for us, and therefore let us lose no
time in seeking its shelter."

While he was speaking, I caught sight of some figures high up the
mountain, at a point round which the path wound its way.  I pointed them
out to Domingos.

"They are the soldiers," he exclaimed; "I see the glitter of their arms!
We have no time to lose.  Move on, my friends, move on!  If we were
overtaken it would fare hard with us."

Don Jose, who had also been looking towards the point, made us a sign to
follow, and rapidly led the way down the side of the mountain, our
native muleteers being evidently as anxious to avoid the soldiers as we
were.  The Indians had, it appeared, taken an active part in the
insurrection which had just broken out, and our guides knew, therefore,
that, should they be caught, the party in power would very likely wreak
their vengeance on their heads.

We descended for a considerable distance along the path by which we had
come.  Occasionally looking back, I caught sight of the troops as they
wound their way in a thin column down the mountain.  We, however,
appeared to be keeping well ahead of them; and I hoped that our small
party might have escaped observation.  At length Don Jose stopped, and
getting off his mule, surveyed the side of the hill which sloped away
below us.  Coming back, he took the bridle of his mule, and made it leap
off the path on one side on to what appeared a mere ledge of rock.
"Come on," he shouted; "I will show you the way; but you must all
dismount and follow the mules on foot."  We accordingly got off our
animals, which were made to leap down to the ledge below us, and
willingly followed the first mule, which Don Jose was leading.  John and
I took charge of Ellen, while Domingos helped Maria along.  The path was
very narrow and steep, but where the mules had gone we had little doubt
that we could follow.  In a short time we found ourselves descending by
a zig-zag path among trees which grew out of the side of the mountain,
here and there huge blocks of rock projecting among them.  Thus we went
on for a considerable distance.  Once when we stopped I looked upwards,
and caught sight of the head of the column of troops just as they were
reaching the very place we had left.  At length we reached the bottom of
the valley, through which a stream went foaming and roaring downwards
over a rocky bed.  The mountains rose up on either side, completely
surrounding us.  "This stream will be a safe guide," observed Don Jose;
"and if we proceed along its banks, we shall reach a spot where we can
remain concealed even should a whole regiment come in search of us."  We
proceeded on foot some distance, the active mules leaping from rock to
rock, while we scrambled on after them.  Sometimes we could with
difficulty get round the rugged points at the foot of which the stream
forced its way, while the cliffs towered up high above our heads.  Here
and there we caught sight of the snowy pinnacles of the mountains rising
towards the sky.  At length we emerged into a more open valley, and were
once more able to mount our mules.  We now entered the forest.  Don Jose
led the way by a path which was scarcely perceptible.  I observed here
and there notches on the barks of the trees, which I concluded served to
guide him.  Through an opening in the trees I saw the sun setting
towards the valley below us; and had I not possessed great confidence in
our conductor, I should have been afraid that we were about to be
benighted.  Directly afterwards we entered a thicker part of the forest.
Often it was with difficulty we could see our way amid the dense
foliage.  Don Jose, however, did not hesitate.  After proceeding for
some distance, the sound of a woodman's axe reached our ears, and we saw
through an opening ahead several persons engaged cutting away at the
vines which had prevented the tall tree they had just hewn down from
reaching the ground.  A little way beyond was a hut, and in its
neighbourhood several persons were at work.  "These are my friends,"
said Don Jose, "and they will willingly afford us shelter for the night,
and protect us to the best of their power."

While he was speaking, the man who appeared to be the director of the
party came forward and greeted him.  A short conversation ensued.

"We will remain here for to-night," said Don Jose, "but it may be more
prudent to proceed further into the depths of the forest to-morrow.  It
is possible that our enemies may discover the road we have taken and
come here to search for us, and, besides the risk we ourselves should
run, we should bring trouble on our friends."

Riding up to the hut, our mules were unloaded, and our hammocks and the
packages were taken inside.  It was a large shed, far better built than
many of the tambos we had stopped at, with thick walls and roof to
protect the bark from the effects of the weather.  It was already about
half full of bundles of this valuable commodity.  Each bundle was
tightly done up, and weighed as much as a man could carry up the steep
mountain's side.

We as usual set to work to form a separate chamber for Ellen and her
attendant: this we did with bundles of the bark, leaving a door and
window for ventilation.  Ellen thanked us for our trouble, saying that
she had not had so comfortable a room since the commencement of our
journey.  John, Arthur, and I slung our hammocks in the building, while
the rest of the party were accommodated in the huts of the
bark-gatherers.  A rough table was soon formed within the large shed,
and benches were brought in, and a substantial repast made ready.  The
chief dishes were the usual potato-soup and some roast meat.  We could
not at first make out whether it was venison or mutton, but found on
inquiry that it was the flesh of a vicuna, which had been shot by the
sportsman of the party in the morning.  It is an animal resembling the
llama, the well-known beast of burden of the ancient Peruvians.  Don
Jose and his friend sat down to table with us, and Domingos waited.

"But of what use is this bark!" asked Ellen, looking up at the huge
bundles piled up on either side.  "Is it for tanning?"

"Oh no," answered John.  "This is the celebrated Peruvian bark, to which
the name of chinchona has been given.  It was bestowed on it in
consequence of the wife of the Viceroy of Peru, the Countess of
Chinchona, having been cured of a tertian ague in the year 1638.  The
count and his wife, on returning to Spain, took with them a quantity of
the healing bark; and they were thus the first persons to introduce this
valuable medicine into Europe, where it was for some time known as the
countess's bark or powder, and was named by the celebrated naturalist
Linnaeus chinchona, in memory of the great service the countess had
rendered to the human race.  The Jesuits were great promoters also of
the introduction of the bark into Europe.  Some Jesuit missionaries in
1670 sent parcels of the powder or bark to Rome, whence it was
distributed throughout Europe by the Cardinal de Lugo, and used for the
cure of agues with great success.  Hence, also, it was often called
Jesuit's bark, and cardinal's bark."

"Yes, I have heard of that," observed Don Jose, laughing; "and I am told
that for some time it was in consequence opposed by the Protestants, and
especially favoured by the Roman Catholics."

"Yes," said John, "I believe that for a very long time a very strong
prejudice existed against it; and even physicians opposed its use,
considering it at best a dangerous medicine.  It is now, however,
acknowledged to be a sovereign remedy for ague of all descriptions.  I
believe the French astronomer De la Condamine, who went to Quito in the
year 1735 to measure an arc of a degree, and thus to determine the shape
of the earth, was the first person who sent home a full account of the
tree."

"We call it quinquina," (bark of barks), observed Don Jose.  "Some of
its virtues, if not all, were known to the Peruvians long before they
were discovered by Europeans."

"Ah! that is the reason it is called quinine by the English," observed
John.  "I did not before know the derivation of the word."

"Since its use became general in Europe, the export trade of the
quinquina has been very considerable," observed Don Jose.  "Forests
containing groves of these trees are found in various regions throughout
the northern parts of the Cordilleras.  My friend here has been engaged
since his boyhood in collecting the bark, as was his father before him.
When searching for new districts, it is the custom for the
cascarilleros, or bark-collectors, to set forth in parties of a dozen or
more men, with supplies of food and tools.  They make their way into the
unknown forest, where they suppose, from its elevation above the sea and
its general appearance, that the chinchona trees will be found.  They
are always accompanied by an experienced searcher, called the
_cateador_.  He climbs the highest tree in the neighbourhood, and
searches about till he discovers the _manchas_, or clumps, of the
chinchona trees by their dark colour, and the peculiar reflection of the
light from their leaves, which can be distinguished even in the midst of
a wide expanse of forest.  He then, descending, conducts the party
through the tangled brushwood, often for hours together, marking his way
with his wood-knife, till he reaches the clump.  Here they build rough
huts, such as you see around us, and commence their work.  The first
operation is to cut down a tree, when the bark is carefully stripped
off, and kept as free as possible from dirt or moisture, as it easily
becomes mouldy, and loses its colour.  It is important to cut the tree
as close down to the ground as possible, in order that fresh shoots may
grow up.  There are various species of the quinquina.  One is known by
the name of grey bark, another as the red bark, which is considered the
most valuable.  The bark which you see around you is of the latter
species; and the men employed in collecting can each make from one to
two dollars a day.  In the more distant forests, however, they have to
undergo great danger in the work.  Sometimes they have been known to
lose themselves in the forest and having exhausted their provisions,
have died of hunger.  They are compelled also to carry the load of bark
on their own backs, and occasionally a man breaks down under the weight
and can proceed no further, when, if he is separated from his
companions, he has little hope of escaping with life.  There are,
besides the species I have mentioned, a vast number of chinchona, though
the bark of some yields little or none of the valuable drug."

As soon as supper was over we retired to our hammocks, that we might be
prepared to set out at an early hour to a more secure spot in the
forest.  John and I lay awake for some time, talking over our prospects.
Of course we were very anxious about what might happen to our family;
for though Domingos had evidently not wished to alarm us, we saw that he
was uneasy about them.  We also could not shut our eyes to the
difficulties and dangers we should have to undergo; not that we cared
much about them on our own account, but on Ellen's.  Though she was a
brave girl, we were afraid that she might suffer from the hardships she
might have to endure in travelling over that mountain region.  What our
father had done to draw upon himself the hostility of the Government
party we could not tell.  He had, however, always shown an interest in
the natives, and by his just and kind treatment of them had won their
regard.  We concluded, therefore, that he was in some way supposed to be
implicated in the outbreak which had lately taken place.  At length we
dropped off to sleep.

The rest of the night passed quietly away.  I awoke as the grey dawn was
stealing into the hut, and at once turned out of my hammock.  I stood
contemplating the wild scene for some minutes, admiring the size and
variety of the trees which rose up in the forest before me.  Some had
enormous buttress trunks, which sent down rope-like tendrils from their
branches in every direction.  There was the gigantic balsam-tree, the
india-rubber-tree, and many others.  Among them were numerous palms--one
towering above the rest with its roots shooting out in every direction
from eight feet above the ground, and another slender and beautiful; but
the most remarkable of all was the _sayal_--so Don Jose called it--the
monarch of the palms of these forests.  It had rather a short, thick
stem, the inner fibres of its stalk being like black wool; but its
remarkable feature was its enormous leaves, which grew erect from the
stem for forty feet in length.  They must be the largest leaves, John
and I agreed, in the whole vegetable kingdom.  There were many bright
and scarlet flowers, and numberless beautiful orchids hanging from the
branches of the trees.  Beyond the forest rose rugged cliffs, dark black
rocks with lofty ranges of mountains towering above them.  I was soon
joined by my companions, and in a little time Ellen and Maria came
forth.  As it was almost dark when we reached the spot, we had formed no
idea of the wonderful scenery surrounding us Domingos did not appear,
and John inquired of Don Jose what had become of him.

"He has gone to ascertain in what direction the troops have marched," he
answered.  "We shall have to take our road accordingly.  Besides the
high road, there is another by which I can lead you, but it is still
more steep and difficult yet, as we shall thus avoid the risk of meeting
with enemies, it may be the safest for us."

A couple of hours passed away, during which we breakfasted on some
delicious chocolate prepared by our host.  Still Domingos had not
returned.  The mules, however, were got ready, that we might start,
should it be necessary, immediately he appeared.

"I trust the honest man has not been taken prisoner," observed Don Jose;
"it might fare ill with him.  But I am sure he would endure any cruelty
rather than betray us; and if he does not soon appear we will proceed on
our journey, and my friend here will send a man to show him the road we
have taken."

An hour passed, and as Domingos did not return, we mounted our mules and
proceeded through the forest.  Had we been on foot we might have
followed some paths which the bark-collectors had cut; but many of them
would only allow of a person proceeding in a stooping posture under the
numberless creepers which were interwoven amid the branches of the
trees.  We had therefore to make a considerable circuit.  At length we
came to a less frequented part of the forest, and here we were compelled
to use our knives and hatchets to clear away the art-work of creepers
which impeded our progress.  We all dismounted, and led the mules
through the path we had thus formed.  In several places we found, after
an hour's toil, that we had not progressed more than half a mile.

"We shall reach more open country by-and-by," said Don Jose, "so we need
not despair."

At length we came upon a small party of men engaged in stripping off the
bark from a tree which they had lately cut down.  Don Jose spoke to
them.  They saluted him with marks of respect, and one of them, throwing
his arm over his shoulder, led us through the forest to a small hut
concealed by the surrounding trees.  Its interior was not very tempting,
but it would afford us shelter from the night air should we be detained
there.  It was destitute of furniture, with the exception of several
hammocks hung up at one end, and a few pots and other cooking apparatus
in the corner.  Our attendants, however, at once began to sweep it out,
while Ellen and Maria sat down on a log outside.

"The night is likely to be fine, and our friends will gladly give you up
their hut," said Don Jose.

"We will wait here till Domingos appears.  I have made arrangements that
we should have ample notice should any enemies come in pursuit of us.
We are surrounded by friends, and I have no doubt we shall be able to
escape."

Don Jose had secured a fresh supply of food, so that in a short time an
ample meal was spread on the ground, round which we collected in picnic
fashion.  We had just concluded it when we heard footsteps approaching.
As we looked out, Domingos appeared before us.  His countenance
exhibited anxiety, and taking Don Jose aside, he conversed with him for
some minutes.

"We must proceed at early dawn by the road I have mentioned to you,"
said our friend, returning to us.  "Domingos has had a narrow escape of
being made prisoner.  He tells me that the soldiers are pursuing the
patriots and natives in every direction, and treating them with the
greatest cruelty, shooting and hanging them whenever they are found.
Although they would not venture probably to ill-treat you, you might be
subjected to great inconvenience, and certainly detained and prevented
from reaching your parents.  However, I trust that we shall be able to
avoid them, and to reach the eastern slopes of the Andes without
interruption.  Your father has ever proved my firmest friend, and I
rejoice therefore to have the opportunity of showing my gratitude by
being of service to his children.  We shall be able to remain here
during the night, and will recommence our journey by dawn, so as to
reach the most difficult pass by mid-day, and I trust before evening to
have gained a place of safety."

"You will do well, my dear masters, to trust our friend thoroughly,"
said Domingos to John and me, while Don Jose was at a little distance.
"I know your father has a great regard for him, and whatever he promises
he can perform.  You are indeed fortunate in meeting with him.  He is a
cacique, whose fathers once had great power in the country; and though
deprived of his lands, he is still looked up to with respect by the
natives in all parts of the country."

"Then how comes he to be called Don Jose?"  I asked.

"That is the name by which he is known to the whites, and it is the
safest by which to speak of him," answered Domingos.  "I know not if I
ought to tell his real name; but you will be cautious, or he might be
displeased with me."

"Yes; do tell me," I said; "I am curious to know more about him."

Domingos looked around.  The person we were speaking of was still out of
hearing.

"I will tell you, then," he replied.  "His real name is Pumacagua.  His
father, who headed the last attempt of the Indians to gain their liberty
before the revolution, when numerous tribes gathered to his standard,
was defeated, made prisoner, and shot.  Young Jose, our friend, after
fighting bravely, escaped, and though sought for, was not discovered.
Your father had concealed him at great hazard, and afforded him shelter
till better times came round.  He and I were the only persons in the
secret.  Jose Pumacagua has, therefore, reason to be grateful to your
father, besides being connected with him by the ties of blood."

Just then Don Jose, as I will still call him, came up, and we were
unable to ask further questions of Domingos.  Ellen was much interested
when we afterwards narrated to her what we had heard, and said that she
should try and get Don Jose to tell us his adventures, as she was sure
they must be very curious.

We were soon left quite alone; for the cascarilleros, having loaded
themselves with the result of their labour, took their way through the
forest.  Our friend told us that they were carrying the bark to a
village out of the forest, where it would be free from damp, and be
exposed to the drying influence of the sun.  When thoroughly dried it
would be conveyed to the town of Guaranda, and then sent down by mules
to Guayaquil.  I should have mentioned that the chinchona trees
surrounding us were very beautiful and graceful.  They had large, broad,
oval, deep green, shining leaves, with white and fragrant flowers, and
the bark was of a red colour.  The trees varied in height from forty to
sixty feet.  There were other trees in the neighbourhood which looked
very like them, but Don Jose showed us the difference.  The nature of
the bark is known by its splintery, fibrous, or corky texture.  The true
bark is of the former character.

Having cleaned out the hut, we made our usual arrangements for passing
the night.  Don Jose and Domingos, I saw, were somewhat uneasy, and two
of the men were sent out as scouts to watch the path by which we had
reached the hut.

"It is well to take precautions against surprise," observed our friend.
"However, our enemies, if they do follow us, will not travel during the
night, so that we shall be able, by moving early, to have a good start
of them."

At length, two hours after sunset, the Indians returned, reporting that
they had seen no one.  I was awaked by hearing Don Jose's voice--"Up,
friends, up!  We will be on the road, and not breakfast till we reach a
spot where no foe is likely to follow us."  He held a torch in his hand,
by the light of which we got ready to mount.  The Indians had meantime
saddled the mules, which were brought round to the door of the hut.
"Follow my example," he said, producing from a bag which he carried
slung over his shoulder, under his poncho, some dried leaves.  "This
will enable you to travel on for many hours without hunger, and assist
in preventing the damp air of the forest from having any ill effect."
Sitting down on the trunk of a felled tree, he placed the bag before
him, and put leaf after leaf into his mouth, till he had formed a small
ball.  He then took out from the bag a little cake, which I have since
found was composed of carbonate of potash, prepared by burning the stalk
of the quinoa plant, and mixing the ashes with lime and water.  The
cakes thus formed are called _llipta_.  The coca-bag, which he called
his _chuspa_, was made of llama cloth, dyed red and blue in patterns,
with woollen tassels hanging from it.  His attendants followed their
master's example, as did John, Arthur, and I.  Domingos, however,
declined doing so, and speedily prepared some chocolate for Ellen,
Maria, and himself.  A little time was thus occupied, and mounting, we
turned our mules' heads towards the east, just as the grey light of dawn
appeared above the mountain-tops, the stars still shining with a calm
light out of the deep blue sky above our heads, not glittering and
twinkling as in northern climes.  We were thus initiated by our friend
in the use of the far-famed coca.

"How do you like it?" he asked.

"I find the smell of the leaf agreeable and aromatic, and now I am
chewing it, it appears to give out a grateful fragrance," I answered.
It caused, I found, a slight irritation, which somewhat excited the
saliva.

"Ah! you will be enabled to go on if you wish till noon without eating,
and then with a fresh supply continue on with active exercise till
nightfall," he observed.  "It is with this wonderful leaf that the
running chasquis or messengers have from time immemorial been able to
take their long journeys over the mountains and deserts.  It must not be
used to excess, or it might prove prejudicial to the health, yet in
moderation it is both soothing and invigorating.  It will prevent any
difficulty of respiration also as you ascend the steep mountain-sides."

The coca-plant grows, I should say, at an elevation of about 6000 feet
above the level of the sea.  It is a shrub from four to six feet high,
the branches straight and alternate, and the leaves, in form and size,
like tea-leaves.  They are gathered three times a year.  They are then
spread out in a drying-yard and carefully dried in the sun.  The dried
leaf is called coca.  They are afterwards packed in sacks made of banana
leaves.  It is most important to keep them dry, as they otherwise
quickly spoil.

Daylight at length enabled us to see our way along one of the wildest
and most rugged paths on which I should think it is possible for animals
to proceed.  Up, up we went, with a roaring torrent on one side, and a
glorious view beyond of mountain above mountain, some snow-covered,
others running up into sharp peaks--others, again, considerably lower,
clothed even to their summits with graceful palms, whose feathery tops
stood out against the sky.  Sometimes we had to cross narrow chasms on
the fallen stems of trees; now we arrived at a wide one, to be crossed
by means of a suspension bridge, which swung frightfully from side to
side.  It made me giddy as I watched those who first passed along it.
It was composed of the tough fibres of the maguey, a sort of osier of
great tenacity and strength, woven into cables.  Several of these cables
forming the roadway were stretched over buttresses of stone on either
side of the bank, and secured to stout timbers driven into the ground
beyond them.  The roadway was covered with planks, and on either side
was a railing of the same sort of rope as the rest of the bridge.  Light
as it appeared, the mules one by one were led over.  We followed, not
venturing to look down into the foaming torrent, rushing impetuously
along a hundred feet or more below us.  Soon after this a ladder of
rocks appeared in front of us.  We were here compelled to dismount, Don
Jose and John helping up Ellen, Domingos assisting Maria, Arthur and I
scrambling up by ourselves while the Indians, waiting till we had
reached the summit, remained behind to drive on the mules.  Every
instant I expected to see one of them roll over; but they climbed up
more like monkeys than quadrupeds, and at length joined us on a small
level spot at the summit.

"A dozen bold men might hold this pass against a thousand enemies,"
observed our friend.  "Few but our people know it, though.  We will
proceed yet higher, and cross the most elevated pass before we stop for
breakfast, if your sister can endure hunger so long."

"Oh yes, yes!" exclaimed Ellen.  "I would not have you delay on my
account.  The chocolate I took prevents me feeling any hunger, even
though this pure air is calculated to give an appetite."

On and on we went, at as rapid a rate as our mules could move, upwards
and upwards, the scenery if possible growing wilder and wilder at every
step.  Huge masses of rock rose above our heads, with snow-topped
pinnacles peeping out at each break between them.  We had gone on some
way further, when at a short distance on our left I saw perched on the
top of a rock a huge bird, its head bent forward as if about to pounce
down upon us.  Presently we saw its wings expand.  It was of great size,
with huge claws, a pointed, powerful beak, a neck destitute of feathers,
and a huge comb on its forehead.  The feathers were of a glossy black
hue, with a white ruff at the base of the neck.

"Do you think he will attack us?"  I said to Don Jose.

He laughed.  "No; he is a coward!  We can easily drive him off if he
make the attempt."

He shouted loudly.  At that instant the condor, for such was the bird
near us, spreading out its huge wings, slowly glided into the air.  At
first the weight of its body seemed to keep it down, but gradually it
rose, mounting higher and higher, until it appeared like a mere speck in
the blue sky.

"He has gone off to the distant ocean," observed our companion; "or to
seek for prey among the flocks on the plains below.  He will not return
till evening, when probably we shall see him, or some of his brothers,
flying over our heads, and pitching on the lofty peaks amid which they
dwell."

The highest point of the pass was at length reached.  We all felt a
difficulty in breathing, and even our hardy mules stood still and gasped
for breath.  We let them proceed slowly, while we had time to admire the
magnificent spectacle which the mountain scenery afforded.  Around us on
every side rose up lofty peaks and rugged heights, prominent among which
appeared the snow-capped, truncated peak of Cotopaxi, looking like a
vast sugar-loaf.  The rocks, too--huge masses of porphyry--were broken
into all sorts of shapes, and were of every variety of colour, from dark
brown to the brightest lilac, green, purple, and red, and others of a
clear white, producing a very curious and beautiful effect, and at the
same time showing us to what violent throes and upheavings that region
has been subjected.  Below our feet was spread out that gloomy plain
which has been so frequently devastated by the lava and ashes which the
mountain has cast forth.

Descending, we reached a sheltered spot, where grass was found for our
tired mules.  Our saddle-bags were unpacked, the fires lighted, and in a
short time cups of boiling chocolate and a steaming stew, previously
cooked, were arranged for us on the grass.

While wandering a little way from our temporary camp, I saw some large
pale yellow flowers growing on a low shrub.  Presently several small
beautiful birds appeared hovering above them, in no way daunted by my
presence.  As they dipped their long bills into the flowers, I could
observe their plumage, and was convinced, though found at so great an
elevation, that they were humming-birds.  After watching them for some
time, I called Ellen and Arthur to look at them.

"Ah, yes, they are worthy of admiration," exclaimed our Inca friend.
"The bird is the Chimborazian hill-star humming-bird.  It is found
16,000 feet above the ocean, close to the region of snow, and seldom at
a less elevation than 12,000 feet."

The head and throat of the little creature which had excited our
admiration shone with the most brilliant tints, though the rest of the
body was of a more sombre hue.  The upper parts of the body were of a
pale, dusky green, except the wings, which were of the purple-brown tint
common to humming-birds in general.  The head and throat were of the
most resplendent hue, with an emerald green triangular patch on the
throat, while a broad collar of velvety black divided the brilliant
colours of the head from the sober ones of the body.  The hen bird,
which was mostly of a sombre olive-green, was flying about under the
bushes, and almost escaped our notice.

Don Jose told us that a similar bird inhabits the sides of Pichincha,
with different marks on its neck, and that neither at any time visits
the other, each keeping to its own mountain, on which they find the
food, flowers, and insects best suited to their respective tastes.  It
would have been barbarous to have shot the beautiful little birds; but
even had we wished it, it would have been difficult to do so.  So rapid
was their flight, that it was only when they were hovering over a flower
that we could have taken aim.  Ellen wanted to have one caught to keep
as a pet; but Don Jose assured her that it would not live in the low
region of the Amazon, but that we should there find many still more
beautiful species of the same family, some of which she might very
likely be able to tame.  After watching the birds for some time, we
returned to the camp.

Domingos was the first to mount his mule, riding on ahead, that he might
ascertain if the road was clear, while he promised to return and give us
notice should any enemies appear, that we might have time to conceal
ourselves.  This we hoped to be able to do among the wild rocks which
rose up in every direction.  We rode on, however, without interruption
for the remainder of the day, and stopped towards evening at a small mud
hut, inhabited by a Quichua family, who willingly agreed with Don Jose
to conceal and protect us with their lives.  In the morning we proceeded
in the same way as on the previous day.  Thus for several days we
travelled on, resting during the night at rude tambos, the inhabitants
of which, directly Don Jose spoke to them, willingly undertook to give
us accommodation.  The weather was fine, the air pure, bracing, and
exhilarating; and in spite of the fatigue we underwent, none of us
suffered.  Ellen and Maria bore the journey wonderfully.  Although we
were making our way towards the east, frequently we found ourselves
riding round a mountain with our backs to the rising sun.  Now we were
ascending by the side of steep precipices, and now again descending into
deep ravines.  At length Don Jose gave us the satisfactory intelligence
that we had left Quito behind us to the north-west, and that we might
hope to escape falling in with hostile forces.  "Still," he said
privately to John and me, "I cannot promise that we are altogether safe.
We must use great caution, and avoid as much as possible the beaten
tracks.  Parties may have been sent out to the east in search of
fugitives; but we will hope for the best."

As we were ascending a mountain-side, we saw before us, winding
downwards, a long line of animals.  A couple of Indians walked at the
head of the troop, while several other men came at intervals among them.
Each animal carried a small pack on its back; and we soon knew them to
be llamas, as they advanced carrying their long necks upright, with
their large and brilliant eyes, their thick lips, and long and movable
ears.  They were of a brown colour, with the under parts whitish.

As we approached, in spite of the efforts of their conductors, they
scattered away up and down the mountains, leaving the path open to us.
The Indians, however, made no complaint; but as we gained a height above
them, we saw them exerting themselves to re-collect their scattered
cavalcade.  They were going, Don Jose told us, to the coast, to bring
back salt--an article without which human beings can but ill support
life in any part of the world.

We soon after found ourselves travelling on a wide, lofty plain, bounded
by still higher peaks.  In several directions we saw herds of llamas, as
also a smaller animal of the same species--the alpaca.  It somewhat
resembles the sheep, but its neck is longer, and its head more
gracefully formed.  The wool appeared very long, soft, fine, and of a
silky lustre.  Some of those we saw were quite white, others black, and
others again variegated.  There were vast herds of them, tended by
Indians, as sheep are by their shepherds in other parts of the world.

The following day, descending from the plain and passing through a deep
valley, we caught sight of a herd of similar creatures, which Don Jose
told us were vicunas.  Their shape appeared slighter and more elegant
than that of the alpaca, with a longer and more graceful neck.  The
colour of the upper part of the body was a reddish yellow, while the
under side was of a light ochre.  A peculiar shrill cry reached our ears
as we approached, and the whole herd turned, advancing a few paces, and
then suddenly wheeling round, off they went at a rapid rate.  Don Jose
told us that they are hunted with the bolas, as cattle are in the
plains.  There is another animal, the huanacu, which is larger than the
llama, but resembles it greatly.  It is considered by some naturalists
to be a wild species of the llama.  Huanacus live in small troops.
Their disposition is very different from that of the llama.  Though
easily tamed when caught young, they can seldom be trained to carry
burdens.

John reminded me of an account he had read of the llama, which is
likened to the dromedary of the desert, the services it is called upon
to perform being similar.  Though it has not the ugly hump of the
dromedary, it possesses the same callosities on the breast and knees;
its hoof is divided in the same manner, and is of the same formation.
Its internal construction, which enables it to go for a long time
without drinking, is also similar.  It will carry about one hundred
pounds, and proceed at the rate of twelve or fourteen miles a day.  When
overloaded, however, it lies down, and nothing will induce it to rise
till it has been relieved of part of its cargo.

Llamas were the only beasts of burden employed by the ancient Peruvians.
Mules and horses were introduced by the Spaniards, and have now in many
places superseded the llamas, as mules will carry a much greater weight,
and are far more enduring and patient animals.



CHAPTER FOUR.

ADVENTURES AMONG THE MOUNTAINS.

We had been travelling on for many days, yet had made but slow progress.
This was not surprising, considering that we had to climb up steep
mountains and to descend again into deep valleys, to cross rapid streams
and wade through morasses, again to mount upwards and wind round and
round numberless rugged heights, with perpendicular precipices, now on
one side, now on the other, and gulfs below so profound that often our
eyes, when we unwisely made the attempt, could scarcely fathom them.
Still almost interminable ranges of mountains appeared to the east.  As
we looked back, we could see the lofty heights of Pichincha, Corazon,
Ruminagui, Cotopaxi, Antisana, and many others.

We had a mountain before us.  Our patient mules slowly climbed up it.
The summit reached, the ridge was so narrow that parts of the same rocks
might have been hurled, the one down into the valley towards the setting
sun, the other in the direction of the Atlantic.  We there stood fifteen
thousand feet at least above the ocean, our animals panting with the
exertion, and we ourselves, though inured to the air of the mountains,
breathing with difficulty.  Still before us there was a scene of wild
grandeur,--mountain rising beyond mountain, with deep valleys
intervening, their bottoms and sides clothed with a dense unbroken mass
of foliage.

"I fear beyond this we shall find no pathway for our mules," observed
Don Jose, as we were descending the height; "but we will endeavour to
procure bearers for the luggage, and will, in the meantime, encamp in
some sheltered spot, and try and ascertain in which direction my friend,
your father, and his party have gone."

We were nearly an hour descending, our mules carefully picking their way
among the rocks and lofty trees, and along the edges of yawning chasms,
which threatened to swallow us up.  Sometimes we passed through wooded
regions, where the giant trees, falling from age, remained suspended in
the network of sipos or wild vines, which hung from the branches of
their neighbours.  Now we had to make our way round the trunks, now to
pass beneath them.  As I looked up, I could not help dreading that the
cordage which held them might give way, and allow them to fall at that
instant and crush us.  At last we reached a level spot or terrace on the
mountain-side, but still the bottom of the valley seemed far down below
us.

"We will encamp here," said our friend, "and remain till we can
ascertain the direction we must pursue to come up with our friends.  We
are here above the damp and close air of the valley.  From yonder
torrent we can obtain the water we require," (he pointed to a cascade
which came rushing and foaming down, at a little distance, through a
cleft in the mountain), "while the forest around will afford an ample
supply of provision.  We are at such a distance from the usual track,
that we shall not, I hope, be discovered, should any of our enemies
venture in this direction."

John at once agreed to our friend's proposal.

"Our mules," continued Don Jose, "are of no further use, for it would be
almost impossible for them to make their way amid the tangled forest
through which we must pass.  We will therefore send them back to a
solitary rancho or farm, the proprietor of which is my friend, where
they will remain in safety till better times, when they can be forwarded
to their owners."

This plan being agreed on, the animals were unloaded, and our native
attendants set to work to build huts, which might afford us sufficient
shelter for the night.  We all helped; but we found that they were so
much more expert, that they had erected three huts while we had not
finished one.  Long stakes were first cut down.  Two of them were driven
into the ground and joined at their top, and about twelve feet beyond
them, other two were driven in, and connected by a long pole.  Against
this a number of stakes were arranged to serve as rafters.  Meantime a
quantity of large palm-leaves had been procured, which were attached to
the rafters by thin sipos or vines, beginning at the bottom, so that
they overlapped each other in the fashion of tiles.  They were so neatly
and securely fastened, that it was evident the heaviest shower would not
penetrate them.  In a short time we had seven or eight of these huts up,
sufficient to accommodate the whole of the party.  The natives then
descending into the forest, brought back a quantity of wood, which they
had cut from a tree which they called _sindicaspi_, which means the
"wood that burns."  We found it answer its character; for though it was
perfectly green, and just brought out of the damp forest, no sooner was
fire put to it than it blazed up as if it had been long dried in the
sun.

We were still at a considerable elevation, where there was but little of
animal life.  Even here, however, beautiful humming-birds flew among the
bushes.  They seemed very like the hill-stars we had seen at
Chimborazo--wonderful little feathered gems; but they flew so rapidly
about that it was difficult to distinguish their appearance.  Now a
gleam of one bright colour caught the eye, now another.  Now, as they
passed, all their hues were blended into one.

"I should so like to have some of those beautiful little creatures as
pets," said Ellen.  "I wonder if they could be tamed!"

"No doubt about it," said Don Jose.  "The difficulty is to catch them
first.  But, small as they are, they are in no degree timid; and if you
could take some of them young, you would find that they would willingly
feed off your hand; but, bold and brave, they love freedom, and will not
consent to live in captivity.  Perhaps Isoro may catch some for you.  He
knows all the birds and beasts of this region, and trees and herbs, as,
at one time, did all the people of our race.  The study of God's works
is a truly noble one, and such the enlightened Incas considered it; and
therefore it was the especial study of young chiefs in bygone days.
But, alas! in these times of our degeneracy, in that, as in many other
points, we are grievously deficient compared to our ancestors."

"Oh, thank you," said Ellen.  "I shall indeed be obliged to Isoro if he
can show me how to tame some of these beautiful little birds."

"I would rather have one of those fellows I see perched on yonder
pinnacle," observed Arthur, pointing to a rock at some distance, whence
a huge condor, with outspread wings, was about to take flight.  "What a
grand thing it would be to get on his back, and make him fly with one
over the mountain-tops.  He looks big and strong enough to do it."

"I am afraid that, with all his strength, he would find it a hard matter
to lift a heavy youth like you from the ground," observed Don Jose.
"Yet even a condor can be tamed, and if he is well fed, becomes
satisfied with his lot.  Large as he is, he is a mean creature, and a
coward."

While Don Jose was speaking, the condor came flying by.  Not a movement
of his wings was perceptible.  We hallooed and clapped our hands.

"He seems not to hear our voices," I observed.

"He is too far off for that," said our companion.  "Though we see him
clearly, he is at a greater distance than you suppose.  In this pure
atmosphere, objects appear much nearer than they really are; indeed,
even with long practice, it is difficult to ascertain distances by the
eye alone.  See there, on yonder slope!  It would take an active man an
hour or more to reach the height over which these vicunas are bounding,
and yet they seem almost within reach of our rifles."

He pointed to a shoulder of the mountain which projected some distance
into the valley, over which several animals were making their way,
scrambling up rocks which I should have thought the most agile deer
could scarcely have attempted to scale.

Isoro had received a hint from his master; and after being absent from
the camp for some time, returned with a beautiful little live bird,
which he presented, greatly to her delight, to Ellen.  Though its
bright, sharp specks of eyes were glancing about in every direction, it
remained quietly in her hand, without attempting to escape.  The greater
portion of its body was light green, bronzed on the side of the neck and
face, and the lower part of the back was of a deep crimson red.  The
wings were purple-brown, and the throat metallic green; but the tail was
its most remarkable feature.  That was very long, brown at the base, and
the greater part of its length of the brightest fiery red, tipped with a
velvety black band.

"Why, its tail is a perfect comet," exclaimed Ellen, who had been for
some time admiring it.

She had given it the name by which it is chiefly known--the Sappho
comet, or bar-tailed humming-bird.  It is a migratory bird, seldom,
however, found so far north.  It is a native of Bolivia, where it is
found in gardens, and near the abodes of men, of whom it seems to have
no fear.  In the winter it flies off to the warm regions of eastern
Peru, so Isoro told us.

"I am afraid that it will not live in captivity," he remarked.  "Shall I
kill it for you, senora?"

"Oh no! no!" exclaimed Ellen.  "On no account.  If I cannot make a pet
of it, I would not keep it even as an unwilling captive.  Pray, let it
go at once."

Isoro let the bird perch on his finger.  It looked about for an instant,
and then expanding its glossy wings, off it flew, its long tail gleaming
like a flash of lightning in the air, and was in an instant lost to
sight.  Isoro had, I believe, caught the little creature by the bill,
with a sort of bird-lime, placed in the lower part of a flower, where it
was held captive long enough to enable him to seize it.

We did not fail to keep up a large fire in the centre of our camp during
the night, lest any prowling puma might venture to pay us a visit.  The
warmth, also, which it afforded in that keen mountain air was grateful.

After Ellen and Maria had retired to their hut, which had been made as
comfortable for them as circumstances would allow, we sat up discussing
our plans.  I found that Don Jose and John had become anxious at not
finding our father.  Our friend had sent out several Indians in
different directions to search for him, with orders to come back to the
spot where we were now encamped.  I was surprised to find the influence
he possessed among all the natives we had met.

As soon as we had encamped, Isoro and two other Indians set off to
forage in the neighbourhood, as well as to obtain information.  They
came back late in the evening, driving before them three hogs, which
they had purchased at a native hut some distance off.  A pen was soon
built, in which to confine the animals: one of them was destined to be
turned into pork the following morning.  The mules had already been sent
away, and True and the pigs were the only four-footed animals in the
camp.

Our whole party had been for some time asleep, when I was aroused by a
horrible squeaking, followed by a loud bark from True, who was sleeping
under my hammock.  The squeaks and a few spasmodic grunts which
succeeded them soon ceased.  The voices of my companions outside the hut
showed me that they were on the alert; and knowing that True would
attack our visitor, whether puma or jaguar, I tied him to one of the
posts of the hut before I went out--a proceeding of which he did not at
all approve.

"Cuguacuara! cuguacuara!"  I heard the Indians exclaiming.

"A puma has carried off one of the hogs," said John, who appeared with
his gun ready for action.

"Where has it gone?"  I asked.

"That is what we are going to ascertain," he answered.

We set out with Don Jose, Isoro, and several of the Indians, the latter
armed only with their spears.  There was a bright moon, so we had no
great difficulty in seeing our way, though in that region of precipices
it was necessary to be cautious.  Isoro and the Indians led the way,
tracing the puma by the blood which their keen sight discovered on the
ground.  We had not gone far when they stopped and signified that the
beast was near.  Turning a point of rock, we saw before us, in a hollow
on the side of the mountain--a shallow cavern overgrown with shrubs,
into which the moon shone brightly--not only one, but two huge pumas,
the nearest with its paws on the hog it had just stolen.  We had formed
our camp close to their lair.  The savage brutes, thus brought to bay,
and unable to escape, snarled fiercely at us.  No animal is more hated
by the Indians than the puma, on account of the depredations it commits
on their flocks and herds.  They had little chance, therefore, of being
allowed to escape.  I expected, moreover, at any moment to see them
spring at us.

"Do you take the nearest," said Don Jose, calmly, to John; "I will take
the other.  Reserve your fire, Harry, in case one of them should
spring."

He and John fired.  The nearest puma gave a tremendous spring forward.
I had my weapon ready, and drew the trigger.  The bullet struck him,
and, first rising in the air, he fell backwards, and lay without moving.
The Indians rushed forward, and, with shouts of triumph, soon knocked
out any sparks of life which remained in the animals.  They then,
fastening some sipos round the bodies, dragged them and the hog to the
camp.

I had just time to measure one of them, before they were skinned and cut
up.  It had a body four feet in length; and a tail two and a half feet
long, black at the tip, but without the characteristic tuft of the lion.
Its limbs were very thick and muscular, to enable it to climb trees and
spring a great distance.  Its coat was of a light tawny tint, and of a
greyish-white below.

The Indians, delighted with their prize, sat up the rest of the night
cooking and eating the flesh, and telling anecdotes about the creatures.
The puma (_Leopardus concolor_) will seldom face a man when encountered
boldly.  It attacks his flocks, however; and hunts deer, vicunas,
llamas, and, indeed, all animals it meets with except its rival, the
jaguar.  It takes post on the branch of a tree, pressing itself so
closely along it as scarcely to be distinguished; and from thence
springs down on a passing deer or other animal, seizing it by the head,
which it draws back till the neck is broken.  I shall have by-and-by to
recount another adventure with pumas of a far more terrific character;
so will say no more about them at present, except that we found the
flesh very white, and much like veal.

We spent three days at the encampment.  At length one evening Don Jose
declared his intention of setting forth himself with Isoro.  I begged
that I might accompany him, and John also seemed anxious to go.

"No, Senor John," said our friend; "it is your duty to remain and take
care of your young sister.  But I will consent to take Harry with me,
and we will set forth to-morrow morning by daybreak.  John, Arthur, and
your servants will be sufficient to guard the camp; but do not move out
beyond the point which intervenes between this and the pass, lest you
may be perceived by any enemy travelling on it.  And let me advise you
also to be cautious how you receive any stranger who may perchance find
his way here.  At night be careful to keep a fire burning, and to set a
watch.  If you strictly follow my injunctions, I shall have no fear.  I
need not remind you of your young sister, whom it is your duty to watch
over; and the consequences to her, as indeed to us all, would be sad
through any carelessness."

John, though evidently disappointed, promised to follow our friend's
advice.  Next morning, even before the sun had risen above the tops of
the eastern mountains, while the valley was concealed by a dense mist,
which looked as if a sheet had been drawn across it, we were on foot,
and had finished breakfast.  Don Jose, Isoro, and I were each provided
with long, stout staves.  Our rifles were slung at our backs; wallets
containing our provisions were hung over our shoulders; and our feet
were shod with alpargates, which are sandals made of aloe fibres.  They
are invariably worn by the natives, as any ordinary boots would
immediately be cut to pieces by the rocky ground.  These, indeed, did
not last more than three or four days.  We had supplied ourselves,
however, with a considerable number at one of the last places at which
we had stopped, as well as with axes and wood-knives, and several other
articles which we should require in our journey through the forest.  We
had obtained also two bales of cloth, some clasp-knives, glass beads,
and trinkets, with which to pay the Indians for the services we might
require of them.

Ellen came out of her hut just as we were ready to start.  She seemed
very anxious when she heard that I was to be one of the party.  Don
Jose, however, assured her that he would run into no unnecessary danger,
and that our journey was absolutely necessary to ascertain whether our
father had passed by that way, or was still in the mountains behind us.
"I, too, am well acquainted with the country," he added; "and even
should any of our enemies come in this direction, I shall easily be able
to elude them."

I wished to take True with me; but Don Jose said that he would be of
more use at the camp,--that he might possibly betray us where we were
going, and insisted on his being left behind.  Poor fellow, he gazed
inquiringly into my face when I tied him up, to know why he was thus
treated, and seemed to say, I thought, "You know I shall watch over you
better than any one else, and you may be sorry you left me behind."  Our
friend was, however, so peremptory in the matter, that I was compelled
to yield to his wishes.

Bidding farewell to our friends, we took our way for some little
distance along the path we had come, and then, turning off, proceeded
northward, by which we should intersect, Don Jose said, another passage
across the mountains.  Had I not been in active exercise every day for
so long, I should have found great difficulty in scaling those mountain
heights; but my nerves were firm, and from so frequently looking down
precipices, I no longer felt any dizziness, even when standing on the
edge of the deepest.

We travelled on for several days--sometimes through forests, at others
along the bare mountain-sides, above the region of vegetation.  Some
nights were spent in huts, which we erected for ourselves, such as those
I have just described.  The natives, when we stopped at their abodes,
always received our friend with great respect and attention.  The
accommodation they could afford, however, was but scanty.  They were
built of reeds thatched with palm, and consisted of but one room.

I have not yet described the natives of this region.  They were of a
bronzed colour, with a sad and serious expression of countenance.  They
were seldom five feet high, and the women were even shorter.  They had
somewhat broad foreheads; their heads covered with thick, straight,
coarse, yet soft, jet-black hair, which hung down their backs.  Their
mouths were large, but their lips were not thicker than those of
Europeans, and their teeth were invariably fine.  They had large,
well-formed chins; cheek-bones rounded; their eyes somewhat small, with
black eyebrows; and little or no beard.  They had broad chests and
square shoulders, and well-made backs and legs, which showed the
strength possessed by them.  They were pleasant-looking people.  The men
wore a short kilt, with a poncho over their shoulders; the women, a
petticoat of larger dimensions.

They offered us, on entering their huts, cups of the _guayusa_ tea.  It
is an infusion of the large leaf of a tall shrub which grows wild in
that region.  We found it very refreshing: though not so powerful a
stimulant as coca, it supports the strength, as do the leaves of that
plant, and we found it enable us to go for a considerable time without
food.  The cleanest corner of the hut was assigned us for our
sleeping-place at night, with mats and dried leaves in the place of
mattresses.  Our friend made inquiries as to whether any white people
had passed in that direction; and, by his orders, the natives were sent
out to gain information.  I saw that he was uneasy, though he did not
explain to me the reason.

One morning we were on the point of again setting forward, when a
native, with a long mountain-staff in his hand, entered the hut.  He
exchanged a few words with Don Jose.

"We must hasten away, Harry," said our friend; "there is not a moment to
be lost.  The enemy have been tracking us, I find; but I trust that your
father has escaped them, and will ere long gain the banks of the Napo,
down which he may voyage to the Amazon.  We shall be able to reach the
same river by a longer route, along which there will be less fear of
being followed."

He made these remarks as we were throwing our wallets over our backs.
Taking our staves, he leading, we hurried from the hut, following a
narrow path which led up the side of the mountain.  We had approached
the hut by a lower and more frequented path than we were now taking; but
we were, I found, going in the direction from which we had come on the
previous day.  Don Jose went first, I followed, and Isoro brought up the
rear.  Though I exerted all my strength, I had some difficulty in
keeping up with my friend.  Anxious as I was to obtain more particulars
of what had occurred, we could not exchange words at the rate we were
going.  Every now and then, as we were climbing the cliffs, whenever I
happened to look back I saw Isoro turning an uneasy glance over his
shoulder.  It was evident that we were pursued.  We reached the edge of
a deep ravine, which appeared to bar our further progress.  Don Jose,
however, without making any remark, continued climbing on along it; and
at length I saw what appeared to be a rope stretched across the chasm.

"Hasten, master! hasten!"  I heard Isoro cry out: I knew enough of the
Quichua language to understand him.

We continued on till we reached the end of the rope, fastened to the
stump of a tree, and stretched across the chasm to the opposite side,
where it was secured in the same manner, a platform being raised to the
same elevation as the rock on which we stood.

"Harry," said my friend, turning to me for the first time, "I have seen
your nerves thoroughly tried, and I know your muscles are well-knit, or
I would not ask you to pass along this perilous bridge."

The rope was formed of the tough fibres of the maguey--an osier which
grows in the moist ground of that region.  It possesses a great degree
of tenacity and strength.

"Master, let me go first," exclaimed Isoro, springing forward.  "If it
breaks with me it will matter little, and you will have still a chance
for life."

Without waiting for Don Jose's answer, Isoro threw himself upon the
rope, and, holding on by hands and feet, began to work himself along.  I
watched him anxiously.  It was indeed a fearful mode of crossing that
awful gulf; and yet I knew that I must pass as he was doing.  I was
thankful that the distance was not great, at all events.  I breathed
more freely when at length I saw him alight on the platform.  I
entreated Don Jose to go next.  "It will give me more courage," I said.
"As you wish," he replied.  "Let me caution you, only before I go, to
shut your eyes, and not to think of the gulf below you.  You will then
find the passage perfectly easy."

Saying this, he took hold of the rope, and began to work his way across.
Scarcely, however, had he got into the centre, when I saw Isoro
pointing in the direction we had come from.

"Hasten! hasten!" he shouted out.

I looked round, and caught sight of two enormous hounds approaching at
full speed.  I could hear their loud, baying voices as they came on
panting up the mountain-side.  I did not hesitate a moment, when urged
by Isoro to cross at once.  "The rope will bear you," he shouted
out--"not a moment is to be lost!"

Seizing the rope, I shut my eyes and began the awful passage; for awful
it was, as, in spite of my resolution, I could not help thinking of the
deep chasm over which I was making my way.  I should be unwilling again
to attempt so fearful a passage; and yet, perhaps, once accustomed to
it, I should have thought nothing of the undertaking.  I was surprised
when I felt my friend take my arm.

"You are safe," he said; "lower your feet;"--and I found myself standing
on the platform.

On opening my eyes, and looking towards the cliff from which we had
come, I saw two huge blood-hounds, with open mouths, baying at us.
Isoro, I should have said, had taken my rifle as well as his own, and
placed it against the tree.

"We must get rid of these animals," said Don Jose, "or they will betray
the road we have taken."

Saying this, he levelled his piece, and one of the dogs, as it sprung
forward on receiving the bullet, fell over the chasm into the depths
below.  Isoro followed his master's example.  His bullet took effect;
but the blood-hound, though wounded, was not killed outright, and
retreated a few paces.  I was afraid he would have escaped; but before
he had gone far, he fell over, and after a few struggles, was dead.

"The animal must not remain there," observed Isoro, throwing himself
upon the rope; and in a few minutes he had again crossed the chasm.

Seizing the dog by the legs, he drew it to the edge, and hurled it after
its companion.  Then, searching about in the crevices of the rocks for
moss and lichens, he strewed them over the ground where the dog had
fallen, so as to obliterate the traces of blood.  He was some time thus
occupied before he had performed the operation to his satisfaction; and
then he once more crossed the chasm, with as much unconcern as if he had
been passing along an ordinary road.  I proposed letting go the rope to
prevent our pursuers following.

"That is not necessary," said Don Jose.  "It would cause trouble to our
friends, and I doubt whether our enemies will venture to cross.  At all
events, the so doing would betray the route we have taken, and they may
find the means of crossing some leagues further down the stream."

We accordingly proceeded as before.  We now came to a track, which, had
I been alone, I could not have followed, as it was generally, to my
eyes, altogether undistinguishable; yet Don Jose and Isoro traced it
without difficulty.  It now led us along the edge of a precipice, where,
it seemed to me, so narrow was the space between the cliff on one side
and the fearful gulf on the other, that we could not possibly get by.
Our leader, however, went on without hesitation.  At length he appeared
to reflect that my nerves might not be as firm as his.

"Here, Harry," he said, "take hold of the centre of my staff; Isoro will
hold the other end, and you may pass without risk."

I did as he directed, keeping my eyes away from the gulf as much as
possible.  Now and then the path became somewhat wider; then again it
narrowed, affording just space to support our feet.  I leaned against
the cliff, unwilling to throw more weight than I could possibly help on
the staff.  I breathed more freely when we were once more ascending the
mountain-side.  We were making our way round a rugged point of rock, and
Don Jose's head had just risen above it, when he called to us to stop.

"I see some people coming this way," he observed.  "They may be friends,
but they may be foes.  Harry, I am sorry to have exposed you to this
danger; for it is me they seek, not you.  However, they have not seen
us, and we have yet time to conceal ourselves.  Fortunately I know of a
place near here where we shall be able to do so; and unless yonder band
have these savage blood-hounds with them, we may yet escape capture."

Saying this, he began rapidly to ascend the mountain-side among the wild
and rugged rocks with which it was covered.  After climbing up for some
distance, we saw before us a small opening in the rocks.

"This is the spot I was seeking," observed our friend; "and unless it is
known to our pursuers, we shall here remain in security till they have
passed by."

He leading the way, we all entered the cavern.  It soon opened out into
a large chamber with rugged sides.  The passage to it also had several
buttresses or projecting rocks, behind which we might take post, and
could have fired down without being seen on any one approaching.  From
the entrance, also, we could watch the pathway by which we had come; and
it was so small and overgrown with shrubs that it could not be perceived
at any distance.  Don Jose told me to climb up behind one of the rocks,
while he and Isoro took post behind others.  So completely were they
concealed, that I could not discover where they were except by their
voices.  We waited anxiously, till at length a band of armed men was
seen winding round the hill.  Already they had passed under the cave.

"We might follow, and without difficulty hurl every one of those fellows
into the abyss below," observed Don Jose.  "But we will spare them; they
obey but the orders of their superiors."

After waiting a little time longer, Don Jose emerged from the cavern,
and looking about, told us that the road was clear.  We accordingly
descended, though it required great caution to avoid making a rapid
descent into the deep ravine below us.  For the greater part of the day
we continued toiling on, supported by the coca with which we
occasionally replenished our mouths.  At length, towards evening, we
made our way to a native hut, where we were received as usual.  Here
hammocks were slung for us between the pole on which the roof rested,
our hosts undertaking to keep careful watch to prevent surprise.

I had become very anxious about the rest of our party, fearing that they
might have been discovered.  At the end of two more days I recognised
the features of the spot where we had left them.  No one was to be seen.
My heart sank.  Had they been seized and carried off to Quito, or had
they made their escape?  Great was my satisfaction when, on rounding a
rocky point, I caught sight of the huts, and saw Arthur running towards
us.  "We are all well--very thankful to see you return!" he exclaimed,
"for we began to fear that you might have been lost."  Directly
afterwards John and Ellen emerged from their huts, and now all the party
were gathered round us.  Poor dear Ellen welcomed me with tears in her
eyes.  Her spirits revived when Don Jose told her he had reason to
believe that our parents were in safety.  True could not restrain his
joy, but kept leaping up and licking my hands and face, and jumping
round and round me.  Wherever I went he closely followed, determined not
again to lose sight of me.  At supper he sat by my side watching my
face, nor would he leave me even though John and Arthur tried to tempt
him away with offers of bits of pork or parrots' legs.

All the party were eager to set out at once, but it was necessary before
we could do so to procure bearers to convey our luggage along the long
and intricate path we had to take through the forest.  This our friend
undertook to do by the following day from a village at no great distance
off.

The next morning a dozen stout natives--young, active men--made their
appearance.  They all had at their backs large baskets bound by withes
passing across the forehead and chest.  They were but lightly clothed.
A small poncho covered their shoulders, and the usual cloth and kilt was
worn round the loins, a wisp of leaves preventing their backs being
chafed by their burdens.  Each man also carried a long staff in his
hand, and a bag of roasted corn as provision for the journey.  The
burdens were soon adjusted.  One of them had a sort of chair at his
back, which Don Jose had ordered to carry the senora, as Ellen was
denominated.  She insisted, however, that she was well able to walk, and
not without difficulty we persuaded her to take advantage of the
conveyance which had been provided.

We forthwith set out, and descending the mountain, were soon in the
midst of the thick forest.  Two of the Indians, who carried lighter
burdens than the rest, went ahead with axes in their hands to clear the
way.  It was extraordinary with what rapidity they cut through the
sipos, or hanging vines, which threw their serpent-like coils from tree
to tree.  So quick is their growth in that moist region, that other
travellers following in a few weeks would have to perform the same
operation, our friend told us.  As we advanced the forest became thicker
and thicker, the dark foliage forming a lofty vault through which no
sunlight can ever enter.  The air felt cool and excessively damp,
compared to the exposed sides of the mountains.  A constant mist seemed
to hang on the branches.  Not a sound was to be heard; scarcely a bird
did we see in the swampy shades.  The stillness and gloom, indeed,
became almost painful.  From the lofty trees hung down thousands of
lianas, or air-roots, some forming thick festoons, others perfectly
straight, of all lengths, many reaching almost down to our heads, others
again touching the ground and taking root in the soft earth.  Here and
there some giant of the forest, decayed by age, had fallen, to remain
suspended in the loops of the sipos.  Thus we went on, following in
Indian file.  I kept near Ellen to cheer her up, while True followed
close at my heels, every now and then licking my hands and jumping up,
as if to ask me what I thought of the strange region we had entered.  We
found it rather difficult to converse.  Sometimes we walked on for a
considerable distance in silence.

We had thus been progressing for some time, the only sound heard being
that of our footsteps on the rustling leaves, or that produced by the
sharp axes of our pioneers, when suddenly our ears were startled by a
loud crash, which, contrasted with the previous silence, made it seem as
if the whole forest was coming down together.  Ellen gave way to a
slight cry of alarm.  "Do not be afraid, my young friends!" shouted Don
Jose.  "It is only an ancient tree, weary of standing so long."  In a
short time the crashing sound ceased, and directly afterwards we came in
sight of a vast trunk, which had fallen across the path we were about to
pass along.  We had to make a circuit therefore to avoid it.  We could
not but feel thankful that it had not delayed its fall till we were
passing beneath, although we might possibly have had time to escape, in
consequence of its being upheld for a few seconds by the sipos, till its
vast weight had dragged them down.



CHAPTER FIVE.

THE RIVER REACHED AT LAST.

We were not yet free of the mountains, for numerous spurs of the mighty
Andes run eastward, between which the many streams proceeding from their
snow-capped heights make their way towards the Amazon.  Once more we
were compelled to ascend a steep height, and then to proceed along the
ridge for a considerable distance; then again we descended, to find at
the bottom a roaring torrent.  This had to be crossed.

The huge trunk of a tree had been placed by the natives over the deeper
part, resting on the rocks on either side.  The water hissed and bubbled
round it, threatening every instant to carry it away.  Isoro, however,
urged us to cross without delay.  He observed signs in the west, among
the mountains, of a coming storm, he said, and should it break before we
were safe on the other side, we should be prevented from crossing
altogether.  Still, as we looked at the frail bridge, John and I were
very unwilling to expose Ellen to the risk she must run.  At length Don
Jose ordered the Indians to form a long rope of sipos, and to stretch it
across the stream, that it might assist to steady the bearers on their
passage.  This caused some delay.  "Hasten! hasten!" cried Isoro.  "I
hear a sound which tells me that the waters are coming down!"

Don Jose on this led the way.  Arthur kept close to him.  I followed
with True in my arms, for I had taken him up for fear of his being
carried away by the current.  Ellen's bearer same next.  John walked
close behind her, to render her assistance should it be required.  With
one hand I grasped the long sipo, with the other I kept tight hold of
True.  The rest had the advantage of being able to steady themselves
with their poles.  Domingos assisted Maria.  The water, even before we
reached the trunk, came roaring and hissing down round our legs, and I
had some difficulty in stemming the current.  I was thankful when our
leader reached the trunk, and began his passage over it.  I found it,
however, very slippery with the spray which broke over it.  I dared not
look back to see how it fared with Ellen.  I heard her voice, however,
as she cried out, "Do not be afraid, Harry; my bearer steps firmly, and
I am looking up at the blue sky and the waving tops of the tall trees; I
do not feel any alarm."  Still there was a wide extent of bubbling water
to be crossed beyond the end of the slippery trunk, and I could hear the
loud roar of the waters which came down from the mountains through the
ravine.  I saw Don Jose hastening on, and more than once he turned and
beckoned us to proceed more rapidly.  The end of the bridge was reached.
Arthur hesitated to leap into the boiling water.  Don Jose turned round
and seized his hand and led him on.  I followed.  It seemed that every
instant the depth of the water was increasing.  I trembled for Ellen's
safety, and yet could not venture to look back to ascertain how it was
faring with her.  I thought too of John, Maria, Domingos, and our
Indians.  The danger for those who came last would be greatly increased.
Had it not been for the sipo, I could scarcely have kept my footing.
Now I was wading up to my middle, now climbing over a rock worn smooth
by the never-resting waters.  The water was here somewhat shallower.  I
looked round.  Ellen's bearer was following with firm steps, and was
close behind me.  "On! on!" cried John.  Our leader was already near the
edge, and I hoped we should soon be in safety, when I heard Ellen utter
a shriek of terror.  I sprang on to the bank.  Her bearer followed.  She
had not been alarmed on her own account; but now looking across the
stream, I saw the bearers following closely on each other, pressing
along the bridge.  From above the water, in a vast foaming volume, was
coming rushing down, roaring loudly.  John turned round, and taking
Maria's hand, assisted her up the bank.  Domingos clambered after her.
Our peons came close together behind.  One man was still on the bridge,
when the torrent, striking it with fearful force, lifted it off the
rock, and away it went wheeling downwards.  The peon kept his footing
for an instant, then, as it began to turn over, he sprang off it towards
the shore; but unable to disengage himself from his burden, he was borne
downwards amid the tossing waters.  The Indians ran down the bank to try
and render him assistance.  John and I followed, with Don Jose, who
seemed unusually agitated.  Now we saw the man clutching hold of a rock;
soon again he was torn off, and went floating downwards.  Still he
struggled on bravely, making his way towards the shore.  I expected
every moment to see him give up the unequal contest, for the mighty
waters seemed to have him in their grasp.  Fortunately the bundle he
carried was large, and though heavy out of the water, was light in it,
and instead of sinking, assisted to float him.

John and I continued to make our way along the banks with the rest.  We
had got some distance down, when we saw what appeared to be an eddy or
backwater in the river.  Below it the stream rushed on with the same
impetuosity as before.  I called to John.  "I think we may save him," I
said; and signed to the Indians to cut some long sipos which hung down
from the branches above us.  Several flexible ones were speedily cut and
fastened together.  Both John and I were good swimmers.  He secured one
to his waist, as did I, signing to the Indians to hold the other ends.
Then we dashed into the stream, swimming out towards the struggling
Indian.  In another moment he would have been carried by us.  I reached
him just as I was at the extreme end of the sipo.  John seized his arm
directly afterwards, and together we towed him towards the bank, calling
to the Indians to haul the sipo gently in.  Soon reaching the bank, we
dragged up our nearly drowned companion.  Not till then did we discover
that he was Isoro, who, it appeared, had taken the load of a sick bearer
unable to carry it.

Isoro, as soon as he had recovered sufficiently to speak, thanked us
warmly for preserving his life.  Don Jose, who had come up, also added
his thanks.  "I value him much," he observed, "and should have grieved
deeply had he lost his life."

We had little time for talking, however, for we had to hurry back to
where we had left our companions, as the storm which had been brewing in
the mountains now threatened to break over our heads.  Our party,
therefore, piling up their loads, made haste to erect some sheds similar
to those we had already several times built.  A quantity of the
_sindicaspi_, or "wood that burns," was speedily cut, and fires were
lighted, at which we dried our drenched clothes.  Scarcely had our
preparations been made, when the threatening storm burst over us, the
wind howling and whistling through the trees, which waved to and fro,
making a loud rustling sound; while every now and then we could hear the
crashing noise of some patriarch of the forest, as it sank beneath the
blast.  The rain came in torrents, and the river, surging and swelling,
rapidly increased its breadth.  We had indeed reason to be thankful that
we had not delayed our crossing a moment longer.  Our fires were soon
put out, and water came rushing down on either side of us through the
forest.  We, however, had chosen a slightly elevated spot for our camp,
which, though surrounded by water, had hitherto escaped destruction.
The rain continuing to pour down in a perfect deluge, compelled us to
remain in our camp.  So secure, however, had the roofs been made, that
we kept dry inside.  Occasionally John, Arthur, and I ran into Ellen's
hut to pay her a visit.  We found her and Maria sitting very composedly,
employing themselves with their work, which they produced from one of
the bundles they had unpacked.  Don Jose remained in his hut, attended
by Isoro.  He was much more out of spirits than we had yet seen him.

"My young friends," he said, "I must soon bid you farewell.  I had
resolved to accompany you till I could see you embarked on the river.
We shall reach it, I hope, in three or four days at furthest, but I
cannot be longer absent from my people in these troubled times.  I hope
that you will soon overtake your father and family, who, from the
accounts I have received, intend to wait for you at the mouth of the
river, where it joins the Amazon.  Though I must return, Isoro has
expressed a wish to accompany you.  You will find his assistance of
value, as he has been among the wild tribes you will encounter on your
passage, and knows their habits and customs.  They are very different
from the people you have hitherto met, and may give you much annoyance,
unless cautiously dealt with."

We were very sorry to hear of Don Jose's intention of leaving us, as we
had hoped that he intended to accompany us till we could overtake our
father, though we were greatly obliged to him for his proposal of
allowing Isoro to remain with us.

Once more, the clouds clearing away, we proceeded on our journey.  We
made, however, but slow progress, as in many places the sipos which had
overgrown the path had to be cut way to allow of our passage through the
forest.  I can scarcely attempt to convey in words an idea of the dense
mass of foliage amid which we had to force our way.  Vast roots like
huge snakes ran out over the ground in all directions, their upper parts
forming huge buttresses to the giant stems.  Then large ferns shot
upwards, while a thick network of vines hung festooned in every possible
form above our heads, many hanging down straight to the ground, while
numberless curious air-plants hung suspended from the branches.  Now and
then gaily-plumaged birds were seen flitting amid the thick shade; but
we were surprised at the paucity of animal life which existed.  Not a
quadruped was to be seen.  A few monkeys and parrots were occasionally
heard, though rarely caught sight of.  We had numerous streams to cross;
often, indeed, the same stream to cross several times.  Frequently the
passage was almost as dangerous as that I have described.  Sometimes we
stopped at the huts of the natives, where we were as usual well
received.  They were built of bamboo, fastened together with lianas or
sipos, the roofs covered with large palm-leaves.  They willingly
supplied us with such provisions as they possessed.  The chief article
was _yuca_ flour, with which we made cakes.  It is the beet-like root of
a small tree about ten feet high.  When not hunting, the men appeared to
spend their time in idleness.  The women, however, were occasionally
employed in manufacturing a thread called _pita_ from the leaves of the
aloe, which they carry to Quito for sale.  Occasionally the men
collected vanilla.  It is a graceful climber, belonging to the orchid
family.  The stalk, the thickness of a finger, bears at each joint a
lanceolate and ribbed leaf a foot long and three inches broad.  It has
large star-like white flowers, intermixed with stripes of red and
yellow, which fill the forest with delicious odours.  They are succeeded
by long slender pods, containing numerous seeds imbedded in a thick oily
balsamic pulp.  The seeds, which are highly esteemed, are used for
flavouring chocolate and other purposes.  Monkeys are very fond of them,
and pick all they find, so that few are left on the wild plants for
man's use.  Vanilla is, however, cultivated in Mexico and other parts of
the world.  The Indians also collected copal.  It is a gum which exudes
from a lofty leguminous tree, having a bark like that of the oak.

However, I must hurry on with an account of our journey.  When we met
with no habitations on our way, we were compelled to build sheds in the
driest and most open spots we could find.  At length, through an arched
opening in the forest, the bright sheen of water caught our eyes, and
hurrying on, we found ourselves standing on the bank of a stream, which
opened up to us a watery highway to the Atlantic.

Still, we were well aware that we had many dangers to encounter.  For
many hundred leagues we could not hope to meet with Europeans, and
although the natives among whom we had hitherto travelled had been
friendly, we knew that numerous tribes existed along the banks of the
Amazon or its tributaries, who might prove hostile to strangers.  Our
chief anxiety, however, was about our father and mother.  When we might
once more meet, we could not tell.  Still we felt sure that they would
not willingly proceed till we had overtaken them.

We had arrived at a part of the river at a distance from any native
village.  We had therefore to depend on ourselves for the means of
making our intended voyage.  We were prepared, however, to build canoes
of sufficient size for the accommodation of our reduced party.
Accordingly we set to work to erect huts of a more substantial character
than those we had hitherto built, in which we might live in some degree
of comfort till the work was accomplished.  With the assistance of our
bearers, in a few hours we had a good-sized hut of bamboos put up, and
strongly thatched with palm-leaves.  One portion was walled in with a
division forming two apartments.  The larger was devoted to the
accommodation of Ellen and her sable attendant.  In the other, our goods
were stored; while the rest of us slung our hammocks in a large open
verandah, which formed, indeed, the greater part of the building.  It
was completed before nightfall.  In front, between us and the river, a
large fire was made up, which, fed by a peculiar kind of wood growing
near, kept alight for many hours without being replenished.

We were seated at our evening meal, when we heard footsteps rapidly
approaching, and an Indian appeared and saluted Don Jose.  He was a
stranger, and had evidently been travelling rapidly.  Presenting a
packet, he sank down on the ground with fatigue.  A cup of _guayusa_ tea
soon revived him.  Don Jose meantime opened his packet, and hastily read
the contents.

"My young friends," he said, "I regret that I must immediately bid you
farewell.  I cannot longer be absent from my people.  I know not what
may occur; but if their leaders are away, they will have no hope of
obtaining their freedom.  Your father, however, was right to escape from
the country.  I am thankful to say that I can give you tidings of him.
He has reached the mouth of the Napo in safety, and is there encamped,
awaiting your arrival.  Here, John, is a missive your father desires me
to deliver to you."

Our friend handed my brother a note written hurriedly in pencil.  It ran
thus: "The messenger is about to leave, so I must be brief.  We are all
well, and purpose waiting your arrival on this healthy spot, near the
mouth of the Napo.  You will without difficulty find it, though we shall
be on the watch for all canoes coming down the stream.  Pass two rivers
on your left hand, then a high bluff of red clay interspersed with
stripes of orange, yellow, grey, and white.  Proceed another league,
till you pass, on a low point, a grove of bamboos.  Rounding it, you
will find a clear spot on a low hill overlooking the stream.  It is
there I have fixed our temporary abode."

"Oh, surely there will be no difficulty in finding them!" exclaimed
Ellen.  "I wish that the canoes were ready--or could we not set off by
land?"

"I fear that you would have to encounter many difficulties," observed
Don Jose, "if you were to make the attempt.  I must counsel patience,
the most difficult of all virtues.  I wish that I could accompany you--
or, at all events, remain till the canoes are ready; but you will find
Isoro a skilful builder, and I will direct him to procure the assistance
of some of the natives of this region, who will afterwards act as your
crew, and navigate your canoes as far as they can venture down the
river.  After that, Isoro will return with them, as I am afraid that I
could not induce him to remain away longer from me, though I would
gladly let him accompany you if he would.  Still I hope that you will
have no great difficulty in accomplishing the short remainder of your
voyage till you find your father and the rest of your family."

John and I thanked Don Jose again and again for the aid he had afforded
us, and the sacrifices he had made on our account.

"Do not speak of them, my young friends," he replied.  "I owe much to
your father; and we are united by ties of which he, perhaps, will some
day tell you."

We wished that our friend would explain himself more clearly, but he
evidently did not intend to do so, and we therefore could not attempt to
press the point.  We sat up talking for some time before we turned into
our hammocks.

Our hut was romantically situated.  Before us flowed the rapid river; on
either side rose the thick forest of palms and other trees, round the
stems of which circled many a creeper, hanging in festoons from the
branches overhead.  In the far distance towered the outer range of those
lofty mountains we were leaving, perhaps for ever; while round us were
scattered the temporary wigwams which our attendants had put up for
themselves.  The never-ceasing murmur of the waters tended to lull us to
sleep in spite of the strange sounds which ever and anon came from the
forest, caused by tree-toads and crickets; while occasionally owls,
goat-suckers, and frogs joined in the concert with their hooting,
wailing, and hoarse croaks.  My faithful dog True had taken up his usual
place at night below my hammock.  Suddenly I was awaked by hearing him
utter a loud bark; and looking down, I saw by the fire, which was still
burning brightly, a huge alligator poking his snout into the verandah,
having evidently climbed up the bank with the intention of making a meal
off the dog, or, perhaps, off one of the sleeping natives.  True stood
bravely at bay, barking furiously, and yet refusing to retreat.  Leaping
from my hammock, I seized a log, and dashed it in the huge saurian's
face.  All the party were speedily on foot.  Isoro and Domingos came
rushing forward with their long poles to attack the monster; while John,
seizing his gun, fired at its head: The ball, however, glanced off its
scaly coat.  The reptile, finding itself disappointed of its expected
feast, and that the odds were against it, retreated, and finally fell
over with a loud plash into the stream.  The incident warned us of the
midnight visitors we might expect, and of the necessity of keeping a
watch when sleeping near the river's bank.  The fire was made up afresh.
We were all soon again asleep, with the exception of one of the men,
who was directed by Don Jose to keep watch for the remainder of the
night.

The next morning our kind friend bade us farewell, and, accompanied by
the bearers, took his way through the forest to the Andes.  We saw him
go with great regret.  We remembered the dangers he would have to
encounter, and we felt how probable it was that we should never again
see him.  Our party now consisted of Ellen, Maria, John, Arthur and I,
Domingos and Isoro.  John and I had our rifles; and Domingos a brace of
long horse-pistols, which he took from his holsters when the mules were
sent back; with a fair supply of ammunition.  We had axes, and a few
other tools for building our canoe; a stock of provisions, which had
been carefully husbanded; and some bales of cotton and other articles
with which to repay the natives for their services, or to purchase food.
Isoro was armed with a long bow and spear, and Arthur was anxious to
provide himself with similar weapons.

As soon as Don Jose had gone, Isoro set out according to his directions
to find some natives.  We were still, it will be remembered, within
Peruvian territory; and although but slight communication was kept up
with the natives of the scattered villages, yet the Spaniards had for
some years past made their power felt, as the Incas had done in former
ages, even in these remote districts.  Isoro said he had therefore no
fear of being ill-treated by any of the natives he might encounter.

As soon as breakfast was over, while John and Domingos remained at the
hut, assisting Ellen and Maria to overhaul and re-arrange our goods,
Arthur and I strolled out to try and shoot some birds.  We had not gone
far when we heard, at a little distance off, some loud, shrill, yelping
cries.  I was sure they were produced by birds, yet Arthur could
scarcely believe it.  The noises came, it seemed, from above our heads.
Looking up, we at length caught sight of several large birds, perched on
the higher branches above us, with enormous bills.  We approached
cautiously, hiding ourselves underneath some wide palm-leaves, between
which we could observe the noisy assemblage.  The birds seemed to be
shouting out "To-o-cano, to-o-cano," and it is on this account that the
Indians give them the name from which we derive that of toucans.  One
was perched above the rest, and he kept bending his neck downwards, and
looking about in the most knowing way, as if to ascertain what sort of
creatures we could be.  The rest seemed to be employing themselves in
picking some fruit, every now and then throwing up their huge beaks as
if to let it slip down their throats.  As we were anxious to procure
some fresh food for dinner, I had been getting my gun ready as quietly
as possible, and having selected the bird nearest to me, I raised it to
my shoulder and fired.  Down came the bird, fluttering among the
branches, and we ran forward to secure our prize.  On examining it, we
found that its feet were like those of a parrot.  It was of a black
colour, with a gloss of green; about fifteen inches in length, with a
long tail and short wings; the feathers at the bottom of the back being
of a sulphur hue.  The cheeks, throat, and fore part of the breast, were
of the same tint, while across the lower part of the breast was a broad
crimson bar; the under part being also crimson.  The remainder of the
flock having flown away, I was unable to obtain another shot.  These
birds we afterwards saw in great numbers.  Their large beaks give them
an awkward appearance when flying, yet when climbing about the trees
they are evidently of great assistance, as also in picking fruit, or
catching the insects they find among the bark.

We went some distance before I could get another shot.  I then killed a
green parrot, and soon after another.  Arthur could scarcely believe
that we should find them fit for eating.  I was on the point of taking
aim at a monkey which came peering out at us among the boughs, when he
drew back my arm.

"You surely will not kill that creature!" he exclaimed.  "I could never
bring myself to eat it, if you do; and I am sure your sister would not."

I told him that monkeys form the principal food of many of the tribes in
the country.

"Oh, but then they are no better than cannibals," he answered.

"Wait a little till we are pressed for want of food," I said.  "Remember
our stock of provisions is but small, and if we were to be
over-particular, we should starve."  The monkey, however, by his
intervention escaped.

We went on for some time, gradually entering a denser part of the forest
than we had yet reached.  Sipos hung down from every bough, forming a
curious tracery of living cordage above our heads, and more completely
uniting the tall trees than even the masts of a ship are by the rigging,
so that an active midshipman, or a still more agile monkey--I hope the
former will pardon me for mentioning them together--could have no
difficulty in progressing high up from the ground for miles together
through the forest.  Strange air-plants swung suspended from the
branches, some like the crowns of huge pine-apples, others like parasols
with fringes, or Chinese umbrellas--indeed, of all shapes and hues;
while climbing plants of the most diverse and ornamental foliage
possible wound their way upwards, and then formed graceful and elegant
festoons, yet further to adorn this mighty sylvan palace.  Such a scene,
though often witnessed, seemed fresh and beautiful as at first.  As I
wished to get another shot or two, we crept slowly on, concealing
ourselves as much as possible, lest any birds perched on the boughs
might see us and fly away.  There was little difficulty in doing so
amongst the huge fern and palm-like foliage which surrounded us.  In a
short time we heard ahead of us a strange chattering and rustling in the
trees, and moving cautiously on, we caught sight of a number of dark
objects moving about at a rapid rate among the sipos.  Stealing
cautiously forward, we discovered them to be monkeys at their gambols;
and curious gambols they were too.  They had white faces, with black
coats and thin bodies and limbs, and still longer tails, which kept
whisking and twirling and whirling about in the most extraordinary
style.  Not for a moment were these tails of theirs at rest, except when
they had hold of branches to allow their other limbs more freedom.  I
did not suppose that such muscular power could have existed in an
animal's tail.  They seemed to be playing each other all sorts of
comical tricks.  Now one would catch hold of a horizontal sipo, and
swing vehemently backwards and forwards; now two or three would scramble
up a perpendicular one, and a fourth would catch hold of the tail of the
last and hang by it, whisking about his own tail meantime till it had
found a branch of liana, when he would let go, and bring himself up
again by that wonderful member of his, and skip away to a distance from
his playmate, who might attempt to retaliate.  If one happened for an
instant to be sitting quietly on a sipo, or gently winging backwards and
forwards, another was sure to come behind him and pull his tail, or give
him a twitch on the ear, and then throw himself off the sipo out of the
other's reach, holding on, however, firmly enough by his long appendage.
One big fellow came creeping up thus behind another, and gave him a sly
pinch on the neck.  So funny was the face which the latter made as he
turned round and lifted up his paw to give the other a box on the ear,
that Arthur and I burst into fits of laughter.  This startled the whole
flock, who peered about them, skipping here and there, chattering to
each other, as if to inquire the cause of the strange sounds which had
reached their ears.  At length one, bolder than the rest, creeping near,
caught sight of us, when back he went to communicate the intelligence to
his companions.  A hurried consultation was evidently held by them, and
then more came to look down at us, keeping wisely in the upper branches.
We tried to be silent; but so extraordinary were the grimaces they made
with their funny little white physiognomies, that we again burst into
shouts of laughter, in which True joining with a loud bark, off
scampered the monkeys, whisking their long tails, along the sipos and
branches, till they were hid from sight, although we could still hear
their chattering in the distance.  I could not have had the heart to
fire at such frolicsome creatures, even had we been more pressed for
food than was the case.

"I wish that we could get one of them to tame," exclaimed Arthur.  "It
would make a delightful pet for your sister, and a capital playmate for
True.  They would become great friends, depend on it.  He sadly wants a
companion of his own amount of intellect, poor fellow."

"I doubt as to their having any intellect, and I don't think True would
consider himself complimented by having them compared to him," I
answered, laughing, though a little piqued that the sense of my
favourite should be rated on an equality with that of a monkey.  We
discussed the matter as we went along.  I was compelled to acknowledge
at last that though True had sense, he might not even have reason, only
instinct verging on it strongly developed.

"And what are those monkeys?" asked Arthur, who had not quite agreed
with me, and wished to change the subject.

"I have no doubt that they are what the French call `spider monkeys,'" I
answered.  "I found a description of them in my book, under the title of
Ateles, or Coaita.  The white-faced species is the _Ateles marginatus_.
There are several species very similar in their appearance and habits."

I have more to say by-and-by about these spider monkeys.

We now found that it was time to begin our return to the river.  As we
were walking on we caught sight of some object moving among the tall
grass.  Arthur, True, and I followed at full speed.  I had my gun ready
to fire.  It was a huge serpent.  It seemed, however, more afraid of us
than we were of it.  On it went like a dark stream running amidst the
verdure, moving almost in a straight line, with only the slightest
perceptible bends, and it soon disappeared among the thick underwood.
From its size it would have been an awkward creature to be surprised by
unarmed; and True, I suspect, would have had little chance of escaping.

Shortly afterwards, looking up among the branches, we saw overhead a
large flight of parrots.  From their curious way of moving they seemed
to be fighting in the air.  Presently down one fell from among them,
pitching into a soft clump of grass.  I ran forward, expecting to find
it dead; but scarcely had I taken it in my hand, than it revived, and I
had no doubt it had been stunned by a blow on the head from one of its
companions.  It was of a bright green plumage, with a patch of scarlet
beneath the wings.  "I am sure your sister would like it for a pet,"
exclaimed Arthur; "do let us take it to her!"  The parrot, however,
seemed in no way disposed to submit to captivity, but struggled
violently and bit at our fingers.  I managed, however, to secure its
beak, and we carried it in safety to the hut.

"Oh, what a beautiful little creature!" exclaimed Ellen as she saw it.
"I have been so longing to have some pets, and I am much obliged to you
for bringing it to me."

"I have tamed many birds," said Maria, "and I hope soon to make this one
very amiable and happy."

Domingos, however, declared that the bird could not be kept without a
cage.  Some bamboos were growing at a short distance.  He cut several
small ones, and in a short time had constructed a good-sized cage, with
the bars sufficiently close prevent the little stranger escaping.  He
then set to work to pluck the birds we had killed, and they were quickly
roasting, spitted between forked sticks, before the fire.  While we were
engaged in preparing dinner we caught sight of several persons coming
along the banks of the river.  Isoro led the way; six natives followed.
They were clad in somewhat scanty garments--a sort of kilt of matting,
ornamented with feathers, round their waists, their cheeks and body
painted with red and yellow.  They were, however, pleasant-looking men.
They had quivers at their backs, and long tubes, which I soon found to
be blow-pipes, in their hands.  True at first evidently did not approve
of their presence, and went growling about, showing his teeth; but when
he saw us treat them as friends, he became quiet, and went and lay down
at the entrance to Ellen's room, eyeing them, however, as if not quite
satisfied about the matter.

Isoro introduced the tallest of the party, whose kilt was rather more
ornamented than those of his companions, as their chief--Naro by name.
He had agreed to build us a couple of canoes, of sufficient size to
convey us down the more dangerous parts of the river.  After this we
were to proceed in one, while he and his men returned in the other.  We
were to repay him with a dozen yards of cloth, a couple of knives, some
beads, and other articles.

As soon as we had finished our roasted toucans and parrots, we set forth
with our new allies in search of suitable trees for the shells of the
boats.  We hunted about for some time before they could fix on one.  At
length they pointed out one about fifteen feet in circumference.  Some
of the bark being cut off.  I saw that the wood was of a yellow colour,
and of a soft nature, which could be easily worked.  The Indians,
however, shook their heads, declaring that though the wood was good for
a canoe, the tree was too large to be cut down.  Isoro, in answer, told
them that if they could make a canoe out of it, he would undertake to
fell it.  He soon showed his countrymen that he would make his words
good, and wielding his sharp axe, he quickly cut a deep notch in the
tree.  Naro now seemed satisfied.  While some of the party hewed at the
trunk, others climbed the neighbouring trees to cut away the festoons of
sipos and other creepers which might impede its fall.  A road also had
to be cleared to the river for the distance of nearly a quarter of a
mile.  All hands assisted in this work, and by evening we had made
considerable progress.

The Indians camped round us at night.  One of them had broken his
blow-pipe, and was employed in taking it to pieces for the purpose of
mending it.  I had thus an opportunity of seeing how it was made.  It
was about ten feet long, and composed of two separate lengths of wood,
each of which was scooped out so as to form one-half of the tube.  Their
tools appeared to be made of the teeth of some animal, which I
afterwards found were those of the paca.  These two pieces thus hollowed
out are fastened together by winding round them long flat slips of the
climbing palm-tree called the jacitara.  The tube is then covered over
with black bees'-wax.  A mouth-piece made of wood is fastened to one
end, which is broader than the other.  From this it tapers away towards
the muzzle.  I was surprised to find how heavy the instrument was when I
came to try and shoot from one.  It is called by a variety of names--by
the Spaniards, _zarabatana_; by some natives, the _samouran_; by others,
the _tarbucan_; by the Portuguese, the _gravatana_.  The arrows are made
from thin strips of the hard rind of the leaf-stalks of palms, and are
scraped at the end till they become as sharp as needles.  Round the
butt-end is wound a little mass from the silk-cotton tree, which exactly
fits into the bore of the blow-pipe.  The quivers were very neatly
formed of the plaited strips of a plant growing wild, from which
arrow-root is made.  The upper part consisted of a rim of the red wood
of the japura, highly polished; and it was secured over the shoulder by
a belt ornamented with coloured fringes and tassels of cotton.  We
afterwards saw blow-pipes formed in a different way, two stems of small
palms being selected, of different sizes, the smaller exactly to fit
inside the larger.  Thus any curve existing in the one is counteracted
by that of the other.  The arrows are tipped with the far-famed wourali
poison, which quickly kills any animal they wound.

Next morning we returned to the tree, and worked away as before.  Arthur
and I undertook to cut down some smaller trees, to serve as rollers on
which to drag the huge trunk to the side of the river, where it was to
be hollowed out.  We had, however, to supply ourselves with food, and
two of our new friends prepared to go in search of game with their
blow-pipes.  Arthur and I begged to accompany them; but they made signs
that we must not fire off our guns, as we should quickly put the game to
flight, and that we must keep at a distance behind them.

"I wonder what they are going to shoot," asked Arthur.

"We shall soon see," I answered, as we followed our friends.

The noise of our operations in the forest had driven away most of its
usual inhabitants from the neighbourhood.  We therefore had to go some
distance before we came in sight of any game.  We kept, as we had
promised, a little behind our friends.  Suddenly one of them stopped,
and raising his blow-pipe, a sound like that from a large pop-gun was
heard, and we saw a bird, pierced by an arrow, fluttering among the
branches.  Gradually its wings ceased to move, and down fell a parrot.
Advancing a little further, the Indian made us a sign to stop; and
looking up among the branches, we caught sight of a troop of the same
curious little monkeys with long tails which we had seen the day before.
They kept frisking about, now climbing up the sipos, now throwing
themselves down, hanging by their tails, and swinging backwards and
forwards.  Presently one of the natives lifted his blow-pipe, from which
sped an arrow, piercing one of the poor little creatures.  It hung for
an instant by its tail round a branch, and then fell with a crash among
the thick leaves.  The others kept jumping about, apparently not aware
of what had happened to their companion.  Thus three or more were
brought down before the rest discovered the enemy in their
neighbourhood.  They then all went off at a rapid rate, swinging
themselves from branch to branch, but stopped again at a short distance
to watch us.

"I would give anything to have one of those active little fellows
alive!" exclaimed Arthur.  "Don't you think, Harry, that we could make
the Indians understand what we want?"

"We will try, at all events," I answered.  "But I beg that you won't
laugh at my pantomime."

Galling to the Indians, I took one of their arrows, and pointing it
towards the monkeys, which were still to be seen a little way before us
among the trees, eyeing us curiously, I shook my head violently, to show
that I did not want it killed.  Then I ran forward, and pretended to
catch one, and to lead it along.  "Now, Arthur, you must act the
monkey," I exclaimed.  On this he began frisking about, putting out his
hand behind to represent a tail, while I pretended to be soothing him by
stroking him on the head and back, and thus inducing him to accompany
me.

The Indians watched us attentively, and then nodding their beads, began
to talk together.  They soon seemed to be agreed as to what we wanted,
and signing to us to remain quiet, one of them again crept cautiously
towards the monkeys, still frisking about within sight, while the other
sat down with Arthur and me.  We eagerly watched the Indian.  He first
selected an arrow, the point of which he scraped slightly and wetted.
Presently he placed his blow-pipe within the loop of a sipo.

"Why, he's going to kill one of the poor creatures after all!" exclaimed
Arthur.

"It looks very like it," I answered.  "But we shall see."

The Indian waited for a few seconds, and then out flew his tiny dart
with a loud pop.  One of the monkeys was hit.  "Oh dear! oh dear!" cried
Arthur.  "They could not have understood us."  The monkey had been
struck when hanging to one of the lower branches; it fell before it had
time to save itself with its long tail, and the Indian instantly
springing forward, caught it, and pulled out the dart.  He then took
something out of the bag hanging at his waist, and put it into its
mouth, which he kept closed to prevent it from spluttering it out.  The
poor creature seemed so stunned or bewildered by its fall, and at
finding itself suddenly in the grasp of a strange being twenty times its
own size, that it made no resistance.  The Indian brought it to us in
his arms, much as a nurse carries a baby, and showed us that it was not
much the worse for its wound.  As we went along we observed that its
eyes, which were at first dim, had quickly recovered their brightness,
while its tail began to whisk about and coil itself round the native's
arm.  We were at a loss to account for the wonderful way in which it had
so speedily recovered; nor did the Indians seem disposed to tell us
their secret.

"I should so like to carry the little creature, it seems already so tame
and gentle," said Arthur.

"You had better not take it from the Indian, or it may give you an ugly
bite, and be off and up a tree in a twinkling," I answered.  "It has no
cause to love us as yet, at all events."

Arthur still insisting that he could carry the monkey, asked the Indian
to let him have it.  The native shook his head, and signified that the
monkey would to a certainty escape if he did.  At last, however, he and
his companion stopped, and fastened the creature's tail tightly to its
back, then they wound a quantity of fibre round its front paws, and
finally put a muzzle over its mouth.  "There; you may manage to carry
him now," they seemed to say.  "But take care, he may slip out of his
bonds even yet, if you do not hold him fast."

The monkey glanced up at the countenance of Arthur, who looked down
kindly at the creature, and carried it gently so as not to hurt it.

"I should like to give it a name," he said; "something appropriate."

"We will consult Ellen on that important matter," I answered.  "When she
sees how active it is, I think she will call it Nimble."

"Oh yes; that would be a capital name.  Do let us call it Nimble," he
exclaimed.

"You and Ellen shall choose its name, and I am sure that John will agree
to whatever you decide," I replied.

This made Arthur perfectly contented, and he walked along stroking the
monkey and talking gently to it, till the animal evidently began to feel
confidence in him, and lay perfectly quiet in his arms.

The Indians did not as yet appear satisfied with the amount of game they
had killed, and were on the look-out for more.  I kept my gun in
readiness for a shot.  "Pray, Harry, do not kill another spider monkey,"
said Arthur; "it would make Nimble so unhappy, I am sure."  I promised
that I would not; indeed, I had not the heart to wish even to shoot one
of the merry little creatures.

We soon afterwards, however, came in sight of several much larger
monkeys, with stouter limbs, but excessively active, and furnished with
long, strong, flexible tails.  I recognised them as the species called
by the Portuguese _Macaco barrigudo_, or the big-bellied monkey.  The
Indians shot one of them with their blow-pipes, the rest wisely swinging
themselves off.  The creature had a black and wrinkled face, with a low
forehead and projecting eyebrows.  The body was upwards of two feet in
length, and the tail not much less.  As the Indians held him up, Arthur
and I agreed that he looked exactly like an old negro.

By the evening we had as many birds and monkeys as we could carry.
Arthur offered to carry some of the birds in addition to Nimble,
declaring that he could not bring himself to eat our four-handed game.
"And that negro-looking old fellow, I would starve rather than touch
him!" he exclaimed.  "And as for Domingos, I should think him a cannibal
if he were to eat him."  Arthur, as we went along, kept trying to
prevent his little charge from seeing its dead companions.  "I am sure
that it would make him unhappy," he observed; "for how can he tell that
he is not going to be treated in the same way!"

So like was one part of the forest to another, that I had no idea we
were near our huts when we came in sight of them True heard us
approaching and came bounding forth to meet us, leaping up first to lick
my hands and then sniffing up at poor little Nimble, who trembled at
seeing him, and after vainly endeavouring to escape, clung tightly to
Arthur for protection.  "Do call off True; there's a good fellow!"
exclaimed Arthur.  "He will frighten poor little Nimble to death; but
when they are better acquainted they will become very good friends, I
dare say."  I called True to me, and presently Ellen and Maria came
running out of the hut towards us.  Ellen was greatly pleased with
Nimble, and thanked Arthur very much for having brought him.  We carried
Nimble into the hut, and Domingos found a leathern strap to fasten round
his waist, by which he was secured to one of the beams in the roof.
Here he could run from side to side of the hut, out of the reach of
True.  He kept looking down on us somewhat scared at first at his novel
position, but in a short time took some nuts and fruit readily from
Arthur's hand, and after examining and cautiously tasting them, to
ascertain that they suited his palate, ate a hearty meal.

Ellen told us that she and Maria had been greatly alarmed during our
absence by the appearance of a large creature--from their account a puma
or a jaguar--which had come close to the hut.  True had behaved nobly in
standing on the defensive, while they had screamed and waved sticks to
try to frighten it off.  For some time, however, they were afraid that
it would attack them, but at last it turned tail and retreated into the
forest.

Domingos and our Indian friends lost no time in preparing the game which
we had killed.  Arthur and I watched them, when Domingos, without at all
recognising the likeness which Arthur and I had discovered in the
_macaco barrigudo_ to himself, began without ceremony to skin it, and in
a short time had it spitted and roasting before the fire.  We had formed
a rough table, and the first article of food which Domingos placed on it
was a portion of the big monkey on a plantain leaf.

"Ah!" he said, "I have reserved this for you; for the meat is superior
to that of either the other monkeys or the birds.  Just try it, and you
will agree with me."

Had he not talked about the monkey, probably no one would have objected
to the meat, which did look very nice; but Ellen and Arthur both begged
to have some of the birds, with the addition of some roasted plantains
and farinha cakes.  We made a very substantial meal, John and I agreeing
that the big _macaco_ was very nice food.  Domingos thought so also, as
he had claimed a joint as his own share.

I was awoke at night by hearing a strange rushing noise round my head,
and raising it above the hammock I caught sight of numberless dark
creatures with huge wings which kept sweeping round and round here and
there through the verandah.  Presently one of them pitched on the clew
of my hammock.  There was sufficient light from the bright stars to see
its shape, and I beheld a creature with large ears standing out from the
sides and top of its head, a spear-shaped appendage on the tip of its
nose, while a pair of glittering black eyes and a grinning mouth gave it
the appearance of a little imp.  Presently it expanded its large wings
and floated towards my head.  I could stand this no longer, and singing
out, dealt it a blow with my palm which sent it flying away.  The cry
awoke my companions, who jumped out of their hammocks, wondering what
was the matter.  We were quickly engaged in driving out the intruders,
which we now discovered to be vampire bats.  "Hillo!" cried Arthur,
"what is the matter with my foot?  There is blood flowing from it!"  We
found that one of the creatures had been sucking his too.  John bound it
up, and in a short time tranquillity was restored, and we were all soon
in our hammocks.  Hideous as these creatures appear, they are harmless,
as the puncture they make is but slight, and the wound quickly heals.
They showed their sense by selecting our hut for their night quarters,
as they there found themselves more secure from the beasts which prey on
them than in their abodes in the forest.

In the morning we examined several we had knocked down.  They measured
twenty-eight inches across the wings, which were of a leathery
consistency, the bodies being covered with grey hair.  We found their
stomachs filled with the pulp and seeds of fruits, with the remains of a
few insects only.

Our new friend Nimble soon became reconciled to his lot.  Though he took
food readily enough from Arthur, and by degrees let Ellen and Maria
stroke his back, when any one else came near him he clambered up as high
as he could reach into the roof.  He soon discovered that True could not
climb up to his perch, and in a short time he would swing himself off by
his tail within a foot or two of the dog's nose, stretching out his paws
as if he were going to catch him by the ear, taking good care to be
ready to spring again far out of his reach should True show the
slightest signs of leaping up.

"It won't be long before we see Master Nimble riding on True's back, and
using his tail as a whip," said Arthur, who had been watching the two
animals.  He was right; and in a few days Nimble and True became very
good friends.

Our boat-building proceeded well.  A log of twenty feet in length having
been cut off and placed on the rollers, we secured a number of tough
lianas to it, and using them as traces, dragged it down to the river.
We could, however, move it but slowly, and two whole days were thus
consumed.  The upper side being smoothed off, a slit was made down the
whole length, which was opened slowly by wedges.  Having cleared out a
considerable portion of the inside, it was turned over and raised on
trestles.  Beneath it a fire was made along the whole length.  Other
pieces of hard wood were gradually driven in with wedges to increase the
opening, the larger ones being in the centre, where the width was to be
the greatest.  In about eight hours the work was thus far completed.
The bow and tern were made of hewn planks in a circular form, fastened
with wooden pins.  A plank on each side was next secured, and benches
fixed in.  The seams were caulked with gum collected from trees growing
near, mixed with resin, which exuded from the trunks of others.  We thus
constructed a vessel, of sufficient size to make a voyage of upwards of
one thousand miles down the mighty river, solely of materials found in
the wilderness.  Paddles were also quickly formed by the Indians of the
tough wood of another tree, which they split into boards.  They then
wove some mats for sails, lianas of different thicknesses serving as
cordage.

After this our native friends selected another tree, from which they
proposed to form the second canoe.  This was to be smaller, that they
might be able to paddle it up against the stream.  It was built in the
same way as the first, but without mast or sails.



CHAPTER SIX.

VOYAGE ON THE RIVER COMMENCED.

All was now ready for our departure from our first halting-place.  Early
in the morning, having carefully laden our two vessels, we embarked.
John, Ellen, Maria, and Domingos went in the larger one, accompanied by
Nimble and Poll, with Naro and two of his followers; while Isoro,
Arthur, and I embarked in the smaller, with two of the other men.  True,
of course, went with us, his usual post being the bow, where he stood
with his fore-feet on the gunwale, as if it were his especial duty to
keep a look-out ahead.  Isoro acted as captain, and Arthur and I and the
two Indians, with paddles in our hands, formed the crew.  Shoving off
from the bank, we rapidly glided down the river, the current carrying us
along at a great rate with little aid from our paddles.  The large canoe
took the lead, we following in her wake.  The water whirled and eddied
as we glided on.  On either side rose the giant trees of the primeval
forest--while, looking astern, we could see far away across the mighty
mass of foliage the range of the Andes, with the beautiful cone of
Cotopaxi standing out boldly above its fellows.

We soon, however, had something else to think of.  Several dark rounded
rocks rose up ahead of us, between which the water furiously rushed,
dashing against their sides, and throwing up clouds of spray, while
whirling, boiling eddies came bursting up from the bottom, as if some
subaqueous explosion were taking place.  Short cross waves curled up
round us, with here and there smooth intervening spaces, the more
treacherous for their apparent calmness; for as we passed through them
we could with difficulty keep the head of our small canoe in the
direction of our leader.  The Indians plied their paddles with redoubled
vigour, while the helmsman of John's canoe every now and then gave vent
to loud, wild shrieks.  Isoro sat calmly clenching his teeth, and
looking out eagerly ahead.  The large canoe went gliding on.  And now we
saw her passing between two rocks, over which the water dashing formed
an arch of spray, almost concealing her from our sight.  Presently we
also were passing through the same channel.  It seemed as if our small
canoe would be swamped by the swelling waters.  The clouds of spray
which broke over her almost blinded us, the loud roaring, hissing sound
of the waves as they rushed against the rocks deafened our ears, while
the whirling current so confused our senses, that we could scarcely tell
in what direction we were going.

"O Harry, what has become of the other canoe?" exclaimed Arthur.

A dark rock rose before us.  No canoe was to be seen.  A horror seized
me.  I feared that she had been engulfed.  But presently, Isoro turning
the head of our canoe, we shot past the rock, and to our joy again saw
the other canoe rushing on with still greater speed towards another
opening in the channel.  We followed even faster than before.  The
current seemed to increase in rapidity as we advanced, pressed together
by the narrower channel.  Yet, fast as we went, we could scarcely keep
pace with our leader.  Now we glided on smoothly, now we pitched and
tossed as the mimic waves rose up round us, and thus we went on, the
navigation requiring the utmost watchfulness and exertion to escape
destruction.  We, perhaps, in our smaller canoe, were safer than those
in the larger one; indeed, I thought more of them than ourselves.
Should we meet with any accident, however, they could not return to help
us, whereas we might push forward to their assistance.  We followed the
movements of the Indians.  When they paddled fast, we also exerted
ourselves; when they ceased, we also lifted our paddles out of the
water.  I was very glad that we were thus employed, as we, having plenty
to do, thought less of the danger we were in.

After being thus tossed about for I cannot judge how long, every moment
running the risk of being dashed on the rocks, now on one side, now on
the other, we found the river again widening and the current flowing on
more tranquilly.  In a short time, however, we came to another rapid.
Once more we were amid the wild tumult of waters.  The current rushed on
with fearful speed.  Now we saw the stern of the leading canoe lifted
up, and it appeared as if her bows were going under.  I could not
refrain from uttering a shriek of horror.  Isoro and the Indians
remained calm, just guiding our canoe.  John's canoe disappeared.  On we
went, expecting the same fate which I dreaded had overtaken her.  An
instant afterwards we saw her again gliding on calmly.  Downwards we
slid over a watery hill, the Indians paddling with might and main, we
following their example.  We had descended a fall such as I should
scarcely have supposed it possible so small a boat as ours could have
passed over in safety.  Our companions continued plying their paddles,
sending out their breath in a low grunt, as if they had been holding it
in for some minutes.

We now came up with the other canoe, which had been waiting for us.

"That was nervous work!" exclaimed John "I am thankful we are through
the falls; they are the worst we shall meet with."

Paddling on till nearly dark, we landed on an island, where it was
proposed we should pass the night.  There were but few trees in the
centre, the rest consisting of sand and rock.  This spot had been
selected to avoid the risk of being surprised by unfriendly natives or
prowling jaguars.  The canoes were hauled up, the goods landed, and
fires were lighted, round which we were soon seated taking our evening
meal.  The Indians then cut a number of stout poles, which they drove
into the ground, forming a square, the roof being thatched over with
palm-leaves, extending some distance beyond the poles, so as to form
deep eaves.  To these poles were hung up our hammocks, a small part
being, as usual, partitioned off for Ellen and Maria.  This was our
usual style of encampment.  When the trees grew sufficiently wide apart,
we sometimes secured our hammocks to them, with a roof such as I have
mentioned above our heads.  The fires were kept up all night, and a
watch set to prevent surprise, should any unfriendly natives find us
out, and come across the river in their canoes.  Isoro advised us always
to select an island for our night encampment.  "Indeed," he observed,
"it would be safer never to land on the banks, if you can avoid so
doing."

Our Indians, besides their usual blow-pipes, had come provided with
harpoons and lines for catching fish.  Generally, at the end of our
day's voyage, they would go out in the smaller canoe, and invariably
come back with a good supply.

Arthur and I, with True, one day accompanied Naro and two of his men.
While the Indians remained in the canoe, we landed and walked along the
sandy shore of the island.  True ran before us, shoving his nose into
the tall reeds and rushes.  Suddenly out he backed, barking furiously,
but still retreating, and evidently less disposed than usual for battle.
Fully expecting to see a huge anaconda come forth, Arthur and I retired
to a safe distance, while I got my gun ready to fire at the serpent when
he should appear.  We stood watching the spot which True still faced,
when the reeds were moved aside, and the oddest-looking monster I ever
set eyes on came slowly forth, and for a moment looked about him.  True
actually turned tail, and fell back on us for support.  He would have
faced a lion, but the creature before him had not a vulnerable part on
which he could lay hold.  It meantime, regardless of him or us, made its
way towards the water.  It was as grotesque and unlike what we fancy a
reality as those creatures which the wild imaginations of the painters
of bygone days delighted in producing.  How can I describe it?  It was
covered all over with armour--back, neck, and head.  On its head it wore
a curiously-shaped helmet, with a long tube in front serving as a snout,
while its feet were webbed, and armed with sharp claws at the end of its
thick and powerful legs.  From the chin hung two fringe-like membranes,
and the throat and neck were similarly ornamented.  Naro was not far
off, and came paddling up at a great rate, crying out to us to turn the
creature from the water.  Its formidable appearance and size made us
somewhat unwilling to get within reach of its head; for it was fully
three feet long, and its covering would, it appeared, turn off a bullet.
Arthur, however, bravely ran in front of it, and True kept barking
round it, keeping wisely beyond its reach.  We thus impeded its
progress; but still it made way, and was just about to launch itself
into the river when the canoe coming up, Naro's harpoon, struck it under
the shield at the neck.  It struggled to get free, but was hauled again
on to the sand, and soon dispatched by the Indians.  They seemed highly
pleased at the capture, and signified that, in spite of its strange
appearance, it was excellent for food.

"Why, after all, it is only a tortoise!" exclaimed Arthur, who had been
examining it.  A tortoise it was, though the strangest-looking of its
tribe, but not at all uncommon.

The strange creature we had found was a matamata (_Chelys matamata_).
It is found plentifully in Demerara, where its flesh is much esteemed.
What we took to be a helmet, consisted of two membraneous prolongations
of the skin, which projected out on either side from its broad and
flattened head.  The back was covered with a shield, with three distinct
ridges or keels along it, and was broader before than behind.  It had a
stumpy pointed tail.  I should add that it feeds only in the water,
concealing itself among reeds by the bank, when it darts forward its
long neck and seizes with its sharp beak any passing fish, reptile, or
water-fowl--for it likes a variety of food--or it will swim after them
at a great rate.

We carried the matamata to the camp, and on landing it drew it up with
sipos, with its neck stretched out.  Ellen could scarcely believe that
it was a real creature.

"I am very glad that I did not meet it when by myself on the sands.  I
am sure that I should have run away, and dreamed about it for nights
afterwards!" she exclaimed.  "It was very brave, Harry, of you and
Arthur to face it; and as for True, he is worthy to take rank with Saint
George, for it must have appeared a perfect dragon to him."

"Barring the want of tail, my sister," observed John with a laugh.
"True will find many more formidable antagonists than the matamata in
these regions, and he must be taught to restrain his ardour, or he may
some day, I fear, `catch a Tartar.'"

Maria meantime stood behind us, lifting up her hands and uttering
exclamations of astonishment, as she surveyed the creature at a
respectful distance.

The next evening we again accompanied the Indians.  It was very calm,
and the water in a narrow channel through which we went smooth and
clear, so that we could look down to a great depth and see the fish
swimming about in vast numbers.  Presently I caught sight of a huge
black monster gliding silently up the channel just below the surface.
It was, however, too far off for the harpoons of the Indians to reach
it.  We followed, they intimating that we should very likely come up
with it.  We had not gone far, when they ceased rowing and pointed
ahead.  There I saw, on the other side of a clump of bamboos which grew
on a point projecting into the stream, a creature with a savage
countenance and huge paws resting on the trunk of a tree overhanging the
water.  It was of a brownish-yellow colour, the upper parts of the body
variegated with irregular oblong spots of black.  It was so intently
watching the stream that it did not appear to observe us.  Had it not
indeed been pointed out to me, I might not have discovered it, so much
had it the appearance of the trunk on which it was resting.  Presently
we saw a huge black head projecting out of the stream.  In an instant
the jaguar, for such was the animal on the watch, sprang forward and
seized its prey.  The creature which had thus ventured within the grasp
of the jaguar was a _manatee_, or sea-cow, the _peixe boi_ of the
Portuguese.  A fearful struggle ensued, the manatee to escape, the
jaguar to hold it fast.  I lifted my gun to fire, but the Indians made a
sign to me to desist.  If I should kill the jaguar the manatee would
escape, and their object was to allow the latter to be too exhausted to
do so, and then to shoot the jaguar.  Now it appeared as if the jaguar
would drag the water-monster out of its native element, now that the
former would be drawn into it.  The sea-cow struggled bravely, but the
beast of prey had got too firm a hold to let it escape.  The surface of
the water was lashed into foam.  The jaguar's claws and teeth were
firmly fixed in the thick hide of the sea-cow.  Slowly it seemed to be
drawn higher and higher out of its native element.  So eager was the
savage beast, that it did not even observe our approach, but continued
with its sharp teeth gnawing into the back of its defenceless prey.  We
now paddled closer.  It turned a look of savage rage towards us, seeming
to doubt whether it should let go the manatee and stand on the
defensive, or continue the strife.  The way it held the sea-cow gave us
a notion of its immense strength.  Gradually the efforts of the manatee
began to relax.  It was very clear how the combat would have finished
had we not been present.  At a sign from the Indians I lifted my rifle
and fired.  The ball passed through the jaguar's neck.  Though wounded,
the fierce animal stood snarling savagely, with its fore-feet on the
trunk of the tree, as if prepared to make a spring into the canoe.
While I was reloading, the Indians raised their blow-pipes and sent two
of their slender arrows quivering into its body.  Still the jaguar stood
at bay, apparently scarcely feeling the wound.  Meantime the huge
cow-fish was slipping off the bank.  Naro, on seeing this, ordered his
men to paddle forward, while, harpoon in hand, he stood ready to dart it
at the manatee.  Every moment I expected to see the jaguar spring at us.
Just as the manatee was disappearing under the water, the harpoon flew
with unerring aim from Naro's hand, and was buried deeply in its body.
Again we backed away from the bank, just in time, it seemed, for in
another moment the jaguar would have sprung at us.  Having got out of
its reach, the Indians shot two more of their deadly arrows into its
body.  Still it stood, snarling and roaring with rage at being deprived
of its prey.  Gradually its cries of anger ceased, its glaring eyes grew
dim, its legs seemed to refuse it support, and slowly it sank back among
the mass of fern-like plants which bordered the bank.

Meantime, the Indians were engaged with the harpoon line, now hauling in
on it, now slackening it out, a ruddy hue mixing with the current
showing that the life-blood of the manatee was fast ebbing away.  In a
short time the struggles of the huge river monster ceased, and the
Indians paddling towards the bank, towed it after them.  I was all the
while looking out for the jaguar.  A movement in the shrubs among which
it had fallen showed that it was still alive.  I was sure that my shot
had not injured it much, and I could scarcely suppose that those light
needle-like darts could have done it much harm.  I reminded Naro of the
jaguar.  He shook his head in reply.  "He will no longer interfere with
us," I understood him to say.  The manatee was soon hauled on shore, and
as it was too large to be taken bodily into the canoe, the Indians,
having thoroughly knocked out any spark of life which might remain,
began cutting it up.

The creature was between seven and eight feet long, and upwards of six
in circumference in the thickest part.  The body was perfectly smooth,
and of a lead colour.  It tapered off towards the tail, which was flat,
horizontal, and semicircular, without any appearance of hind limbs.  The
head was not large, though the mouth was, with fleshy lips somewhat like
those of a cow.  There were stiff bristles on the lips, and a few hairs
scattered over the body.  Just behind the head were two powerful oval
fins, having the breasts beneath them.  The ears were minute holes, and
the eyes very small.  The skin of the back was fully an inch thick, and
beneath it a layer of fat, also an inch or more thick.  On examining the
fins, or fore-limbs, as they should properly be called, we found bones
exactly corresponding to those of the human arm, with five fingers at
the extremity, every joint distinct, although completely encased in a
stiff inflexible skin.  The manatee feeds on the grass growing at the
borders of the lakes and rivers.  It swims at a rapid rate, moved on by
the tail and paddles.  The female produces generally only one at a
birth, and clasps it, so Naro told us, in her paddles while giving it
suck.

Having cut up the cow, with which we loaded the canoe, we paddled in
towards where the jaguar had been seen.  The chief and one of his
followers without hesitation leaped on shore: Arthur and I followed,
when to our surprise we saw the savage brute lying over on its side
perfectly dead.  It had been destroyed by the poison on the tip of the
arrows, not by the wounds they or my bullet had produced.  It was
quickly skinned, cut up, and part of the meat added to our store, while
the skin, which I thought was the most valuable part, was at my request
taken on board.

On emerging from the inlet, we steered for the island, guided by the
light of the camp-fire.  We were welcomed with loud shouts by the
generally impassive Indians, who were delighted with the supply of flesh
which we had brought.  No time was lost in cutting the meat into small
pieces, each person fastening a dozen or more on long skewers.  These
were stuck in the ground, and slanted over the flames to roast.  The
meat tasted somewhat like pork, I thought, but John considered it more
like beef.

We were one evening approaching a long island with a sand-bank extending
from its side.  Isoro told us that the Indians were unable to proceed
further, and that after this we should find the navigation tolerably
easy.  The sand-bank, he said, was frequented by turtles, and they hoped
to be able to supply us and themselves with a good store of eggs, and to
catch also some turtles.

Having hauled up the canoes, and formed our sleeping-places as usual,
leaving Domingos in charge of the camp, we all, including Ellen and
Maria, set out to search for turtles' eggs, our Indians having in the
meantime woven a number of baskets of reeds in which to carry them.
Each of the Indians carried a long stick in his hand.  We proceeded a
short distance along the bank, till we came to a somewhat higher part.
The sand felt quite hot to our feet.  The Indians pointed out some
slight marks in it, which they told us were made by the turtles.  Going
on, one of them stuck his stick into the sand.  It sank easily down.
Instantly he and his companions were on their knees digging with their
hands, and soon cleared out a hole full of eggs.  Upwards of one hundred
were collected from that hole alone.  In the meantime the rest were
searching about, and we were soon all on our knees, busily engaged in
picking up the eggs.  The eggs were about an inch and a half in
diameter, somewhat larger than an ordinary hen's egg.  They have thin
leathery shells, an oily yoke, and a white which does not coagulate.
Having laden ourselves with as many as we could carry in our baskets, we
returned to the camp.  Domingos at once set to work to make cakes,
mixing the eggs with flour.  Others were roasted.  The Indians, however,
ate them raw.

While we sat round our camp-fire, Isoro excited our curiosity by an
account of the way the turtles lay their eggs, and we agreed to start
away the next morning before daybreak to watch the process.  He called
us about two hours before daybreak.  We found that Naro and two of his
men had already gone off to try and catch some of the animals.  After
walking a short distance, we discovered the Indians squatting down
behind a shelter of branches, which they had put up to conceal
themselves from the turtles.  They told us to take our seats by them,
and remain quiet.  We had not been there long before we saw a number of
dark objects moving over the light coloured sand.  Two or three came
close to us, when the Indians rushing out, quickly turned them on their
backs, and again ran under shelter.

We waited for some time till the light of day enabled us to see more
clearly, when, as far as our eyes could reach, we observed the upper
part of the bank covered with turtles, all busily employed with their
broad-webbed paws in excavating the sand, while others were apparently
placing their eggs in the holes they had made.  As the morning drew on,
they began to waddle away towards the river.  The margin of the upper
bank was rather steep, and it was amusing to see them tumbling head
foremost down the declivity, and then going on again till the leaders
reached the water.  We now all rushed forward, and were in time to catch
several, turning them over on their backs, where they lay unable to
move.

The first comer, Isoro told us, makes a hole about three feet deep.  In
this she lays her eggs, and then covers them up with sand.  The next
reaching the shore lays her eggs on the top of her predecessor's, and so
on, several turtles will lay one above the others, till the pit, which
holds about one hundred eggs, is full, when the last carefully sweeps
the sand over the hole, so as to make it appear as if it had not been
disturbed.  It is only, indeed, from the tracks made by the turtles
themselves as they are returning to the water that the nests can be
traced.  In the settled parts of the country great care is taken not to
disturb these sand-banks till the whole body of turtles have laid their
eggs.  Sometimes they occupy fourteen days or more in the business.
People are stationed at some elevated spot in the neighbourhood to warn
off any one approaching the bank, and to take care that the timid
turtles are in no way disturbed; otherwise it is supposed they would
desert the ground altogether.

We had now a large supply of turtle and turtle eggs.  Our Indian
friends, well satisfied with their expedition, loaded their canoe almost
to the water's edge.  We also took on board as many as we could consume.
Naro and his followers had behaved very well, but they were
uninteresting people, and had done nothing particular to win our regard.
John wrote a letter to Don Jose for Isoro to carry, and we all sent
many messages, expressing our affectionate regard.  Had it not been for
Don Jose, we might have been subjected to much annoyance and trouble,
and been prevented probably from following our family.  We each of us
presented Isoro also with a small remembrance.  We parted from him with
sincere regret; and I believe that had it not been for his devoted love
to his master he would gladly have accompanied us.  He and his
companions waited till we had embarked in our own canoe, and cast off
from the shore.  A light breeze was blowing down the river.  We hoisted
our mat sail, and Domingos taking the steering oar, we recommenced our
voyage down the river.  The Indians then set forth on their toilsome one
up the stream, having to paddle with might and main for many days
against it.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

OUR DISAPPOINTMENT, DANGER, AND ANXIETY.

The tributary of the Amazon, down which we were proceeding, was in many
places more than half a mile wide: what must be the width of the mighty
river itself!  This comparatively small stream was often tossed into
waves, and we were thankful that we had the prospect of embarking in a
larger vessel, with more experienced boatmen, for our further voyage.
On either side of the river were clay banks, above which the lofty trees
formed impenetrable walls; while here and there islands appeared, the
soil of some raised but little above the river, while in others we could
see evidences of the stream having separated them at no great distance
of time from the mainland.  We continued our custom of landing at
night--indeed, whenever we had to put to shore--at one of these islands.
They all supplied us with wood to light our fires, and poles for our
huts: some were large enough to furnish game.

Thus several days passed away.  We were, by our calculations,
approaching the spot at which our father had led us to expect that we
should find him.  It may be supposed how eagerly we all looked out for
the expected marks.  At length the curiously-coloured bluff hill he had
mentioned appeared in sight.

"There it is! there it is!" exclaimed Ellen.  "I am sure it must be the
spot papa speaks of."

We surveyed it with eager eyes, and agreed that there could be no
mistake about the matter.  With redoubled energy we paddled on, the
breeze, though light, being in our favour.  And now in a short time we
came in sight of the expected group of bamboos.  We quickly rounded it;
and there, before us, appeared the hill.  We looked out for the huts on
its summit, but none were visible.

"Oh! perhaps papa thought it better to build them lower down, under the
shade of that group of palms," said Ellen; and we agreed that she was
probably right.

A small stream ran at the bottom of the hill, connected, probably, with
one of the larger rivers we had passed.  We paddled up it a short
distance, hoping to find a convenient place for landing.  Our hearts
misgave us on finding no one come down to welcome us on shore.

"They probably do not observe us coming," observed Ellen.  "Mamma and
Fanny are in the house, and papa and the servants are out shooting."

I saw by the cheerful way she spoke she felt none of the apprehensions
which John and I were experiencing.  We soon found a clear spot, where
the waters in the rainy season had carried away the trees and shrubs.
Securing our canoe, we eagerly stepped on shore.  The bank was somewhat
steep; but we managed to climb up it, and, cutting our way through the
intervening jungle, reached the foot of the hill.  Even now I began to
doubt whether, after all, this could be the spot our father spoke of.
Not the slightest sound was heard, and there was no appearance of human
habitations being near.  True, as soon as we had got into the more open
ground, went scampering along in high glee at finding himself on shore.
John led the way, anxiously looking about on very side.  We soon reached
the top of the hill, gazing eagerly down towards the group of palm-trees
Ellen had espied.  No huts were to be seen.

"They cannot have been here!" exclaimed Ellen.

Just then John gave a start, and immediately hurried forward.  We all
followed.  Before us we saw several posts standing upright, but they
were blackened and charred, while several others lay scattered about.
The grass around was burned, and the ground covered with ashes.  It was
too evident that a hut had stood there, which had been destroyed by
fire; but whether it had been inhabited by our family or not, we in vain
endeavoured to discover.  No traces of them could we find.  We looked at
each other with anxious eyes.  Ellen burst into tears, fully believing
that something dreadful had happened.  We wished to reassure her, but
our own fears made this a hard matter.  John stood silent for some time.
Then again he walked over the spot, and examined narrowly the ground,
looking among the neighbouring trees.

"Perhaps this was not their house," suggested Arthur; "or if it was,
they may have escaped.  Surely we should not give way to despair."

"I think the master is too cautious a man to have been taken by
surprise," observed Domingos.  "He is probably not far off, and we shall
see him soon."

Maria did her best to comfort her young mistress.

"Do not cry, Dona Ellen; do not cry.  We shall soon see them all," she
said, putting her arms round her as she used to do when she was a child,
and trying to comfort her.

Wishing to ascertain John's opinion, I went towards him.

"We must proceed further on," he said.  "I am surprised that our father
has not left any sign by which we might learn where he has gone."

"Perhaps he had to retreat in too great a hurry for that, yet he might
have escaped in safety," observed Arthur.

"Do you think they were attacked by natives, and driven away?"  I asked
of John.

"About that I am doubtful," he answered, in a low voice, so that Ellen
should not hear.  "Yet had the hut simply been burned by accident, they
would have rebuilt it.  Our friend Naro gave the Indians of this part of
the river a bad name.  He called them _Majeronas_; and said that they
are cannibals, and attack all strangers.  I did not believe the account
he gave of them; and had I done so, I would not have mentioned it, for
fear of unnecessarily alarming Ellen.  Still, Harry, I confess I am
very, very anxious."

"So indeed am I, now you tell me about the _Majeronas_," I observed;
"but still we must hope for the best.  I cannot believe that anything so
dreadful has happened as our fears suggest.  Our poor mother, and sweet
Fanny and Aunt Martha, to have been carried off and killed!  Oh, I
cannot think it true!"

"Don't you think it possible they got notice that they were about to be
attacked, and made their escape in good time?" observed Arthur, in a
more cheerful voice.  "The natives, when they found that their prey had
escaped them, would very naturally burn the house; and if they found any
signals which Mr Faithful might have left, would have destroyed them
also.  I will ask Domingos; I think he will agree with me."

When we told Domingos what Arthur had said, he declared that he thought
that was the most likely thing to have occurred.  The suggestion raised
our spirits.  Domingos, however, advised as not to remain on the spot,
lest the natives might discover us.  Having made another search round,
we accordingly took our way back to the canoe.

Shoving off, we went down the stream into the main river.  As we paddled
slowly along the shore, we examined it carefully, still in hopes of
finding some signals which might direct us.  We had gone on for some
short distance, when Arthur, looking up at the hill, exclaimed, "See!
who can those be?"

There we saw several figures with bows in their hands and high feathery
plumes on their heads.

"They must be the _Majeronas_," exclaimed John.  "We have indeed only
just retreated in time."

"Oh, perhaps they will follow us!" cried Ellen.

"I do not think we need fear that," said Arthur, "as we have seen no
canoes."

The Indians appeared only just to have discovered us.  We saw them
gesticulating to each other; and then they hurried down towards the
river.  We at once turned the canoe's head away from the bank, and
paddled out into the centre of the stream, where we should be beyond the
reach of their arrows.

By working away with our paddles we soon ran out of sight of them.

Having rested for some minutes to recover from our exertions, we
continued on down the stream.  As the day was drawing on, it was
necessary to look out for an island on which to encamp, as we had
received so strong a warning not to land on the main shore.  We kept a
bright look-out, but no signs of an island could we see.  The wind,
which had hitherto been light, now increased to a gentle breeze; and as
it was in our favour, we hoisted our sail and stood on, glad to be
relieved from the labour of paddling.  Thus we continued our progress,
hoping to get before night to a distance from our savage enemies.

The night came on, but there was still sufficient light to enable us to
steer down the centre of the river.  John proposed that we should form
two watches; he and Arthur in one, Domingos and I in the other.  This,
of course, was agreed to.  After some difficulty, we persuaded Ellen and
Maria to lie down on the hammocks which were spread in the middle of the
canoe under the awning.  John and Arthur took the first watch; Domingos
coiling himself away in the stern of the canoe, and I in the bows; to be
ready for service should we be required.

Tired as I was, it was some time before I could manage to go to sleep.
I lay looking up at the dark sky--out of which thousands of bright stars
shone forth--and listening to the ripple of the water against the bows
of the canoe.  At length the sound lulled me to sleep, though I felt
conscious that Arthur had covered me up with a piece of matting.  It
seemed but a moment afterwards that I heard his voice calling me to get
up and take his place.  I raised myself, and saw Domingos at the helm,
and the sails still set.  Arthur then lay down in the place I had
occupied; and I did him the same service he had rendered me, by covering
him carefully up so as to protect him from the night air.

It was the first time we had voyaged at night; and as we glided calmly
on, I could not help regretting that we had not oftener sailed at the
same hour, and thus escaped the heat of the day, the mosquitoes on
shore, and enjoyed the cool breeze on the river.  As I did not feel at
all sleepy, I proposed to Domingos that we should allow John and Arthur
to rest on, and continue ourselves on watch till daylight, when perhaps
we might find some spot on which to land with safety.

We thus glided on for some hours, and were expecting to see the dawn
break over the trees on our larboard bow, when the channel became even
narrower than before.  Had it not been that the current still ran with
us, I should have supposed that we had entered some other stream; but
the way the water ran showed that this could not be the case.  We
therefore continued on as before.  A bright glow now appeared in the
eastern sky.  Rapidly it increased till the whole arch of heaven was
suffused with a ruddy light.  Suddenly John awoke, and uttered an
exclamation of surprise on finding that it was daylight.  His voice
aroused the rest of the party.  Just then the sun, like a mighty arch of
fire, appeared above the trees; and directly afterwards we saw, running
across the stream down which we were sailing, another and far broader
river.  The mighty Maranon, as the natives call the Upper Amazon--or the
Solimoens, as it is named by the Portuguese--was before us, having
flowed down for many hundred miles from the mountain lake of Lauricocha,
in Peru, 12,500 feet above the sea-level.

As we gazed up and down the vast river, no object intervened till sky
and water met, as on the ocean; while, on either side, the tall forest
walls diminished in the perspective till they sank into thin lines.
Even here, however, it is narrow, though already very deep, compared to
the width it attains lower down.  Our satisfaction at having escaped
from the savages and arrived at the high road, along which we were to
proceed, was counterbalanced by our anxiety for our family.  We might,
after all, have passed the spot where they were waiting for us; and yet
it was not likely they would remain in the neighbourhood of such savages
as the Majeronas had shown themselves.  We agreed, therefore, at all
risks, at once to row in towards the shore, and examine it carefully as
we proceeded downwards.

We had not gone far, when we came in sight of a sand-bank, which offered
a favourable spot for landing.  We accordingly rowed in, looking
carefully about for any signs of natives.  As no huts or any human
beings were to be seen, we landed.

While Domingos and Arthur were collecting wood for a fire, John and I,
followed by True, with our guns, made our way through the forest, that
we might survey the country, so as not to be taken by surprise.  We had
not gone far when I caught sight of three animals, which I should have
taken for young hogs, from their brown colour, long coarse hair, and
their general appearance, had they not been sitting up on their
haunches, as no hog ever sat.  They had large heads, and heavy blunt
muzzles, and thick clumsy bodies without tails.  They cast inquisitive
looks at me, and would have sat on apparently till I had got close up to
them, had not True dashed forward, when, uttering low sounds, between a
grunt and a bark, they rushed towards the water.  I fired at one of
them, and knocked it over.  The rest reached the river, though pursued
by True, and instantly dived beneath the surface.  John came up, and on
examining the animal's mouth, we found it to be a rodent, and thus knew
it to be a capybara, the largest of its order.  When alarmed, it rushes
to the water, swims as well as the otter, and takes its prey in a
similar manner.  It is, from its aquatic habits, often called the
water-hog.  It had short legs, and peculiarly long feet, partially
webbed, which enable it to swim so well.

Directly afterwards, True turned a smaller animal out of a hollow trunk.
It made off through the forest at great speed; but John shot it just as
it was running behind a tree.  It proved to be an agouti, also a rodent.
It is in some respects like a hare or rabbit, with the coarse coat of a
hog, but feeds itself like a squirrel.  It is classed with the
guinea-pig.  It feeds on vegetables, and is very destructive to
sugar-canes, which it rapidly gnaws through, and does not object to
animal food.

While I carried our prizes down in triumph to Domingos, that he might
prepare a portion of them for breakfast, John continued his search
through the woods.  I was on the point of joining him, when I heard him
cry, "Look out!" and at the same instant another animal burst through
the wood with True at his heels.  I fired, and killed it.  This also was
a rodent; and John said that it was a paca, which lives always in the
neighbourhood of water, to which it takes readily when chased.  It has
its habitation in burrows, which it forms a short distance only beneath
the surface.  The opening it conceals with dried leaves and small
branches.  Once in the water, it swims and dives so well that it
generally escapes from the hunter.  It was of a thick and somewhat
clumsy form, about two feet in length and one in height.  The hinder
limbs were longer than the front ones, and considerably bent.  The claws
were thick and strong, fitted for digging.  It had rigid whiskers, and
the ears were nearly naked.

Presently I heard John cry out.

"Harry, I believe that I have been bitten by a snake on which I trod,"
he said, in his usual calm way.  "I killed the creature, and I think it
is poisonous; so go and call Domingos, for he will perhaps know what to
do.  But get him away if you can, so as not to frighten Ellen."

I ran off as fast as my legs could carry me, and was thankful to find
that Ellen and Maria were sitting under the awning in the canoe, while
Domingos was cooking at the fire, assisted by Arthur.  In a breathless
voice, my heart sinking with alarm, I told him what had happened.

"There is a bottle of agua ardente, and there is another thing we will
try," he said, and rushed to the canoe.

I was afraid that he would tell Ellen; but he stepped on board with an
unconcerned manner, as if he wanted something for a culinary purpose,
and returned with two of the paddles, and a bottle and cup.

We found John seated on the bank, taking off his boot and sock.

"Here, Senor John, drink this," he said, giving him the cup full of
liquid.  "Senor Arthur will hold the bottle for you, while Senor Harry
and I are making a grave for your leg.  We must bury it.  Don't despair,
my dear master.  The remedy is a wonderful one."

We were digging away, while he spoke, with the paddles, and in a few
moments John's leg was buried deep in the earth, which was pressed down
over it.

"Why, this is brandy," exclaimed John, as he swallowed the contents of a
second cup which Arthur gave him.

"Of course, my dear master," answered Domingos, who, folding his arms,
stood by, watching the effect of his treatment.  "Some people think one
remedy the best, some another.  It is wise to try both.  The brandy
drives, the earth draws the poison forth."

Oh, how anxiously we watched John's countenance!  No change took place.

Arthur and I went back, lest Ellen might be alarmed at our absence,
leaving Domingos, who stood unmoved, in the same attitude as at first,
watching his patient.  At last Ellen put her head out from under the
toldo, and asked when breakfast would be ready, as she and Maria were
very hungry.

"What shall we tell her?" asked Arthur.

Just then I looked up, and saw Domingos coming towards us, waving the
dead snake in his hand, and John following, walking as briskly as if
nothing had been the matter with him.

"A wonderful cure has been wrought," he exclaimed, as he reached us.
"But don't tell Domingos yet.  Finding myself much as usual, I bethought
me, as I sat with my leg in the hole, of looking into the reptile's
mouth; and though it has a set of sharp teeth, I could discover no
poisonous fangs.  I am only sorry that so much good brandy was expended
on me, which may be wanted on another occasion."

We now summoned Ellen, and told her in English what had occurred.
Arthur and I having examined the head of the snake, to assure ourselves
that John was right, cut it off and threw it into the river, while True
breakfasted off the body, which we cooked for him.  Domingos did not
discover the truth till some time afterwards; and we heard him
frequently boasting of the certain cure he knew for snake bites.  I
cannot, however, say that his remedy would not prove efficacious.

Having made a good breakfast on the agouti, we once more embarked, and
glided down the stream.

I have not dwelt much on our anxiety, but, as may be supposed, we felt
it greatly, and our conversation could not fail to be subdued and sad.
Ellen, however, after her first grief had subdued, did her utmost, dear,
good little sister that she was, to cheer our spirits.  Often she kept
repeating, "I am sure they have escaped!  We shall before long find
them.  Depend on it, papa would not allow himself to be surprised!  I
have been praying for them ever since we commenced our journey, and I
know my prayers will be heard."

Although I had felt great despondency, I could not help being influenced
by Ellen's hopeful spirit.  Still it seemed to me that the probability
of our discovering them along the wide-extended banks of the river was
but small indeed.  They, too, how anxious they must be feeling on our
account; for if they had been in danger, as we supposed, they must know
we should be subjected to the same.  However, I will not dwell longer on
this subject, but only again repeat that our parents and our aunt and
Fanny were never absent from our thoughts.  A light breeze springing up,
we hoisted our mat sail, and glided down the river.  Nothing could be
more delightful.  The light air cooled us, and kept off the mosquitoes;
and as the nights were bright, had we not been anxious to examine the
shore, we agreed that we might have continued our voyage till it was
necessary to land and procure food.

Suddenly, however, the wind again dropped.  The sun, which had hitherto
been casting his undimmed rays down on our heads, became obscured, as if
a thick curtain had been drawn across it.  The whole sky assumed a
yellow tinge.  Domingos looked anxiously round.

"I do not like the look of the weather," he observed.  "It would be wise
to lower the sail."

We had just got it down, when a low murmur was heard in the distant
woods, increasing rapidly to a subdued roar.  A white line appeared
across the river.  It came rapidly towards us.  Now we could feel the
wind blowing against our cheeks, and the whole surface of the water
became suddenly rippled into wavelets, from which the white foam flew
off in thick sheets.  The sky had again changed to a greenish hue.  The
waves every moment increased in height.

"A hurricane is coming on," observed Domingos.  "We cannot face it."

We put the canoe's head towards the shore.

"Paddle, my masters! paddle!" exclaimed Domingos.  "We must reach the
shore before the storm breaks with its full violence, or we may be
lost!"

We had not paddled many strokes before we felt the canoe driven forward
by the wind at a rapid rate.  We exerted ourselves, running before the
wind, and edging in at the same time towards the northern shore.  Every
instant the hurricane gained strength; and as we looked upward, the
whole sky, we saw, had assumed a red and black appearance.  A little
ahead appeared a sand-bank, on which stood a number of tall-legged
birds, cormorants, white cranes, and other waders, large and small.  We
might land on the island, and save our lives; but the wind setting
directly on it, we might lose our canoe, or, at all events, the water
would break into her and destroy our goods.  Domingos steered the canoe
admirably, while we made every effort to keep off the island.  Presently
down came the blast with greater fury than before.  Some of the smaller
birds were carried off their legs and borne away by the wind.  Others,
throwing themselves down, stuck their beaks into the sand, and clung on
with their long claws, their feet extended.  In spite of our danger,
Arthur and I could not help laughing at the extraordinary appearance of
the birds, as they thus lay in great numbers along the sand, looking as
if they had been shot, and were lying dead till the sportsman could pick
them up.  On we drove, narrowly escaping being thrown upon the bank, on
which the foaming seas broke with terrific force.

"Here it comes again!" cried Domingos.  "Paddle bravely, and be not
alarmed."

As he spoke, another blast, still more violent, struck us, and in an
instant the covering of our canoe was torn away and lifted up.  In vain
we attempted to catch it.  It was borne off by the wind towards the
shore.  So high were the waves which thus suddenly rose up, that we
expected every moment to be overwhelmed; while we feared that unless we
could manage to anchor we should be driven on the bank to leeward, where
the canoe would be filled with water, and everything in her carried
away.  To resist the fury of the waves was impossible.  In vain we
strove to get under the lee of the island.  Destruction yawned before
us, when we saw, amid the thick forest trees which lined the bank, a
narrow opening.  It was the entrance, we hoped, to an igarape,--one of
those curious water-ways, or canoe paths, which form a network of canals
many hundred miles in extent, on either bank of the Amazon.  We exerted
ourselves to the utmost to reach it, although the seas which struck the
side of the canoe threatened every moment to upset her before we could
do so.  Ellen and Maria had got out their paddles, and laboured away
with all their strength, Maria's stout arms indeed being a very
efficient help.  Domingos kept working away with his paddle, now on one
side, now on another, now steering astern as he saw was requisite,
twisting his features into a hundred different forms, and showing his
white teeth as he shouted out in his eagerness.  The tall trees were
bending before the blast as if they were about to be torn from their
roots and carried bodily inland.  My fear was, on seeing them thus
agitated, that should we get beneath them they might fall and crush us.
Still we had no choice.  It seemed doubtful whether we should reach the
mouth of the igarape.

We redoubled our efforts, and just grazing by a point which projected
from the shore, on which, had we been thrown, we should have been upset,
we darted into the canal.  Even there the water hissed and roared as it
was forced into the narrow channel.  As an arrow flies through the
zarabatana, so we sped up the igarape.  For a few seconds Domingos had
to exert himself to steer the canoe in mid-channel, to prevent her being
dashed against the roots of the tall trees which projected into it.  At
first the roar of the wind among the trunks and branches was almost
deafening.  Gradually it decreased, and in a short time we could hear
only the distant murmur of the tempest on the outside of the woody
boundary.  We were not, however, to escape altogether from it, for down
came the rain in a pelting shower, to which, from the loss of our
awning, we were completely exposed.  We quickly, however, rigged another
with our sail, which afforded shelter to Ellen and Maria.  Having
secured the canoe, we all crept under it, and consulted what we should
next do.  What with the mantle of clouds across the sky, and the thick
arch of boughs over our heads, so great was the darkness that we could
scarcely persuade ourselves that night was not coming on.  We sat
patiently, hoping that the rain, which pattered down with so loud a
noise that it was necessary to raise our voices to make each other hear,
would at length cease.  In about half an hour, the shower-bath to which
we had been exposed came to an end.  But still drops fell thickly from
the boughs, and the darkness proved to us that the clouds had not yet
cleared away.

After our unsatisfactory meeting with the natives, we were anxious not
to remain longer on that part of the shore than necessary.  Accordingly
we once more paddled down the igarape.  We soon found, however, that the
wind was blowing too hard to allow us to venture out on the main stream.

On passing downwards we observed a somewhat open space on the north
side, and despairing of continuing our voyage that night, we determined
to encamp there.  Securing our canoe, in which Ellen and Maria sat under
shelter, the rest of us, with axes in our hands, set to work to clear
the ground and build a couple of huts.  We had become such proficients
in the art that this we soon accomplished.  On account of the weather we
built one of them, not only with a roof, but with back and sides, in
which Ellen and her attendant could be sheltered.  To our own also we
built a side on the quarter from which the wind came.  Our difficulty
was to light a fire.  But hunting about, we found some dried leaves in
the hollow of a tree, and there was no lack of wood, which, after
chopping off the wet outside, would burn readily.

Having made all preparations, we conducted Ellen and Maria to their hut,
and carried up our goods, which we placed within it, under shelter.  We
felt somewhat anxious at our position; but we hoped that the rain would
keep any natives who might be in the neighbourhood from wandering about,
and by the following morning we should be able to proceed on our voyage.
Should we not meet with our father on our way down, we resolved to stop
at the nearest Brazilian town on the banks, and there obtain assistance
in instituting a more rigid search than we could make by ourselves.  Of
one thing we were certain, that had he escaped, and got thus far, he
would stay there till our arrival.  Still we did not abandon all hopes
of finding him before that.

We had taken everything out of the canoe, with the exception of the
paddles, even to the sail, which served as a carpet for Ellen's hut.  We
next turned our attention to cooking further portions of the animals we
had killed in the morning.  In spite of the storm raging outside, and
our anxiety, as we sat round the blazing fire, Ellen and Maria having
joined us, the smoke keeping the mosquitoes somewhat at bay, we all felt
more cheerful than might have been expected.  Midnight had now come on;
and having cut up a further supply of wood to keep the fire burning, we
slung our hammocks and turned into them, trusting to True to keep watch
for us.



CHAPTER EIGHT.

ADVENTURES IN THE FOREST--WE MEET WITH NATIVES.

The hours of the night passed slowly by.  I awoke several times.  Few of
the usual noises of the forest were heard.  The tempest seemed to have
silenced its wild inhabitants.  Now and then the cry of a howling baboon
reached our ears from the depths of the forest.  I had a feeling that
something dreadful was about to occur, yet I was sufficiently awake to
know that this might be mere fancy, and I did my best to go to sleep.
The fire was still burning brightly.  I looked down from my hammock.
There was True sleeping tranquilly below me, as my companions were,
around.  When I looked away from the fire into the forest, I was struck
by the unusual darkness.  Not a ray of light appeared to come from the
sky, which was still covered with a thick mantle of clouds.  I succeeded
at last in dropping off to sleep.  How long my eyes had been closed I
could not tell, when I heard True uttering a low bark.  I could just see
him running to the edge of the hut, and looking out towards the river.
I sprang from my hammock, calling to my companions.  They were on foot
in a moment; but the darkness, was so great that we could see nothing
beyond a few feet from where we stood.  As we sprang up, True rushed
forward.  We heard him barking away in front of us.  The fire was out,
and with difficulty we found our way back.  I called to True, and at
last he returned, but we were still unable to discover any cause for
alarm.  After a time we agreed that the wisest thing we could do would
be to turn into our hammocks again.  I scolded True for alarming us so
needlessly, and he came back and lay down in his usual place.  The night
passed away without any other disturbance.

When we arose in the morning the wind had ceased, the clouds had cleared
away, and the weather was as fine as usual.  Getting up, we prepared
breakfast, and agreed to continue our voyage as soon as it was over.  As
we had sufficient provisions, there was no necessity to search for any.
We therefore remained at our camp till our meal was over.  John was the
first to take up a load and proceed with it down to the canoe.  I
followed.  When still at a little distance, I heard him utter an
exclamation of dismay.  He turned back, and I saw by his countenance
that there was something wrong.  Now he looked up the igarape, now down.

"Harry," he exclaimed, "I cannot see the canoe!"

"You must have mistaken the spot where I left it," I answered.  "I
secured it well."

I returned with him to the bank.  In vain we searched up and down the
banks of the water-path.  Not a trace of the canoe did we discover.

"She must have broken adrift, then, during the night," I observed.
"Perhaps she has driven up the igarape."

"I will go one way and you the other, then," said John.

I made my way as well as I could through the tangled wood from the
river, while John went towards it.  Wherever I could, I got down to the
edge of the water.  Now I climbed along a trunk which overhang it; but
though I thus got a view for a considerable distance, I could see no
canoe.  At length I returned, hoping that John might have been more
successful.  I met him on the spot where we had parted.

"I cannot see her," he said.  "Harry, I am afraid she has been carried
off!"

The same idea had occurred to me.  We now carefully examined the spot
where we had left her.  I found the very trunk of the tree round which I
had secured the painter.  It was scarcely rubbed, which it would have
been, we agreed, had the canoe been torn away by the force of the wind.
We were soon joined by Arthur and Domingos, who had come along with
loads, surprised at our not returning.  We communicated to them the
alarming intelligence.  Domingos was afraid that we were right in our
conjectures.  We returned to the camp to break the unsatisfactory news
to Ellen.

"If our canoe is lost, we must build another," she remarked, in her
usual quiet way, concealing her anxiety; "but it is very trying to be
thus delayed."

Still it would not do to give up without a further search for the canoe.
As the wind had set up the igarape, I knew that, should the canoe have
broken away by herself, she must have driven before it.  It was
therefore settled that Arthur and I should go up still further in that
direction, while John would try and make his way down to the main river,
searching along the bank.  Ellen and Maria, with Domingos and True to
take care of them, were to remain at the camp.  Arthur and I had our
axes, for without them we could make no progress.  I had my gun; Arthur
a spear, with bow and arrows, which Naro had presented to him.  Thus
armed, we hoped to defend ourselves against any jaguar or boa we might
meet.  We had little to fear from any other wild animals.  As we had
seen no traces of natives, we did not expect to meet with any.  We soon
gained the point I had reached in the morning.  After this, we had to
hew a path for ourselves through the forest.  Sometimes we got a few
feet without impediment, and then had to cut away the sipos for several
yards.  Now and then we were able to crawl under them, and sometimes we
were able to leap over the loops, or make our way along the
wide-spreading roots of the tall trees.  Thus we went on, every now and
then getting down to the edge of the igarape, and climbing out on the
trunk of one of the overhanging trees, whence we could obtain a view up
and down for some distance.

We had just reached the bank, and were looking out along it, when I saw
a troop of monkeys coming along through the forest.  I kept True by my
side, and whispered to Arthur not to speak.  I could scarcely help
laughing aloud at the odd manner in which they made their way among the
branches, now swinging down by their tails, now catching another branch,
and hanging on by their arms.  They were extraordinarily thin creatures,
with long arms and legs, and still longer tails--our old friends the
spider monkeys.  Those tails of theirs were never quiet, but kept
whisking about in all directions.  They caught hold of the branches with
them, and then hung by them with their heads downwards, an instant
afterwards to spring up again.  Presently they came close to the water,
when one of them caught hold of a branch with his fore-hands and tail,
another jumped down and curled his tail round the body of the first.  A
third descended and slung himself in a similar manner.  A fourth and
fifth followed, and so on; and there they hung, a regular monkey chain.
Immediately the lowest, who hung with his head downwards, gave a shove
with his fore-paws, and set the chain swinging, slowly at first but
increasing in rapidity, backwards and forwards over the water.  I
thought to myself, if an alligator were making his way up the canal, the
lowest would have a poor chance of his life.  The swinging increased in
violence, till the lowest monkey got his paws round the slender trunk of
a tree on the opposite side.  Immediately he drew his companion after
him; till the next above him was within reach of it.  That one caught
the tree in the same way, and they then dragged up their end of the
chain till it hung almost horizontally across the water.  A living
bridge having thus been formed, the remainder of the troop, chiefly
consisting of young monkeys who had been amusing themselves meantime
frisking about in the branches, ran over.  Two or three of the
mischievous youngsters took the opportunity of giving a sly pinch to
their elders, utterly unable just then to retaliate; though it was
evident, from the comical glances which the latter cast at them, that
the inflictors of the pinches were not unnoticed.  One, who had been
trying to catch some fish apparently during the interval, was nearly too
late to cross.  The first two who had got across now climbed still
further up the trunk; and when they had got to some distance, the
much-enduring monkey, who had been holding the weight of all the others,
let go his hold, and now becoming the lowest in the chain, swung towards
the bank.  As soon as he and his companions reached it, they caught hold
of the trunk either with their hands or tails.  The whole troop thus got
safely across.

The shouts of laughter, to which Arthur and I could no longer resist
giving way, startled the monkeys.  They looked about with inquisitive
glances, wondering probably what sort of strange creatures we could be
who had come into their territory.  At length, espying us, off they set
at a great rate through the forest.

They had chosen the narrowest part of the igarape to cross.  Going on
further, it widened considerably.  We still continued making our way
along its margin; but the ground at length became so swampy, that we
were obliged to turn off to the left.  After this we came to somewhat
more open ground, which had been cleared either by fire or by the hand
of man.  It was, of course, overgrown with vegetation of all sorts; but
not sufficiently so to prevent us making our way through it.  Our
intention was to go round the swamp or lake, and again reach the border
of the water-path.  We proceeded on for some distance, when we saw
through an opening a high clay bank; it could scarcely be called a hill.
But few trees grew on it.  We thought that, by getting to the top, we
could obtain a view of the country around.  We accordingly made our way
towards it.  It formed apparently the eastern edge of the high country
through which the Napo runs.  We found, here and there, veins of that
curiously-coloured clay which we had before seen.  Looking eastward, a
vast extent of forest was spread out before us, extending far as the eye
could reach.  No opening was visible except the long line of the
Solimoens, at some distance from where we stood.  We could look westward
towards its source in the Andes; and eastward as it flowed on towards
the far distant Atlantic, hundreds of miles away.  The whole igarape was
entirely shut out from view.  We thought, however, that by continuing
towards the north we might possibly again get sight of it, when we
purposed to continue our search for the canoe.  We had faint hopes of
finding it, we could not but confess.

We had gone on some way, when, passing round a clump of trees, we saw
before us two natives seated on the top of a hill, looking out, it
seemed, over the country beyond them.  Their bodies were tattooed or
painted all over in curious devices, and their heads were decked with
war-plumes, while each of them had a musket resting on his arm, as if
ready for immediate use.  Our first impulse was to retreat, hoping that
we had not been seen; but their quick eyes had caught sight of us.  They
beckoned to us to approach.

"They must have had intercourse with white men, or they would not have
those muskets," observed Arthur.  "Perhaps they may prove to be
friends."

To escape them, I saw, would be impossible.  I therefore agreed with
Arthur that the best way was to go forward at once in a frank manner and
try to win their confidence.  We climbed the hill, therefore, and as we
get up to where they were waiting for us, put out our hands and shook
theirs.  They were accustomed, apparently, to the European style of
greeting.  They addressed us, and seemed to be inquiring whence we had
come.  We explained as well as we could by signs--pointing in the
direction of the Andes, and then showing how we had glided down in the
canoe.  While they were speaking, I thought I detected a few words which
sounded like Spanish; and listening more attentively, I found that the
eldest of the two was speaking the _lingua geral_--a corrupt Portuguese,
mixed with Indian words, generally used throughout the whole length of
the Amazon.  It was so like the language Naro and his Indians had
employed when speaking to us, that I could make out, with a little
difficulty, what was said.  I understood the elder Indian to say that he
was a friend of the whites; and that, as Arthur had supposed, he had
obtained the muskets from them.  Finding the natives so friendly, I
invited them to our camp.  They shook their heads, and pointed to the
north-west, letting us understand that they were about to start away on
an expedition against an enemy in that direction; but that, on their
return, they would without fail come to visit us.  They signified that
if we would accompany them to their village, we should be hospitably
received.  When speaking of the enemy, they uttered the word "Majeronas"
two or three times.

"Those must be the people you think attacked your father," observed
Arthur.  "If he and your family are prisoners, they may be the means of
releasing them."

"I am afraid the Majeronas are too fierce and savage to make prisoners,"
I answered.  "We might accompany these Indians and avenge their death,
if they have been killed."

"That is not according to the Christian law," observed Arthur mildly.
"I would run any risk, though, to obtain their release, should they have
been made prisoners."

"I feel sure that they have not," I answered.  "Had they not escaped in
their canoe we should certainly have found some remains of her on the
shore, or some traces of them.  Oh no; I feel sure they got off, and we
shall overtake them before long."

As I ceased speaking, a band of Indians appeared coming through the
woods.  They were--like the first two, who were evidently chiefs--decked
in feathers and paint, but otherwise unencumbered by clothing.  They
were armed with bows and spears, but not a musket did we see among them.
They were certainly the lightest of light troops.  The two chiefs
seemed to look upon their weapons as of immense value, as a general does
his heavy guns.  I saw the chief eyeing my rifle; and he then addressed
us, inviting us to accompany the expedition.  In spite of what I had
just said, I felt greatly inclined to go, Arthur, however, urged me
strongly not to do so.

"Think of your sister and brother.  How anxious our absence would make
them!" he observed.  "You do not know what dangers they may be exposed
to; and suppose we were surprised and killed by the enemy, what would
become of them?"

I agreed that he was right, and explained to the chief that we could not
leave our friends.  He then asked me to make over my gun to him; but, of
course, I could not deprive myself of our chief means of defence, and
therefore turned a deaf ear to his request.  The troops had halted at
the foot of the hill; and we accompanied the two chiefs, who went down
to meet them.  The natives looked at us without much surprise, as if
white men were no strangers to them.  Arthur now advised that we should
return, as it would be a serious matter should we be benighted in the
forest.  Before parting from our friends, we endeavoured to ascertain
whether they had seen our canoe, but we could obtain no information from
them.  Still I could not help thinking that she had been carried off by
some of their tribe, who might have found her on their way up the
igarape.  When, therefore, the chief again pressed us to pay a visit to
his village, we accepted his invitation.

Several lads had accompanied the army.  As they only carried blow-pipes
in their hands, I suspected--as proved to be the case--that they were
not to proceed further.  The chief called one of them up to him; and
from the way he spoke, I had little doubt that he was his son.  The
chief made signs to us that the lad, whom he called Duppo, would go back
with us to the village, and that we should there obtain any food we
might require.  Duppo appeared to be about fourteen years of age, and
more intelligent and better looking than most of the Indians; indeed,
the two chiefs we had first seen were superior to the rest in
appearance, and Duppo was very like them.  We came to the conclusion
that they were brothers; and that Duppo, as I have said, was the son of
the eldest.  This we found afterwards to be the case.

The chief, having wished us farewell, gave the signal to advance; and
leading the way, the Indians set off in single file along the bottom of
the hill.  We, having watched them for some time, accompanied Duppo,
followed by the three other lads who had come with him.  We asked him
his father's name, and understood him to say it was Maono, that his
mother's name was Mora, and that his uncle was called Paco.  Had we
judged by Duppo's manner, we should not have supposed that his friends
had gone on a dangerous expedition; but yet, knowing the character of
the Majeronas, we could not help feeling some anxiety for the result.
We found that Duppo was leading us towards the further end of the
igarape, in the direction we had ourselves before proposed going.  We
had, however, delayed so long, that I feared we should not have time to
return.  Arthur suggested that we might possibly find a canoe, in which
we could go back by water, or, if not, we might build a balsa, such as
we had seen used on the Guayas.

"An excellent idea," I replied.  "We will put it into execution should
we not find a canoe."

Our young guide led the way with unerring instinct through the forest.
We had gone some distance, when we heard a deep, loud, and
long-sustained flute-like note.  It was that of a bird.  The young
Indian stopped, and pointing ahead, uttered the word _nira-mimbeu_,
which I afterwards ascertained meant fife-bird, evidently from the
peculiar note we had just heard.  The whole party stopped in the
attitude of listening, and looking among the branches, we got a good
view of a bird a short distance beyond us, with glossy black plumage,
perched on a bough.  The bird itself was about the size of a common
crow.  It had a remarkable ornament on its head, consisting of a crest
formed of long, curved, hairy feathers at the end of bare quills which
were now raised and spread out in the shape of a fringed sunshade.
Round its neck was a tippet formed of glossy steel-blue feathers; and as
we watched it, while it was singing it spread these out, and waved them
in a curious manner, extending at the same time its umbrella-formed
crest, while it bowed its head slightly forward and then raised it
again.  I knew at once the curious creature to be the rare umbrella-bird
(_Cephalopterus ornatus_).  The bird was continuing its flute-like
performance, when Duppo, advancing slowly and lifting his blow-pipe,
sent forth with unerring aim a tiny dart, which pierced the bird's neck.
Much to my sorrow, the note ceased; but yet the bird stood on its perch
as if scarcely aware of the wound it had received.  We all stood
watching it.  For nearly a minute it remained as before, till gradually
its head began to drop, and finally it fell to the ground.  Duppo ran
forward, and taking a pinch of white substance from a wallet which he
carried at his side, placed it in the bird's mouth, and then carefully
pulling out the arrow, put some into the wound, just as our Napo Indians
had done when they shot our monkey, Nimble.  We then went on, he
carrying the apparently lifeless bird carefully in his arms.  In a few
minutes it began slowly to lift its head, and then to look about it as a
hen does when carried in the same way.  In a short time the bird seemed
to be as well as if it had not received a wound, and began to peck at
the bare arms of our young guide.  On this he took from his bag some
small pieces of fibre.  On piece he wound round its bill, and another
round its legs, taking great care not to hurt or injure it in any way.

We went on for some distance, our young guide keeping his sharp eyes
roving round in every direction in search of some other bird or animal
on which he might exercise his skill.  We were naturally surprised at
the wonderful way in which the bird he had shot had recovered.  I could
scarcely believe that the arrow had been tipped with poison, and yet I
could not otherwise account for the manner in which the bird fell to the
ground.  I inquired of Duppo, but could not understand his reply.  At
last he took out of his bag some of the white stuff we had seen him
apply and put it on his tongue.  "Why," exclaimed Arthur, to whom he had
given some to taste, "it is salt!"

Salt it undoubtedly was; and we now first learned that salt is an
antidote to the wourali poison.  People, indeed, who eat salt with their
food are but little affected by it; while it quickly kills savages and
animals who do not eat salt.

We had seen as yet no signs of habitations, when Duppo stopped and
pointed through an opening in the trees.  We saw, in the shade of the
wide-spreading boughs, a woman kneeling before a bath, in which a little
child was seated, splashing the water about with evident delight.  The
woman was almost as primitive a costume as the warriors we had seen.
Her only ornament was a necklace, and her sole clothing consisted of a
somewhat scanty petticoat.  She, however, seemed in no way abashed at
our presence.  Duppo ran forward and said a few words to her, when,
rising from her knees, and lifting up her dripping child in her arms,
she advanced a few paces towards us.  She seemed to be listening with
great interest to what Duppo was saying, and she then signed to us to
follow her.  We did so, and soon came in sight of several bamboo huts.
The walls, as also the roofs, were covered with a thatch of palm-leaves.
On examining the thatch, I saw that it consisted of a number of leaves
plaited together, and secured in a row to a long lath of bamboo.  One of
these laths, with a row of thatch attached to it, was hung up on pegs to
the lowest part of the wall intended to be covered; another was fastened
over it, the thatch covering the first lath; and so on, row after row,
till the upper part was reached.  The roof was formed in the same
manner, secured by rope formed of aloe fibres or some similar material.
Round the village were numerous fruit-trees.  The most conspicuous were
bananas, with their long, broad, soft, green leaf-blades; and several
pupunhas, or peach-palms, with their delicious fruit, hanging down in
enormous bunches from their lofty crowns, each a load for a strong man.
The fruit gains its name from its colour.  It is dry and mealy, of the
taste of chestnuts and cheese.  There were also a number of cotton and
coffee trees on one side, extending down to the water, which showed that
our friends were not ignorant of agriculture.  We also saw melons
growing in abundance, as well as mandioca and Indian corn.

The lady conducted us into her house with as much dignity as a duchess
would have done into her palace.  The interior of the building, however,
had no great pretensions to architectural grandeur.  The roof was
supported by strong upright posts between which hammocks were slung,
leaving space for a passage from one end to the other, as also for fires
in the centre.  At the further end was an elevated stage, which might be
looked upon as a first floor, formed of split palm-stems.  Along the
walls were arranged clay jars of various sizes, very neatly made.  Some,
indeed, were large enough to hold twenty or more gallons; others were
much smaller; and some were evidently used as cooking-pots.  They were
ornamented on the outside with crossed diagonal lines of various
colours.  There were also blow-pipes hung up, and quivers and bags made
of the bromelia, very elaborately worked.  In addition, there were
baskets formed of the same material of a coarser description, and
dressed skins of animals, with mats, and spare hammocks.

Our hostess, whom we discovered to be Duppo's mother, invited us to sit
down on some mats which she spread in a clear space on the floor, a
little removed from the fire.  Duppo went out, and in a short time
returned with a young girl, who looked timidly into the opening, and
then ran off.  He scampered after her, and brought her back; but it
required some persuasion to induce her to enter the hut.  We rose as she
did so, struck by her interesting countenance and elegant form; for,
although her garments were almost as scanty as those of the older woman,
our impulse was to treat her with the respect we should have paid to one
of her more civilised sisters.  Having got over her timidity, she set to
work to assist her mother in cooking some food.  We asked Duppo his
sister's name.  He gave us to understand that it was Oria--at least, it
sounded like it; and, at all events, that was the name by which we
always called her.  It was a pretty name, and well suited to such an
interesting young creature.

Several parrots of gorgeous plumage, which had been sitting on the
rafters, clambered down inquisitively to look at us; while two monkeys--
tame little things--ran in and out of the hut.  The most interesting
creature we saw was a charming little water-fowl--a species of grebe.
It seemed to be a great pet of the young girl.  It was swimming about in
a tub full of water, similar to the one in which we had seen our hostess
bathing her baby.  The girl took it out to show it to us, and it lay
perfectly happy and contented in her hands.  It was rather smaller than
a pigeon, and had a pointed beak.  The feet, unlike those of
water-fowls, were furnished with several folds of skin in lieu of webs,
and resembled much the feet of the gecko lizards.  After exhibiting it
to us, she put it back again into its tub, and it went swimming round
and round, very much like those magnetic ducks which are sold in
toyshops.  On examining the tub I have spoken of, we found that it was
formed from the spathe of the palm.

In a short time a repast was placed before us in several bowls.  In one
was fish, in another was a stew of meat.  Arthur, without ceremony, ate
some of the latter, when he came to a bone which I saw him examining
curiously.

"Why, I do believe," he said, in a low voice, "it is a bit of monkey!"

"I have very little doubt about it," I answered; for I had discovered
this some time before.  "Try this other dish; it seems very nice."

Having eaten some of it, we bethought ourselves of inquiring of Duppo
what it was; and he gave us to understand that it was a piece of snake
or lizard, for we could not exactly make out which.

"I think I would rather keep to the fish," said Arthur, in a subdued
voice.  Indeed, with the fish and some mandioca porridge alone, we could
have managed to make a very ample meal.

We had also several delicious fruits--guavas, bananas, and one, the
interior of which tasted like a rich custard.  A jar of a somewhat thick
and violet-coloured liquor was placed before us to drink.  It was made,
we found, from the fruit of the assai palm, which our hostess, Illora,
showed us.  It was perfectly round and about the size of a cherry,
consisting of a small portion of pulp lying between the skin and the
hard kernel.  The fruit pounded, with the addition of water, produces
the beverage I have described.  It was very refreshing, but stained our
lips as do blackberries.

Having finished our meal, we thanked Dame Illora for it, and tried to
explain that we were in search of a canoe in which to return down the
igarape.  For some time we could not make her comprehend what we wanted.
Suddenly Duppo started up, and leading us to the water, by signs
explained that all their canoes had been taken away.  "Then, no doubt,
the same people who took theirs, carried off ours," observed Arthur.  I
agreed with him.  Still, I hoped that a small canoe might be found.  We
searched about, but I could not find one.  The channel ran through the
forest till it was lost to sight, and as there was a slight current in
the water, we came to the conclusion that it was connected with some
other river, up which the canoes had been carried.

"Then let us build a raft as we proposed," said Arthur.  "If we do not
return to-night, we shall alarm your sister and John.  The current is in
our favour, and we shall have no difficulty in descending to our camp."

At once we tried to explain to our friends what we proposed doing.
Several other persons appeared, but they were mostly old men and women.
The rest had evidently gone off to the war.  We began by cutting down
some small trees which grew at the edge of the igarape.  Then we cut
some sipos, and formed an oblong frame of sufficient size to support
three or four people.  After a little time Duppo comprehended our
purpose, and we saw him explaining the matter to his people.  Several of
them on this set to work on a clump of bamboos which grew at a little
distance, and brought them to us.  Looking about, we also discovered
some long reeds growing on the margin of the swamp at no great distance.
Arthur and I collected as many as we could carry, and the natives,
following our example, soon supplied us with what we required.  Having
fastened the bamboos lengthways on the frame, we secured the reeds both
under and above them, till we had completely covered over the framework.
The whole machine we strengthened by passing long sipos round it, and
thus in a short time had a buoyant and sufficiently strong raft to carry
us safely, we hoped, down the igarape.  The natives had been watching
our proceedings with looks of surprise, as if they had never seen a
similar construction.  We had cut a couple of long poles with which to
push on the raft.  "I think we should be the better for paddles,"
observed Arthur.  One of the trees, we found, very easily split into
boards.  We soon made three paddles, agreeing that a third would be
useful, in case one should break.  "But perhaps Duppo would be willing
to accompany us," said Arthur.  "He seems a very intelligent fellow.
Shall we ask him?"

We soon made our young friend comprehend our wishes.  He was evidently
well pleased with the proposal, though his mother at first seemed to
hesitate about letting him go.  We pressed her, explaining that we would
reward him well for his services.  Our point gained, Duppo's
preparations were quickly made.  He brought with him his zarabatana or
blow-pipe, his bow, and a quiver full of arrows, as also a basket of
farinha, apparently supposing that we might be unable to provide him
with food.  Seeing the curious umbrella-bird secured to a perch
projecting from the wall, I asked him to bring it, as I wanted to show
it to Ellen.  He quickly understood me, and taking it down, again
fastened up its beak, and brought it along perched on his shoulder.  The
whole remaining population of the village came down to the water to see
us embark.  We took off our hats to Oria, who scarcely seemed to
understand the compliment.

Our raft was soon launched with their aid, and, greatly to our
satisfaction, floated buoyantly.  We got on board, and shoved off into
the middle of the channel.  The water was fat too deep to allow our
poles to be of any use.  Duppo, however, showed that he well knew the
use of a paddle.  Taking one in his hand, he sat down on one side of the
raft, while Arthur sat on the other, and I stood astern to steer.  The
current was sluggish, and did not help us much.  We therefore had to
exert ourselves vigorously.  The igarape soon widened out into a broad
lake-like expanse.  We could distinguish the channel, however, from its
being free of reeds, which appeared in all directions in the other
parts, forming thick broad clumps like islands.  From amidst them
numerous water-fowl rose up as we passed.  Now and then an alligator
poked up his ugly snout.  Numerous tortoises and other water-creatures
were seen swimming about.  Others which rose near us, alarmed at our
appearance, made off to a distance, and allowed us to proceed unimpeded.

We were delighted with the progress we made, and went paddling on as if
we had been long accustomed to the work.  We kept up most of the time a
conversation with Duppo, although it must be owned that we could
understand but little of what he said, while he had equal difficulty in
comprehending us.  We asked him several questions about his family.  I
told him that he must bring Oria down to see my sister, as I was sure
she would be glad to make her acquaintance.  I was, however, not very
certain whether he understood me.  He was evidently a quick, sagacious
fellow; though his manners, like most of the Indians we had met, were
subdued and quiet.

As we were paddling on, we were almost startled by hearing a sound like
a bell tolling in the midst of the forest.  It ceased, and we paddled
on, when again it struck our ears loud and clear.  Again it came within
the space of a minute, and we almost expected to see some church steeple
peeping forth through an opening in the primeval forest.  We tried to
ascertain from our young companion what it could mean, but he only
nodded his head, as much as to say, "I know all about it," and then he
gave a glance down at his bow and quiver which lay by his side.  We went
on for some minutes more, the sound of the bell reaching our ears as
before, and then Duppo began to look up eagerly into the trees.
Suddenly he ceased paddling, and made signs to Arthur to do the same.
Gliding on a few yards further, we saw, on the topmost bough of a tree
overhanging the water, a beautiful white bird, about the size of a jay.
At the same time there came forth from where it stood a clear bell
sound, and we saw from its head a black tube, rising up several inches
above it.  Duppo cautiously put his hand out and seized his bow.  In an
instant he had fitted an arrow to the string.  Away it flew, and down
fell the bird fluttering in the water.  We paddled on, and quickly had
it on board.  I could not help feeling sorry that he had killed the
beautiful creature, whose note had so astonished us.

It was, I found, a specimen of that somewhat rare and very wonderful
bell-bird (_Casmarhynchos carunculata_), called _campanero_ by the
Spaniards.  From the upper part of the bill grows a fleshy tubercle
about the thickness of a quill, sparingly covered with minute feathers.
It was now hanging down on one side, quite lax.  It was evident,
therefore, that the bird, when alive, elevated it when excited by
singing or some other cause; indeed afterwards, on examining it, we
found it connected with the interior of the throat, which further
convinced us of this fact.  I was sorry that we could not have it taken
alive to Ellen, and I tried to explain to Duppo that we wished to have
living creatures if possible captured, like the umbrella-bird.

We had been paddling on for some time beneath the thick overhanging
boughs, almost in darkness, when a bright glow attracted our attention.
"We must be near the camp," exclaimed Arthur, and we shouted out.  We
were replied to by True's well-known bark, and directly afterwards we
could distinguish through the gloom the figure of Domingos making his
way amid the wood, with True running before him, down to the bank.
There they stood ready to receive us.



CHAPTER NINE.

LOST IN THE FOREST.

"I am thankful to have you back, my young masters," exclaimed Domingos,
as he helped us to land.  "But what! have you not brought back the
canoe?  I thought it was her you had returned in, and that the third
person I saw was Senor John.  He set off some time back to look for
you."

We briefly explained what had happened, and introduced the young Indian.
Having secured the raft, we hastened to our encampment.  Ellen and
Maria came out to meet us.

"I am so glad you have come back," said Ellen, "for we were growing very
anxious about you.  I hope John will soon return.  I am surprised you
did not see him as you came down the igarape."

I explained to her how easily we might have passed each other.  "I dare
say we shall see John in a few minutes.  When he found night coming on,
he would certainly turn back," I added.

We now brought Duppo forward and introduced him, telling Ellen about his
sister Oria.

"Oh, I should so like to see her!" she exclaimed.  "Do try and make him
understand that we hope he will bring her here."

Though modest and retiring in his manner, Duppo soon made himself at
home, and seemed well pleased at being in our society.  Ellen was
delighted with the curious bird he had brought her, and Maria undertook
to tame it, as she had the parrot and Nimble.  John had fortunately
killed a paca in the morning, and Maria had dressed part of it for
supper.  We were, however, unwilling to begin our meal till his return.
We waited for some time, expecting him every instant to appear.  We made
the fire blaze brightly as a signal, and Domingos and I went to a little
distance from the camp, first in one direction, then in another,
shouting at the top of our voices; but we in vain listened for his in
return.  I then fired off my rifle, hoping that, had he lost his way,
that might show him the position of the camp.  We stood breathless,
waiting to hear his rifle, but no sound reached our ears.  We now became
very anxious, but were unwilling to go further from the camp, lest we
might be unable to find our way back.  True, who had followed us, added
his voice to our shouts.

"Hark!" said Domingos; "I hear a sound."

We listened.  It was a low, deep howl.  It grew louder and louder.

"That is only one of those big monkeys beginning its night music," I
observed.

True, when he heard it, was darting forward, but I called him back,
afraid lest he should meet with a prowling jaguar or huge boa, which
might carry him off before we could go to his assistance.  At length,
with sad forebodings, we returned to the camp.  We did our best to
comfort Ellen, yet it was very difficult to account for John's
non-appearance.

"He must certainly have gone further than he intended," observed Arthur;
"then, not having the sun to guide him, must have taken a wrong
direction.  He will probably climb up into some tree to sleep, and when
the sun rises in the morning he will easily find his way back."

"Oh, thank you, Arthur, for suggesting that!" said Ellen; "I am sure it
must be so."

"At all events," I said, "we will start away at daybreak to look for
him; and with our young Indian friend as a guide, we need have no fear
in venturing into the forest."

We had none of us much appetite for supper, but Domingos persuaded us to
take some.  We then made up a fire, intending to keep watch during the
night, hoping every moment that John might return.  Domingos, however,
at length persuaded Arthur and I to lie down in our hammocks; indeed, in
spite of our anxiety, in consequence of the fatigue we had gone through
during the day, we could with difficulty keep our eyes open.  He made
Duppo get into his, saying that he himself would keep watch.  Every now
and then I awoke, hoping to hear John's cheery voice.  Each time I
looked out I saw our faithful Domingos sitting before the fire, busying
himself in throwing sticks on it to keep it blazing brightly.
Occasionally I observed him get up, go to a little distance, and stretch
out his neck into the darkness.  Then he would come back again and take
his seat as before, while the various tones of croaking frogs, or huge
crickets, or the fearful howls of the night-monkeys, which came, now
from one direction, now from another, from the far-off depths of the
forest, sounded as if they were keeping up a conversation among
themselves.  This dismal noise continued throughout the night.

At daylight Arthur and I leaped from our hammocks, and roused up young
Duppo.  We tried to explain to him that one of our number had gone away,
and that we wanted to go in search of him.

"Stay!" exclaimed Domingos; "you must not go without breakfast.  I have
been boiling the cocoa, and I will soon roast some paca."

While we were breakfasting, Ellen and Maria came out of their hut.
Ellen looked very pale and anxious, as if she had passed a sleepless
night; and she confessed that she had not closed her eyes for thinking
of John, and what might have become of him.  We were doubtful about
taking True; but when he saw us preparing to start, he ran off, and
would not return, for fear of being tied up: we decided, therefore, to
let him go with us, thinking that he might be of assistance in finding
John.

Having done my best to comfort Ellen, we set out in the direction
Domingos told us John had gone.  We had stored our wallets with food,
that we might not run the risk of starving should we be kept out longer
than we expected.  Duppo had followed our example, having brought his
bag of farinha on shore.  He carried his bow and blow-pipe; and Arthur
was armed with his bow, as well as with a long pointed staff; and I had
my rifle and a good store of ammunition.  Our Indian guide seemed to
understand clearly our object, and led the way without hesitation
through the forest.  After we had gone some little distance, we saw him
examining the trees on either side.  Then he again went on as before.
He made signs to us that the person we were searching for had gone that
way.  After a time he again stopped, and showed us how he had been
turning about, now in one direction, now in another.  Then on he went
again, further and further from the camp.  As we were making our way
onwards, Duppo stopped, and signed to us to be silent; and then pointed
to a tree a little way in front.  We there saw on a bough a short-tailed
animal, with white hair.  After waiting a minute or two, it turned
round, and a face of the most vivid scarlet hue was presented to us.  It
seemed unconscious of our presence for it did not move from its post.
The head was nearly bald, or at most had but a short crop of thin grey
hair; while round the odd-looking face was a fringe of bushy whiskers of
a sandy colour, which met under the chin.  A pair of reddish eyes added
to its curious appearance.  The body was entirely covered with long,
straight, shining white hair.

Presently it moved along the branch, and began picking some fruit which
grew at the further end.  Duppo cautiously lifted his blow-pipe to his
mouth.  An arrow sped forth and struck the creature.  The instant it
felt itself wounded, it ran along the branch till it reached another
tree.  Duppo made chase, and we had no little difficulty in following
him.  On the creature went from tree to tree, and it seemed that there
was but a slight chance of his catching it.  Presently we saw it again,
but moving slower than at first.  Slower and slower it went, till Duppo
could easily keep close under it; then down it fell, almost into his
arms.  True, who was ahead of us, darted forward, and, had I not called
him back, would have seized the creature.  The Indian, meantime, was
engaged in pulling out the arrow; and having done so, he put a pinch of
salt into the creature's mouth.

On examining it, we found it was a veritable monkey, one of the most
curious of the race I ever saw.  It was of the genera of _Cebidae_.
Duppo called it a _nakari_ (_Brachyurus calvus_ is its scientific name).
The body was about eighteen inches long, exclusive of the limbs.  Its
tail was very short, and apparently of no use to it in climbing; and its
limbs were rather shorter and thicker than those of most monkeys.  In a
short time it began to show signs of life.

We soon afterwards caught sight of another, with a young one on its
back, which our guide told us was a mother monkey.  It, however, got
away before he could bring his blow-pipe to bear on it.  As soon as the
little captive began to move, Duppo secured its front hands with a piece
of line, and threw a small net over its head to prevent it biting.  He
then secured it on his shoulder; and we again pushed on through the
forest as fast as we could go.  We were at length obliged to stop and
rest.  We had taken but a slight breakfast.  Arthur said he was hungry;
and Duppo showed that he was by taking out a cake of farinha and some
dried meat from his bag.  Anxiety, however, had taken away my appetite.

While I was sitting down, I observed close to us what I took to be a
seed-pod of some aerial plant, hanging straight down from a bough, at
about six feet from the ground.  On going up to it, I found to my
surprise that it was a cocoon about the size of a sparrow's egg, woven
by a caterpillar in broad meshes of a rose-coloured silky substance.  It
hung, suspended from the tip of an outstanding leaf, by a strong silken
thread about six inches in length.  On examining it carefully, I found
that the glossy threads which surrounded it were thick and strong.  Both
above and below there was an orifice, which I concluded was to enable
the moth, when changed from the chrysalis which slept tranquilly within
its airy cage, to make its escape.  It was so strong that it could
resist evidently the peck of a bird's beak, while it would immediately
swing away from one on being touched.  I afterwards met with several
such cocoons; and once saw a moth coming forth from one.  It was of a
dull, slatey colour, and belonged to the silkworm family of
_Bombycidae_.

Arthur persuaded me at last to take a little food; and having rested
sufficiently, we again moved on.  At length Duppo came to a stand-still,
and signed to me to keep back True.  I could hardly hold him, however,
he seemed so anxious to push forward.  Duppo had slung his blow-pipe at
his back, and held his bow with an arrow to shoot.  Then I saw him
examining the ground on every side under the boughs, many of which hung
close down to it.  Presently the report of a gun reached our ears.

"That is certainly your brother John!" exclaimed Arthur.

The shot came from some distance, however.  Then another, and another,
followed at intervals of a few minutes.  We now hurried on more eagerly
than ever, in spite of Duppo's signs to us to be cautious.  I felt
convinced that John alone could have fired those shots.  Again another
shot sounded close to us; and on emerging from the thicker part of the
forest, we saw at a little distance the ground covered with a herd of
hog-like animals--though smaller than ordinary hogs--which I guessed at
once were peccaries.  They were in a great state of commotion--running
about in all directions, turning their long snouts up into the air.
Going a few yards further on, there was John himself, seated high up on
the bough of a tree, to which numerous sipos hung.  His gun was pointed
down towards the herd of peccaries, several of which lay dead on the
ground.  Some of the others kept running about, but the greater portion
were standing looking up at him.  There he sat, with his usual
composure, regularly besieged by them.  The attention of the savage
creatures was so occupied with him that they did not perceive our
approach.

I was somewhat surprised at the eager signs which Duppo made to us to
climb up a tree by means of some sipos which hung close at hand.  We
were hesitating to follow his advice, when he seized Arthur by the arm
and dragged him up.  I thought it prudent to follow his example, as I
had formed a good opinion of his sense.  I lifted up True to Arthur, who
caught him in his arms; and then I swung myself up to the branch after
him.  We had just taken our seats facing John, when the peccaries
discovered us; and a number of them turning round, charged across the
ground on which we had stood.  Duppo had got his bow ready, and shot one
as they passed.  He killed another as, turning round, they charged back
again, and then ran about looking up at us, as they had been watching
John.

"I am very glad to see you safe!"  I shouted out to John; for hitherto
we had not had time to speak to him.  "But why should we be afraid of
these little creatures?  They have more reason to be afraid of us, from
the number you have killed, I should think."

"Just look into their mouths, and you will soon see that they are not so
harmless as you suppose," he answered.  "I have had a narrow escape of
losing my life; for one of them caught me in the leg as I was climbing
this tree, and had I let go my hold, the whole herd would have been upon
me, and I should have been cut to pieces in a few seconds.  Those tusks
of theirs are as pointed as needles and as sharp as razors.  I am very
glad you found me out, too; for I left my wallet hanging on a branch,
just before I had to run for my life from these fellows.  But how did
you get back?"

I briefly told him of our adventures.

"You must have been anxious about me at the camp," he observed.  "But
the honest truth is, I lost my way, and at this moment scarcely know
where I have got to.  I had, however, few fears about myself; but have
been very sorry for poor dear Ellen, while I could not tell whether you
were safe or not.  However, we must drive away these savage little
brutes."

Saying this, he knocked over another.  I followed his example.  Arthur
and Duppo were meantime shooting their arrows at the herd.  Undaunted,
however, the animals stood collected below us.  It was evident that they
were influenced rather by dull obstinacy or ignorance of their danger
than by courage.  At length their obtuse senses showed them that they
were getting the worst of it.  The survivors began to turn their fierce
little eyes towards their dead companions, and it seemed to strike them
that something was the matter.

"Shout!" cried out John--"shout! and perhaps we may frighten them away."

We raised our voices, Duppo joining in with his shrill pipe.  The
peccaries looked at each other; and then one moved to a little distance,
then another, and at last the whole herd set off scampering away through
the forest.  We sent reiterated shouts after them, fearing that they
might otherwise stop, and perhaps come back again; but they at last
discovered that discretion is the better part of valour, and the
trampling of their feet became less and less distinct, till it was lost
in the distance.

We now descended from our perches.  I handed down True into Arthur's
arms.  True had been very dissatisfied with his position, and, to
revenge himself, at once flew at one of the hogs which was struggling at
a little distance, and quickly put it out of its pain.  We shook hands
with John; and, congratulating him on his escape, introduced Duppo to
him, and told him how we had become acquainted.

"Here," he said, "look at these creatures, and you will see that I had
good reason to be afraid of them."

On examining their long and apparently harmless snouts, we found that
they were armed with short tusks, scarcely seen beyond the lips; but
being acutely pointed and double-edged, and as sharp as lancets, they
are capable of inflicting the most terrible wounds.  Peccaries are the
most formidable enemies, when met with in numbers, to be found in the
forests of the Amazon.  The creatures were not more than three feet
long, and a whole one was but an easy load to carry.  The bodies were
short and compact, and thickly covered with strong, dark-coloured
bristles.  Round the neck was a whitish band, while the under part of
the body was nearly naked.  Instead of a tail, there was merely a fleshy
protuberance.

"What a horrible odour!" exclaimed Arthur, as we were examining one of
them.

We found that it proceeded from a glandular orifice at the lower part of
the back.  Duppo immediately took this out with his knife, and then
began scientifically to cut up the animal.  Following his example, we
prepared others to carry with us, and thus each made up a load of about
thirty pounds.

The learned name of the animal is _Dicotyles tajacu_.  It eats anything
that comes in its way,--fruits, roots, reptiles, or eggs; and it is of
great service in killing snakes.  It will attack the rattlesnake without
fear, and easily kills it.  The meat appeared perfectly destitute of
fat, but we hoped to find it none the worse on that account.

John, as may be supposed, was very hungry, and thankful for some of the
food we brought with us.  After he had breakfasted we commenced our
return to the camp, loaded with the peccary meat.  Duppo carried a
portion in addition to the scarlet-faced monkey.  The little creature
sat on his shoulder, looking far from at ease in its novel position.

"Oh, we will tame you before long, and make you perfectly contented and
happy," said Arthur, going behind Duppo and addressing the monkey.
"What will you like to be called, old fellow?  You must have a name, you
know.  I have thought of one just suited to your red nose--Toby; Toby
Fill-pot, eh!--only we will call you Toby.  I say, Harry, don't you
think that will be a capital name?"

I agreed that Toby was a very suitable name, and so we settled, with
Ellen's approval, that Toby should be the name of our scarlet-faced
friend.

John walked on in silence for some time.  "I am very much ashamed of
losing my way," he said at length when I joined him.  "Setting off
through the forest to meet you, I went on and on, expecting every
instant to see you.  I fancied that I was close to the igarape, but
somehow or other had wandered from it.  The gloom increasing, I had
still greater difficulty in finding my way.  At last I determined to go
back to the camp, but instead of doing so I must have wandered further
and further from it.  It then grew so dark that I was afraid of
proceeding, and so looked out for a tree where I could rest for the
night.  I saw one with wide-spreading branches at no great distance from
the ground.  Having cut a number of sipos, I climbed into my intended
resting-place, dragging them after me.  I there fastened them to the
surrounding branches, making a tolerably secure nest for myself, I
cannot say that I was very comfortable, for I could not help thinking
that a prowling jaguar might find me out, or a boa or some other snake
might climb up, and pay me a visit.  I shouted several times, hoping
that you might hear me, but the only answers I got were cries from
howling monkeys, who seemed to be mocking me.  The whole night long the
creatures kept up their hideous howls.  The moment one grew tired
another began.  So far they were of service, that they assisted to keep
me awake.  I can tell you I heartily wished for the return of day.  As
soon as it dawned I descended from my roosting-place, intending to make
my way back as fast as possible.  However, as the sun had not appeared,
I had nothing to guide me.  I tried to find the water, but must have
gone directly away from it.  I was walking on, when I saw the snout of
an animal projecting from the hollow trunk of a large tree.  Taking it
for a pig of some sort, I fired, when it ran out and dropped dead, its
place being immediately supplied by another.  I killed that in the same
way, when out came a third, and looked about it; and presently I
discovered several other heads poked out from the surrounding trees.  I
was on the point of cutting some pork steaks out of the first I had
killed, when I caught sight of the sharp little tusks projecting from
its mouth.  Suddenly the accounts I had heard of the dangerous character
of peccaries flashed across my mind, and at the same instant I saw a
number of the animals coming out of their holes.  Prudence urged me to
beat a quick retreat.  I was making my way through the forest, and had
already got to some distance from where I had first seen the creatures,
when a large herd, which had apparently collected from all quarters,
came scampering after me.  I at once began to clamber up into a tree,
where you found me.  On they came at a great rate; and, as I told you, I
narrowly escaped being caught by one of the savage little brutes.  I
must have spent a couple of hours or more besieged by them before you
came up."

As we neared the camp we uttered as cheerful a shout as we could raise
to give notice of our approach, and Domingos soon appeared, followed by
Ellen and Maria.  Ellen ran forward, and throwing her arms round John's
neck, burst into tears.  It showed us how anxious she had been on his
account, although she had done her best, as she always did, to restrain
her own feelings and keep up our spirits.

We were all of us glad, after our exertions, to get into our hammocks
and rest.  We found on waking that Domingos and Maria had exerted
themselves to prepare a plentiful repast.  While eating it we discussed
our future plans.

"We must either recover our canoe or build another, that is certain,"
said John, "before we can continue our voyage.  However, if we could be
sure that this is a secure and healthy place for you to remain in, I
should like to arrange with some of these Indians to make an excursion
along the shores in search of our parents.  Perhaps they are all this
time encamped or at some village, on this or the opposite bank, not far
off.  It would, I think, be unwise to go further down without staying to
ascertain this.  What is your opinion, Harry?"

I agreed with him, but said that I would rather run the risk of the
adventure, and let him remain at the camp.  "Or perhaps Arthur might
like to come with me," I added.  "Two people might succeed better than
one; and we could even manage a canoe by ourselves independently of the
natives."

"Oh yes," said Arthur, "do let me go with Harry.  We can take Duppo to
assist us.  He seems so intelligent that we should easily make him
understand what we want."

"Then I propose that early to-morrow morning we set off to the village
to search further for our canoe, or to purchase one, as John suggests,"
I said.  "I am afraid we shall not be able to get up there on our raft,
and we shall therefore have to make a journey round by land.  With
Duppo, however, as a guide, we shall have less difficulty than before in
making our way to it."

It was finally settled that John, Arthur, and I should set off early the
following morning to the village, guided by Duppo, while Domingos
remained at the camp to take care of Ellen and Maria.



CHAPTER TEN.

AN ENCOUNTER WITH SAVAGES.

As there was still some daylight remaining, John took his gun to kill
some parrots or other birds which might prove more palatable food than
the peccary flesh.

"Take care that you do not lose yourself again," I could not help saying
as he was starting.

"Do not mock me, Harry," he answered.  "I wish to gain experience, and
depend on it I shall be careful to take the bearings of the camp, so as
easily to find my way back to it.  I do not intend to go many hundred
yards off."

Arthur and I were in the meantime engaged in trying to tame Master Toby
and the umbrella-bird, which we called Niger.  Both seemed tolerably
reconciled to captivity.  Ellen's little pet parrot, Poll, kept casting
suspicious glances at its feathered companion, not satisfied with the
appearance of the curious-headed stranger, while Nimble watched every
movement of his cousin Toby.

After assisting Ellen to feed her pets, Arthur and I agreed to go out in
search of John, taking Duppo with us as a guide.  We had not gone far
when we saw him coming limping towards us.  We were afraid that he had
hurt his foot.  "What is the matter?"  I asked, when we met.

"That is more than I can tell," he answered.  "I have been for some time
past feeling a curious itching sensation in my feet, and now I can
scarcely bear to put them to the ground."

We helped him along to the camp, when, sitting down on a log, he took
off his boots.  We examined his feet, and found a few small blue spots
about them.

"I suspect, Senor John, I know what it is," said Maria, who saw us.
"Some chegoes have got into your feet, and if they are not taken out
quickly they will cause you a great deal of suffering."

"But I can see nothing to take out," said John, looking at his feet.

"To be sure not," answered Maria, "because they have hidden themselves
away under the skin.  Let me see what I can do.  My mother was famous
for taking out chegoes, and she showed me the way she managed."

Maria, running into the hut, returned with a large needle.  "Now, sit
quiet, Senor John, and do not cry out, and I will soon cure you."

Maria sat down, and taking John's foot on her knee, instantly began to
work away with as much skill as the most experienced surgeon.  We all
stood by watching her.  After a little time she produced between her
finger and thumb a creature considerably smaller than an ordinary flea,
which she had taken out alive and uninjured.  Giving it a squeeze, she
threw it to the ground with an expression of anger at its having dared
to molest her young master; and thus in a very short time she had
extracted three or four insects from each of his feet.  We had meantime
begun to feel something uncomfortable in ours, and on Maria's examining
them, we found that a chego had taken possession of each of our big
toes.  The chego is a black little creature, which makes its way quietly
under the skin, where, having got to a sufficient depth, it lays its
eggs, and unless removed immediately, causes annoying and dangerous
ulcers.  Ours were not there when we started to look for John, and by
this time they had worked their way completely out of sight.  After that
we carefully examined our legs and feet every night before going to bed,
as during the time we were asleep they would have made themselves
completely at home in our flesh, with house, nursery, and children to
boot.

Next morning, our feet being once more in good order, we put on thick
socks, and our alpargates over them, and John and I with our guns,
Arthur with his bow and spear, accompanied by True, and led by Duppo,
took our way through the forest.  I kept True close to me; for after the
experience we had had, I was afraid of his encountering a jaguar, or
peccary, or boa, knowing, however formidable the creature might be, he
to a certainty would attack it.  I need not again describe the forest
scenery.  After going on for some time we stopped to lunch, when Arthur,
who was at a little distance, called out to me.  "Come here, Harry," he
said, "and look at this curious wooden caterpillar."  On joining him, I
found on a leaf the head of a caterpillar projecting out of a wooden
case fully two inches long.  It was secured to the leaf by several
silken lines.  I took it up and examined it.  There could be no doubt
that the case was the work of art, and not a natural growth, and that it
was formed of small pieces of stick fastened together with fine silken
threads.  Inside this case the creature can live secure from its enemies
while feeding and growing.  We afterwards found several of the same
description.  Another sort had made itself a bag of leaves open at both
ends, the inside being lined with a thick web.  It put us in mind of the
caddis worms which we had seen in ponds in England.

We took care when going on always to keep in sight of each other.
Arthur and I were together, and Duppo a little ahead.  "Hark!" exclaimed
Arthur, "some one is singing in the distance."  I listened, and felt
sure that some native, who had climbed up a tree not far off to get
fruit, was amusing himself by singing.  John and Duppo stopped also,
attracted by the same sounds.  We looked about in every direction, but
could see no one.  Now the tones changed somewhat, and became more like
those of a flageolet, very sweet, and we expected to hear it break into
a curious native air, when presently it stopped, and instead of the
flute-like notes, some clicking, unmusical sounds like the piping of a
barrel-organ out of wind and tune reached our ears.  Not till then had
we supposed that the songster was a bird.  Again it struck up in exactly
the same way as before.  Though we all four looked about in the
direction whence the notes came, the mysterious songster could not be
discovered.  Duppo was evidently telling us a long story about it, but
what he said we could not comprehend.  I afterwards found that the bird
is called by the Portuguese the realejo, or organ-bird (_Cyphorhinus
cantans_).  It is the chief songster of the Amazonian forests.  The
natives hold it in great respect, and Duppo seemed very unwilling to go
on while the bird continued its notes.

At length we reached the village, and were received in a friendly way by
our young guide's mother.  Oria also seemed very glad to see us, and the
little fat child whom Arthur called Diogenes, because he had first seen
him seated in a tub, put out his hands to welcome us, in no way alarmed
at what must have appeared to him our extraordinary appearance.  Our
hostess appeared somewhat anxious, and she had good cause to be so, for
no news had been received of the war-party.  Duppo explained what we had
come for.  She replied that she was afraid all the canoes had been
carried off, though it was possible a small one might have been
overlooked further up the stream, and, if such were the case, she would
do her best to persuade the owner to sell it to us.

We wanted to start off immediately, but she insisted on our partaking of
some food, which she and Oria set to work to prepare.

As we were anxious to know whether a canoe could be procured, we spent
little time over our repast, and again set off along the bank of the
igarape.  We inquired at each of the huts we passed about a canoe, but
Duppo invariably shook his head, to signify that he could not hear of
one.  Still we went on, searching in every spot where he thought a canoe
might be concealed.  After some time, finding a tree bending almost
horizontally over the water, we climbed along it for some way, that we
might get a better view up and down the channel.  Arthur was the
outermost of the party.  "Why, what can that be?" he exclaimed.  "See
there!" and he pointed up the canal.  There, bending over the trunk of a
large tree, which hung much in the same manner as the one we were on, I
saw a huge jaguar.  Its claws seemed ready for immediate action.  Its
eyes were evidently fixed on the surface of the water.

"It is fifty yards off.  It is looking out for a cow-fish, as was the
one we saw the other day," whispered Arthur.

We told John, who was coming along the trunk, what we had seen.

"We will let it catch the cow-fish first, then, and perhaps we may kill
both creatures," he observed.

While he was speaking, the creature darted out one of its huge paws, and
drew it back again with a fish hanging to it.  Instantly the fish was
torn to pieces and transferred to its jaws.  We waited till the jaguar
had begun to watch for another, and then crawling along the tree, made
our way towards it.  John and I got our guns ready, hoping to kill the
beast before it had discovered us.  Just as we got near, however, it
having caught another fish in the meantime, its eyes fell on us.  Rising
to its feet, it stood for a moment as if doubtful whether or not it
should attack us.  I lifted my rifle to fire, but at that moment the
animal gave a bound and darted off through the thick foliage, amid which
it was hid from sight.  We looked about, expecting to see it returning,
but it had probably satisfied itself that we were too formidable enemies
to attack.  We found some of the fish it had been eating on the trunk of
the tree, and the remains of several others near it, which showed that
it had been successful in its sport.

While searching round the tree Duppo gave a shout of satisfaction, and
hastening up to him, we found a small canoe hid away under a thick bush.
He soon discovered also two pairs of paddles, and made us understand
that we were welcome to the canoe.  It was, however, so small that it
would barely carry all the party.  It would certainly not have done so
with safety, except in the very smoothest water.  We launched it, and
John and Arthur, using great caution, got in.  One of the paddles had
been left behind.  Duppo ran back to get it.  We saw him eagerly
glancing down an open glade which extended some distance into the
forest.  Suddenly he turned round, his countenance exhibiting terror,
and stepping into the stern of the canoe, made signs to us to shove off
and paddle away.  He also began paddling with all his might.  We
followed his example without stopping to inquire the cause of his alarm.
We had got to some distance, when I happened to look round.  I saw that
Duppo was doing the same.  At that moment several figures appeared on
the bank near the spot we had left.  They were savages, with their
bodies painted and decked with feathers.  Bows were in their hands.
They had apparently only that instant discovered us.  The next a flight
of arrows came whizzing after the canoe.  They fell short, however, and
we redoubled our efforts to urge it forward.  Still, deep in the water
as it was, we could scarcely hope to get beyond their reach.

"Majeronas!  Majeronas!" shouted Duppo, labouring away with his paddle.

"On, boys, on!" cried John.  "We must not allow them to come up with us.
Active as they are, the forest is thick, and we may be able to get
along the water faster than they can make their way among the trees."

Disappointed at finding that we were already beyond their reach, the
savages uttered piercing shrieks and cries to intimidate us.  The water
bubbled and hissed as we drove our little canoe through it, coming
frequently over the bows.  Still on we went.  I could not, however, help
every now and then looking round, expecting to see the savages on the
bank neat us.  Their shouts had ceased.

"I am afraid our friends have been defeated," observed Arthur; "and
their enemies have come to attack the village."

"If so, we must defend it," said John.  "They may possibly stand in awe
of our firearms.  We must, however, try to get to the village before
they reach it, to warn the inhabitants."

"But there are only old men, boys, and women to defend it," said Arthur.
"Could we not try to come to terms with their enemies?"

"I am afraid the Majeronas, if they have been victorious, are not likely
to listen to anything we have to say," said John.  "We must show them
our rifles.  They will understand that argument better than anything
else."

All this time we were paddling along as at first.  Before us was a
narrow part of the igarape, and I fully expected every instant to see
the savages appear on the bank.  Still, we had made considerable way,
and it was possible that we had kept ahead of them.  I said nothing,
however, lest it might discourage my companions.

We were nearing the dreaded point.  I saw that Duppo was keeping the
canoe over to the opposite side.

"Would it not be better to get our guns ready to fire?"  I said to John.

"No, no," he answered.  "Keep paddling away.  There is no honour nor
advantage to be gained by fighting.  If we reach the village, we shall
meet the foe on better terms."

It was anxious work.  We could not tell whether the next moment might
not be our last.  Then what would become of poor dear Ellen?  We knew
that Domingos and Maria would do their best.  Still, how could they
escape alone?

"Now," said John, "we must dash by that point as fast as we can!  Never
mind if we ship a little water.  We must not let the savages kill us if
we can help it."

The point was reached.  I expected to see a party of the Majeronas start
up from among the bushes.  On we went.  I held my breath as I paddled
away.  The point was passed.  No savages appeared.

"Hurrah!" cried Arthur, who was seated in the bows.  "There is the
village!"

In three minutes more we were on shore.  Duppo set off running, shouting
at the top of his voice.  The boys collected round him as he went, but
instantly dispersed to their huts.  Before he was out of sight they had
again collected, some with bows and arrows, others with _sumpitans_.
Several old men appeared also, armed with larger weapons of the same
description.  Altogether, fully fifty men and boys were collected.  We
came to the conclusion that the enemy had hoped to surprise the village,
and were approaching for that object when Duppo had discovered them.

John advised that a breastwork should be thrown up, extending from the
igarape across the path the Majeronas were likely to come by.  After
some time, our friends seemed to comprehend what we wanted.  Some
timbers for building a new hut were fortunately at hand.  We drove
several into the soft earth to form a palisade.  The natives, on seeing
us do this, understood what we wanted, and immediately the whole
community were busy at work, bringing up posts, and placing them as we
directed.  They even pulled down three or four huts which stood near,
the materials of which were suited to our purpose.  The women worked
away as well as the men; and thus, with so many willing hands, in a
short time we had a fortification erected, which, though not very
strong, was sufficiently so to resist the attack of a party of naked
savages.  We encouraged them by explaining that our guns might do good
service in their defence.  By degrees we had formed a complete
half-circle, the ends resting on the igarape.

As there still appeared to be time, we thought it better to fortify the
water side also.  The people seemed clearly to understand our object.

The evening was now drawing on.  I was afraid that Ellen might become
anxious at our non-appearance.  I saw that something was on Arthur's
mind.  He came up to me.

"Harry," he said, "I do not wish to alarm you unnecessarily, but it has
just occurred to me that the savages may have made a circuit, and found
their way to our camp.  Would it not be wise to go there in the canoe;
you and Duppo, for instance, and leave John and I to assist these
people?"

"Oh no!  I cannot desert John," I answered.  "But what a dreadful
thought!  No; you must go, Arthur, and take them off in the canoe; or,
as the canoe cannot carry you all, load the raft, and tow it out into
the river.  The risk is great, but anything will be better than falling
into the hands of the savages."

"I will do as you wish," said Arthur; "but I do not like running away
from the post of the chief danger."

"Why, Arthur, you see you could do but little with your bow," I
answered; "John and I will stay with our guns.  But I do not suppose the
savages have gone round that way; for recollect there is the lagoon to
pass, which must compel them to make a wide circuit; and I do not see
how they can know anything about our camp.  Still, I wish you could go
to Ellen, and tell her what a strong fortification we have thrown up,
and that there is really no cause to be alarmed."

I must confess, however, that all the time I was speaking I felt
fearfully anxious.

At that moment, two or three bigger boys, who had gone out as scouts
into the forest, came running back, and shouting out to the people.  The
next instant, men, women, and children rushed into the enclosure loaded
with household goods and provisions; and the men set to work to block up
a narrow space, which had hitherto been left open.

A few minutes only had elapsed after this was done, when, as we looked
through the palisades, we caught sight of several human figures
stealthily creeping among the trees.  Our friends crouched down to the
ground.  We also carefully kept out of sight.  The strangers approached
nearer and nearer.  Now they stopped, looking suspiciously at the fort.
They evidently could not understand what it was.  Several others,
emerging from the depths of the forest, joined them.  They seemed to be
holding a consultation.  Their numbers kept increasing, till they formed
a formidable band.  They were sufficiently near for us to distinguish
their appearance, and we were thus sure that they were the same people
who had shot their arrows at us from the bank of the igarape.  That they
came with hostile intent was very evident.  After they had talked for
some time, one of their number crept forward, close to the ground,
keeping as much under shelter as possible; yet I could easily have
picked him off had it been necessary.  Having approached quite near, he
again stopped, and seemed to be surveying the fortress.  Presently we
saw him making his way back to his companions.  It was well for him that
he had not come nearer, or he would have received in his body a poisoned
arrow from a bow or blow-pipe.  Several of our Indians were preparing to
shoot.  Again a long consultation was held.  And now once more the
savage warriors began to move towards us.

I waited for John to give the order to fire.  I saw the boys dropping
arrows into their blow-pipes, and the old men getting ready their bows.
Even Arthur, though hating the thought of injuring a fellow-creature,
was fixing an arrow to his bow.  The enemy advanced slowly, extending
their line on both sides.  In a little time they were near enough for
their arrows to reach us.  Never having seen a shot fired in anger, I
felt a repugnance at the thought of killing a fellow-creature.  I
daresay my companions felt as I did.  I knew that Arthur had often
expressed his horror at having to go into battle, not on account of the
risk he might run of being killed, but at the thought of killing others.
Still, I had persuaded him that, if people are attacked, they must use
the right of defending themselves.

Again they came on; and then suddenly once more stopped, and, drawing
their bows, shot a flight of arrows.  Most of them stuck in the
palisades, but fortunately none came through.  We kept perfectly silent,
hiding ourselves, as before, from the enemy.  I was still in hopes they
might take the alarm and go away without attacking us.  Now, led by a
chief, in a head-dress of feathers, with a long spear in his hand,
uttering loud shouts and shrieks, like the war-whoops of North American
Indians, they dashed on.  As they got within twenty yards of us, our
native garrison sprang up, and shot forth a shower of arrows from their
bows and blow-pipes.  The enemy were thrown somewhat into confusion by
so unexpected a greeting, and sprang back several paces.  Two or three
of their people had been struck, as we saw them drawing the arrows from
their breasts with looks of alarm, knowing well that though the wounds
were slight they were nevertheless likely to prove fatal.

"If they come on again we must fire," said John.  "It may be true mercy
in the end."

We waited, expecting to see them once more rush on; but they evidently
had not calculated on opposition, and seemed very unwilling to court
danger.  They retreated further and further off.  Still we could see the
chief going among them, apparently trying to induce them to renew the
attack.  The muzzles of our rifles were projecting through the
palisades.

"I am covering the chief," said John.  "I think it would be better to
pick him off; and yet I am unwilling to take the life of the ignorant
savage."

While John was speaking, the chief disappeared behind a tree; and the
next instant his companions were hid from sight.  We began to hope that,
after all, they would retreat without attempting to attack our fortress.
We waited for some time, when I proposed that we should send out our
young scouts to try and ascertain what had become of them.  Just as we
were trying to explain our wishes, some of our people gave vent to loud
cries, and we saw smoke rising from the furthest-off huts of the
village.  It grew thicker and thicker.  Then we saw flames bursting
forth and extending from hut to hut.  It was too evident that the
savages had gone round, and, to revenge themselves, had, after
plundering the huts, set them on fire.  Had we had a few active warrior
with us, they might have rushed out and attacked the enemy while thus
employed; but as our fighting men were either too old or too young, no
attempt of the sort could be made.  The poor natives, therefore, had to
wait patiently in the fort, whilst their homes and property were being
destroyed.

While most of the party were looking towards the village, I happened to
cast my eyes in the other direction, from whence the enemy had come.
There I saw a large body of men making their way among the trees.  My
heart sank within me.  I was afraid that our enemies were about to be
reinforced.  And now, with their numbers increased, they would probably
again attack us.

"It cannot be helped," I said to John.  "We must allow no feelings of
compunction to prevent us from firing on them.  Had we shot the chief,
his followers would probably not have attempted to commit this barbarous
act."

At length I called Duppo, and pointed out the fresh band now
approaching.  Instead of being alarmed, as I had expected, his
countenance brightened, and he instantly turned round and shouted out
some words in a cheerful tone.  The whole of the villagers on this
sprang up, and a look of satisfaction, such as Indians seldom exhibit,
coming over their countenances, they began to shout in cheerful tones.
Then several of them rushed to the entrance last closed, and pulling
down the stakes, hurried out towards the new-comers.  As they drew
nearer, I recognised one of the chiefs whom we had met--Maono, Duppo's
father.  A few words only were exchanged between the garrison and the
warriors, and then the latter rushed on towards the village.  In a few
minutes loud cries and shouts arose, and we saw our late assailants
scampering through the woods, pursued by our friends.  The former did
not attempt to stop and defend themselves.  Several, shot by arrows or
pierced by lances, lay on the ground.  The remainder were soon lost to
sight among the trees, pursued by the warriors who had just returned,
and who seemed eager to wreak their revenge on the destroyers of their
village.

No attempt was made to put out the flames; indeed, so rapidly did they
extend among the combustible materials of which they were constructed,
that the whole of the huts standing within reach of each other were
quickly burned to the ground.  We now ventured to accompany Oria and her
mother out of the fort.  They were met by Maono, who received them in
calm Indian fashion, without giving way to any exhibition of feeling.
He, indeed, seemed to have some sad intelligence to communicate.
Whatever it was, they soon recovered, and now seemed to be telling him
how much they owed their preservation to us--at least we supposed so by
the way he took our hands and pressed them to his breast.  After some
time the rest of the warriors returned, and, as far as we could judge,
they must have destroyed the greater number of their enemies.  Maono
showed more feeling when he spoke to his son, who gave him an account of
what had occurred.  As we hoped to learn more from our young friend than
from any one else, we set to work, as soon as we could detach him from
his companions, to make him give us an account of the expedition.

As far as we could understand, Maono and his brother with their
followers had been unable for some time to fall in with the enemy.  At
length they met them in the neighbourhood of their own village, when a
fierce battle had been fought according to Indian fashion.  Several men
had been killed on both sides, and among others who fell, pierced by a
poisoned arrow, was Duppo's uncle, whose musket also had been captured.
Several others had been taken prisoners, and, the lad added with a
shudder, had been carried off to be eaten.  In the meantime, it turned
out, another party of the Majeronas, hoping to find our friend's village
unprotected, had made their way through the forest to surprise it.

It was very satisfactory to us, at all events, to find that we had been
the means of protecting the families of these friendly Indians.  They
took the burning of their village very calmly, and at once set to work
to put up shelter for the night; fires were lighted, and the women began
to cook the provisions they had saved.  Maono invited us to partake of
the meal which his wife and daughter had got ready.  We would rather
have set off at once to the camp, but night was now coming on, and when
we proposed going, Duppo seemed very unwilling that we should do so.  We
understood him to say that we might encounter jaguars or huge snakes,
and we should be unable to see our way through the dark avenue of trees.
As Ellen did not expect us to return, we agreed at length to follow his
advice.  I observed that our friends sent out scouts--apparently to
watch lest any of the enemy should venture to return--a precaution I was
very glad to see taken.

As far as we could understand, the expedition had been far from
successful, as none of the canoes had been recovered, and our friends
did not even boast that they had gained a victory.  From the terrible
character Duppo gave of the enemy, they perhaps had good reason to be
thankful that they had escaped without greater loss.



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

DANGERS BY LAND AND WATER--A NEW FRIEND FOUND.

Our Indian friends, although their people are generally so
undemonstrative, endeavoured by every means in their power to show their
gratitude to us for the service we had rendered them.  When we offered
to pay for the canoe, which we were anxious to retain, Maono entreated
us to accept it, intimating that he would settle with the owner.  We
were very glad to obtain the little craft; for, though too small for our
voyage down the Amazon, it would enable us to carry out our project of
searching the neighbouring shores for our parents.  Though we had not
preserved their village from destruction, we had certainly saved the
lives of their women and children, and did not therefore hesitate about
accepting the canoe as a gift.

The chiefs sat up the greater part of the night, holding a council.
Next morning it was evident that they had arrived at some important
determination.  The inhabitants were busy collecting their scattered
goods, and doing them up in portable packages.  When we explained to
them that we were anxious to set off immediately for our own camp, they
intimated that they purposed accompanying us.  As this, however, would
have delayed us greatly, we got Duppo to explain that we would gladly
meet them again at any spot they might appoint, but that we would go
down by the igarape in the canoe.

A hurried meal having been taken, we prepared to embark.  Meantime the
men were employed in loading the women and children with their goods.
We thought that they were reserving some of the heavier loads for
themselves; but this, we soon found, was not the case, as they were
placed on the backs of the stronger women.  Even our hostess--the
chief's wife--had to shoulder a load; and we felt very indignant when we
saw that Oria had to carry one also.

"I say, Harry, don't you think we ought to save her from that?"
exclaimed Arthur.  "I am sure I would gladly carry it for her."

"You would somewhat astonish her if you made the offer," observed John;
"and I suspect you would fall in the estimation of our warrior friends.
Their creed is different from ours.  They consider it derogatory to
manhood to carry a load or to do more work than they can help.  However,
as Ellen would perhaps like to have Oria with her, we might induce her
parents to let her accompany Duppo.  We cannot do without him, at all
events."

We tried to explain our proposal to Duppo, and after some time he
comprehended us.  Oria, however, seemed very unwilling to accept the
offer, as she clung to her mother, and turned away her head from us.
Duppo at length came back, and we all got into the canoe.  Our friends
insisted on our taking as many articles of food as we could possibly
carry--dried fish and meat, bananas and farinha, as well as fruit and
vegetables.  True as usual took his seat in the bows.  We were just
shoving off, when Maono and his wife came down to us leading Oria.  The
chief addressed us and his son, but what he said we could not of course
understand.  However we agreed that it was all right, and Duppo seemed
highly pleased when his sister stepped into the canoe and took her seat
in front of him.

Bidding our friends adieu, we now began carefully to paddle down the
igarape.  We were some time in sight of the village, the whole
inhabitants of which we saw moving off, the men stalking first, with
their bows and spears in their hands and their blow-pipes at their
backs, and the women following, bending under the weight of the loads
they carried.  Even the children, except the smallest, who sat on their
mother's backs or were led by the hand, carried packages.

"I am very glad we have saved the poor girl a heavy trudge through the
forest," observed Arthur; "but I cannot say much for the chivalry of
these people.  I was inclined to think favourably of the warriors when I
saw them going forth so bravely to battle, but the example they have
given us of the way they treat their women lowers them sadly in my
estimation."

"Very true, Arthur," remarked John.  "It is a sure sign that a people
have fallen into a degraded and uncivilised condition when women do not
hold an honourable position among them.  But there are some savages who
treat their females even worse than these do.  From what I have seen,
they appear in many respects kind and gentle to them.  The Australian
savage--who is, however, the lowest in the scale of civilisation--when
he wants a wife, watches till he finds a damsel to his taste, and then
knocks her down with his club, a sign to her that she is henceforth to
be a submissive and dutiful wife.  I am sure our friends here would not
be guilty of such an act."

"No; I hope not indeed," exclaimed Arthur.  "Dreadful to think that Oria
should have to submit to such treatment."

We had, as may be supposed, to paddle carefully to prevent running
against a bough or sunken trunk, as the least touch might have upset our
frail craft.  Though we might easily have scrambled out, yet we should
have run the risk of losing our guns and wetting our ammunition; besides
which, an alligator might have been lurking near, and seized one of us
in its jaws before we could escape to land.  These considerations made
us very careful in our navigation.  After some time, we began to feel
sadly cramped from being unable to move.  Oria sat quiet and silent,
close to her brother, somewhat surprised, I dare say, at finding herself
carried away by the three white strangers.  John told us to keep our
tongues steady in the middle of our mouths, lest we should make the
canoe heel over; and, indeed, if we leant ever so slightly on one side
the water began to ripple over the gunwale.  Duppo steered very
carefully; and I, having the bow paddle, kept a very bright look-out
ahead for any danger which might appear under water.  I could not help
thinking of the big cow-fish we had seen, and dreading lest one of them
coming up the igarape might give the canoe an unintentional shove with
his snout, which would most inevitably have upset her.

Thus we went on.  The lagoon was passed, and again we entered the
channel with the thick trees arching overhead.  How cool and pleasant
was the shade after the heat of the sun to which we had been exposed in
the more open parts!  As we approached the camp our anxiety to ascertain
that all was well increased.  The nearer we got the more I longed to see
the smiling face of our dear little sister, and I thought of the
pleasure she would have when we introduced Oria to her.  At length we
could see in the far distance the landing-place near the camp.  In our
eagerness we forgot our caution, and very nearly sent the canoe under
water.  "Be more careful, boys," cried John, though he was paddling as
hard as either of us.  As we drew near I looked out for the raft at the
spot we had left her moored, but could not see her.  An uncomfortable
misgiving came over me, yet I could not bear to think that any accident
had happened.  I said nothing, and on we went.

"Why, where is the raft?" exclaimed John.

"Oh, perhaps Domingos has drawn her up on the bank," observed Arthur.

"That is more than he would have strength to do," said John.  "Besides,
I can see the bank, and the raft is not there."

As we drew near we raised a shout to attract Domingos, True joining us
with one of his cheerful barks.  No one answered.

"Domingos has probably gone out shooting," observed Arthur.  "We shall
see your sister and Maria running down directly."

We looked eagerly towards the camp, but neither Ellen nor Maria
appeared.  We at length clambered out of the canoe up the bank, leaving
Duppo to help out his sister, and on we ran, breathless with anxiety, to
ascertain what had happened.  The huts stood as we had left them, but
the occupants were not there.  We looked about.  The goods had been
carried off.  Had the Indians been there--or had Ellen and her
attendants fled?  These were the fearful questions we asked ourselves.
If the Indians had come, where had they carried our sister, and what had
they done with her?  We searched around in every direction.  No signs of
violence were to be discovered.  Yet, unless the Indians had come, why
should they have fled.  The savage Majeronas would certainly have burned
down the huts.  True was running about as surprised as we were to find
no one there.  Now he ran into Ellen's hut, then searched about in the
surrounding wood, and came back to us, as if he could not make up his
mind what had happened.  Duppo and Oria now arrived, having waited at
the bank to secure the canoe.  We tried to make Duppo understand that we
wanted to know his opinion.  Though very intelligent for an Indian, we
could seldom judge his thoughts by the expression of his countenance.
At last he comprehended us, but made no reply.  After waiting an
instant, he went into Ellen's hut, and then, as True had done, examined
the surrounding thickets.  At last he came back and had a talk with
Oria.  They seemed to have arrived at some conclusion.  We watched them
anxiously.  Then we asked Duppo if the Majeronas had been there.  He
shook his head, and then, taking my hand, led me back to the water,
narrowly examining the ground as he went.  On reaching the igarape he
pointed down towards the great river.  I understood him.

"John!  Arthur!"  I shouted out, "they have gone that way on the raft.
I am sure of it from Duppo's signs.  Perhaps they have not got to any
great distance, and we may overtake them."

"Stay," said John; "perhaps they are hiding somewhere near.  We will
shout out, and they may hear us."

"There is no use in doing that," I remarked.  "Had the raft still been
here I might have thought so, but it is evident that they have gone away
on it.  It would easily carry them and all our goods, and for some
reason or other Domingos has persuaded them to escape on it, hoping that
we should follow."

"Would not Ellen have left a note for us, or some sign, to show us where
they have gone to," observed John in a desponding tone.  "That she has
not done so puzzles me more than anything else."

To satisfy John, we all shouted at the top of our voices again and
again; but no reply came.  We were going to get into the canoe, when
Duppo showed us that we might prepare it with a little contrivance for
encountering the rougher water of the river.  Some sipos were near.
These he cut down, and with Oria's assistance bound into two long
bundles, which he neatly secured to the gunwale of the canoe, completely
round her.  By this means the sides were raised four or five inches, and
would thus, I saw, greatly assist to keep out the water, and at the same
time would enable her to float, even should she be partly filled.  Duppo
now beckoned to us to get into her.  We took our seats as before, and
once more we paddled down the igarape.  Duppo's contrivance completely
kept out the water, which would otherwise have broken on board; and we
had no longer any fear of driving the canoe as fast as we could through
it.  We soon reached the open river.

"Which way shall we turn--up or down the stream?"  I asked.

"Down, certainly," said John; "the raft could not have gone up it."

We accordingly made signs to Duppo to turn the canoe's head towards the
east.  Before us appeared the island on which we so narrowly escaped
being wrecked during the hurricane.  We steered down near the mainland,
examining narrowly the shores on either side.  No raft could we see, nor
any one on the land.  The water was smooth in the channel through which
we were passing, but when we got to the end of it, we found the surface
rippled over with waves, which, although small, threatened to be
dangerous to our deeply-laden little craft.  I proposed that we should,
notwithstanding, endeavour to paddle up along the other side of the
island, in case Ellen and her companions might have landed on it.  We
made signs to Duppo to steer in that direction; but he, instead of doing
so, pointed to a spot some way down the river, signifying to as that he
wished to land there.  We concluded that it was the place where his
father had appointed to meet him.  "Perhaps he sees the raft; it may
have drifted there," exclaimed Arthur.  "At all events, I am sure it
will be better to do as he proposes."

We accordingly paddled on under Duppo's pilotage.  Now that we were
exposed to the breeze blowing across the river, our heavily-laden canoe
could with difficulty contend with the waves, which, in spite of the
raised gunwale, every now and then broke into her.  Had it not been for
the young Indian's thoughtful contrivance, we should inevitably have
been swamped.  After going on for some distance, we reached the mouth of
another igarape.  Just outside it, facing the river, was a small open
space, free of trees, with a fringe of rushes growing between it and the
water.  With some little difficulty we forced the canoe through the
rushes, and we then, by scrambling up the bank, reached the spot I have
described.  Duppo made signs to us that it was here he wished to remain
for the arrival of his father.

"We may as well do as he proposes then," said John, "and we will set off
and look for the raft.  If we do not find it--which Heaven forbid!--we
will return and obtain the assistance of the Indians in making a more
extended search."

The spot was a very beautiful one, open entirely to the river in front,
while the trees behind, not growing so closely together as usual,
allowed the air to circulate--a very important consideration in that hot
climate.  "It is just the place I should have chosen for an encampment
while we are searching for our father," said John.  Arthur and I agreed
with him; but as we were eager to be off again, we had no time to talk
about the matter.  Landing the greater part of the provisions, we
explained our intentions to our young friends.  They understood us, but
seemed unwilling to be left behind.  John also proposed that Arthur
should remain on shore.  "I will do as you wish," he answered; "but I do
not like to be separated from you."  While we were speaking, standing on
the bank, looking out over the river, he exclaimed, "See, see! what is
that speck out there towards the other side?"  We eagerly looked in the
direction he pointed.

"I am afraid it is only the trunk of a tree, or a mass of grass floating
down," said John.

"Oh no, no!  I am nearly sure there are people on it!" cried Arthur,
whose eyes, as we had found, were keener than ours.

"At all events, we will go towards it," cried John.

We hurried down and slipped into the canoe.  "Yes; I know that you may
go faster without me," said Arthur.  "You know what I should like to do;
but if it is better, I will remain on shore."

We thanked him for his self-denial, and I was about to propose leaving
True with him, when the dog settled the point by jumping in.  John and I
shoved off, and paddled on with all our might.  Now that we had fewer
people on board, we made much better way than before, and floated
buoyantly over the mimic seas which met us.  We had marked the direction
of the object we had seen.  From the water it was at first scarcely
visible.  As we went on we again caught sight of it.  How anxiously we
watched it!  One moment I thought it must be the raft, the next I was
afraid it was but the trunk of a tree, or a flat island of grass.  How I
longed for a spy-glass to settle the point, but unfortunately we
possessed none.  For some minutes neither John nor I spoke.

"Harry!" he exclaimed, at length, "I see some one waving.  Yes, yes; I
am sure it is the raft!"

I strained my eyes to the utmost.  I too thought I saw people on the
object ahead of us.  If people they were, they were sitting down though.

"Probably Domingos is afraid of standing up," said John.  Then I
remarked this to him.  "I am glad the wind is across the river instead
of up it, or it would be fearfully dangerous for them."

"Then you do think it is the raft?"  I asked.

"I am sure of it," answered John.

We redoubled our efforts.  Every instant the object grew clearer and
clearer.  We could scarcely be deceived.

"Heaven be praised!" exclaimed John; "I see Ellen and Maria, one on each
side, and Domingos working away with his paddle at one end.  They are
trying to come towards us."

I saw them too, and could even make out Nimble, and Toby, and Poll, and
Niger.  My heart leaped with joy.  In a few minutes more we were up to
the raft.

"We will not stop to ask questions," exclaimed John, as we got
alongside.  "Here, Maria; hand me your painter, and we will secure it to
ours, and tow you back to the north bank.  You must tell us what has
happened as we go along."

"Oh, but Arthur! why is Arthur not with you?  Has anything happened to
him?" exclaimed Ellen.

"No; he is all right," answered John, pointing to the shore.

While he was speaking, we transferred our painter to the stern of the
canoe, and secured it as a tow-rope to the raft.  We put the canoe's
head the way we wished to go, and paddled on.  The wind was in our
favour; and Domingos, with Ellen and Maria, worked away with their
paddles also on the raft.  We were exerting ourselves too much to speak.
Our dear sister was safe; but yet it was somewhat difficult to restrain
our curiosity to know what had occurred.  The wind was increasing every
moment; and as we neared the shore we saw that there might be some
danger of the water washing over the raft should we attempt to land
under the bank.  I proposed, therefore, that we should steer for the
igarape.  It was no easy matter, however, to get there, as the current
was carrying us down.  Domingos tried to urge the raft in the direction
we wished to go.  The wind continued to increase, and the current swept
us further and further to the east.  The seas rising, tossed the raft,
now on the one side, now on the other; and every moment I dreaded that
those on it might be thrown off or washed away.  We entreated them to
hold on tightly.  Even the canoe, though before the wind, was tossed
considerably.  We could now distinguish our friends on shore watching us
anxiously as we approached.  Already we had drifted down below them.
They were trying to make their way through the forest to follow us.

"We must drift down till we can see some place where we can get on shore
with a prospect of safety," observed John.

I agreed with him that it was our only alternative; yet I knew that
sometimes for miles together along the banks such a place might not be
found.  We turned the head of the canoe, however, down the stream,
anxiously looking out for a fit spot to land.  I dreaded, as I cast a
look over my shoulder at the sky, that such a hurricane as we had before
encountered was brewing; and if so, our prospect of being saved was
small indeed.  I saw that Domingos also was casting a glance back at the
sky.  We could see the tall trees on shore bending before the blast.
Every moment our position became more and more perilous.  If landing in
the daylight was difficult, it would be still more so to get on shore in
the dark.

Down the mighty river we floated.  The last rays of the sun came
horizontally over the waters, tinging the mimic waves with a bright
orange hue.  Then gradually they assumed a dull, leaden tint, and the
topmost boughs of the more lofty trees alone caught the departing light.
Still no harbour of refuge appeared.  I proposed running in, as the
last desperate resource, and scrambling on shore while we could still
see sufficiently to find our way.

"We shall lose our goods, and the canoe, and the raft, if we make the
attempt," answered John, "and perhaps our lives.  We must still try to
find a safe place to land at."

We were yet at some distance from the shore, though, driven by the
fierce wind, we were rapidly approaching it.  The storm increased.  Dark
clouds were gathering overhead.  A bright flash of lightning darted from
them, crackling and hissing as it went along the water: another, and
another followed.  Suddenly, as if a thick mantle had been thrown over
us, it became dark, and we could scarcely have distinguished an opening
in the forest had one been before us.  John was more unwilling than ever
to risk landing; and we therefore steered down the river, parallel with
the shore, so as to prevent the raft as long as possible from being
driven against it.

"Paddle on, Harry!" cried John, with his usual coolness; "we may yet
find a harbour of refuge."

We could judge pretty well, by the varying outline of the leafy wall
close to us, that we were making rapid way.  The wind, too, had shifted
more to the west, and drove us therefore still before it.  Arthur and
our Indian friends would, I knew, be in despair at not seeing us land;
while it was certain that they could not keep pace with the raft, as
they had to make their way through the tangled forest.  Now that
darkness had come on, they would probably be compelled to stop
altogether.

The wind blew harder.  The raft was tossed fearfully about.  Another
rattling peal of thunder and more vivid flashes of lightning burst from
the clouds.  Maria shrieked out with terror; while the two monkeys clung
to her, their teeth chattering--as alarmed as she was, Ellen afterwards
told me.  Then again all was silent.

"I am afraid, Harry, we must make the attempt," said John at last.  "But
the risk is a fearful one.  We must tell Ellen, Domingos, and Maria to
be prepared.--Be ready, dear Ellen!" cried John.  "Hold on tightly; and
when I call to you, spring towards me.  We must manage by some means to
get on shore.  Domingos will help Maria.  Harry will try to secure the
guns and ammunition; our existence may depend upon them.  The animals
must take care of themselves.--Domingos, are you ready?" he asked, in
Spanish.

"Si, si, Senor John.  But look there, master; what is that light on
shore?  It must come from some hut surely, where we may obtain shelter.
Let us try to reach the place.  Even if there are savages there, they
will not refuse to help us."

As he spoke, we observed a bright light bursting forth from among the
trees, at a short distance off along the bank.  Now it disappeared--now
it came again in sight.  We paddled down towards it.  It was apparently
a torch held in a person's hand.  We rapidly approached the light, but
yet failed to discover any place where we could land with safety.  We
shouted loudly, hoping to attract the attention of any one who might be
near.  Presently a hail came off the land.  We answered it.  Again a
voice was heard.

"Can you tell us where we can land with safety?" cried John, in Spanish.

The answer was unintelligible.  Presently he asked again in English; and
in a little time we saw the light moving along the bank.  Then it
remained stationary.  We exerted ourselves to the utmost to steer for
it; and we now saw a division in the wall of trees, which indicated that
there was a passage between them.  Again the thunder reared, the
lightning flashed, and the wind blew with fearful force.

Maria shrieked loudly, "The water is washing over the raft!"

"Hold on! hold on!" cried John; "we shall soon be in safety."  And in
another minute we were entering the mouth of a narrow channel.  "We will
turn the canoe round," said John, "and let the raft go first.  We may
thus prevent it being dashed on the bank."

We did as he advised.  Scarcely, however, had we turned the raft round
when we found it had reached the shore.

"Do you, Domingos, help the senora and Maria to land!" shouted John.

By the light from the torch we saw a tall figure standing on the bank.
He flung the light so that it might fall across us.

"Females!" he exclaimed.  "A sorry night to be buffeting with the waves
of the Amazon!  Give me your hands, whoever you are.  I should little
have expected to find my countrymen in such a plight in this remote
region."

While he was speaking he helped Ellen and Maria up the bank, the two
monkeys following, while Poll and Niger clung fast to Maria's shoulders.
Faithful True did not attempt to leap on shore, though he could easily
have done so, but remained with me in the canoe.  Domingos, meantime,
was hastily throwing our goods on shore; while we continued exerting
ourselves in preventing the raft being lifted by the force of the water
and upset on the bank.

"All the things are safely landed," cried Domingos at length.

We then, casting off the tow-rope, paddled round, and ran the bow of the
canoe on shore.  Not till then did True leap out of her.  Domingos and
the stranger coming down, helped us to drag her out of the water.

"We may save the raft also," said the latter.  "You may require it to
continue your voyage; as I conclude you do not intend to locate
yourselves here, and compel me to seek another home in the wilderness."

I was struck by the morose tone in which the stranger spoke.  He,
however, assisted us in dragging up the raft sufficiently high to
prevent its being knocked about by the waves, which ran even into the
comparatively smooth part of the channel in which we found ourselves.

"We heartily thank you for your assistance," said John.  "We owe the
preservation of our lives to you; for, with the increasing storm, we
could scarcely have escaped destruction had we been driven further down
the river."

"You owe me no thanks, young sir.  I would have done the same for a
party of benighted savages, as you call them," answered the stranger.
"Your dumb companions are equally welcome.  I am not ill pleased to see
them.  It speaks in your favour that they follow you willingly, instead
of being dragged about with ropes and chains, or confined in cages, as
civilised men treat the creatures they pretend to tame.  I have,
however, but poor shelter to offer you from the deluge which will soon
be down on our heads.  Follow me; there is no time to be lost."

"But we must not allow our goods to remain out," said John.

"I will assist you, then, to carry them," answered the stranger, lifting
up double the number of packages which we usually carried at a time.

We then all loaded ourselves.  Ellen insisted on carrying a package, and
followed the stranger, who went before us with his torch.  We could not
even then exchange words, as we had to proceed in single file along a
narrow pathway, fringed on either side with thick shrubs--apparently the
after-growth of a cleared spot, soon to spring up again into tall trees.
We soon found ourselves within the forest, where, so dense was the
gloom, that without the torch to guide us we could not have made our
way.  Its ruddy flame glanced on the trunks of the tall trees, showing a
canopy of wide-spreading boughs overhead, and the intricate tracery of
the numberless sipos which hung in festoons, or dropped in long
threadlike lines from them.  Passing for a few yards through a jungle,
the boughs spreading so closely above our heads that we often had to
stoop, we found ourselves in an open space, in which by the light of the
torch we saw a small hut with deep eaves, the gable end turned towards
us.  It was raised on posts several feet from the ground.  A ladder led
to a platform or verandah, which projected from the wall of the gable,
in which was a small door.

"Here you are welcome to stow your goods and rest for the night," said
the stranger.  "No human being but myself has ever entered it; for I
seek not the society of my fellow-men, either savage or civilised,
so-called.  To-morrow, if the weather clears, you will, I conclude,
proceed on your way; or if you insist on remaining, I must seek another
home.  Let that be understood, before I make you further welcome.  Now,
enter, and such accommodation as my hut affords shall be yours."

There was something in the tone of the speaker which, though his dress
was rough and strange, made us feel that he was a man of education.

"We cordially thank you, sir," answered John, "and accept your
hospitality on the terms you propose; but as a portion of our goods
still remain near the river, we would ask you to give us another torch
to enable us to fetch them before the rain comes done."

"I will myself accompany you," he answered, "when I have introduced the
young people to my abode."

Saying this, he stepped up the ladder, and assisted Ellen and Maria to
reach the platform.  He then led the way in, and lighted a lamp which
stood--we could see through the open door--on a table near it.

"I am sorry I have no better accommodation to offer you," he said,
looking at Ellen; "but such as it is, you are welcome to it."

He came down with another torch in his hand, and proceeded with rapid
strides back to the river.  We had some difficulty in following him.
Again he took up a heavy load; and we, dividing the remainder of the
goods between us, followed him towards the hut.  Ascending the ladder as
we reached it, he desired us to hand up the goods, which he carried
within.  As soon as we were on the platform, he drew up the ladder.

"I always secure myself thus in my fortress at night," he remarked; "and
as I have taken means of preventing any snakes crawling up the posts on
which it stands, I can sleep more securely than many do in the so-called
civilised portion of the globe."

On entering the house, we found that it was larger than we had supposed
from its appearance outside.  It was divided into two rooms.  The outer
was fitted up, in somewhat rustic style, as a sitting-room, while we
concluded that the inner one was a sleeping-room.  Round the walls were
arranged shelves, on one of which were a considerable number of books,
with a variety of other articles.  In one corner was a pile of nets and
harpoons, and some spears and other weapons for the chase; in another
stood an Indian mill for grinding flour, and several jars and other
articles, apparently for preparing or preserving food.  Against the
walls stood several chests.  Though the table was large enough for the
whole of us to sit round it, yet there was but one stool, showing that
our host, as he had told us, was unaccustomed to receive guests.  He,
however, pulled the chests forward, and by placing some boards between
them, we all found seats.

"If you have not brought provisions, I will supply you while you stay
with me," he observed; "but my own consumption is so small that I have
but a limited amount to offer you."

"We would not willingly deprive you of that, sir," said John; "and we
have enough to last us till we can supply ourselves with more."

"That is fortunate," remarked the recluse.  "While your servant gets it
ready, I will prepare my room for the young lady and her attendant.  I
have no cooking-place under shelter, and while the rain is pouring down,
as it will begin to do presently, a fire cannot be lighted outside.  You
must therefore be content with a cold repast."

While the recluse--so I may call him--was absent, we for the first time
had an opportunity of asking Ellen what had occurred to drive her and
her attendants away from the camp.

"I was indeed unwilling to do so," she said, "till urged by Domingos.
He had gone to shoot at a short distance from the hut, when he came
hurrying back with a look of alarm, and told me that he had caught sight
of some savages making their way through the forest.  He insisted that
they were trying to find us out, and that our only hope of safety was by
instant flight.  I pleaded that you would come back, and finding us
gone, would fancy we had been carried off or killed.  He argued that on
your return, finding the raft gone, you would know we had embarked on
it.  At length he agreed, that if we would assist to carry the goods
down to the raft he would again search round the camp, and should the
natives appear to be going in a different direction, we might carry them
back again.  He had not gone long, when he returned with dismay on his
countenance, asserting that they were coming towards us, and that if we
did not escape we should certainly be killed.  You may suppose, my dear
brothers, how fearfully agitated I was.  I knew how alarmed you would be
on returning not to find us, and yet, if we should remain it might be
still worse.  Domingos and Maria settled the matter by seizing me by the
arms, and dragging me to the raft before I had time to write a note or
leave any signal.  I scarcely thought, indeed, of doing so, till
Domingos had pushed the raft off from the bank.  I entreated him to go
back; but he replied that it was impossible without the risk of being
caught by the savages, and began paddling the raft down the channel.  I
looked back, and seeing no natives, again urged him to return.  He
replied that he was sure they would lie in ambush to catch us, and that
it would be destruction to do so.  Feeling that he wished to secure my
safety, I could not complain.  He did his best, too, to comfort me about
you.  He said that as you were probably with the friendly natives, you
would be defended from the Majeronas; and that by the time you had come
back, those he had seen would have gone away, and you would certainly
guess that we were not far off.  I did my utmost to arouse myself and to
assist Maria and him in paddling the raft.  The wind was light, the
water smooth, and there appeared to be no danger in venturing out into
the river.  A light wind was in our favour, and he accordingly steered
towards the opposite bank, saying that we should be safer there than
anywhere else, and might more easily get back than by going down the
stream.  I looked frequently towards the shore we had left, but still
saw no natives.  Poor Domingos was evidently anxious about you, though
he did his best not to alarm me more than he had done already.  We
found, after getting some way across, that the current was floating us
down much faster than we had expected, and I begged Domingos therefore
to return.  He insisted that, having got thus far, it was better to
continue our course towards the southern bank, and wait there for a
favourable wind for getting back.  I was thankful when at length we
reached a sandy beach, where we could land without difficulty and secure
our raft.  Domingos fortunately shot a paca, so we had plenty of food;
and Maria and I assisted him in putting up a hut.  Had I not been so
anxious about you, I should have had no cause to complain.  They both
exerted themselves to the utmost; and I do not think Domingos closed his
eyes all night, for whenever I awoke I saw him, through an opening in
our hut, walking about or making up the fire.  We spent the morning on
the bank, watching in the hope of seeing you come to look for us.  As
soon as the wind changed, I entreated Domingos to put off, and at last,
though somewhat unwillingly, he consented to do so; but he blamed
himself very much for yielding to my wishes, when the wind began to blow
so violently.  Had you, indeed, not arrived to assist us, I suspect that
our raft would have been in great danger of being overwhelmed."

"We have reason to be thankful, dear Ellen, that you were preserved,"
said John.  "I am very sure Domingos acted for the best.  I wish for
your sake that our expedition had come to a favourable end, although the
rest of us may enjoy it."

"Oh, if it were not for anxiety about papa and mamma, and dear Fanny,
and Aunt Martha, I should like it too," said Ellen.  "When we once find
them, I am sure that I shall enjoy our voyage down the river as much as
any of you."

"You are a brave girl," said the stranger, who at that moment returned,
"though, perhaps, you scarcely know the dangers you may have to
encounter.  Yet, after all, they are of a nature more easily overcome
than many which your sisters in the civilised regions of the world are
called to go through.  Here you have only the elements and a few wild
beasts to contend with; there, they have falsehood, treachery, evil
example, allurements of all sorts, and other devices of Satan, to drag
them to destruction."

While we were seated at supper, the rain came down in tremendous
torrents, as the recluse had predicted.  The strength of his roof was
proved, as not a drop found its way through.

"I am protected here," he remarked, "from the heat of the summer months
by the leafy bower overhead; while, raised on these poles, my habitation
is above the floods in the rainy season.  What can man want more?  Much
in the same way the natives on the Orinoco form their dwellings among
the palm-trees; but they trust more to Nature, and, instead of piles,
form floating rafts, sufficiently secured to the palm-trees to keep them
stationary, but rising and falling as the floods increase or diminish."

I was struck with many of the remarks of our eccentric host, but the
more I saw of him the more I was surprised that a man of his information
should have thus secluded himself from the world.  We had just time to
give Ellen an account of our adventures, when he expressed his wish that
we should hang up our hammocks, as it was past his usual hour for
retiring to rest.  This was an operation quickly performed, as we had
only to secure them in the usual way to the posts which supported the
roof.

"We should not part," said Ellen, somewhat timidly, "without our usual
prayer; and we have cause to thank God for our preservation from
danger."

The recluse looked at her fixedly.  "You are in earnest, I am sure," he
muttered.  "Pray, young people, do not depart from your usual custom; I
will wait for you."

Arthur, I should have said, though the youngest, always led us in
prayer.  "As he is absent," I remarked to Ellen's request, "I will do
so."

"Oh, you have a young chaplain with you," said the recluse; "and what
pay does he receive?"

"None at all, sir," answered Ellen.  "He is only earnest and good."

"I should like to meet him," said the recluse.

"I hope you may, sir," said Ellen, "if you come with us."

A short prayer was offered up.  I spoke with the earnestness I felt.
Ellen then read a portion of Scripture from the Bible she had always at
hand in her trunk.  Our host listened attentively, his eyes fixed on our
young sister.  I had not observed a copy of the blessed Book on his
shelves.  He made no remark, however, on the subject, but I thought his
tone was less morose than before.

We were soon in our hammocks, a small oil lamp, which was kept burning
on the table, throwing a subdued light through the chamber.  True, I
should have said, from our first meeting with the stranger, had eyed him
askance, having apparently some doubts as to his character.  He now came
and coiled himself up in his usual position under my hammock.  He had
kept as far off from him as he could during the evening, and did not
seem satisfied till the tall figure of the recluse was stretched out in
his hammock near the entrance of the hut.  The rain pattering overhead,
and splashing down on the soft ground round us, kept me for some time
awake.  It ceased at length, and soon afterwards, just as I was dropping
off to sleep, a chorus of hideous sounds commenced, coming apparently
from no great distance in the forest.  Now they resembled the cries and
groans of a number of people in distress.  Now it seemed as if a whole
troop of jaguars were growling and snarling over their prey.  Now it
seemed as if a company of Brobdignag cats were singing a serenade.  Now
the sounds for a moment ceased, but were instantly taken up again by
other creatures at a distance.  After a time, the same sounds
recommenced in another quarter.  Had I not already been well accustomed
to similar noises, I might have fancied that we had got into some forest
haunted by evil spirits bewailing their lost condition.  I was
sufficiently awake, however, to guess that they proceeded only from
troops of howling monkeys, though we had never yet heard them so near,
or in such numbers.  In spite of the hideous concert, I at last fell
asleep.

The voice of our host aroused us at daybreak.  "As soon as you have
broken your fast, I will accompany you to find your companions," he
said, "unless you desire to proceed by water.  In that case, you will
scarcely meet them; but I would advise you to leave your canoe and raft
here, as I can conduct you through the forest by the only open paths
which exist, and by which alone they can make their way in this
direction.  I am afraid, unless they had their wits about them, they
must have been exposed to the tempest last night, and may be but ill
able to travel far this morning."

John at once decided to go by land, as the canoe was not large enough to
convey all our party.  The recluse looked at Ellen.  "She will scarcely
be able to undergo the fatigue of so long a walk," he remarked.  "If she
wishes it, she and her attendant can remain here, while we go to meet
your companions; and you can then return and remove your property, or
leave it till you can find the means of continuing your voyage.  I did
not purpose to allow my solitude to be thus broken in on; but,"--and he
looked again at Ellen--"she reminds me of days gone by, and I cannot
permit her to be exposed to more trials than are necessary."

John thanked him for his proposal, though Ellen seemed unwilling to
remain behind.  We also did not like to leave her.  At last John
suggested that Domingos should remain also.  The recluse pressed the
point with more warmth than I should have expected, and at last Ellen
agreed to do as was proposed.  She was certainly better off in a
well-built hut than she had been for some time, and strange and
eccentric as the recluse appeared, still we felt that he was disposed to
assist us to the best of his power.

Our early breakfast over, John and I, shouldering our rifles, followed
by True, set off with the recluse.  Ellen looked rather sad as we were
going.

"You will find poor Arthur?  I know you will," she said in a low voice
to me.  "I thought of him a great deal last night, out in the fierce
tempest, with only two young Indians to assist him; and he is not so
strong as you are, and has no gun to defend himself.  I could not help
thinking of fierce jaguars roaming in search of prey, or those dreadful
boas, or the anacondas we have heard of."

"Oh, drive all such thoughts from your mind, Ellen," I answered.
"Arthur, if not so strong, has plenty of sense and courage; and, depend
upon it, the Indians will have found some hollow tree, or will have
built a hut for themselves, in which they would have taken shelter
during the night.  I should not have minded changing places with Arthur.
It is all right.  We will bring him back safe enough."

With these words I hurried after John and the recluse.  We had not gone
far, when I saw them looking up into a tree.  True darted forward and
began to bark, when, in return, a chorus of terrific barks, howls, and
screeches proceeded from the higher branches, and there I saw seated a
group of several large monkeys with long tails and most hideous faces.
Every instant they threw up their heads, and the fearful sounds I had
heard issued forth from them.  I could scarcely suppose that animals of
such a size could make so much noise.

"You have there some of my friends who serenaded you last night,"
observed the recluse, when, after a few minutes, the monkeys ceased
howling.  "These are the _mycetes_, or ursine howlers.  The creature is
called in this country _araguato_, and sometimes by naturalists the
_alouatte_.  It is known also as `the preacher.'  If he could discourse
of sin and folly, and point out to benighted man the evil of his ways,
he might howl to some purpose but his preaching is lost on the denizens
of the forest, who know nothing of sin, and are free from the follies of
the world.  Observe that with how little apparent difficulty he gives
forth that terrific note.  It is produced by a drum-shaped expansion of
the larynx.  The hyoid bone, which in man is but slightly developed, is
in these monkeys very large.  It gives support to the tongue, being
attached to the muscles of the neck.  The bony drum communicates with
the wind-pipe, and enables them to utter those loud sounds."

Had Arthur been with us, I am sure we should have indulged in a hearty
laugh at the curious faces of those thick-jawed creatures as they looked
down upon us inquisitively to ascertain what we were about.  They were
considerably larger than any we had seen; indeed, the howler is the
largest monkey in the New World.  The fur is of a rich bay colour, and
as the sun fell upon the coats of some of them above us, they shone with
a golden lustre.  The thick beard which hung from the chin and neck was
of a deeper hue than the body.  Our friend told us that those he had
caught were generally about three feet long, and that their tails in
addition were of even greater length.  We went on without disturbing the
assemblage in their aerial seat, greatly to True's disappointment, who
would evidently have liked to measure his strength with one of them.
Like the spider monkeys, they live entirely in trees, making good use of
their long tails as they move about from branch to branch; indeed, the
tail serves the howler for another hand.  When by any chance he descends
to the ground, he moves along very awkwardly, and can easily be caught,
as we afterwards discovered.

Our new acquaintance was but little inclined to talk; indeed, had he
been so, we could seldom have enjoyed much conversation, as we were
compelled in most places to follow him in Indian file.  Now and then he
had to use his hatchet to clear the path, and we very frequently had to
force our way by pressing aside the branches which met in front of us.
Still he went on without wavering for a moment, or appearing doubtful of
the direction he should take.  After going on some way further, he again
stopped, and pointed to a tree, the branch of which rose a few feet off.
I knew by the way True barked that some creature was there; and looking
more narrowly, I observed some animals clinging to the lower branches,
but so nearly did they resemble the bark to which they were holding,
that had they not been pointed out to me I should have passed them by.
The animals turned listless glances at us, and seemed in no way disposed
to move.

"There," observed the recluse, "are creatures in every way adapted to
the mode of life which they are doomed to lead.  Place them in any
other, and they will be miserable.  You see there the _ai_, or
three-toed sloth (the _Bradypus torquatus_).  Though its arms, or
fore-legs more properly, are nearly twice as long as the hinder ones, it
finds them exactly suited for climbing the trees on which it lives.
Place it on the ground, and it cannot get along.  It passes its life,
not above, but under the branches.  When moving along, it suspends
itself beneath them; when at rest, it hangs from them; and it sleeps
clutching them with its strong claws, and its back hanging downwards."

One of the creatures was hanging as our friend described; the other was
on its way up the tree.  It stopped on seeing us approach, and turned
its round short head, with deeply sunk eyes and a large nose, to look at
us.  The animals had long powerful claws on all their feet.  The hair
was very coarse and shaggy, more like grass or moss than anything else.

"The sloth suckles its young like other quadrupeds," observed our
friend; "and I have often seen the female, with her little one clinging
to her, moving at a rate through the forest which shows that the sloth
does not properly deserve its name.  See now--give a shout--and then say
if it is too sluggish to more."

John and I shouted together, and True barked loudly.  The sloths gave
reproachful glances at us for disturbing them, and then began to move
away at a speed which an active sailor running up the rigging of a ship
could scarcely equal.  In a short time, slinging themselves from branch
to branch, they had disappeared in the depths of the forest.

"Let them go," observed our friend.  "You do not want a meal, or you
would find their flesh supply you with one not to be disdained."  The
last remark was made as we again moved on.  Once more we relapsed into
silence.  When, however, a bird, or moth, or any creature appeared, our
guide stopped for an instant, and turning round, told us its name and
habits.  We passed several curious trees, one of which he pointed out
rising from the ground in numerous stalks, which then united in a thick
stem, and afterwards, half-way up, bulged out in a long oval, again to
narrow, till at the summit six or eight branches, with palm-like formed
leaves, spread forth, forming a graceful crown to the curious stem.  He
called it the _Iriartes ventricosa_, or bulging-stemmed palm.  Again we
passed through a grove of urucuri palms (_Attalea excelsa_).  Their
smooth columnar stems were about forty or fifty feet in height, while
their broad, finely pinnated leaves interlocked above, and formed arches
and woven canopies of varied and peculiarly graceful shapes.  High above
them rose the taller forest trees, whose giant branches formed a second
canopy to shade them from the glaring rays of the sun.  Many of the
trees rose eighty feet without a branch, their stems perfectly straight.
Huge creepers were clinging round them, sometimes stretching obliquely
from their summits, like the stays of a ship's mast.  Others wound round
their trunks, like huge serpents ready to spring on their prey.  Others,
again twisted spirally round each other, forming vast cables of living
wood, holding fast those mighty monarchs of the forest.  Some of the
trees were so covered with smaller creepers and parasitic plants that
the parent stem was entirely concealed.  The most curious trees were
those having buttresses projecting from their bases.  The lower part of
some of them extended ten feet or more from the base of the tree,
reaching only five or six feet up the trunk.  Others again extended to
the height of fully thirty feet, and could be seen running up like ribs
to a still greater height.  Some of these ribs were like wooden walls,
several inches in thickness, extended from the stem, so as to allow room
for a good-sized hut to be formed between them by merely roofing over
the top.  Again, I remarked other trees ribbed and furrowed for their
whole height.  Occasionally these furrows pierced completely through the
trunks, like the narrow windows of an ancient tower.  There were many
whose roots were like those of the bulging palm, but rising much higher
above the surface of the ground.  The trees appeared to be standing on
many-legged pedestals, frequently so far apart from each other that we
could without difficulty walk beneath them.  A multitude of pendants
hung from many of the trees, some like large wild pine-apples, swinging
in the air.  There were climbing arums, with dark-green arrow-head
shaped leaves; huge ferns shot out here and there up the stems to the
topmost branches.  Many of the trees had leaves as delicately cut as
those of the graceful mimosa, while others had large palmate leaves, and
others, again, oval glossy ones.

Now and then, as I looked upwards, I was struck with the finely-divided
foliage strongly defined against the blue sky, here and there lighted up
by the bright sunshine; while, in the region below through which we
moved, a deep gloom prevailed, adding grandeur and solemnity to the
scene.  There were, however, but few flowers; while the ground on which
we walked was covered with dead leaves and rotten wood, the herbage
consisting chiefly of ferns and a few grasses and low creeping plants.

We stopped at last to lunch, and while John and I were seated on the
branch of a fallen tree, our friend disappeared.  He returned shortly,
with his arms full of large bunches of a round juicy berry.  "Here," he
said, "these will quench your thirst, and are perfectly wholesome."  We
found the taste resembling that of grapes.  He called it the _puruma_.
We were too eager to find Arthur to rest long, and were once more on our
journey.

"From the account you gave me, I hope we may soon meet with your
friends," observed the recluse, "unless they have turned back in despair
of finding you."

"Little fear of that," I observed.  "I am sure Arthur will search for us
as long as he has strength to move."

Still we went on and on, and Arthur did not appear; and we asked our
companion whether he did not think it possible that our friends might
have tried to make their way along the bank of the river.

"No," he answered, "the jungle is there too thick; and if we find signs
of their having made the attempt, we shall speedily overtake them; for
though we have made a considerable circuit, they by this time could
scarcely have progressed half a mile even with the active employment of
sharp axes."

This somewhat comforted me; for notwithstanding what the recluse said, I
felt nearly certain that Arthur would attempt to examine the whole
length of the bank, in hopes of discovering what had become of us.  We
went on and on till we entered a denser part of the forest, where we
were compelled to use our axes before we could get through.  At length I
caught sight through an opening of what looked like a heap of boughs at
a distance.  The recluse, quickening his pace, went on towards it.  We
eagerly followed.  It was a hut roughly built.  Extinguished embers of a
fire were before it.  We looked in eagerly.  It was empty, but there
were leaves on the ground, and dry grass, as if people had slept there.
It had been, there was little doubt, inhabited by Arthur and his
companions.  It was just such a hut as they would have built in a hurry
for defence against the storm.  But what had become of them?

"I believe you are right," said the recluse at last, having examined the
bushes round; "they certainly attempted to make their way along the
bank.  I trust no accident has happened to them, for in many places it
is undermined by the waters, and after rain suddenly gives way."  These
remarks somewhat alarmed me.  "This is the way they have taken, at all
events," he added; "though they have managed to creep under places we
might find some difficulty in passing."  Again he led the way, clearing
the path occasionally with his axe.  We were close to the edge of the
river, though so thickly grew the tangled sipos and the underwood that
we could only occasionally get glimpses of it.  As we went along we
shouted out frequently, in hopes that Arthur might hear us.

"Your friend and his companions have laboured hard to get through this
dense jungle," he observed, "but we shall soon overtake them."

Still on and on we went, now and then having to turn aside, being unable
otherwise to force our way onwards.  We at length, on returning to the
river, found below us a sand-bank, which extended for some distance
along it.

"Here are the marks of their feet!" exclaimed John, who had leaped down
on it.  "See the way they are turned!  We shall soon overtake them."

This discovery restored my spirits, for I had begun to fear that after
all, unable to get along, they had turned back.  We hastened forward
along the bank, but the sand was very soft, and walking on it was almost
as fatiguing as through the forest; while the heat from the sun striking
down on it was intense.  Climbing up the bank once more, we proceeded
through the forest.  We went on a short distance, when we found
ourselves in more open ground--that is to say, we could get on without
the use of our axes.  We continued shouting out, and every now and then
making our way to the bank as before.

"Hark!" said John, "I hear a cry.  See! there are natives coming towards
us.  Yes; I believe they are the two young Indians."

"They are Indians," remarked our guide.  "They are beckoning us.  We
will hasten on."

In another minute we saw Duppo and Oria running towards us.  They kept
crying out words that I did not understand.  As soon as they saw the
recluse they hurried to him, and took his hands, as if they knew him
well.

"They tell me your young friend is ill," he remarked.  "They have left
him a little further on, close to the water, where, it seems, unable to
proceed, he fainted.  They entreat me to hasten on lest he should die.
They fancy I can do everything, having occasionally cured some of their
people of slight diseases."

As he said this he allowed himself to be dragged forward by Duppo and
his sister, who, in their eagerness, seemed scarcely to have recognised
us.  The ground over which we were proceeding was somewhat swampy, and
sloped down to a small lagoon or inlet of the river.  John and I
followed as fast as we could at the heels of our guide.  Presently he
stopped, and uttering an exclamation, threw aside the hands of the young
Indians and dashed forward.  We followed, when, what was our horror to
see, under a grove of mimosa bushes, Arthur in the grasp of a huge
serpent, which had wound its coils round his body.  I shrieked with
dismay, for I thought he was dead.  He moved neither hand nor foot,
seemingly unconscious of what had occurred.  The recluse dashed forward.
John and I followed with our axes, and True went tearing boldly on
before us.  It was an anaconda.  Already its huge mouth was open to
seize our young companion.  Without a moment's hesitation the recluse
sprang at the monster, and seizing its jaws with a power I should
scarcely have supposed he possessed, wrenched them back, and held them
fast in spite of the creature's efforts to free itself.  "Draw him out!"
shouted the recluse; and John, seizing Arthur, drew him forth from amid
the vast coils, while I with my axe struck blow after blow at its body
and tail.  The recluse did not let go his hold, although the creature,
unwinding its tail, threatened to encircle him in its coils.  Now it
seemed as if it would drag him to the ground, but he recovered his feet,
still bending back the head till I could hear the bones cracking.  I
meantime had been hacking at its tail, and at length a fortunate blow
cut it off.  John, placing Arthur at a little distance, came back to our
assistance, and in another minute the reptile lay dead at our feet, when
True flew at it and tore away furiously at its body.

"Your young friend has had a narrow escape," said the recluse, as he
knelt down and took Arthur's hand; "he breathes, though, and is not
aware of what has happened, for the anaconda must have seized him while
he was unconscious."

We ran to the river.  The dry shells of several large nuts lay near.  In
these we brought some water, and bathed Arthur's brow and face.  "He
seems unhurt by the embrace of the anaconda," remarked the recluse, "but
probably suffered from the heat of the sun."

After this he lifted Arthur in his arms, and bore him up the bank.  John
and I followed with a shell of water.  The contrast between the hot
sandy bank and the shady wood was very great.  As we again applied the
water, Arthur opened his eyes.  They fell on the recluse, on whom he
kept them steadily fixed with a look of surprise.

"I thought John and Harry were with me," he murmured out.  "I heard
their voices calling as I lay fainting on the bank."

"Yes; we are here," John and I said, coming forward.  "Duppo and his
sister met us, and brought us to you."

"I am so glad," he said in a low voice.  "I began to fear that you were
really lost, we wandered on so far without finding you.  I felt ready to
die too, I was so sick at heart.  And your sister--is she safe?" he
asked.  "Oh yes; I am sure you would look more sad if she were not."

"Yes, she is safe and well, Arthur," I said; "and we must take you there
to be nursed, or, if it is too far to carry you, we must build a hut
somewhere near here, where we can join you."

The stranger looked at Arthur, and murmured something we did not hear.

"It is a long way to carry the lad," he said; "though if I had him in my
hut I would watch over him."

"Perhaps it may be better to build a hut at the spot we proposed, and
bring our sister and goods to it," I said.

"No; I will take the lad to mine," answered the recluse.  "You can build
a hut as you proposed, and when he has recovered I will bring him to
you."

I was very glad to hear this, because I was afraid that Arthur might
suffer unless we could get him soon placed in a comfortable hammock, and
give him better food than we should be able to prepare without our
cooking apparatus.

"I am ready to go on whenever you wish it," observed Arthur, who heard
the discussion; "but I am afraid I cannot walk very fast."

"I will carry you then," said the recluse; "but it will be better to
form a litter, on which you can rest more at your ease.  We will soon
get one ready."

Duppo and Oria stood by watching us eagerly while we spoke, as if they
were anxious to know what we were saying.

"You stay with your young friend, while your brother and I prepare the
litter," said the recluse to me, replacing Arthur on the ground.

I sat down by his side, supporting him.  He did not allude to the
anaconda, and, I suspected, was totally unconscious of the danger he had
been in.  While the recluse and John were cutting down some poles to
form the litter, Duppo and his sister collected a number of long thin
sipos, showing that they understood what we proposed doing.  In a short
time the litter was completed.  John and I insisted on carrying it,
though we had some difficulty in persuading the recluse to allow us to
do so.  He spoke for some time to Duppo and his sister, who looked
greatly disconcerted and sad.

"I was telling them that they must go and find their people," he said,
"and that they must build a house for you on the spot you selected.
They will be true friends to you, as they have ever been to me.  I
advise you to cultivate their friendship by treating them with kindness
and respect."

The young Indians seemed very unwilling to take their departure, and
lingered some time after we had wished them good-bye.  John and I took
up the litter, on which Arthur had been placed.  As we had already cut a
road for ourselves, we were able to proceed faster than we did when
before passing through the forest.  We hurried on, for the sun had begun
to sink towards the west, and we might be benighted before we could
reach the hermit's abode.

We proceeded by the way we had come.  After we had gone some distance,
Arthur begged that he might be put down and allowed to walk.  "I am sure
I have strength enough, and I do not like to see you carry me," he said.
Of this, however, we would not hear, and continued on.

At last we sat down to rest.  The spot we had chosen was a pleasant one.
Though shaded, it was sufficiently open to allow the breeze to
circulate through it.  Round us, in most directions, was a thick jungle.
We had brought some water in a shell of one of the large nuts, and
after Arthur had drunk some, we induced him to take a little food, which
seemed greatly to revive him.  We were seated round the contents of our
wallets, John and I, at all events, feeling in much better spirits than
we had been in the morning; even the recluse threw off some of his
reserve.  We took the opportunity of telling him of our anxiety about
our parents, and of the uncertainty we felt whether they had passed down
the river.  He in return asked us further questions, and seemed
interested in our account.

"I may be of use to you," he said at length, "by being able to make
inquiries among the Indians on the river, who would probably have
observed them should they have passed; but promises are so often broken,
that I am ever unwilling to make them.  Therefore, I advise you to trust
to your own exertions," he added.

We were on the point of again taking up Arthur to proceed, when a loud
sound of crashing branches was heard in the distance.  It seemed as if a
hurricane was sweeping through the forest.  It came nearer and nearer.

"Oh I what can it be?" cried Arthur.  "Leave me and save yourselves.  It
seems as if the whole forest was falling."

The crashing increased.  Boughs seemed broken off, shrubs trampled under
foot.  Presently we saw, bearing down upon as, a large dark-skinned
creature, though its form could scarcely be distinguished amid the
foliage.

"Stand fast!" said the recluse.  "It will not harm you.  See! it has an
enemy to contend with."

As the creature drew nearer, I saw that it bore on its back a huge
jaguar, distinguished by its spotted hide and its fierce glaring eyes.
Its jaws were fixed in the creature's neck, to which it clung also with
its sharp claws.

"The animal is a tapir," said the recluse.  "I am not certain yet though
whether the jaguar will conquer it.  See, the back of the latter is
bleeding and torn from the rough branches beneath which the tapir has
carried it."

As he spoke, the animals came close to us, the tapir making for the
thick branch of a fallen tree kept up by a network of sipos, which hung
like a beam almost horizontally a few feet from the ground.  The tapir
dashed under it, and we could hear the crash of the jaguar's head as it
came in contact with the hard wood.  Still it clung on, but its eyes had
lost their fierce glare.  Blood covered the backs of the animals, and
the next moment the jaguar fell to the ground, where it lay struggling
faintly.  Twice it tried to rise, but fell back, and lay apparently
dead.

John had lifted his rifle to fire at the tapir.  "Hold!" said the
recluse; "let the victor go; he deserves his liberty for having thus
sagaciously liberated himself from his tormentor.  Would that we could
as easily get rid of ours!  How eagerly we should seek the lower
branches of the trees!"  He gave one of those peculiar, sarcastic
laughs, which I observed he was apt to indulge in.

We cautiously approached the jaguar, feeling uncertain whether it might
not yet rise up and spring at us.  John and I kept our rifles at its
head, while True went boldly up towards it.  He had been an excited
spectator of the scene, and I had some difficulty in keeping him from
following the tapir.  The jaguar did not move.  Even a poke with the
muzzle of my rifle failed to arouse it.  True began to tear away at its
neck; and at length we were convinced that the savage creature was
really dead.  "There let him lie," said the recluse.  "Strong as he was
a few moments ago, he will be food for the armadillos before morning."

We again lifted up Arthur, and proceeded onwards, the recluse leading
and clearing away the branches which might have injured Arthur as we
passed between them.  Of course we now required a broader passage than
when we came through ourselves.  We took exactly the same route; our
guide never faltering for a moment, though in many places I should have
had difficulty, where the marks of our axes were not to be seen, in
finding the road.  Several times he offered to take my place, observing
that I might be tired; but John and I begged him to allow us to carry
our young friend, as we did not like to impose the task on him.  Thus we
went on till my arms and shoulders began to ache, but I determined not
to give in.  Arthur had not spoken for some time.  I looked at his face.
It was very pale, and his eyes were closed.  I was afraid he had
received more injury from the fearful serpent than we had at first
supposed.  We hurried on, for it was evidently very important that he
should as soon as possible be attended to.  We did not stop, therefore,
a moment to rest.  Thinking that he would not hear me, I expressed my
fears to John.  "Oh no, no," said Arthur; "I do not feel so very ill.  I
wish you would put me down, for I am sure you must be tired."

I was greatly relieved when I heard him speak; at the same time his
voice was so weak, that we were unwilling to do as he begged us.  It was
getting late, too, as we could judge by the increasing gloom in the
forest.  Looking up through the occasional openings in the dark-green
canopy above our heads, we could see the sky, which had now become of
the intensest shade of blue.  A troop of allouattes commenced a concert,
their unmusical howlings echoing through the forest.  Numerous macaws
passed above us, giving vent to strange harsh cries; while whole
families of parrots screamed in various notes.  Cicadas set up the most
piercing chirp, becoming shriller and shriller, till it ended in a sharp
screeching whistle.  Other creatures--birds, beasts, and insects--added
their voices to the concert, till the whole forest seemed in an uproar.
As the sky grew darker, and the shades of night came thickly round us,
the noises gradually ceased, but were soon succeeded by the drumming,
hoohooing, and the croaking of the tree-frogs, joined occasionally by
the melancholy cries of the night-jar.  "Follow me closely," said the
recluse, "and step as high as you can, not to catch your feet in the
tangled roots.  My eyes are well accustomed to this forest-gloom, and I
will lead you safely."

At length we found ourselves passing through a narrow passage between
thick bushes, which reminded us of the approach to the recluse's hut.
Emerging from it, we saw light ahead, and now reached the steps which
led to the verandah.

"You have come on well," he observed.  "I will carry up your young
friend.  Leave the litter on the ground."

I had to stop and assist up True, for although he made several attempts
to mount the ladder by himself, it was somewhat too high for him to
succeed.  On entering the hut I found Ellen, in a state of agitation,
leaning over Arthur.

"Oh! what has happened?" she asked.  "Will he die?  Will he die?"

"I trust not, young lady," remarked our host.  "He wants rest and
careful nursing, and I hope in a few days will have recovered.  I will
now attend to him, and afterwards leave him under your care."

"Do not be alarmed, Miss Ellen," whispered Arthur.  "I only fainted from
the hot sun and anxiety about you all.  Now I am with you, I shall soon
get well."

"As I have by me a store of medicines, with which I have doctored
occasionally the poor natives, I can find, I hope, some remedies which
may help to restore your friend," observed the recluse.  "Rest is what
he chiefly now requires."

Arthur was put into his hammock, and after he had taken a mess which
Maria had prepared, fell asleep.



CHAPTER TWELVE.

THE RECLUSE--MORE ADVENTURES IN THE FOREST.

Three days passed away, and Arthur had almost recovered.  We none of us
had liked to ask the recluse any questions about himself, and he had
given us no information as to who he was, where he had come from, or how
long he had lived in that secluded spot.  He had merely told us that he
was English, and he certainly seemed from his conversation to be a man
of education.  He made no inquiries about us, though he listened from
politeness, apparently, rather than from any interest he took in the
matter, to the account we gave him of our adventures.  One thing was
very evident, that, though he bore with our society, he would rather be
left alone to his usual solitude.

I awoke early the following morning, and found John already on foot.  He
proposed going down to the igarape to bathe, and asked me to accompany
him.  Our host, we found, had already left the hut.  Arthur was asleep,
so we would not disturb him.  Domingos also had gone out, and we
concluded had accompanied the recluse to obtain provisions, as he had
taken with him a couple of baskets which usually hung on the wall at the
entrance of the hut.  At all events, they were not there when we looked
for them.  Taking our guns, we proceeded as we proposed.  The rays of
the rising sun came through the few openings among the tall trees, their
light flashing on the wings of the gorgeous butterflies and still more
brilliant plumage of several humming-birds, which flitted here and there
amid the opening in the forest.

There was a sandy spot where we thought that we could venture into the
water, without the risk of being seized by an alligator or anaconda.  We
were making our way towards it, when we caught sight of a small canoe,
in which a man, whom we at once recognised as the recluse, was seated.
He was paddling slowly up the igarape.  We watched him for some time,
till he was lost to sight among the thick foliage which lined the banks.
We naturally concluded that he was merely taking a morning excursion,
perhaps to fish or bathe, and expected to see him again at breakfast.

While John took a bath, I stood by and beat the water with a long pole,
to frighten away any alligator which might be near, and he performed the
same office for me--a very necessary precaution, from the number of the
huge reptiles which swarm in all the rivers.

Much refreshed, we returned to the hut.  We waited for the recluse some
time before beginning breakfast, which Maria had prepared; but he did
not appear, nor did Domingos.  We all agreed that we ought no longer to
impose our society on our strange friend.  The first thing to be done
was to build a canoe, but we had not found a tree in the neighbourhood
of the hut exactly suited to our purpose.

"We may perhaps discover one near the place at which we landed the other
day, and we may get our Indian friends to help us to build a canoe," I
observed.  "Or it is possible that they may have recovered some of
theirs, and be ready to sell one of them to us."

"Then the sooner we find them out the better," observed John.

"I wonder Duppo and his sister, or some of the other Indians, have not
come here to look for us," said Arthur.  "I thought Duppo, at all
events, would have shown more regard for us."

"Perhaps the recluse has taught them not to visit his hut without his
leave," I remarked.  "They seem to hold him in great respect."

While I was speaking Domingos appeared at the door, with his baskets
loaded with fruit, vegetables, and birds--chiefly parrots and toucans of
gay plumage.  He gave a note to John, which he had received, he said,
from the strange senor early in the morning.

"I will not conceal from you that I have departed greatly from my
accustomed habits in affording you an asylum," it ran.  "If you wish it
you can remain, but I desire to be once more alone, and can find a home
elsewhere till you take your departure.  I have communicated with your
Indian friends, and they will assist you in building a lodge more
suitable for you than this, in the situation you first selected.  A
party of them will appear shortly to convey your goods; and they will
also construct a montaria of a size sufficient for you to continue your
voyage.  I will, in the meantime, institute inquiries about your missing
friends, and, should I hear tidings of them, will send you word.  I beg
that you will return me no thanks, nor expect to see me.  The life of
solitude upon which your appearance has broken I desire to resume, and
it will therefore cause me annoyance should you attempt to seek me.
Accept such good wishes as a wretched outcast can venture to end."

This strange note caused us much regret.  "He is so kind and gentle, in
spite of the strange way he sometimes expresses himself, that I should
grieve not to see him again, and thank him," said Arthur.  "Do you not
think we could leave a note, asking him to let us come and visit him
before we go away altogether?  Surely he would not refuse that."

"I am afraid, from the tenor of his note, it would be of no use," said
John; "but if you wish it you can do so; and it will show him, at all
events, that we are not ungrateful for his kindness."

We waited all day in expectation of the arrival of the Indians, but no
one appeared.  John went out, and shot some birds and a couple of
monkeys.  In our rambles, which were further than we had yet been, we
came upon a cleared space containing a plantation of bananas, maize, and
several edible roots; and, from the neat and scientific way in which the
ground was cultivated, we had little doubt it belonged to the stranger;
indeed, from the supplies he had brought us, notwithstanding his first
remark, we had suspected that he was not without the means of supporting
himself with vegetable food.  Although he had allowed us to cook the
animals we killed, we had remarked that he did not touch any of the meat
himself.

Early next morning, as I was standing on the verandah, True poked his
nose forward and began to bark.  I thought he had seen some animal in
the woods, and got my gun ready to fire at it, when I caught sight of a
figure emerging from the narrow path of which I have spoken, and,
greatly to my satisfaction, I recognised Duppo.  As soon as he saw us he
ran forward.  I went down to meet him.  He took my hand, and, by his
action, and the gleam of satisfaction which passed over his impassive
countenance, showed the satisfaction he felt at again being with us.  He
then made signs that others were coming, and soon afterwards a party of
eight Indians, with his father at their head, made their appearance.
Maono gravely saluted John and I, and signified that his men had come to
convey our property to another place.  Duppo asked whether any of us
would like to return in the canoe.  We agreed that it would be a good
plan for Arthur and Ellen to do so.

"Oh, let me go through the woods," exclaimed Ellen; "I should like to
see the country."

"But then, who is to look after Arthur?  He is not fit to walk so far
yet," said John.

"Oh, then I will go and take care of him," answered Ellen.

It was finally arranged that Maono and Duppo should paddle the canoe,
and look after Ellen and Arthur.  They formed a sufficiently large
freight for the little craft.  The Indians now shouldered our goods,
each man taking a load twice as heavy as any one of us could have
carried, although much less than our Napo peons had conveyed down to the
river.  Before starting, Arthur wrote the note he had proposed to the
recluse, and left it on the table.  We could not help feeling sorry at
leaving that shady little retreat.  At the same time, there was no
chance while remaining there of obtaining tidings of our family.  Having
handed Ellen and Arthur into the canoe, with Nimble, and Ellen's other
pets, we watched her for some minutes as Maono paddled her along the
shore, which presented as far as we could see one wall of tall trees of
varied forms rising almost from the water.  "We shall meet again soon,"
exclaimed Ellen as she waved an adieu.  "Who knows what adventures we
shall have to recount to each other!"  We could not tear ourselves from
the spot while the canoe remained in sight.  As soon as she disappeared
we hurried after the Indians.  Domingos and Maria had gone on with them.
We walked on rapidly, fully expecting, as they had loads, that we
should quickly overtake them.  John was a little ahead of me, when
suddenly I saw him take a tremendous leap along the path.  I was
wondering what sudden impulse had seized him, when I heard him exclaim,
"Look out, Harry I see that creature;" and there I observed stretched
across the path, a big ugly-looking serpent.  I sprang back, holding
True, who would have unhesitatingly dashed at the dangerous reptile.  It
was nearly six feet in length, almost as thick as a man's leg, of a deep
brown above, pale yellow streaks forming a continued series of
lozenge-shaped marks down the back, growing less and less distinct as
they descended the sides, while it had a thin neck, and a huge flat
head, covered with small scales.

As we had our guns ready, we did not fear it.  It seemed disinclined to
move, and, had it not lifted up its tail, we might have supposed it
dead.  We soon recognised, by the shape of the point, the fearful
rattlesnake;--fearful it would be from its venomous bite, had not the
rattle been fixed to it to give notice of its approach.  We threw sticks
at it, but still it did not seem inclined to move.  Again it lifted up
its horny tail, and shook its rattle.  "Take care," cried John; "keep
away."  The serpent had begun to glide over the ground, now looking at
one of us, now at the other, as if undecided at which it should dart.  I
took John's advice, and quickly retreated.  He fired, and shattered the
reptile's head.  As it still moved slowly, I finished it with a blow of
my stick.

As it would have been inconvenient to drag after us, we cut off the
tail, that we might examine it at leisure.  We found that the rattle was
placed with the broad part perpendicular to the body.  The last joint
was fastened to the last vertebra of the tail by means of a thick
muscle, as well as by the membranes which united it to the skin.  The
remaining joints were so many extraneous bodies, as it were, unconnected
with the tail, except by the curious way in which they were fitted into
each other.  It is said that these bony rings or rattles increase in
number with the age of the animal, and on each casting of the skin it
acquires an additional one.  The tip of every uppermost bone runs within
two of the bones below it.  By this means they not only move together,
but also multiply the sound, as each bone hit against two others at the
same time.

They are said only to bite when provoked or when they kill their prey.
For this purpose they are provided with two kinds of teeth,--the
smaller, which are placed in each jaw, and serve to catch and retain
their food: and the fangs, or poisonous teeth, which are placed without
the upper jaw.  They live chiefly upon birds and small animals.  It is
said that when the piercing eye of the rattlesnake is fixed on an animal
or bird they are so terrified and astonished that they are unable to
escape.  Birds, as if entranced, unwillingly keeping their eyes fixed on
those of the reptile, have been seen to drop into its mouth.  Smaller
animals fall from the trees and actually run into the jaws open to
receive them.  Fatal as is the bite of the rattlesnake to most
creatures, the peccary attacks and eats the reptile without the
slightest hesitation; as, indeed, do ordinary hogs,--and even when
bitten they do not suffer in the slightest degree.

This encounter with the rattlesnake having delayed us for a little time,
we hurried on as rapidly as we could to overtake our companions.  We had
gone some distance, and still had not come up with them.  I began to be
afraid that we had turned aside from the right path.  In some places
even our eyes had distinguished the marks of those who had gone before
us.  We had now lost sight of them altogether, and as the wood was
tolerably open, and the axes had not been used, we could only judge by
the direction of the sun how to proceed.

We went on for some time, still believing ourselves in the right
direction; but at last, when we expected to find the marks of the axes
which we had before made, we could discover none.  We searched about--
now on one side, now on the other.  The forest, though dense, was yet
sufficiently open to enable us to make our way in a tolerably direct
line.  Now and then we had to turn aside to avoid the thick mass of
creepers or the fallen trunk of some huge tree.  We shouted frequently,
hoping that Domingos and the Indians might hear us.  Then John suggested
that they, finding it an easy matter to follow the right track, did not
suppose we could lose it.  At last we grew tired of shouting, and agreed
that we should probably fall in with the proper track by inclining
somewhat to the right; and I had so much faith also in True's sagacity
that I had hopes he would find it.  However, I gave him more credit than
he deserved.  He was always happy in the woods, like a knight-errant in
search of adventures, plenty of which he was indeed likely to meet with.

Still in the belief that we were not far wrong in our course, we walked
briskly forward.  We had gone some distance, when True made towards the
decayed trunk of a huge tree, and began barking violently.  While we
were still at a considerable distance, a large hairy creature rose up
before us.  True stood his ground bravely, rushing now on one side, now
on the other, of the animal.  It had an enormous bushy tail, curled up
something like that of a squirrel, but with a great deal more hair, and
looked fully eight feet in length.  As we drew nearer we saw that it had
also an extraordinary long snout.  It seemed in no degree afraid of
True, and he evidently considered it a formidable antagonist.  Presently
it lifted itself up on its hind legs, when True sprang back just in time
to avoid a gripe of its claws.  Still the creature, undaunted by our
appearance, made at him, when, seeing that he was really in danger, John
and I rushed forward.  We then discovered the creature to be a huge
ant-eater, which, though it had no teeth, was armed with formidable
claws, with which it would inevitably have killed my brave dog had it
caught him.  A shot in the head from John's rifle laid it dead.

It was covered with long hair, the prevailing colour being that of dark
grey, with a broad band of black running from the neck downwards on each
side of the body.  It lives entirely on ants; and on opening its mouth
we found that it could not provide itself with other food, as it was
entirely destitute of teeth.  Its claws, which were long, sharp,
pointed, and trenchant, were its only implements of defence.  Its hinder
claws were short and weak; but the front ones were powerful, and so
formed that anything at which it seizes can never hope to escape.  The
object of its powerful crooked claws is to enable it to open the
ant-hills, on the inhabitants of which it feeds.  It then draws its
long, flexible tongue, covered with a glutinous saliva, over the swarms
of insects who hurry forth to defend their dwelling.

The scientific name of this great ant-eater is _Myrmecophaga jubata_.
There are, however, several smaller ant-eaters, which are arborial--that
is, have their habitations in trees.  Some are only ten inches long.
One species is clothed with a greyish-yellow silky hair; another is of a
dingy brown colour.  They are somewhat similar in their habits to the
sloth; and as they are seen clinging with their claws to the trees, or
moving sluggishly along, they are easily mistaken for that animal, to
which, indeed, they are allied.  Some are nocturnal, others are seen
moving about in the daytime.

True seemed to be aware of the narrow escape he had had from the
formidable talons of the ant-eater, for after this encounter he kept
close behind my heels.  I hoped that he had received a useful lesson,
and would attack no animal unless at my command, or he might do so some
day when no friend was at hand to come to his rescue.

We had been walking on after this occurrence for some time in silence,
when True pricked up his ears and began to steal forward.  I could,
however, see nothing.  The undergrowth and masses of sipos were here of
considerable denseness.  Still, as he advanced, we followed him.
Presently the forest became a little more open, when we caught sight of
a creature with a long tail and a tawny hide with dark marks.  "It is a
jaguar," I whispered to John.  "It is watching some animal.  In a moment
we shall see it make its spring."  It was so intent on some object
before it, that it did not discover our approach.  On it went with the
stealthy pace of a cat about to pounce on an unwary bird or mouse.  It
did not make the slightest noise, carefully avoiding every branch in its
way.  True, after his late adventure with the ant-eater, was less
disposed than usual to seek an encounter, and I was therefore able to
keep him from dashing forward as he otherwise would have done.

"The creature is about to pounce on some deer he sees feeding in the
thicket," whispered John; "or perhaps he espies a tapir, and hopes to
bring it to the ground."

Unconscious of our approach, the savage animal crept on and on, now
putting one foot slowly forward, now the other.  Now it stopped, then
advanced more quickly.  At length it stopped for a moment, and then made
one rapid bound forward.  A cry reached our ears.  "That is a human
voice!" exclaimed John; "some unfortunate native caught sleeping."  He
fired as he spoke, for we could still see the back of the animal through
the thick underwood.  The jaguar bounded up as it received the wound,
and the next moment the tall figure of the recluse appeared, bleeding at
the shoulder, but otherwise apparently uninjured.

"What, my young friends," he exclaimed, "brought you here?  You have
saved my life, at all events."

"We chanced to lose our way, and are thankful we came up in time to save
you from that savage brute."

"Chance!" exclaimed the recluse.  "It is the very point I was
considering at the moment;" and he showed us a book in his hand.  "Your
arrival proves to me that there is no such thing as chance.  I was
reading at the moment, lost in thought, or I should not have been so
easily surprised."

John then told him how we had waited to see Ellen and our young friend
off; and then, in attempting to follow our companions, had lost our way.

"We should have got thus far sooner had we not been delayed by an attack
which a great ant-eater made on our dog."

"If you have lost your way, you will wish to find it," said the recluse.
"I will put you right, and as we go along, we can speak on the point I
mentioned.  You have some distance to go, for you should know that you
have come almost at right angles to the route you intended to take.  No
matter; I know this forest, and can lead you by a direct course to the
point you wish to gain.  But I must ask you before we move forward to
bind up my shoulder.  Here, take this handkerchief.  You need not be
afraid of hurting me."

Saying this, he resumed his seat on the log, and John, under his
directions, secured the handkerchief over the lacerated limb.  He bore
the process with perfect composure, deep as were the wounds formed by
the jaguar's claws.

"What has occurred has convinced me that chance does not exist," he
said, resuming his remarks as we walked along.  "You delayed some time,
you tell me, in watching your friends embark; then, losing your way, you
were detained by the ant-eater, and thus arrived at the very moment to
save my life.  There was no chance in that.  Had you been sooner you
would have passed me by, for I sat so occupied in reading, and ensconced
among the roots of the trees, that I should not have heard you.  Had you
delayed longer, the fierce jaguar would have seized me, and my life
would have been sacrificed.  No, I say again, there is no such thing as
chance.  He who rules the world ordered each event which has occurred,
and directed your steps hither.  It is a happy and comforting creed to
know that One more powerful than ourselves takes care of us.  Till the
moment the jaguar's sharp claw touched my shoulder, I had doubted this.
The author whose book I hold doubts it also, and I was arguing the point
with him.  Your arrival decided the question."

While he was speaking I missed True, and now heard him bark violently.
I ran back, and found the jaguar we thought had been killed rising to
its feet.  It was snarling fiercely at the brave dog, and in another
moment would have sprung upon him.  True stood prepared for the
encounter, watching the creature's glaring eyes.  I saw the danger of my
faithful friend and fired at the head of the savage animal.  My shot was
more effectual than John's.  It fell back dead.  John and the recluse
came hurrying up.

"We should never leave a treacherous foe behind us," observed the
latter.  "However, he is harmless now.  Come on.  You have a long walk
before you; though, for myself, I can find a lodging in the forest,
suited to my taste, whenever I please."

The recluse, as in our former walk, led the way.  For a considerable
distance he went on without again speaking.  There was much that was
strange about him, yet his mind seemed perfectly clear, and I could not
help hoping that we might be the means of persuading him to return to
civilised society.  He walked forward so rapidly that we sometimes had
difficulty in keeping up with him; and I remarked, more than I had done
before, his strange appearance, as he flourished his sharp axe, now
striking on one side, now on the other, at the sipos and vines which
interfered with his progress.  He was dressed merely in a coarse cotton
shirt and light trousers secured round the waist by a sash, while a
broad-brimmed straw hat sheltered his head.  His complexion was burned
almost red; his features were thin, and his eyes sunken; but no tinge of
grey could be perceived in his hair, which hung wild and streaming over
his shoulders.

True, after going on for some time patiently, began to hunt about on
either side according to his custom.  Presently he gave forth one of his
loud cheery barks, and off he bounded after a creature which had come
out of the hollow of a tree.  Calling to John, I made chase, getting my
gun ready to fire.  The ground just there was bare, and I caught sight
of an animal the size of a small pig, but its whole back and head were
covered with scales.  In spite of its awkward appearance, it made good
play over the ground, and even True, with all his activity, could
scarcely keep up with it.  It turned its head here and there, looking
apparently for a hole in which to seek shelter.  He, however, made
desperate efforts to overtake it.  The base of a large tree impeded its
progress, when, just as he was about to spring on it, it suddenly coiled
itself up into a round ball.  True kept springing round and round it,
wishing to get hold of the creature, but evidently finding no vulnerable
part.  I ran forward and seized it, when, just as I got hold of the
ball, I received so severe a dig in my legs from a pair of powerful
claws which it suddenly projected, that I was glad to throw it down
again.

"You have got hold of an armadillo," said the recluse, who with John at
that moment arrived.  "If you want a dinner, or wish to make an
acceptable present to your Indian friends, you may kill and carry it
with you; but if not, let the creature go.  For my part, I delight to
allow the beasts of the forest to roam at large, and enjoy the existence
which their Maker has given them.  The productions of the ground afford
me sufficient food to support life, and more I do not require.  Yet I
acknowledge that unless animals were allowed to prey on each other, the
species would soon become so numerous that the teeming earth itself
could no longer support them: therefore man, as he has the power, so, I
own, he has the right to supply himself with food which suits his taste.
I speak, therefore, only as regards my own feelings."

While he was speaking he seemed to forget that he had just before been
in a hurry to proceed on our way, and stood with his arms folded, gazing
at the armadillo.  The creature, finding itself unmolested, for even
True stood at a respectful distance, uncoiled itself, and I then had an
opportunity of observing its curious construction.  Its whole back was
covered with a coat of scaly armour of a bony-looking substance, in
several parts.  On the head was an oval plate, beneath which could be
seen a pair of small eyes, winking, as if annoyed by the sunlight.  Over
the shoulders was a large buckler, and a similar one covered the
haunches; while between these solid portions could be seen a series of
shelly zones, arranged in such a manner as to accommodate this coat of
mail to the back and body.  The entire tail was shielded by a series of
calcareous rings, which made it perfectly flexible.  The interior
surface, as well as the lower part of the body, was covered with coarse
scattered hairs, of which some were seen to issue forth between the
joints of the armour.  It had a pointed snout, long ears, short, thick
limbs, and stout claws.

"There are several species of the armadillo," observed our friend.  "The
creature before us is the _Dasypus sexcinctus_.  It is a burrowing
animal, and so rapidly can it dig a hole, that when chased it has often
its way made under ground before the hunter can reach it.  Its food
consists of roots, fruits, and every variety of soft vegetable
substances; but it also devours carrion and flesh of all sorts, as well
as worms, lizards, ants, and birds which build their nests on the
ground.  In some parts of the continent the natives cook it in its
shell, and esteem it a great delicacy."

Whilst our friend was giving us this account, the armadillo, suddenly
starting forward, ran off at a great rate into the forest, True made
chase, but I called him back, and he came willingly, apparently
convinced that he should be unable to overtake the creature, or
overpower it if he did.

We were once more proceeding on our way.  The day was drawing to a
close, and yet we had not overtaken our companions.  "You are scarcely
aware of the distance you were from the right road," observed the
recluse.  "When once a person gets from the direct path, he knows not
whither he may wander.  It may be a lesson to you.  I have learned it
from bitter experience."  He sighed deeply as he spoke.  At length we
saw the bright glare of a fire between the trees.  "You will find your
friends there," said the recluse, "and, directed by that, can now go
on."

"But surely you are going with us to the camp?" said John.

"No; I shall seek a resting-place in the forest," he answered.  "I am
too much accustomed to solitude to object to be alone, even though I
have no sheltering roof over my head.  Farewell!  I know not whether we
shall meet again, but I would once more give you the assurance that I do
not forget that you were the means of saving my life; and yet I know not
why I should set value upon it."

In vain John and I entreated him to come on.  Not another step further
would he advance; and he cut us short by turning hastily round and
stalking off into the depths of the forest, while we hurried on towards
the camp.

"Oh, there they are! there they are!" exclaimed Ellen, running forward
to meet us as we appeared.  "I have been so anxious about you, and so
has Arthur!  Domingos told us he was sure you would come up soon, but I
could not help dreading that some accident had happened."

We had to confess that we had lost our way, and that, had it not been
for the stranger, we should still be wandering in the forest.

"And why would he not come to the camp?" she asked.  "Arthur is longing
to see him again.  Duppo has been telling him of the way in which he
rescued him from the anaconda.  I was at last obliged to tell him what
occurred."

Arthur now came up.  "I must thank him!" he exclaimed.  "I will run and
overtake him."

We had great difficulty in persuading Arthur of the hopelessness of
finding him, and that he would be more likely to lose his own way in the
forest.

The Indians had been busily employed in putting up huts for our
accommodation.  Ellen and Maria, with their pets, had already possession
of theirs.  We hung up our hammocks in the more open shed which had been
prepared for us.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

OUR NEW RESTING-PLACE, AND THE ADVENTURES WHICH BEFEL US THERE.

Next morning Maono and his people began erecting a more substantial
habitation for us, signifying that his white friend, meaning the
recluse, had desired him to do so.  It was built on the spot we had
previously selected near the igarape, and overlooking the main river.  A
number of stout poles were first driven into the ground, and to their
tops others were joined and united in the centre, forming a conical
roof, the eaves projecting below to a considerable distance.
Palm-leaves were then fastened, much in the fashion I have before
described, over the roof, layer above layer, till a considerable
thickness was attained.  The walls were formed by interweaving sipos
between the uprights, a space being left for ventilation.  We had thus a
substantial hut erected, which it would have taken us, unaided, many
days to build.  While the Indians were working outside, John and I, with
Domingos, formed a partition in the interior, to serve as a room for
Ellen and Maria.  "We must manufacture a table and some stools, and then
our abode will be complete," said John.  Some small palms which grew
near were split with wedges into planks.  Out of these we formed, with
the assistance of Domingos, a table, and as many rough stools as we
required.

When all was complete, Maono begged by signs to know whether we were
satisfied.  We assured him that we were better accommodated than we
expected to be.  He seemed highly pleased, and still more so when we
presented him and his men each with a piece of cloth, he having three
times as much as the others.  We gave him also an axe, a knife, and
several other articles, besides a number of beads, which we let him
understand were for his wife and daughter.  He, however, seemed rather
to scorn the idea of their being thus adorned in a way superior to
himself, it being, as we observed, the custom of most Amazonian tribes
for the men to wear more ornaments than the women.  We understood that
his tribe had settled a short way off, in a secluded part of the forest,
where they might be less likely to be attacked by their enemies the
Majeronas.

We now tried to make Maono understand that we were anxious to have a
large canoe built, in which we might proceed down the river.  He replied
that he would gladly help us, but that he must return to his own people,
as they had first to be settled in their new location.  To this, of
course, we could not object, but we begged him to return as soon as
possible to assist us in our work.  As soon as he was gone we agreed to
hold a consultation as to what we should next do.  We took our seats
under the verandah in front of our new abode, John acting as president,
Ellen, Arthur, Domingos, and I ranging ourselves round him.  True,
Nimble, and Toby stood by the side of Maria, as spectators, the latter
almost as much interested apparently as she was in the discussion, while
Poll and Niger stood perched on the eaves above us.  The question was
whether we should devote all our energies to constructing a large canoe,
or make excursions in the small one we already possessed, as we before
proposed?  We requested Ellen, not only as the lady, but the youngest of
the party, to speak first.  She was decidedly of opinion that it would
be better to build the large canoe, as she was sure that our parents had
already proceeded further down the river.

"But what reasons have you for so thinking?" asked John.

Ellen was silent.  "Pray do not insist upon my giving my reasons," she
said at last.  "I can only say that I feel sure they have gone further
down.  If they had not, I think we should have found them before this;
indeed, my heart tells me that we shall find them before long if we
continue our course down the river."

John smiled.  "Those are indeed very lady-like reasons," he observed.
"However, we will record your opinion; and now wish we to know what
Arthur has to say."

"I should like to agree with Miss Ellen, but at the same time cannot
feel sure of a matter of which we have no evidence," said Arthur.  "We
have not examined the banks up the stream or on the opposite side.
Although we have good reasons for supposing that, after quitting their
first location, your family proceeded downwards, as the labour of
paddling against the current is very great, yet, as they may have
stopped at some intermediate spot, I advise that we examine the banks on
both sides of the river between this place and that where we expected to
find them."

"Now, Harry, what do you say?" asked John.

"I agree with Arthur," I replied.  "As we came down a considerable
distance at night, I say we should examine the shores we then passed.
As the greater part of our voyage was performed by daylight, I do not
think it at all likely we could have missed them had they been sailing
up to meet us.  I also advise that we make the excursion we proposed in
the small canoe in the first place, while our Indian friends are
constructing the larger one."

Domingos had been standing with his arms folded, as was his custom,
watching our countenances.  He had perfectly understood what was said.
Taking off his hat, he made a bow to Ellen, saying, "I agree with the
senora.  I feel sure that my honoured master would desire to place his
family in safety at a distance from the savage tribe who attacked him,
and that, therefore, he has moved further down the river, probably to
one of the nearest Portuguese settlements on the banks.  But knowing his
affection for you, his children, I believe he would have sent back
messengers to meet us should he have been unable to return himself.  It
is they, in my opinion, we should look out for; probably, indeed, they
have already passed us.  I am sorry that we did not leave some signals
at our stopping-places, which might show them where we have been, and
lead them to us.  Then, again, as Senor Fiel might not have been able to
procure messengers at once, and as the voyage up the stream is
laborious, they may not have got as far as this.  Thus we are right in
remaining at this spot, whence we can see them should they approach.  I
therefore hold to the opinion that the large canoe should be constructed
without delay, in which we might continue our voyage, but that we should
keep a look-out both by day and night, lest our friends might pass by
without observing us."

"It becomes, then, my duty as president to give the casting vote in this
important matter," observed John, "as the members of the council are
divided in opinion.  Although the opinion expressed by Ellen and
Domingos has probability on its side, yet it must be considered
theoretical; while that given by Arthur and Harry is undoubtedly of a
more practical character.  Should we on exploring the shores higher up
find no traces of our relatives, we shall then proceed with more
confidence on our voyage, buoyed up with the hope of overtaking them.
In the other ease we might be sailing on with the depressing
consciousness that, not having searched for them thoroughly, we might be
leaving them behind.  I therefore decide that, while our Indian friends
are engaged in building a canoe, in which work, from our inexperience,
we cannot render them any effectual aid, we employ the interval in
making the exploring expeditions we proposed.  The point to be settled
is, how are we to carry out that plan?"

"The small canoe will not convey more than three people at the utmost,"
I observed.  "I should like to go with Arthur and Duppo, as I at first
suggested; while you, John, stay to take care of Ellen, and superintend
the building of the canoe.  You will be better able than any of us to
keep the Indians to their work, and guard Ellen, should any danger occur
from hostile Indians, or of any other description."

"I should certainly have liked to have gone myself," said John.  "But
your argument is a strong one.  I am sure I can trust you and Arthur,
and Duppo, from his acuteness, will be of great assistance to you; and
yet I do not like you to run the risk of the dangers to which you may be
exposed."

"It would not be worse for us than for you," remarked Arthur.  "I would
willingly stay to defend Miss Ellen; but I am afraid I should not manage
the Indians, or act as you would do in an emergency."

I saw that John put considerable restraint on himself when he finally
agreed to let us go.  Yet as we were as well able to manage the canoe as
he was, and much lighter, we were better suited to form its crew.  At
the same time, it seemed evident that Ellen would be safer under the
protection of two grown-up men, than of lads like Arthur and I.  It was
necessary, however, to wait to arrange provisions for our expedition,
and obtain also the advice of Maono on the subject.  We much regretted
that we could not communicate with the recluse, as he would have
interpreted for us, and would also have given us his advice.

While taking a paddle in our canoe, we agreed that she required
considerable alterations to fit her for our intended expedition.  Our
first task was to haul her up, and strengthen her bulwarks; for it will
be remembered that they were before put up in a hurried manner, and were
already almost torn off.

We were thus engaged in front of the hut when we heard Ellen exclaim,
"There is some one coming."  And looking through an opening in the
forest, I saw Duppo and his sister approaching, carrying baskets on
their backs.  Arthur and I ran forward to meet them.  They made signs
that they had brought a present of farinha to the young white lady, as
they designated Ellen; not by words, however, but by putting a piece of
white bark on their own brown cheeks.  We then conducted them to Ellen.

"I am so glad to see you," she said, taking Oria's hand; and though the
Indian girl could not understand the words, she clearly comprehended the
expression of my young sister's countenance, which beamed with pleasure.
Maria grinned from ear to ear, not at all jealous of the attention her
young mistress paid the pretty native; and all three were soon seated in
front of the hut, talking together in the universal language of signs.
It was extraordinary how well they seemed to understand each other.
Oria's garments were certainly somewhat scanty; but in a short time
Maria ran into the hut, and quickly returned with a petticoat and scarf,
part of Ellen's wardrobe.  Nothing could exceed the delight of the young
savage (for so I may properly call her) when her white and black sisters
robed her in these garments.  Pretty as was her countenance, it usually
wanted animation; but on this occasion it brightened up with pleasure.
The clothes seemed at once to put her more on an equality with her
companions.  When they had talked for a time, Ellen called out her pets
to introduce them to Oria, who signified that if it would gratify her
new friend she would undertake to obtain many more.

"Oh, yes, yes!" exclaimed Ellen.  "I should so like to have some of
those beautiful little humming-birds which have been flying about here
lately, feeding on the gay-coloured flowers growing on the open ground
around, or hanging by their long tendrils from the trees."

Neither Duppo nor Oria could understand these remarks, but they did the
signs which accompanied them; and they both answered that they hoped
soon to obtain for her what she wished.

We then took Duppo down to the canoe, and I tried to explain to him our
intention of making a voyage in her.  This he understood very clearly;
indeed, the recluse had, we suspected, already intimated to the Indians
our anxiety about our missing friends.  Duppo was of great assistance to
us in repairing the canoe and putting on fresh bulwarks.  We determined,
in addition to the paddles, to have a mast and sail.  We had some light
cotton among our goods, which would answer the purpose of the sail, and
could be more easily handled, and would therefore be less dangerous,
than a mat sail.

We found that Oria had taken the invitation as it was intended, and had
come to remain with Ellen.

"I am so glad," said our sister, when she discovered this.  "I shall now
be able to teach her English; and, I am sure, we shall be great
friends."

"But would you not also be able to teach her about the God of the
English?" said Arthur, in a low voice.  "That is of more consequence.
She now knows nothing of the God of mercy, love, and truth.  From what I
can learn, these poor savages are fearfully ignorant."

"Oh yes," said Ellen, looking up.  "I shall indeed be glad to do that.
I am so thankful to you, Arthur, for reminding me."

"We should remember that that Saviour who died for us died for them
also," said Arthur; "and it is our duty to make known that glorious
truth to them."

"It will be a hard task though, I fear," remarked Ellen, "as Oria does
not yet know a word of English; and though we may make signs to show her
what we want her to do, I do not see how we can speak of religion until
she understands our language."

"The more necessity then for teaching her without delay," observed
Arthur.  "She seems very intelligent; and if we lose no opportunity of
instructing her, I hope she may soon acquire sufficient knowledge to
receive the more simple truths, which, after all, are the most
important."

"Then I will begin at once," said Ellen.  "She has already been trying
to repeat words after me; and I hope before the end of the day to have
taught her some more."

Ellen was in earnest.  Our dear little sister, though very quiet and
gentle, had a determined, energetic spirit.  It was very interesting to
see her labouring patiently to teach the young Indian girl.  Duppo had
already learned a good many words, and seemed to understand many things
we said to him.  We scarcely ever had to repeat the name of a thing more
than two or three times for him to remember it; and he would run with
alacrity to fetch whatever we asked for.

We had much more trouble in teaching manners to our dumb companions; for
in spite of Master Nimble's general docility, he was constantly playing
some trick, or getting into scrapes of all sorts.  One day he was seen
by Duppo trying to pull the feathers out of Niger's head; and on another
occasion he was discovered in an attempt to pluck poor Poll, in spite of
her determined efforts to escape from his paws.  He often sorely tried
True's good-temper; while if a pot or pan was left uncovered, he was
sure to have his fingers in it, to examine whether its contents were to
his liking.

We were working at the canoe one morning when I heard Maria's voice
calling to us.

"See what it is she wants, Harry," said John, who was busily employed.

I ran up to the hut.

"O Senor Harry!" exclaimed Maria, "Nimble has scampered off into the
woods, and enticed Toby to go with him; and Senora Ellen has run after
them, and I do not know what may happen if there is no one near to
protect her."

I took up my gun on hearing this, and followed Ellen, whose dress I
caught a glimpse of among the trees.  Presently I saw her, as I got
nearer, throw up her hands, as if she had seen some object which had
alarmed her.  I hurried on.

"What is it, Ellen?"  I shouted out.

"Oh, look there, Harry!" she exclaimed.  "They will catch Nimble and
Toby."

I sprang to her side, and then saw, just beyond a thicket of ferns, two
huge pumas, which were on the point of springing up a tree, among whose
branches were clinging our two pets, Nimble and Toby, their teeth
chattering with terror, while their alarm seemed almost to have
paralysed them.  In another instant they would have been in the clutches
of the pumas.  I was more concerned about my dear little sister's safety
than for that of her monkeys.  At first I thought of telling her to run
back to the hut; but then it flashed across me that the pumas might see
her and follow.  So I exclaimed, "Get behind me, Ellen; and we will
shout together, and try and frighten the beasts.  That will, at all
events, bring John to our help."

We shouted at the top of our voices.  I certainly never shouted louder.
Meantime I raised my gun, to be ready to fire should the pumas threaten
to attack us or persist in following our pets.  Scarcely had our voices
ceased, when I heard True's bark, as he came dashing through the wood.
The pumas had not till then discovered us, so eagerly had they been
watching the monkeys.  They turned their heads for a moment.  Nimble
took the opportunity of swinging himself out of their reach.  Ellen
shrieked, for she thought they were going to spring at us.  I fired at
the nearest, while True dashed boldly up towards the other.  My bullet
took effect, and the powerful brute rolled over, dead.  The sound of the
shot startled its companion; and, fortunately for gallant little True,
it turned tail, and bounded away through the forest,--John, who had been
hurrying up, getting a distant shot as it disappeared among the trees.
Arthur and the two Indians followed John, greatly alarmed at our shouts
and the sound of the firearms.

Nimble and Toby, still chattering with fear, came down from their lofty
retreat when we called them, and, looking very humble and penitent,
followed Ellen to the hut; while we, calling Domingos to our assistance,
set to work to skin the puma.  The meat we cooked and found very like
veal, and Domingos managed to dress the skin sufficiently to preserve
it.

Duppo had clearly understood Ellen's wish to have some humming-birds
caught alive.  We were always up at daybreak, to enjoy the cool air of
the morning.  He had gone out when the first streaks of dawn appeared in
the eastern sky, over the cold grey line of the river.  When we could do
so with safety, we never failed to take a bath.  We had just come out of
the water, and were dressing, when Duppo ran up, and signed to us to
follow him.  We called Ellen as we passed the hut, and all together went
towards the igarape, where, in a more open space than usual, a number of
graceful fuschia-looking flowers, as well as others of different forms,
hung suspended from long tendrils, intertwined with the branches of the
trees.  Into this spot the rising sun poured its glorious beams with
full brilliancy.  We cautiously advanced, when the space before us
seemed suddenly filled with the most beautiful sparking gems of varied
colours, floating here and there in the bright sunlight.  I could
scarcely believe that the creatures before us belonged to the feathered
tribes, so brilliant were their hues, so rapid their movements.
Sometimes they vanished from sight, as they darted with inconceivable
rapidity from branch to branch.  Now one might be seen for an instant
hovering over a flower, its wings looking like two grey filmy fans
expanded at its sides.  Then we could see another dip its long slender
bill into the cup of an upright flower.  Now one would come beneath a
suspended blossom.  Sometimes one of the little creatures would dart off
into the air, to catch some insect invisible to the eye; and we could
only judge of what it was about by its peculiar movements.  As we
watched, a tiny bird would perch on a slender twig, and rest there for a
few seconds, thus giving us an opportunity of examining its beauties.
Ellen could scarcely restrain her delight and admiration at the
spectacle; for though we had often seen humming-birds before, we had
never beheld them to such advantage.  The little creature we saw had a
crest on the top of its head of a peculiarly rich chestnut, or ruddy
tint.  The upper surface of the body was of a bronzed green hue, and a
broad band of white crossed the lower part, but the wings were
purple-black.  The chief part of the tail was chestnut.  The forehead
and throat were also of the same rich hue.  On either side of the neck
projected a snow-white plume, tipped with the most resplendent metallic
green.  The effect of these beautiful colours may be imagined as the
birds flew rapidly to and fro, or perched on a spray, like the one I
have described.  Another little creature, very similar to it, was to be
seen flying about above the heads of the others.  It also had a crest,
which was of the same colour as the others, but of a somewhat lighter
tint; while at the base of each feather, as we afterwards observed, was
a round spot of bronzed green, looking like a gem in a dark setting.
The crest, which was constantly spread out, appeared very like that of a
peacock's tail, though, as Ellen observed, it would be a very little
peacock to have such a tail.  On searching in our book, we found that
the first of these humming-birds we had remarked was a tufted coquette
(_Lophornis ornatus_), while the other, which we seldom saw afterwards,
was the spangled coquette.  These birds, with several others of similar
habits and formation, are classed separately from the _Trochilidae_, and
belong to the genus _Phaethornis_.  They are remarkable for the long
pointed feathers of their tails, the two central ones being far longer
than the rest.  We met with a greater number of them than of any other
genus on the banks of the Amazon.

After we had enjoyed the spectacle for some time, Duppo begged us to
come a little further, when he showed us a beautiful little nest,
secured to the innermost point of a palm-leaf.  On the top of the leaf a
little spangled coquette was watching her eggs within.  Unlike the nests
of the _Trochilidae_, which are saucer-shaped, it was of a long,
funnel-like form, broad at the top and tapering towards the lower part.
The outside, which was composed of small leaves and moss, had a somewhat
rugged appearance; but the inside, as we had reason to know, was soft
and delicate in the extreme, being thickly lined with silk-cotton from
the fruit of the sumauma-tree.  Below the first was perched a tufted
coquette, looking as boldly at us as any town sparrow.  The little
creatures, indeed, kept hovering about; and one came within a few feet
of our faces, as much as to ask how we dared to intrude on its domains.
More pugnacious or brave little beings do not exist among the feathered
tribes.

I cannot hope to describe with any degree of accuracy the numbers of
beautiful humming-birds we met with in different places; for though some
are migratory, the larger proportion strictly inhabit certain
localities, and are seldom met with, we were told, in any other.  The
humming-birds of the Andes, of which there are a great variety, never
descend into the plains; nor do those of the plains attempt to intrude
on the domains of their mountain relatives.  Although they may live on
the nectar of flowers, they have no objection to the tiny insects they
find among their petals, or which fly through the air, while many devour
as titbits the minute spiders which weave their gossamer webs among the
tall grass or shrubs.

"I should not think that any human being could catch one of those little
creatures," said Ellen, as we returned homewards.  "The sharpest-eyed
sportsman would find it difficult to hit one with his fowling-piece."

"He would certainly blow it to pieces," observed John, "if he made the
attempt.  They are shot, however, with sand; and perhaps our young
Indian friend himself will find the means of shooting one, if he cannot
capture it in some other way."

"Oh, I would not have one shot for the world!" exclaimed Ellen.  "Pray
let him understand that he must do nothing of the sort for my sake."

While we were at breakfast, Duppo, who had disappeared, came running up
with one of the beautiful little creatures which we had seen in his
hand.  It seemed much less alarmed than birds usually are in the grasp
of a boy.  Perhaps that was owing to the careful way in which Duppo held
it.

"Oh, you lovely little gem!" exclaimed Ellen; "but I am sure I shall
never be able to take proper care of it."

Duppo, who seemed to understand her, signified that Oria would do so for
her.  Oria, who had been watching us taking sugar with our tea, and had
by this time discovered its qualities, mixed a little in a spoon, which
she at once put before the bill of the little humming-bird.  At first it
was far too much alarmed to taste the sweet mess.  At length, growing
accustomed to the gentle handling of the Indian girl, it poked out its
beak and took a sip.  "Ho, ho!" it seemed to say, "that is nice stuff!"
and then it took another sip, and very soon seemed perfectly satisfied
that it was not going to be so badly off, in spite of its imprisonment.
Oria intimated that she would in time make the little stranger quite
tame.

"But we must keep it out of the way of Master Nimble's paws, for
otherwise he would be very likely to treat it with small ceremony,"
observed John.  "Why, Ellen, you will have a perfect menagerie before
long."

"Yes, I hope so," she answered; "I am not nearly contented yet.  I
should like to have one of those beautiful little ducks you were telling
me of, and as many humming-birds as I can obtain."

"Perhaps you would like to have a jaguar or puma," said John.  "If
caught young, I dare say they can be tamed as well as any other animal."

"I am afraid they would quarrel with my more harmless pets," answered
Ellen.  "And yet a fine large puma would be a good defence against all
enemies."

"Not against an Indian with a poisoned arrow.  He would be inconvenient,
too, to transport in our canoe.  I hope therefore you will confine
yourself to small animals, which will not occupy much space.  You may
have as many humming-birds as you like, and half-a-dozen monkeys,
provided they and Nimble do not quarrel."

"Except some pretty little monkeys, I do not wish for any others besides
those I already have," said Ellen.

Duppo and Oria understood Ellen's wish to obtain living creatures, and
they were constantly seeking about, and coming back sometimes with a
beautiful butterfly or moth, sometimes with parrots and other birds.

While we were getting the canoe ready, Ellen and Maria, with the
assistance of Oria, had been preparing food for us--baking cakes, and
drying the meat of several birds and animals which John had killed.  We
had hoped to see the large canoe begun before we took our departure, but
as the Indians had not arrived, we agreed that it would be better to
lose no more time, and to start at once.

We took an experimental trip in the canoe before finally starting.  We
could have wished her considerably lighter than she was; at the same
time, what she wanted in speed, she possessed in stability.

Early in the morning we bade Ellen and John, with our faithful
attendants, good-bye.  Oria, we thought, exhibited a good deal of
anxiety when we were about to shove off, and she came down to the water
and had a long talk with her brother, evidently charging him to keep his
wits about him, and to take good care of us.  Dear Ellen could scarcely
restrain her tears.  "Oh, do be careful where you venture, Harry!" she
said.  "I dread your falling into the power of those dreadful savages."
John also gave us sundry exhortations, to which we promised to attend.

We were just in the mouth of the igarape, when we saw in the distance a
small canoe coming down it.  We therefore waited for her arrival.  She
drew nearer.  We saw that only two people were in her, and we then
recognised our friend Maono and his wife Illora.  They were bringing a
quantity of plantains and other fruits, with which the centre of the
canoe was filled.  Among others were several crowns of young palm-trees,
which, when boiled, are more delicate than cabbages, and are frequently
used by the natives.  Maono was dressed in his usual ornaments of
feathers on his arms and head, his hair being separated neatly in the
centre, and hanging down on either side.  Round his neck was a necklace,
and his legs were also adorned like his arms.

"I have been thinking a good deal lately about the account of the early
voyagers, who declared that they met a nation of warrior-women on the
banks of this river," observed Arthur; "and looking at Maono, it strikes
me that we have an explanation of the extraordinary circumstance.  If a
party of strangers were to see a band of such men, with shields on their
arms, guarding the shores, they would very likely suppose them, from
their appearance, to be females, and consequently, not having had any
closer view of them, they would sail away, declaring that they had met a
party of Amazons, who had prevented their landing.  It was thus this
mighty river obtained the name of the Amazon.  The idea would have been
confirmed, had they seen in the distance a band of people, without
ornaments of any description, carrying burdens on their backs.  These
the strangers would naturally have supposed to be slaves, taken in war,
and employed to carry the baggage of the fighting ladies."  I agreed
with him that it was very likely to have been the case.

As our friends drew near, Duppo spoke to them, and told them where we
were going.  He then explained to us that if we would wait a little
longer, they would accompany us and assist us in our search.  On
reaching the shore, they carried up their present to Ellen, Illora, I
must confess, bearing the larger portion.  Some of the plantains and
fruits they put into our canoe as they passed.  They had another long
talk, by the usual means of signs, with John and Domingos, who managed
tolerably well to comprehend their meaning.  We asked Duppo how it was
they came to have a canoe.  He replied that they had found one which had
been left behind by the Majeronas, and, as we understood, they had
brought it down through the igarape, which communicated with another
river to the north of us, running into the main stream.  When I heard
this, the idea struck me that we were not yet altogether free from the
danger of being attacked by the Majeronas, who, having possessed
themselves of our canoe and those of our friends, might some night come
down and take us by surprise.

I jumped on shore and took John aside, so that Ellen could not hear me,
that I might tell him my fears.  "You are right to mention them to me,"
he answered; "at the same time, I do not think we need be alarmed.  I
will, however, try and explain your idea to the Indians, and get them to
place scouts on the watch for such an occurrence.  I certainly wish we
were further off; but yet, as we are now at a considerable distance from
their territory, we shall be able to hear of their approach, should they
come, in time to escape.  We must make our way through the woods to the
hut of the recluse, and I am very sure that he will be able to afford us
protection.  From what he said, he is well-known among all the
surrounding tribes, who appear to treat him with great respect.  Though
we may lose such of our property as we cannot carry off, that will be of
minor importance if we save our lives.  For my part, however, I am under
no apprehension of the sort; and I am very glad you did not mention your
fears in the presence of Ellen."

Though I hoped I might be wrong in supposing an attack possible, I was
satisfied at having warned John before going away.  Arthur and I tried
to make Duppo understand our plans, that he might describe them to his
father and mother.  They, in return, signified that they would proceed
part of the way with us, and make inquiries as they went along, having
been requested to do so by their white friend--meaning the recluse.

John, Ellen, Domingos, and Maria came down to the edge of the water once
more to see us off, accompanied by Nimble and Toby--Toby placed on the
shoulders of Domingos, while Nimble perched himself on John's arm,
holding him affectionately round the neck with his tail.  Poll and Niger
always accompanied Ellen.  "We shall soon be back!"  I exclaimed, as I
shoved off; "and who knows but that we may be accompanied by papa,
mamma, Fanny, and Aunt Martha!  Ellen, you must get out your books, for
she will be shocked at finding that you have been so long idle."  With
these and other cheerful remarks we backed away from the shore, then,
turning the canoe's head round, proceeded after our Indian friends.  By
keeping close to the banks we were out of the current, and thus made
good way.  Sometimes I steered, sometimes Duppo.  Arthur always begged
that he might keep at his paddle, saying he did not like to take the
place of those who had more experience than himself.  A light wind at
length coming from the eastward, we hoisted our sail, and got ahead of
Maono and his wife.  The wind increasing, we ran the other canoe out of
sight; but Duppo assured us that his father and mother would soon catch
us up, and that we need not therefore wait for them.  We looked into
every opening in the forest which lined the bank, in the faint hope of
seeing the habitation of our friends; but not a hut of any description
was visible; indeed, the shores were mostly lined with so dense a
vegetation, that in but few places could we even have landed, while
often for leagues together there was not a spot on which a hut could
have been built.  The wind again falling, we were obliged once more to
lower our sail and to take to our paddles, when we were quickly rejoined
by our Indian friends.  As it was important to examine every part of the
shore carefully, we had agreed, if we could find an island, to land
early in the evening on it.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

OUR EXPLORING EXPEDITION--FEARFUL DANGER.

A week had passed away.  We had crossed the stream several times to
examine the southern bank of the river, and every inch of the northern
bank had been explored.  Sometimes we met Maono and his wife to compare
notes, and then we again separated to continue our explorations.  We
were now once more proceeding up the Napo, with high clay banks
surmounted by lofty forest trees above our heads.  "I see some people
moving on the shore there.  O Harry! can it be them?" exclaimed Arthur.
Several persons appeared coming through an opening in the forest, at a
spot where the ground sloped down to the water.  We could, however, see
no habitation.

"It is possible," I answered.  We passed this part of the river in the
dark, and might thus have missed them.

Having been exploring the western bank, we were crossing the river at
that moment.  As we paddled on, my heart beat with excitement.  If it
should be them after all!  The people stopped, and seemed to be
observing us.  We paddled on with all our might, and they came down
closer to the water.  Suddenly Duppo lifted up his paddle and exclaimed,
"Majeronas!"  We looked and looked again, still hoping that Duppo might
have been mistaken; but his eyes were keener than ours.  Approaching a
little nearer, we were convinced that he was right.  To go closer to the
shore, therefore, would be useless and dangerous.  We accordingly
paddled back to the side we had just left, where we once more continued
our upward course.

We had parted two days before this from Maono and Illora, who were to
explore part of the bank we had left unvisited, and to meet us again at
the island where we had been so nearly wrecked at the mouth of the
igarape.  We had almost reached the spot where we had expected to find
my father and the rest of our family.  The shores of the river were
occasionally visited, as we had learned by experience, by the Majeronas,
though not usually inhabited by them.  It was therefore necessary to use
great caution when going on shore.  We landed, however, whenever we saw
a spot where we thought it possible our friends might have touched on
their voyage, in the hope that they might there have left some signal or
note for us.  The banks were here very different from those lower down.
In many places they were composed of sand or clay cliffs of considerable
height, often completely overhanging the river, as if the water had
washed away their bases--indeed, such was undoubtedly the case.
Frequently the trees grew to the very edge of these cliffs, their
branches forming a thick shade over the stream.  To avoid the hot sun we
were tempted to keep our canoe close under them, as it was very pleasant
to be able to paddle on in the comparatively cool air.  Thus we
proceeded, till we arrived at the spot where we had been so bitterly
disappointed at not finding my family.  No one was to be seen, but we
landed, that we might again examine it more carefully.  The ground on
which the hut had stood still remained undisturbed, though vegetation
had almost obliterated all the traces of fire.  After hunting about in
vain for some time, we took our way back to the canoe.  We had nearly
reached the water's edge, when Arthur exclaimed that he saw something
white hanging to the lower branch of a tree, amid the thick undergrowth
which grew around.  We had some difficulty in cutting our way up to it.
We then saw a handkerchief tied up in the shape of a ball.

"Why, it is only full of dried leaves!" exclaimed Arthur, as we opened
it.

"Stay a moment," I answered.  "I think there is something within them
though."

Unrolling the leaves, I found a small piece of paper, torn apparently
from a pocket-book.  On it were written a few lines.  They were: "Dear
Brothers,--I trust you will see this.  Enemies are approaching, and our
father has resolved to quit this spot and proceed down the river.  We
hope to send a messenger up to warn you not to land here, but I leave
this in case you should miss him, and do so.  Where we shall stop, I
cannot say; but our father wishes, for our mother's sake and mine, and
Aunt Martha's, not again to settle till we reach a part of the river
inhabited by friendly natives.  That will, I fear, not be till we get
some way down the Amazon.  I am warned to finish and do this up.  The
natives are seen in the distance coming towards us."

This note, the first assurance we had received that our family had
escaped, greatly raised our spirits.  We had now only to make the best
of our way back to John and Ellen with the satisfactory intelligence.
We accordingly hurried back to the canoe, and began our downward voyage.
We had gone some distance when we saw a small opening in the river,
where, on the shore, two or three canoes were hauled up.  They might
belong to friendly natives, from whom we might obtain some fish or other
fresh provisions, of which we were somewhat in want.  We were about to
paddle in, when we caught sight of several fierce-looking men with bows
in their hands, rushing down towards the bank.  Their appearance and
gestures were so hostile that we immediately turned the head of our
canoe down the stream again, and paddled away as fast as we could.  We
had not, however, got far, when, looking back, we saw that they had
entered one of the larger canoes, and were shoring off, apparently to
pursue us.  We did our best to make way, in the hope of keeping ahead of
them.  I should have said the weather at this time had been somewhat
changeable.  Clouds had been gathering in the sky, and there was every
sign of a storm.  As I have already described two we encountered, I need
not enter into the particulars of the one which now broke over us.
Under other circumstances we should have been glad to land to escape its
fury, but as it was, we were compelled to paddle on as fast as we could
go.  On looking back, we saw that the Indians were actually pursuing us.
"Never fear," cried Arthur.  "We shall be able to keep ahead of them!"
The lightning flashed vividly, the rain came down in torrents, but
through the thick wall of water we could still see our enemies coming
rapidly after us.  Although the current, had we stood out into the
middle of the stream, might have carried us faster, the shortest route
was by keeping near the bank.  The Indians followed the same course.
True rushed to the stern, and stood up barking defiance at them, as he
saw them drawing nearer.  I dreaded lest they should begin to shoot with
their poisoned arrows.  Should they get near enough for those fearful
weapons to reach us, our fate would be sealed.  Only for an instant
could we afford time to glance over our shoulders at our foes.  Nearer
and nearer they drew.  Duppo courageously kept his post, steering the
canoe, and paddling with all his might.  Every moment I expected to see
them start up and let fly a shower of arrows at us.  I might, of course,
have fired at them; but this would have delayed us, and probably not
have stopped them.  Our only hope of escape therefore depended upon our
being able to distance them.  Yet they were evidently coming up with us.
We strained every nerve; but, try as we might, we could not drive our
little canoe faster than we were going.

My heart sank within me when, looking back once more, I saw how near
they were.  In a few minutes more we might expect to have a shower of
arrows whizzing by us, and then we knew too well that, though we might
receive comparatively slight wounds, the deadly poison in them would
soon have effect.  This did not make us slacken our exertions, though
scarcely any hope of escape remained.  Still we knew that something
unforeseen might intervene for our preservation.  I do hold, and always
have held, that it is the duty of a man to struggle to the last.  "Never
say die!" is a capital motto in a good cause.

The rain poured down in torrents, the lightning flashed, the thunder
roared, and gusts of wind swept down the river.  We were, however,
greatly protected by the bank above us.  The storm blew more furiously.
We could see overhead branches torn from the trees and carried into the
stream.  Still the Indians, with unaccountable pertinacity, followed us.
We scarcely now dared look behind us, as all our energies were required
to keep ahead; yet once more I turned round.  Several of our pursuers
were standing up and drawing their bows.  The arrows flew by us.  "Oh, I
am hit!" cried Arthur.  "But I wish I had not said that.  Paddle on!
paddle on!  I may still have strength to go on for some time."  Now,
indeed, I felt ready to give way to despair; still, encouraged by
Arthur, I persevered.  For a moment only he ceased paddling.  It was to
pull the arrow from the wound in his shoulder; then again he worked away
as if nothing had occurred.  The next flight of arrows, I knew, might be
fatal to all of us.  I could not resist glancing round.  Once more the
Indians were drawing their bows; but at that instant a fearful rumbling
noise was heard, followed by a terrific crashing sound.  The trees above
our heads bent forward.  "Paddle out into the middle of the stream!"
cried Arthur.  Duppo seemed to have understood him, and turned the
canoe's head away from the shore.  The whole cliff above us was giving
way.  Down it came, crash succeeding crash, the water lashed into foam.
The spot where the canoe of our savage pursuers had last been seen was
now one mass of falling cliff and tangled forest.  Trees were ahead of
us, trees on every side.  The next instant I found myself clinging to
the branch of a tree.  True had leaped up to my ride.  Duppo was close
to me grasping the tree with one hand, while he held my gun above his
head in the other.  I took it from him and placed it in a cleft of the
trunk.  Without my aid he quickly climbed up out of the water.  The
canoe had disappeared, and where was Arthur?  The masses of foam, the
thick, down-pouring rain, the leaves and dust whirled by the wind round
us, concealed everything from our sight.

"Arthur!--Arthur!--where are you?"  I cried out.  There was no answer.
Again I shouted at the top of my voice, "Arthur!--Arthur!"  The tree,
detached from the bank, now floated down the stream.  I could only hope
that it would not turn over in the eddying waters.  Still the loud
crashing sounds of the falling cliff continued, as each huge mass came
sliding down into the river.  The current, increased in rapidity by the
rain, which had probably been falling much heavier higher up the stream,
bore us onward.  Oh, what would I have given to know that my friend had
escaped!  I could scarcely feel as thankful as I ought to have done for
my own preservation, when I thought that he had been lost.

The whole river seemed filled with uprooted trees; in some places bound
together by the sipos, they formed vast masses--complete islands.  On
several we could see creatures moving about.  Here and there several
terrified monkeys, which had taken shelter from the storm in a hollow
trunk, were now running about, looking out in vain for some means of
reaching the shore.  Ahead of us we distinguished some large animal on a
floating mass, but whether jaguar, puma, or tapir, at that distance I
could not make out.  No trace of the Indians or their canoe could we
discover.  It was evident that they had been entirely overwhelmed;
indeed, as far as we could judge, the landslip had commenced close to
the spot where we had last seen them, and they could not have had the
warning which we received before the cliff was upon them.  Not for a
moment, however, notwithstanding all the terrifying circumstances
surrounding me, were my thoughts taken off Arthur.  Wounded as he had
been by the poisoned dart, I feared that, even had he not been struck by
the bough of a falling tree, he would have sunk through weakness
produced by the poison.  It made me very sad.  Duppo was trying to
comfort me, but what he said I could not understand.  Our own position
was indeed dangerous in the extreme.  Any moment the tree might roll
over, as we saw others doing round us: we might be unable to regain a
position on the upper part.  Should we escape that danger, and be driven
on the bank inhabited by the hostile Majeronas, they would very probably
put us to death.  I had, however, providentially my ammunition-belt
round my waist, and my gun had been preserved; I might, therefore, fight
for life, and if we escaped, kill some animals for our support.  Should
we not reach the land, and once enter the main river, we might be
carried down for hundreds of miles, day after day, and, unable to
procure any food, be starved to death.  Ellen and John would be very
anxious at our non-appearance.  These and many similar thoughts crossed
my mind.  I fancied that had Arthur been with me I should have felt very
differently, but his loss made my spirits sink, and I could hardly keep
up the courage which I had always wished to maintain under difficulties.
Duppo's calmness put me to shame.  True looked up in my face, and
endeavoured to comfort me by licking my hand, and showing other marks of
affection.  Poor fellow! if we were likely to starve, so was he; but
then he did not know that, and was better able to endure hunger than
either Duppo or me.

The rain continued pouring down, hiding all objects, except in the
immediate vicinity, from our view.  I judged, however, that the falling
cliff had sent us some distance from the shore into the more rapid part
of the current.  Providentially it was so, for we could still see the
indistinct forms of the trees come sliding down, while the constant loud
crashes told us that the destruction of the banks had not yet ceased.
Thus we floated on till darkness came down upon us, adding to the horror
of our position.  The rain had by that time stopped.  The thunder no
longer roared, and the lightning ceased flashing.  The storm was over,
but I feared, from the time of the year, that we might soon be visited
by another.  We had climbed up into a broad part of the trunk, where,
among the projecting branches, we could sit or lie down securely without
danger of falling off.  My chief fear arose from what I have already
mentioned,--the possibility of the tree turning over.  This made me
unwilling either to secure myself to the branches, or indeed even to
venture to go to sleep.

Hour after hour slowly passed by.  Had Arthur been saved, I could have
kept up my spirits; but every now and then, when the recollection of his
loss came across me, I could not help bursting into tears.  Poor, dear
fellow!  I had scarcely thought how much I had cared for him.  Duppo
spoke but little; indeed, finding himself tolerably secure, he probably
thought little of the future.  He expected, I dare say, to get on shore
somewhere or other, and it mattered little to him where that was.  True
coiled himself up by my side, continuing his efforts to comfort me.  In
spite of my unwillingness to go to sleep, I found myself frequently
dropping off; and at last, in spite of my dread of what might occur, my
eyes remained closed, and my senses wandered away into the land of
dreams.  Duppo also went to sleep, and, I suspect, so did True.

I was awoke by the rays of the sun striking my eyes; when, opening them,
I looked about me, wondering where I was.  Very soon I recollected all
that had occurred.  Then came the sad recollection that Arthur had been
lost.  Our tree appeared to be in the position in which it had been when
we went to sleep.  Numerous other trees and masses of wood, some of
considerable size, floated around us on either hand.  The banks were
further off than I had expected to find them.  True, pressing his head
against me, looked up affectionately in my face, as much as to ask,
"What are we to do next, master?"  It was a question I was puzzled to
answer.  I had to call loudly to Duppo to arouse him.  After looking
about for some time, I was convinced that the tree had been drifted into
the main stream.  On and on it floated.  I began to feel very hungry; as
did my companions.  We were better off than we should have been at sea
on a raft, because we could, by scrambling down the branches, quench our
thirst.  I brought some water up in my cap for True, as I was afraid of
letting him go down, lest he should be washed off.  I was holding it for
him to drink, when Duppo pointed, with an expression of terror in his
countenance, to the upper end of the tree, and there I saw, working its
way towards us along the branches, a huge serpent, which had probably
remained concealed in some hollow, or among the forked boughs, during
the night.  A second glance convinced me that it was a boa.  To escape
from it was impossible.  If we should attempt to swim to the other trees
it might follow us, or we might be snapped up by alligators on our way.
I might kill it, but if I missed, it would certainly seize one of us.
It stopped, and seemed to be watching us.  Its eye was fixed on True,
who showed none of his usual bravery.  Instinct probably told him the
power of his antagonist.  Instead of rushing forward as he would
probably have done even had a jaguar appeared, he kept crouching down by
my side.  Unacquainted with the habits of the boa, I could not tell
whether it might not spring upon us.  I knelt down on the tree and
lifted my rifle; I did not, however, wish to fire till it was near
enough to receive the full charge in its body.  Again it advanced along
the boughs.  It was within five yards of us.  I fired, aiming at its
head.  As the smoke cleared away, I saw the huge body twisting and
turning violently, the tail circling the branch on which it was
crawling.  Duppo uttered a shout of triumph, and, rushing forward with a
paddle which he had saved from the canoe, dealt the already mangled head
numberless blows with all his might.  The creature's struggles were at
length over.

Pointing to the boa, Duppo now made signs that we should not be in want
of food; but I felt that I must be more hungry than I then was, before I
could be tempted to eat a piece of the hideous monster.  When I told him
so, he smiled, enough to say, "Wait a little till you have seen it
roasted."  I had my axe in my belt.  He asked me for it, and taking it
in his hand cut away a number of chips from the drier part of the tree,
and also some of the smaller branches.  Having piled them up on a broad
part of the trunk near the water, he came back to ask me for a light.  I
told him that if I had tinder I could get it with the help of the pan of
my gun.  Away he went, scrambling along the branches, and in a short
time returned with a bird's nest, which he held up in triumph.  It was
perfectly dry, and I saw would burn easily.  In another minute he had a
fire blazing away.  I was afraid that the tree itself might ignite.
Duppo pointed to the water to show that we might easily put it out if it
burned too rapidly.  He next cut off some slices from the body of the
boa, and stuck them on skewers in the Indian fashion over the fire.
Though I had before fancied that I could not touch it, no sooner had I
smelt the roasting flesh than my appetite returned.  When it was done,
Duppo ate a piece, and made signs that it was very good.  I, at length,
could resist no longer; and though it was rather coarse and tough, I was
glad enough to get something to stop the pangs of hunger.  True ate up
the portion we gave him without hesitation.  Duppo then cut several
slices, which, instead of roasting, he hung up on sticks over the fire
to dry, throwing the remainder into the water.

He tried his best to amuse me by an account of a combat his father once
witnessed in the depths of the forest between two huge boas, probably of
different species.  One lay coiled on the ground, the other had taken
post on the branch of a tree.  It ended by the former seizing the head
of its opponent with its wide open jaws, sucking in a part of its huge
body, gradually unwinding it from the tree.  It had attempted, however,
a dangerous operation.  Suddenly down came the tail, throwing its coils
round the victor, and the two monsters lay twisting and writhing in the
most terrific manner, till both were dead.  I have given the account as
well as I could make it out, but of course I could not understand it
very clearly.

The clouds had cleared away completely, and the sun's rays struck down
with even more than their usual heat.  Still, from the storms we had had
of late, I suspected that the rainy season was about to begin.  I could
only hope, therefore, that we might reach the shore before the waters
descended with their full force.  Slowly we floated down with the
current.  On either side of us were several masses of trees, and single
trees, such as I have before described.  The rate at which we moved
differed considerably from many of them.  Now we drifted towards one;
now we seemed to be carried away again from it.  This, I concluded, was
owing partly to the different sizes of the floating masses, and to the
depth they were sunk in the water; and partly to the irregularity of the
current.  The wind also affected them, those highest out of the water of
course feeling it most.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

VOYAGE DOWN THE AMAZON ON A TREE.

All day and another night we drifted on.  The flesh of the boa was
consumed.  Unless a strong breeze should get up which might drive us on
shore, we must go on for many days without being able to obtain food.  I
again became anxious on that point, and was sorry we had not saved more
of the boa's flesh, unpalatable as I had found it.  Again the sun rose
and found us floating on in the middle of the stream.  Duppo, although
his countenance did not show much animation, was keeping, I saw, a
look-out on the water, to get hold of anything that might drift near us.
Presently I observed the small trunk of a rough-looking tree come
floating down directly towards us.  As it floated on the surface, being
apparently very light, it came at a more rapid rate than we were moving.
At length it almost touched the trunk, and Duppo, signing to me to come
to his assistance, scrambled down towards it.  He seized it eagerly, and
dragged it up by means of a quantity of rough fibre which hung round it.
He then asked me to help him in tearing off the fibre.  This I did, and
after we had procured a quantity of it, he let the trunk go.  When I
inquired what he was going to do with it, he made signs that he intended
to manufacture some fishing-lines.

"But where are the hooks? and where the bait?"  I asked, doubling up my
finger to show what I meant.

"By-and-by make," he answered; and immediately on regaining our usual
seat, he set to work splitting the fibre and twisting it with great
neatness.

I watched him, feeling, however, that I could be of little assistance.
He seemed to work so confidently that I hoped he would manage to
manufacture some hooks, though of what material I was puzzled to guess.
The kind of tree which had so opportunely reached us I afterwards saw
growing on shore.  It reaches to about the height of thirty feet.  The
leaves are large, pinnate, shining, and very smooth and irregular.  They
grow out of the trunk, the whole of which is covered with a coating of
fibres hanging down like coarse hair.  It is called by the natives
_piassaba_.  This fibre is manufactured into cables and small ropes.  It
is also used for brooms and brushes; while out of the finer portions are
manufactured artificial flowers, baskets, and a variety of delicate
articles.

While Duppo was working away at the fishing-lines, I was watching the
various masses of trees floating near us.  One especially I had observed
for some time a little ahead of us, and we now appeared to be nearing
it.  As I watched it I saw something moving about, and at length I
discovered that it was a monkey.  He kept jumping about from branch to
branch, very much astonished at finding himself floating down the river.
He was evidently longing to get back to his woods, but how to manage it
was beyond his conception.  I pointed him out to Duppo.  "He do," he
said, nodding his head.  It was a great question, however, whether we
should reach the floating island.  Even when close to it the current
might sweep us off in another direction.  Still, as we had drawn so
near, I was in hopes that we should be drifted up to it.  Had I not been
hungry, I should have been very unwilling to shoot the monkey but now, I
confess, I longed to get to the island for that very object.  The
creature would supply us and True with food for a couple of days, at all
events.  By that time Duppo might have finished his fishing-lines, and
we might be able to catch some fish.  Had we been on a raft, we might
have impelled it towards an island; but we had no control over the huge
tree which supported us.  All we could do therefore was to sit quiet and
watch its progress.  Sometimes I doubted whether it was getting nearer,
and my hopes of obtaining a dinner off the poor monkey grew less and
less.  Then it received a new impulse, and gradually we approached the
island.  Again for an hour or more we went drifting on, and seemed not
to have drawn a foot nearer all the time.  Duppo every now and then
looked up from his work and nodded his head, to signify that he was
satisfied with the progress we were making.  He certainly had more
patience than I possessed.  At length I lay down, True by my side,
determined not to watch any longer.  I fell asleep.  Duppo shouting
awoke me, and looking up I found that our tree had drifted up to the
floating mass; that the branches were interlocked, and as far as we
could judge we were secured alongside.  The monkey, who had been for a
brief time monarch of the floating island, now found his dominions
invaded by suspicious-looking strangers.  For some time, however, I did
not like to venture across the boughs; but at length the trunk drove
against a solid part of the mass, and Duppo leading the way, True and I
followed him on to the island.  "Ocoki! ocoki!" he exclaimed, and ran
along the trunk of a tall, prostrate tree of well-nigh one hundred feet
in length.  On the boughs at the further end grew a quantity of
pear-shaped fruit, which he began to pick off eagerly.  I did the same,
though its appearance was not tempting, as it was covered with an outer
skin of a woody texture.  As he seemed eager to get it, I did not stop
to make inquiries, but collected as much as I could carry in my wallet
and pockets.  He meantime had filled his arms full, and running back,
placed them in a secure place on the trunk of the tree we had left.

The monkey had meantime climbed to a bough which rose higher than the
rest out of the tangled mass.  Hunger made me eager to kill the
creature.  I took good aim, hoping at once to put it out of pain.  I hit
it, but in falling it caught a bough with its tail, and hung on high up
in the air.  Duppo immediately scrambled away, and before long had
mounted the tree.  Though the monkey was dead, its tail still circled
the bough, and he had to use some force to unwind it.  He brought it
down with evident satisfaction, and now proposed that we should return
to our tree and light another fire.  We first collected as much dry wood
and as many leaves as we could find.  Duppo quickly had the monkey's
skin off.  True came in for a portion of his dinner before ours was
cooked.  I saw Duppo examining the smaller bones, which he extracted
carefully, as well as a number of sinews, which he put aside.  He then
stuck some of the meat on to thin spits, and placed it to roast in the
usual fashion over the fire.  While this operation was going on, he
peeled some of the fruit we had collected.  Inside the rind was a
quantity of pulpy matter, surrounding a large black oval stone.  I found
the pulpy matter very sweet and luscious.  I ate a couple, and while
engaged in eating a third I felt a burning sensation in my mouth and
throat, and, hungry as I was, I was afraid of going on.  Duppo, however,
consumed half-a-dozen with impunity.  I may as well say here that this
fruit is of a peculiarly acrid character.  When, however, the juice is
boiled it loses this property, and we frequently employed it mixed with
tapioca, when it is called _mingau_ by the natives.  It takes, however,
a large portion of the fruit to give even a small cup of the mingau.  It
grows on the top of one of the highest trees of the forest, and as soon
as it is ripe it falls to the ground, when its hard woody coating
preserves it from injury.  The natives then go out in large parties to
collect it, as it is a great favourite among them.

As may be supposed, we were too hungry to wait till the monkey was very
much done.  I found that I could eat a little ocoki fruit as a sweet
sauce with the somewhat dry flesh.

Although the island was of some size, yet, as we scrambled about it, we
saw that its portions were not firmly knit together, and I thought it
very likely, should a storm come on, and should it be exposed to the
agitation of the water, it might separate.  I therefore resolved to
remain on our former tree, that, at all events, having proved itself to
be tolerably stable.

We were engaged in eating our meal when my ears caught that peculiar
sound once heard not easily forgotten--that of a rattlesnake.  Duppo
heard it too, and so did True, who started up and looked eagerly about.
At length we distinguished a creature crawling along the boughs of a
tree about a dozen yards off.  It had possibly been attracted by the
smell of the roasting monkey, so I thought.  It seemed to be making its
way towards us.  Perhaps it had long before espied the monkey, which it
had been unable when alive to get hold of.  At all events, it was a
dangerous neighbour.  I had no wish for it to crawl on to our tree,
where it might conceal itself, and keep us constantly on the watch till
we had killed it.  Now I caught sight of it for a moment; now it was
hidden among the tangled mass of boughs.  Still I could hear that
ominous rattle as it shook its tail while moving along.  Though its bite
is generally fatal, it is easily avoided on shore, and seldom or never,
I have heard, springs on a human being, or bites unless trodden on, or
suddenly met with and attacked.  In vain I looked for it.  It kept
moving about under the boughs, as I could tell by the sound of its
rattle.  Now it stopped, then went on again, now stopped again, and I
dreaded every instant to see it spring out from its leafy covert toward
us.  I kept my gun ready to fire on it should I see it coming.  I was so
engaged in watching for the snake, that I did not observe that the
island was turning slowly round.  Presently there was a rustling and a
slightly crashing sound of the boughs, and I found that our tree was
once more separated from the island, and just then I saw not only one
but several snakes moving about.  One of the creatures came along the
bough, and lifting its head, hissed as if it would like to spring at us,
but by that time we were too far off.  Again we went floating down with
greater speed than the floating island, and, judging from the
inhabitants we had seen on it, we had reason to be thankful that we had
escaped so soon.

Duppo, since he had finished eating, had been busy scraping away at some
of the monkey bones, and he now produced several, with which he
intimated he should soon be able to manufacture some hooks.  Having put
out our fire lest it should ignite the whole tree, we once more
scrambled back to our former resting-place.  Duppo, having got a couple
of lines ready, worked away most perseveringly with the monkey bones,
till he had manufactured a couple of serviceable-looking hooks.  These
he bound on with the sinews to the lines.  He was going to fasten on
some of the knuckle-bones as weights, but I having some large shot in my
pocket, they answered the purpose much better.  The hooks, baited with
the monkey flesh, were now ready for use.  Duppo, however, before
putting them into the water, warned me that I must be very quick in
striking, lest the fish should bite the lines through before we hauled
them up.  As we were floating downwards we cast the lines up the
current, taking our seat on a stout bough projecting over the water.
There we sat, eagerly waiting for a bite, True looking on with great
gravity, as if he understood all about the matter.  I almost trembled
with eagerness, when before long I felt a tug at my line.  I struck at
once, but up it came without a fish.  Again, in a short time, I felt
another bite.  It seemed a good strong pull, and I hoped that I had
caught a fish which would give us a dinner.  I hauled it up, but as it
rose above the water I saw that it was not many inches in length.
Still, it was better than nothing.  It was of a beautiful grey hue.  On
getting it into my hand to take it off the hook, what was my surprise to
see it swell out till it became a perfect ball.  "_Mamayacu_!" exclaimed
Duppo.  "No good eat."  I thought he was right, for I certainly should
not have liked attempting to feed on so odd-looking a creature.  When
going to unhook it I found that its small mouth was fixed in the meat.
When left alone it gradually resumed its former proportions.

I soon had another bite, and this time I hoped I should get something
worth having.  Again I hauled in, when up came a fish as long as the
other was short and round, with a curious pointed snout.  This, too, had
been caught by the tough monkey meat, and promised to be of little more
service than my first prize.  I caught two or three other curious but
useless fish, though, if very much pressed for food, we might have
managed to scrape a little flesh off them.  Duppo sat patiently fishing
on.  Though he had got no bites, he escaped being tantalised as I was by
the nibbling little creatures which attacked my bait.  Perhaps he sank
his lower down.  I could not exactly make it out, but so it was; and at
length I saw his line pulled violently.  His eyes glistened with
eagerness.  He had evidently, he thought, got a large fish hooked.  He
first allowed his line to run to its full length, then gradually he
hauled it in, making a sign to me to come to his assistance.  He then
handed me the line.  I felt from the tugging that a fish of a
considerable size was hooked.  He meantime got an arrow from his quiver
and fitted it to his bow.  Then he signed to me to haul in gently.  I
did so, dreading every instant that our prize would escape, for I could
scarcely suppose that a bone hook could withstand so strong a pull.
Kneeling down on the trunk, he waited till we could see the dark form of
the fish below the surface.  At that moment the arrow flew from his bow,
and the next all resistance ceased; and now without difficulty I hauled
the fish to the surface.  Stooping down, he got hold of it by the gills,
and with my assistance hauled it up to the trunk.  It was nearly three
feet long, with a flat spoon-shaped head, and beautifully spotted
striped skin.  From each side of its head trailed thin feelers, half the
length of the fish itself.  I felt very sure that with such tackle as we
had that I should never have been able to secure so fine a fish.  We had
now food to last us as long as the fish remained good.  We had just time
to light a fire and cook a portion, as we had dressed the monkey flesh,
before darkness came on.

The night passed quietly away, and the morning light showed us the same
scene as that on which the evening had closed, of the far-off forest,
and the wide expanse of water, with single trees and tangled masses of
underwood floating on it.  After we had lighted a fire, and cooked some
more fish for breakfast, Duppo put out his lines to try and catch a
further supply.  Not a bite, however, did he get.  He hoped, he said, to
be more successful in the evening.  We therefore hauled in the lines,
and I employed the time in teaching him English.  I was sure that Ellen
would be greatly pleased, should we ever return, to find that he had
improved.

Another day was passing by.  The wind had been moderate and the river
smooth.  Again it came on to blow, and our tree was so violently
agitated that I was afraid it would be thrown over, and that we should
be washed off it.  As we looked round we saw the other masses with which
we had kept company tossed about in the same way, and frequently moving
their positions.  Now we drove on before the wind faster than we had
hitherto gone.  There was one mass ahead which I had remarked from the
first, though at a considerable distance.  We were now drifting nearer
to it.  I had watched it for some hours, when I fancied I saw an object
moving about on the upper part.  "It must be another monkey," I said to
myself.  I pointed it out to Duppo.  He remarked that it moved too
slowly for a monkey; that it was more probably a sloth.  Then again it
stopped moving, and I could scarcely distinguish it among the branches
of the trees.  I hoped that we might drift near enough to get it.  It
would probably afford us more substantial fare than our fish.  After a
time I saw Duppo eagerly watching the island.  Suddenly he started up,
and waved his hand.  I looked as keenly as I could.  Yes; it seemed to
me that the figure on the island was again moving, and waving also.  It
was a human being; and if so, who else but Arthur?  My heart bounded at
the thought.  Yet, how could he have escaped?  How had he not before
been seen by us?  Again I waved, this time with a handkerchief in my
hand.  The figure held out a handkerchief also.  There was now no doubt
about the matter.  It was very doubtful, however, whether we should
drift much nearer the floating island.  The wind increased; a drizzling
rain came down and almost concealed it from sight, so that we could not
tell whether or not we were continuing to approach it.  This increased
my anxiety.  Yet the hope of seeing my friend safe, once kindled, was
not to be extinguished; even should we not drive close enough to the
island to join each other, we still might meet elsewhere.  All we could
do, therefore, was to sit quietly on the tree, and wait the course of
events.

One of the most difficult things to do, I have found, is to wait
patiently.  Hour after hour passed by.  The wind blew hard, and often so
high did the waves rise that I was afraid we might be swept off.  What
would become of us during the long, dreary night?  I felt the cold, too,
more than I had done since we began our voyage.  How much more must poor
Duppo have suffered, with less clothing!  I should have liked to have
lighted a fire; but with the rain falling, and the tree tossing about,
that was impracticable.  We all three--Duppo, True, and I--sat crouching
together in the most sheltered part of the tree.  Thus the hours of
darkness approached, and crept slowly on.  Did I say my prayers? it may
be asked.  Yes, I did; I may honestly say that I never forgot to do so.
I was reminded, too, to ask for protection, from feeling how little able
I was, by my own unaided arm, to escape the dangers by which I was
surrounded.  I tried to get Duppo to join me.  I thought he understood
me; but yet he could scarcely have had the slightest conception of the
great Being to whom I was addressing my prayers.  I hoped, however, when
he knew more of our language, that I should be able to impart somewhat
of the truth to his hitherto uncultivated mind.

In spite of the rain, the darkness, and the movements of our tree, I at
length fell asleep, and so, I believe, did Duppo and True.  I was awoke,
after some time, by a crashing sound, similar to that which had occurred
when we drove against the floating island.  I started up.  True uttered
a sharp bark.  It awoke Duppo.  Presently I heard a voice at no great
distance exclaiming, "What is that?  Who is there?"

"Who are you?"  I shouted out.

"I am Arthur!  And oh, Harry! is it you?"

"Yes," I answered.  "How thankful I am that you have escaped!"

"And so am I that you have been saved," answered Arthur.  "But where are
you?  I cannot find my way among the bough.  Have you come off to me in
the canoe?"  I told him in reply how we were situated.  "Can you join
me?" he asked.  "I have hurt my foot, and am afraid of falling."

"Stay where you are," I answered; "we will try to reach you."

I made Duppo understand that I wished to get to where Arthur was.  It
was necessary to move very cautiously, for fear of slipping off into the
water.  We could not tell, indeed, whether the butt-end or the boughs of
our tree had caught in the floating island; all we could see was a dark
mass near us, and a few branches rising up towards the sky.  I was
afraid, however, that if we did not make haste we might be again
separated from it as we had been from the other island.  We scrambled
first some way along the boughs; but as we looked down we could see the
dark water below us, and I was afraid should we get on to the outer ends
that they might break and let us fall into it.  I thought also of True,
for though we might possibly have swung ourselves across the boughs, he
would have been unable to follow us.  I turned back, and once more made
my way towards the root-end, which, by the experience we had before had,
I hoped might have driven in closer to the mass we wished to reach.  We
had to crawl carefully on our hands and knees, for the rain had made the
trunk slippery, and we might easily have fallen off.  As I got towards
the end, I began to hope that it was touching the island.  I again
called out to Arthur.  His voice sounded clearer than before.  When I
got to the end among the tangled mass of roots, I stopped once more to
ascertain what Duppo advised we should do.

I sat some time trying to pierce the gloom.  At length I thought I saw a
thick bough projecting over the extreme end of our tree.  If I could
once catch hold of it I might swing myself on to the island.  There was
one fear, however, that it might give way with my weight.  Still I saw
no other mode of getting to Arthur.  True, I hoped, might leap along the
roots, which were sufficiently buoyant to bear his weight, at all
events.  Having given my rifle to Duppo to hold, I cautiously went on.
I got nearer and nearer the bough.  With one strong effort I might catch
hold of it.  I sprang up, and seized it with both hands.  It seemed
firmly fixed in a mass of floating wood.  After clambering along for a
short distance I let myself down and found footing below me.  I now
called to Duppo, and holding on to the bough above my head with one
hand, stepped back till at last I was able to reach the rifle which he
held out towards me.  True sprang forward, and was in an instant by my
side.  Duppo followed more carefully, and at length we were all three
upon the island.

"We shall soon find our way to you," I cried out to Arthur.

"Oh, thank you, thank you!" he answered.

It was no easy matter, however, to make our way among the tangled mass
of trunks and roots and boughs without slipping down into the crevices
which yawned at our feet.  I could judge pretty well by his voice where
Arthur was.  Duppo pulled at my arm.  He wished that I would let him go
first.  This I was glad to do, as I had great confidence in his judgment
and activity.  Following close behind him, we at length got directly
under where Arthur was perched.

"Here we are," I cried out, "on a firm trunk.  Could you not manage to
come down?"

"I am afraid not," he answered.

"Stay, then; I will climb up and assist you," I said.

Putting my gun down, I made my way up the branch.  Most thankful I was
again to press his hand.

"I am somewhat sick and hungry," he said; "but now you have come, I
shall soon be all right."

"Well, let me help you down first," I replied.  "We have brought some
food, and when you have eaten it we will talk more about what has
happened to us.  I hope we shall manage somehow or other to reach the
shore before this island is carried out to sea."

"Oh yes, I hope so indeed," he said.  "I have never thought that
likely."

I now set to work to help Arthur down.  Duppo stood under the branch and
assisted me in placing him at length in a more secure position.

"Oh, I am so thankful you have come!" he kept repeating; "my only
anxiety was about you.  Still I hoped, as I had so wonderfully escaped,
that you might also be safe.  All I know is, that I was in the water,
and then that I found myself clinging to a bough, and that I gradually
pulled myself up out of the water.  I believe I fainted, for I found
myself lying among a mass of boughs; and when I managed at last to sit
up, I discovered that I was floating down the river.  Not for some time
did I feel any sense of hunger.  At length, when I did so, I found,
greatly to my satisfaction, that I had my wallet over my shoulders, well
stored with provisions.  They were, to be sure, wet through; but I ate
enough to satisfy the cravings of hunger.  In the morning I looked about
me, hoping to see you on one of the masses of trees which were floating
down the stream round me.  You may fancy how sad I felt when I could
nowhere distinguish you.  I knew, however, that it was wrong to give way
to despair, so when the sun came forth I dried the remainder of the
food, which has supported me hitherto."

"But did you feel any pain from your wound?"  I asked.  "That has been
one great anxiety to me.  I thought you were truck by a poisoned arrow."

"No," he answered.  "I pulled it out at once, and had forgotten it, till
I felt a pain in my shoulder.  Then the dreadful thought that it was
poisoned came across me, and I expected, for some time, to feel it
working within my system.  It was perhaps that which made me faint; but
as I did not feel any other ill effects, I began to hope that, either in
passing through my jacket the poison had been scraped off, or that it
has, as I have heard, but slight noxious effects on salt-eating
Europeans."

I agreed with him that this must be the case; indeed, he complained of
only a slight pain in the shoulder where the arrow had struck him.  In
the darkness which surrounded us, I could do no more than give him some
of the food we had brought with us.  The remainder of the night we sat
on the trunk of the tree, Duppo and I supporting Arthur in our arms,
while True crouched down by my side.  We could hear the water washing
round us, and the wind howling among the branches over our heads.  The
rain at length ceased, but I felt chilled and cold; and Arthur and Duppo
were, I feared, suffering still more.  Thus we sat on, doing our best to
cheer each other.  So long a time had passed since Arthur had been
struck by the arrow, that I no longer apprehended any dangerous effects
from it.  Still, he was very weak from the long exposure and the want of
food, and I became more anxious to get him safe on shore, where, at all
events, he might obtain shelter and sufficient nourishment.  Wherever we
might be cast, we should, in all probability, be able to build a hut;
and I hoped that with my gun, and Duppo's bow, we should obtain an ample
supply of game.

"Now we have found each other, I am afraid of nothing," said Arthur.

"Neither am I," I answered.  "Still I fear that Ellen and John will be
very unhappy when they do not see us."

We had been talking for some time, when we felt a violent shock.  The
water hissed and bubbled up below us, and the mass of trees on which we
floated seemed as if they were being torn asunder.  Such, indeed, was
the case.  Duppo uttered a cry of alarm.

"What shall we do?" exclaimed Arthur.  "O Harry, do try and save
yourself.  Never mind me.  What can have happened?"

"We have driven ashore," I answered.  "I am nearly certain of it.  All
we can do till daylight is to cling on to this trunk; or, if you will
stay here with Duppo, I will try and make my way to the other side, to
ascertain where we are."

"Oh, do not leave me, Harry," he said.  "I am afraid something may
happen to you."

We sat on for a few minutes.  Still the crashing and rending of the
boughs and sipos continued.  At length I was afraid that we might be
swept away by the current, and be prevented from reaching the shore.  I
therefore told Duppo what I wanted to do.  He taking Arthur by one arm,
I supported him by the other, and thus holding him up we tried to force
our way among the tangled mass.  Now we had to hang on by our hands,
finding no firm footing for our feet.  In vain we tried to force our way
onwards.  In the darkness I soon saw that it was impossible.  A thick
wall of sipos impeded our progress.  It was not without the greatest
difficulty that at length we got back to the trunk we had left.  Even
that was violently tossed about, and I was even now afraid that we might
be thrown off it.  Once more we sat down on the only spot which afforded
us any safety.  Gradually objects became more clear, and then I saw,
rising up against the sky, the tall upright stems of trees.  They could
not be growing on our floating island.  I now became aware that the mass
on which we sat had swung round.  It seemed once more to be moving on.
There was no time to be lost.  Duppo and I again lifted up Arthur, and
made our way towards the end of the trunk.  Not till then did I discover
that it was in actual contact with the shore.  We hurried along.  A few
feet only intervened between us and the dry land.  "Stay, I will go
first," I exclaimed, and made a sign to Duppo to support Arthur.  I let
myself down.  How thankful I was to find my feet on the ground, though
the water was up to my middle.  "Here, Arthur, get on my back," I cried
out.  Duppo helped him, and in another minute I was scrambling up the
bank on the dry ground.  Duppo let himself down as I had done, and True
leaped after us.  Scarcely were we on shore when the trunk we had left
floated off, and we could see the mass, with several detached portions,
gliding down the river.  Where we were we could not tell, but daylight
coming on would soon reveal that to us.  We sat ourselves down on the
bank, thankful that we had escaped from the dangers to which we should
have been exposed had we remained longer on the floating island.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

OUR RETURN.

Where we had been cast we could not tell.  Daylight was increasing.  The
clouds had cleared off.  We should soon, we hoped, be able to see our
way through the forest, and ascertain our position.  We all remained
silent for some time, True lying down by my side, and placing his head
upon my arm.  While thus half between sleeping and waking, I heard a
rustling sound, and opening my eyes, half expecting to see a snake
wriggling through the grass, they fell on a beautiful little lizard
making its way down to the water.  At that moment a pile of dry leaves,
near which it was passing, was violently agitated, and from beneath them
sprung a hairy monster, with long legs and a huge pair of forceps, and
seized the lizard by the back of its neck, holding it at the same time
with its front feet, while the others were firmly planted in the ground
to stop its progress.  In vain the lizard struggled to free itself.  The
monster spider held it fast, digging its forceps deeper and deeper into
its neck.  I was inclined to go to the rescue of the little saurian, but
curiosity prevented me, as I wished to see the result of the attack,
while I knew that it had already, in all probability, received its
death-wound.  The struggles of the lizard grew feebler and feebler.  Its
long tail, which it had kept whisking about, sank to the ground, and the
spider began its meal off the yet quivering flesh.  I touched Arthur,
and pointed out what was taking place.  "The horrid monster," he
exclaimed.  "I must punish it for killing that pretty little lizard."
Before I could prevent him, he had jumped up and dealt the spider a blow
on the head.

On examining it I found that it was a great crab-spider, one of the
formidable _arachnida_, which are said to eat young birds and other
small vertebrates, though they generally, like other spiders, live upon
insects.  This spider--the _mygagle avicularia_--will attack
humming-birds, and, indeed, other small specimens of the feathered
tribe.  When unable to procure its usual food of ants, it lies concealed
under leaves as this one had done, and darts out on any passing prey
which it believes it can manage; or if not, it climbs trees and seizes
the smaller birds when at roost, or takes the younger ones out of their
nests.  It does not spin a web, but either burrows in the ground, or
seeks a cavity in a rock, or in any hollow suited to its taste.

I had never seen any creature of the spider tribe so monstrous or
formidable.  Under other circumstances I should have liked to have
carried the creature with us to show to my companions.  As soon as
Arthur had killed it, Duppo jumped up and cut off the two forceps, which
were as hard and strong as those of a crab; and I have since seen such
set in metal and used as toothpicks, under the belief that they contain
some hidden virtue for curing the toothache.

The rest had almost completely cured Arthur's sprained ankle, and on
examining his shoulder, I found that the arrow had inflicted but a
slight wound, it having merely grazed the upper part after passing
through his clothes.  This, of course accounted for the little
inconvenience he had felt.  Still, I believe, even had the wound been
deeper, the poison would not have affected him.  I was indeed very
thankful to see him so much himself again.

We were now aroused, and, getting on our feet, looked about as to settle
in which direction we should proceed.  We soon found that we were at the
western end of an island, and as the distant features of the landscape
came into view, we felt sure that it was the very one, near the entrance
of the igarape, where we had first landed.  We had supposed that we had
floated much further down the river.

"The first thing we have to do is to build a raft, and to get back to
our friends," I said to Arthur.  "We shall have little difficulty, I
hope, in doing that.  We must lose no time, and we shall be able to
reach them before night."

This discovery raised our spirits.  We had first, however, to look out
for a bed of rushes to form the chief part of the intended construction.
The experience we had gained gave us confidence.  We explained to Duppo
what we proposed doing, and set forward along the northern shore of the
island.  We were more likely to find on that side, in its little bays
and inlets, the materials we required.  The axe which Duppo had saved
was of great importance.  We had made our way for a quarter of a mile
along the beach, when the increasing density of the underwood threatened
to impede our further progress.  Still we had not found what we
required.  "I think I see the entrance of an inlet, and we shall
probably find reeds growing on its banks," said Arthur.  "We can still,
I think, push our way across these fern-like leaves."

We pressed forward, though so enormous were the leaves of which he
spoke, that a single one was sufficient to hide him from my sight as he
made his way among them.  Duppo and True followed close behind me, but
True could only get on by making a succession of leaps, and sometimes
Duppo had to stop and help him through the forked branches, by which he
ran a risk every instant of being caught as in a trap.

"I think I see the mouth of the inlet close ahead," said Arthur.  "If we
push on a few yards more we shall reach it.  Get the axe from Duppo and
hand it to me; I must cut away some sipos and bushes, and then we shall
get there."

I did as he requested.  I had broken down the vast leaves which
intervened between us, when I saw him beginning to use his axe.  He had
made but a few strokes when a loud savage roar, which came from a short
distance off, echoed through the wood.  His axe remained uplifted, and
directly afterwards a sharp cry reached our ears.  "That is a woman's
voice," I exclaimed.  "Where can it come from?"  Duppo, as I spoke,
sprang forward, and endeavoured to scramble through the underwood, as
did True.

"Cut, Arthur, cut," I exclaimed.  "Unless we clear away those sipos we
shall be unable to get there."

Arthur needed no second bidding, and so actively did he wield his axe,
that in a few seconds we were able to push onwards.  Again the savage
roar sounded close to us, but the cry was not repeated.  "Oh, I am
afraid the brute has killed the poor creature, for surely that must have
been a human being who cried out," exclaimed Arthur.

We dashed on, when, reaching the water, we saw, scarcely twenty yards
off, on the opposite bank, a canoe, in which were two persons.  One lay
with his head over the gunwale; the other, whom I at once recognised as
our friend Illora, was standing up, no longer the somewhat retiring,
quiet-looking matron, but more like a warrior Amazonian--her hair
streaming in the wind, her countenance stern, her eyes glaring, and with
a sharp spear upraised in her hands, pointed towards a savage jaguar,
which, with its paws on the gunwale, seemed about to spring into the
canoe.  It was too evident that her husband had been seized, and to all
appearance killed.  What hope could she have of resisting the savage
creature with so slight a weapon.  That very instant I dreaded it would
spring on her.  Poor Duppo shrieked out with terror; but though his
mother's ears must have caught the sound, she did not withdraw her
glance from the jaguar.  She well knew that to do so would be fatal.
Duppo made signs to me to fire, but I feared that in so doing I might
miss the jaguar and wound one of his parents.  Yet not a moment was to
be lost.  My rifle, fortunately, was loaded with ball.  I examined the
priming, and prayed that my arm might be nerved to take good aim.  Again
the brute uttered a savage growl, and seemed on the point of springing
forward, when I fired.  It rose in the air and fell back among the
foliage, while Illora thrust her spear at it with all her force.  Not
till then did she seem to be aware of our presence.  Then waving to us,
she seized the paddle and brought the canoe over to where we were
standing.  Duppo leaped in and lifted up his father.  The blood had
forsaken his dark countenance; his eyes were closed, his head was
fearfully torn--the greater part of the hair having been carried away.
Illora knelt down by his side, resting his head upon her arm.  Arthur
and I felt his pulse.  It still beat.  We made signs to his wife that he
was alive, for she had evidently thought him dead.  I fortunately had a
large handkerchief in my pocket, and dipping it in water, bound up his
head.  He appeared to revive slightly.  Illora then made signs to us
that she wished to go down the river.  We did not even stop to look what
had become of the jaguar, convinced that he was killed.  No time was to
be lost.  Having placed Maono on some leaves in the stern of the canoe,
she seized one of the paddles and urged it out into the main stream.
Duppo took another paddle.  Fortunately there were two spare ones at the
bottom of the canoe.  Arthur and I seized them.  Illora paddled away,
knowing well that the life of her husband depended on her exertions.
However callous may be the feelings of Indians generally, both she and
Duppo showed that they possessed the same which might have animated the
breasts of white people.  Every now and then I saw her casting looks of
anxiety down on her husband's face.  He remained unconscious, but still
I had hopes that if attended to at once he might recover.

"I am thankful a jaguar did not spring out on us as we were passing
through that thick underwood," observed Arthur.  "How utterly unable we
should have been to defend ourselves."

"Yes, indeed; and still more so that we did not take up our abode
there," I remarked.  "Probably the island is infested with jaguars, and
we should have run a great chance of being picked off by them."

"I doubt if more than one or two would find support there," he remarked.
"How that one, indeed, came there is surprising."

"Possibly he was carried there on a floating island," I answered.  "I
doubt whether intentionally he would have crossed from the mainland; for
though jaguars can swim, I suppose, like other animals, they do not
willingly take to the water."  This, I suspect, was the case.

We tried to learn from Illora how her husband had been attacked.  She
gave us to understand that, after looking about for us, they had put in
there for the night, and were still asleep when the savage brute had
sprung out of the thicket and seized Maono.  She heard him cry out, and
had sprung to her feet and seized her lance just at the moment we had
found them.

"We should be doubly thankful that we were cast on the island and
arrived in time to rescue our friend," I observed to Arthur.

As may be supposed, however, we did not speak much, as we had to exert
ourselves to the utmost to impel the canoe through the water.  I was,
however, thankful when at last we saw the roof of our hut in the
distance.  We shouted as we approached, "Ellen!  Maria!"  Great was our
delight to see Ellen and Maria, with Domingos, come down to the edge of
the water to receive us.  As I jumped out, my affectionate little sister
threw her arms round my neck and burst into tears.

"Oh, we have been so anxious about you!" she exclaimed; "but you have
come at last.  And what has happened to the poor Indian?  Have you been
attacked again by the Majeronas?"

I told her briefly what had occurred, and set her anxiety at rest with
regard to our parents by giving her Fanny's note, and telling her how we
had found it.  I need not repeat her expressions of joy and
thankfulness.  I then asked for John, as he understood more about
doctoring than any of us.  He had gone away with his gun to shoot only
just before, and might not be back for some time.  The Indians were at
their own settlement, a couple of miles off.

"What can we do with him!"  I exclaimed.

"Why not take him to the recluse?" said Ellen.  "He will know how to
treat him."

I made Illora comprehend what Ellen proposed.  She signified that that
was what she herself wished to do.

"Then, Ellen, we must leave you again," I said.  "We must do our best to
save the life of our friend."

Arthur agreed with me, and entreating Ellen to keep up her spirits till
our return, we again, greatly to Illora's satisfaction, jumped into the
canoe.  "We hope to be back to-morrow morning!"  I cried out, as we
shoved off.

Though somewhat fatigued, we exerted ourselves as much as before, and
having the current in our favour, made good progress.  Examining the
banks as we went along, I saw how almost impossible it would have been
to have effected a landing on that dreadful night of the storm, when we
had the raft in tow, for one dense mass of foliage fringed the whole
extent, with the exception of a short distance, where I recognised the
sand-bank on which Arthur had been nearly killed by the anaconda.  Maono
every now and then uttered a low groan when his wife bathed his head
with water--the best remedy, I thought, she could apply.

The voyage was longer than I had expected, for nearly two hours had
passed before we reached the mouth of the igarape, near which the hut of
the recluse stood.  Having secured the canoe, Illora lifted up her
husband by the shoulders, while we put the paddles under his body, and
his son carried his feet.  We then hastened on towards the hut.  As we
came in sight of it, Duppo shouted out to announce our approach to the
recluse.  No one appeared.  The door, I saw, was closed, but the ladder
was down.  We stopped as we got up to it, when Duppo, springing up the
steps, knocked at the door.  My heart misgave me.  The recluse might be
ill.  Then I thought of the ladder being down, and concluded that he was
absent from home.  Again Duppo knocked, and obtaining no reply, opened
the door and cautiously looked in.  No one was within.  What were we to
do?  Were we to wait for the return of the owner, or go back to our
settlement?  I advised that Maono should be carried within, and proposed
waiting till he appeared.  We lifted him up and placed him under the
shade of the verandah.  Meantime Duppo collected a number of dried
leaves, with which to form a bed, as he was not in a fit state to be
placed in a hammock.  I then advised Illora to send Duppo for water,
while Arthur and I went out and searched for the recluse, in the hope
that he might be in the neighbourhood.  We first went to his plantation,
thinking that he might be there, but could nowhere find him.  It
appeared, indeed, as if it had not been lately visited, as it was in a
far more disordered state than when we had before seen it.  We were
afraid of going into the forest, lest we should lose our way; we
therefore turned back and proceeded up the igarape, which would serve as
a guide to us.  It grew wilder and wilder as we went on.  At length we
reached a spot which we could not possibly pass.  The trunks of the
mighty trees grew close to the water, their roots striking down into it,
while thousands of sipos and air-plants hung in tangled masses overhead,
and huge ferns with vast leaves formed a dense fringe along the banks.
Near us the trunk of an aged tree, bending over the water, covered with
parasitic plants, had been seized by the sipos from the opposite side,
and hung, as it were, caught in their embrace, forming a complete bridge
across the igarape.  I have already described these wonderful
air-plants.  They here appeared in greater numbers and more varied form
than any we had yet seen.  Flights of macaws and parroquets flew here
and there through the openings, or climbed up and down, cawing and
chattering in various tones.  Although I should have liked to have
obtained some, I saw that, should I kill any, they would have fallen
where it would be impossible to get at them, for even True could not
have made his way through the wood; and I was afraid that if they fell
into the water, he might be snapped up by an alligator who might be
lurking near.

We were on the point of turning away, when Arthur exclaimed, "I see
something moving high up the igarape, among those huge leaves."  I
scrambled down to where he was standing, and presently, amid the dim
light, a human figure came into view.  At first it seemed as if he was
standing on the water, but as he slowly approached we saw that a raft of
some sort was beneath his feet.  He was hauling himself along by the
branches, which hung low down, or the tall reeds or leaves fringing the
banks.

"I do believe it is the recluse," whispered Arthur to me.  "What can
have happened to him?"  We waited till he came nearer.  He looked even
wilder and more careworn than usual.  He had no covering on his head
except his long hair, while he had thrown off his coat, which lay on the
raft.  Slowly and not without difficulty he worked his way on.  He did
not perceive us till he was close to where we stood.

"Can we help you, sir?"  I said.  "We came to look for you."

"What induced you to do that?" he asked.  "I thought no human being
would care for me."

"But we do, sir," said Arthur, almost involuntarily.  "You can be of
service to one of your friends, a poor Indian, who has been severely
hurt."

"Ah! there is something to live for then!" he exclaimed, looking up at
us.  "But I must have your assistance too.  I have injured my leg; and
had I not been able to reach the igarape and construct this raft, I must
have perished in the forest.  I have with difficulty come thus far, and
should have had to crawl to my hut, as I purposed doing, had you not
appeared to assist me.  My canoe I had left a league or two further
away, and could not reach it."

"Oh, we will gladly help you, sir," exclaimed Arthur; "and if you will
let us, we will tow the raft down nearer to the hut."

"It is strange that you should have come; and I accept your offer,"
answered the recluse.

We soon cut some long sipos, and fastening them together we secured one
end to the raft.  The recluse sat down, evidently much exhausted by his
previous exertions; and while we towed the raft along, he kept it off
the bank with a long pole.  When we got down opposite the hut, we
assisted him to land.  He could not move, however, without great
difficulty.

"Let me go and call Mora and Duppo, that we may carry you in the litter
on which I was brought to your hut," said Arthur.  "No, no; I can get
on, with your assistance, without that," answered the recluse, placing
his arms on our shoulders.  He groaned several times, showing the pain
he suffered; but still he persevered, and at length we reached the hut.
We had great difficulty in getting him up the ladder.  When he saw
Maono, he seemed to forget all about himself.

"My hurt can wait," he observed.  "We must attend to this poor fellow."
Having examined the Indian's head, he produced a salve, which he spread
on a cloth, and again bound it up.  "A European would have died with
such a wound," he observed; "but with his temperate blood, he will, I
hope, escape fever."

Having attended to his guest, he allowed Arthur and I to assist him in
binding up his leg, and in preparing a couch for him in his own room,
instead of the hammock in which he usually slept.  He explained to
Illora how she was to treat her husband, and gave her a cooling draught
which he was to take at intervals during the night.  Having slung his
hammock in the outside room, Arthur and I lay down, one at each end;
while the Indian woman sat up to keep watch, and Duppo coiled himself
away on one of the chests.

At daybreak, Arthur, hearing the recluse move, got up and asked him if
he could be of any service.

"Yes, my good lad," answered our host; "you can help me to bind this
limb of mine afresh.  Bring me yonder jar of ointment!"  I heard what
was said, though I could not see what was going forward.  "Thank you, my
lad," said the recluse.  "No woman's hand could have done it better.
Now go and see how the Indian has passed the night."

Arthur came out, and having looked at Maono, reported that he was still
sleeping quietly.

"He must not be disturbed then," was the answer.  "When he wakes I will
attend to him.  Now, go and see what food you can obtain.  My
plantations will afford you some; or if not, your brother will be able
to shoot some birds.  He will find troops of toucans and parrots not far
off.  Some farinha will be sufficient for me."

"Harry will, I am sure, do his best to kill some game," said Arthur;
"but you called him my brother.  Though he is a dear friend, we are not
related.  He has father, and mother, and sisters; and the gentleman you
saw is his brother; but I have no relations--none to care for me except
these kind friends."

"I know not if you are to be pitied then," said the recluse.  "If you
have none to care for you, you are free to take your own way."

"Oh, but I do care for the kind friends who brought me out here,"
exclaimed Arthur.  "And I feel that I care for you; and I ought to do
so, as you took care of me and nursed me when I was ill."  The recluse
was silent, and Arthur came into the larger apartment.

The recluse was sufficiently recovered during the day to be placed in
his more airy hammock in the outer room.  His eyes, I observed, were
constantly following Arthur.  "It is strange," I heard him whispering to
himself.  "There is a resemblance, and yet, it is so unlikely."

Maono was going on favourably; and the recluse was able to crawl from
his hammock to attend to him as often as was necessary.  I was very
anxious to get back to Ellen and John; especially to assist in finishing
the canoe, that we might at soon as possible recommence our voyage down
the river.  I proposed, therefore, that Arthur and I should set off at
once, as I thought we could find our way through the forest without
difficulty.  The recluse seemed far from pleased at my proposal.

"I would not deprive you of the society of your friend," he said, "but
he will be of great assistance to me if he can remain; and you can call
for him when you come down the river.  Instead of him, take the boy
Duppo with you.  He may be of more use in guiding you through the
forest.  The Indian woman will probably wish to remain with her
husband."

I found that Arthur was ready to stay with the recluse.  "Poor man," he
said, "I may, I think, be of some service in soothing his mind, as well
as assisting him as he wishes.  I do not like to leave you, Harry; but
if you do not object, I will remain.  I wish, however, that you would go
in the canoe."

"She is too heavy, I fear, to paddle against the stream," I answered;
"and if I have Duppo as a guide, I would rather return through the
forest."

I explained this to the Indians, who at once consented that Duppo should
return with me; while Illora remained to nurse her husband.  As there
was time to reach our location before dark, I begged to set off at once.
Duppo and I stored our wallets with fresh farinha; and I hoped to kill
a toucan, or a brace of parrots, on our way, which would afford us
sufficient food.  As no time was to be lost, we set off at once.  Duppo
showed some affection when parting from his mother.  She was certainly
less demonstrative, however, than a European would have been.  He was
evidently very proud of being allowed to attend on me.

He led the way with unerring instinct through the forest; and I felt
that there was no danger of losing the path, as John and I had done when
travelling in the same direction.  I kept my eyes about me as we
proceeded, hoping to shoot some game, as we had but a limited supply of
food.  I got a shot at a toucan, which was climbing with bill and claws
up a tree above our heads.  It hung on to the branch for an instant, and
I was afraid I should lose it.  Its claws and beak, however, soon let
go, and down it came, its beautiful plumage shining in the sun as it
fell.  I could scarcely bring myself to kill it; but I had to confess
that necessity has no laws, and should as willingly at that moment have
shot the most gaily-coloured macaw or parroquet.  It would, however,
afford Duppo and I, and True, but a scanty meal; I therefore kept my gun
ready for another shot.

Going on a little further, directly in front of us a beautiful deer
started up from behind a thicket.  True darted forward, and flew at the
creature, which turned round and round to defend itself.  I thus had the
opportunity of having a good aim, and wounded the deer in the neck.
Duppo started off in pursuit.  He had brought his father's blow-pipe
instead of his own, which he had lost.  It was too heavy, however, for
him to manage.  I thought we should have lost the deer; but kneeling
down, he raised it on a hanging sipo, and let fly an arrow, which struck
the animal.  He had time to send another shaft before the deer got out
of sight.  Then calling to me, he urged me to pursue it.  Away we went
through the forest, True at the heels of the deer, and I following Duppo
as closely as I could.  Still, notwithstanding its wounded condition,
there seemed every probability of its escaping.  Duppo thought
otherwise, and continued the pursuit; though I could not perceive either
the animal or its track.  He was right, however; for in ten minutes we
again caught sight of it, moving slowly.  Just as we reached it, it sank
to the ground.  It was the first deer we had killed; though I had seen
several scampering in the distance through the more open parts of the
forest, and I believe they are numerous along the banks of the Amazon
and its tributaries.  We packed up as much of the flesh as we could
carry, and hung the remainder on the branch of a tree.

We were walking on with our loads, when a loud crashing sound echoed
through the forest.  I had never seen Duppo show any sign of fear
before, but he now came close up to me, trembling all over.  "What is
the matter?"  I asked.  All was again silent for some minutes.  Then
came from the far distance the melancholy howl, which had often kept us
awake at night--the cries, I felt sure, of howling monkeys.  They again
ceased; and a loud clang sounded through the forest, such as I had read
of in that wonderful romance, "The Castle of Otranto."  Duppo grew more
and more alarmed; and now caught hold of my jacket, as if I could
protect him.  I was puzzled to account for the sound; but still I saw
nothing very alarming in it.  When, however, a loud piercing cry rent
the air, coming, I could not tell from whence, I confess that I felt
somewhat uncomfortable.  Poor Duppo trembled all over, and clung to my
arm, exclaiming, "_Curupira_! _curupira_!"  True pricked up his ears,
and barked in return.  "Do not be afraid, Duppo," I said, trying to
encourage him.  "It may have been only the shriek of a monkey, caught by
a jaguar or puma."  He, however, seemed in no way disposed to be
satisfied by any explanations which I could suggest of the noises we had
heard.

As we proceeded, he tried to explain to me that he was sure that that
part of the forest was haunted by a spirit, which made the noises.  It
was like a huge monkey, covered with long shaggy hair.  He committed, he
said, all sorts of mischief.  He had a wife and family, whom he taught
to do as much harm as himself; and that, if they caught us, they would
certainly play us some trick.  I tried to laugh away his fears, but not
with much success.

At last he gained a little more confidence, and walked on ahead to show
the way.  No other sound was heard.  He looked back anxiously to see
that I was close to him.

Among the fruits I observed numbers of a curious bean-like description.
Several species had pods fully a yard long hanging to delicate stalks,
and, of course, very slender.  Others were four inches wide, and short.
While I was looking down to pick up some of the curious beans I have
mentioned, I saw the big head of a creature projecting from a hole.  For
a moment I thought it was a large serpent, but presently out hopped a
huge toad in pursuit of some little animal which had incautiously
ventured near its den.  Presently it gave sound to a most extraordinary
loud snoring kind of bellow, when True dashed forward and caught it.  I
rescued the creature before his teeth had crushed it.  On recovering its
liberty, it croaked away as lustily as before.  On measuring it, I found
it fully seven inches long, and as many broad.  It had a considerable
enlargement of the bone over the eyes, while the glands behind the head
were of great size.  I knew it thus to be the agua toad--_Bufa agua_.  I
had no doubt that he and his brothers produced some of the hideous
noises we had heard at night.  I have since read that these toads will
kill rats, and that a number of them were carried to Jamaica for the
purpose of keeping down the swarms of rats which devastated the
plantations of that island.  I found, indeed, the bones of several
rodent animals near its den.  It was somewhat remarkable, but a few
minutes afterwards I saw another toad lying quietly on the ground.  I
kept True back, not wishing to let him hurt the creature.  I saw some
small animals moving on its back, and stooping down, what was my
surprise to see a number of little toads scrambling out of holes
apparently in its skin.  First out came one, and slipping down the fat
sides of the big toad, hopped along on the ground.  Another little head
directly afterwards burst its way through the skin, and imitated the
example of its small brother.  Several others followed.  Even Duppo, in
spite of his late fright, could not help bursting out laughing.  The
colour of the big toad was a brownish-olive and white below; but the
head was most extraordinary, as it had a snout almost pointed, the
nostrils forming a kind of leathery tube.  The creature was, I at once
guessed, the Surinam toad--_Pipa Americana_--which I knew was found, not
only in Surinam, but in other parts of this region.  It is, though one
of the ugliest of its race, one of the most interesting.  The male toad,
as soon as the eggs are laid, takes them in its paws, and places them on
the back of the female.  Here, by means of a glutinous secretion, they
adhere, and are imbedded, as it were, in a number of cells formed for
them in the skin.  Ultimately a membrane grows over the cells and closes
them up.  The eggs are here hatched, and the young remain in them till
their limbs have grown and they can manage to take care of themselves.
The skin of the back is very thick, and allows room for the formation of
the cells, each of which is sufficiently large to contain a small-sized
bean placed in it edgeways.  As soon as the brood have left the cells,
they are again closed, giving a very wrinkled appearance to the back.
Duppo made signs to me that the creature was good to eat; but I must
say, I should have been very hard pressed for food before I should have
been tempted to try it.  I succeeded in dragging True away, and
prevented him interfering with the family arrangements of the wonderful
_batrachian_.

We met with several other curious frogs and toads, but the creatures
which abounded everywhere, and unfortunately surpassed all others in
numbers, were the ants--_termites_.  The termites, I should remark,
differ from the true ants by appearing out of the egg with their limbs
formed, and in the same shape they bear through life.  Some we met with
in our walk were an inch and a quarter in length, and stout in
proportion.  The creatures were marching in single file, coming out from
a hole formed in the roots of a small tree.  I took up one to examine
it, and received a sting for my pains, but the pain soon went off.  We
all suffered much more from the stings of several smaller ants,
especially the fire-ants, by which we had on more than one occasion been
attacked.

Although I had twice before made the trip through the forest, I still
felt certain that we were far from the hut, when Duppo signified to me
that we should soon reach it.  Just then I heard a shot, and a
magnificent macaw fell down a short distance ahead of us.  True dashed
forward, and directly afterwards I heard John's voice.  I hurried on.

"Yes, we are all well," answered John to my inquiries, as he took my
load of venison and slung it over his more sturdy shoulders.  "The canoe
is finished, and we were only waiting for your return to set out.  No
positive news about our parents; but the Indians describe having seen a
canoe with white people, women among them, pass down the river several
weeks ago Ellen feels sure it was they who were seen; though, as is
sometimes the case with her, dear girl, she can give no other reason
than her own feelings.  I am disappointed at not seeing Arthur; but we
must put in to take him on board, and save him the journey through the
forest."

Of course John wanted to know all about our adventures, and I briefly
recounted them as we walked homewards.

"It is, indeed, a mercy that your life was saved," he observed.  "I
would almost advise you not to tell Ellen all the fearful dangers you
went through; it will make her nervous, for she even now sometimes
dreads that the Majeronas will again attack us."

"They will certainly not come so far by water," I remarked; "and our
friends will give us warning should they venture by land.  Still, as the
canoe is ready, we ought not to delay in commencing our voyage."

As soon as we emerged from the thick part of the forest, we caught sight
of Ellen watching for us in front of the hut.  She came running forward,
followed by Maria and Oria, and not only by Nimble and Toby, but a whole
troop of other creatures.  John laughed.  "There comes our little
sister," he said, "with her happy family.  She and her young companions
have not been idle.  It is wonderful how they have contrived to tame all
those creatures."

In another minute Ellen and I were in each other's arms.  She looked
very well, and glad to see me, but her eye roved about in quest of
Arthur.  She was satisfied, however, when I told her that he had
remained behind to attend to the recluse.

"I am not surprised at it," she said; "for I could not help fancying
that there was some relationship between the two.  Our strange friend
was evidently more interested in Arthur than in any of us.  In spite of
his cold and repelling manner, Arthur, too, took greatly to him.
However, perhaps I am wrong."

"Yes; I suspect, Ellen, it is but one of your fancies.  You would like
it to be the case; it would be so interesting and romantic, and so you
cannot help thinking that it must be so," observed John.

Ellen was eager at once to introduce me to her pets.  Nimble and Toby
knew me immediately, and climbed up my back without hesitation.

"Here," said Ellen, "is a dear little bird."  It was a small heron of a
very graceful shape.  The plumage was variegated with bars and spots of
several colours, as are the wings of certain moths.  She called it, and
it immediately came up to her with a peculiarly dainty, careful gait.
An insect was crawling along the ground.  It immediately afterwards
pierced it with its slender beak, and gobbled it up.  It was the _ardea
helias_.  John said he had seen the birds perched on the lower branches
of trees in shady spots: their note is a soft, long-drawn whistle; they
build their nests in trees, of clay, very beautifully constructed.

"Now I must introduce my _curassow_ turkey," she said, calling another
very handsome bird, almost as large as an ordinary turkey.  It was of a
dark-violet colour, with a purplish-green gloss on the back and breast.
The lower part was of the purest white, while the crest was of a bright
golden-yellow, greatly increasing the beauty of the bird.  John called
it the crested curassow--the _crax alector_.

"See," she said, "I have greatly increased the number of my feathered
friends.  Look at this beautiful marianna."

It was a small parrot, with a black head, a white breast, and orange
neck and thighs--a most lovely little creature.  As soon as she called
it, it came down from its perch and sprang upon her wrist.  When she
again let it go, off it went, poking its head into the various articles
on the verandah, examining a basket of fruits which Oria had just
brought in, and the pots of which Domingos had charge; now pecking at
one thing, now another.  Our Indian friend had brought her another
parrot called an _anaca_.  This was also a beautiful bird, its breast
and belly banded with blue and red, while the back of the neck and head
were covered with long bright-red feathers margined with blue.  True
approaching it, up went the crest, looking remarkably handsome.  From
this crest it obtains the name of the hawk-head parrot.  It came when
called, but quickly retired in rather a solemn fashion to its perch.

"Do you know," said Ellen, "Oria has brought me that beautiful little
duck you described.  I would rather take that home with me than all the
other pets, and yet I should be sorry to lose any of them."

"I tell Ellen that her menagerie is a mere bait to jaguars or boas, or
other prowling animals of the forest," observed John.  "What a nice
breakfast one of them would make if it found its way into our
settlement!"

"You shall not frighten me with any such ideas," she answered; "and I
hope before we leave the country that I may add many more to my
collection.  But I have not shown you my humming-bird yet," she said.
"I keep it in a cage in the house for fear the others should get at it;
but it takes a flight by itself every day, and comes back again when it
wants a sip of sirrup, or wishes to go to roost.  I must show you some
nests of the beautiful little birds which have built not far off.  Would
you like to go and see them at once?"

Knowing it would please her, while Domingos and Maria were preparing our
evening meal, I accompanied her to a little distance, where, hanging to
some long, pendant leaves, she pointed out two little purse-shaped
nests, composed, apparently, of some cottony material bound together
with spider-web.  A graceful little bird was sitting in each of them,
with tails having long, pointed feathers.  The upper part of their
bodies were of a green bronze, except the tail-coverts, which were of a
somewhat rusty red; while the tails themselves were of a bronzed tint,
broadly tipped with white.  I knew them by the shape of their bills and
their nests to belong to the genus _Phaethornis_.

"They are quite accustomed to me now," she said, "and will not fly away
even when I go near them."

While we were looking, the mate of one of the birds came up and perched
close above the nest.  As we were going away I saw two others pass by
us, of the same size, it seemed to me.  Another settled on a flower near
at hand, when the idea seized me that I could catch it.  I struck it
with my hat, and down it fell.  Ellen uttered a cry of sorrow; but
stooping down, what was my surprise to find, instead of a humming-bird,
a moth so exactly in shape and appearance like the humming-birds, that
it was no wonder I had been deceived.

"You would not have killed a humming-bird so easily," said Ellen; "but I
am sorry for the poor moth."

The moth, however, though stunned, was not killed.  On taking it to the
hut I compared it with her tame pet, and was struck by the remarkable
similarity in the shape of the head and position of the eye.  The
extended proboscis represented the long beak of the bird, while at the
end of the moth's body was a brush of long hairs, which, as it flew
along, being expanded, looked very much like the feathers of the bird's
tail.  Oria, when she saw the moth, told Ellen that it would some day
turn into a bird; and Ellen, I believe, did not succeed in persuading
her that such would certainly never happen.  The resemblance, of course,
is merely superficial, their internal construction being totally
different.  I have not as yet described nearly all Ellen's new pets; but
just then, as I was very hungry, I had something else to think of.



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

OUR VOYAGE RECOMMENCED.

I was awoke the following morning by an unusual commotion among our
four-footed and feathered friends.  The monkeys were chattering away and
running along the rafters, up and down the posts; the parrots were
talking energetically together; while True every now and then ran to the
door and gave a peculiar bark, coming back again under my hammock.  John
and Domingos were quickly aroused by his barks.  "What can be the
matter!"  I exclaimed.  "Some animal is outside," answered John,
springing out of his hammock.  "It has probably been trying to find an
entrance into our hut.  If a puma or jaguar, we will soon settle him."

"Oria thinks it is some big serpent, from the way the animals are
frightened," said Ellen, from her room.

"Whether big serpent or savage beast, we need not fear it, my sister,"
answered John, going to the door, which we always kept closed at night
for safety's sake.

What was our dismay to see a huge serpent coiled round the post of the
verandah, with its head moving about as if in March of prey.  Duppo
sprang forward and shut to the door, exclaiming, "_Boiguaeu_!"  Even
True ran behind us, not liking to face the monster.  From the glimpse we
got of it, it seemed of enormous size, and might readily have crushed
two or three people together in the folds of its huge body.  John and I
went back and got our guns ready, while Domingos and Duppo kept guard at
the door.

"I said those pets of Ellen's would serve as baits some day for one of
those creatures!" exclaimed John.  "However, if we can hit it in the
head, we need not fear its doing us any harm."

Having carefully examined the loading of our firearms, we told Domingos
again to open the door.  He seemed, however, very unwilling to do so,
alleging that the serpent might dart in and seize some one before we
could kill it.  Not till John had insisted upon it would he consent.
"Oh, my dear young masters, do take care!" he exclaimed.  "If you would
but wait, perhaps the creature would crawl away.  Suppose you miss it,
you do not know what may happen."

"Now," cried John, "calm your fears, and open the door."

Domingos on this pulled open the door, springing back himself at the
same time, while John and I stepped forward with our rifles, ready to
fire.  The serpent was gone.  We looked about in every direction.  It
was not pleasant to know that so dangerous a monster was in our
neighbourhood.  Domingos said he was sure it was hid away somewhere, and
Duppo agreed with him.  We hunted about anxiously, but nowhere could we
discover it.  Believing that it had altogether gone away, we told Ellen
and her companions that they might venture out.  Ellen came fearlessly,
but Maria and the Indian girl were evidently far from satisfied, and I
saw them glancing round anxiously in every direction.  However, as the
snake did not appear, we had breakfast, and then went down to work at
the canoe.  John told me that he had engaged four Indians to paddle her,
and that he expected them that morning.  We were working away, when we
heard a low cry, and Oria was seen running towards us with looks of
terror in her countenance.  She uttered a few hurried words to her
brother, the meaning of which we could not understand; but he soon
showed us by signs that something had happened at the hut.  On getting
near--for it was concealed where we were at work--we saw, to our dismay,
the boa-constrictor coiled as before round one of the outer supports,
and evidently intent on making an entrance into the hut.  The door was
closed.  We heard Ellen's and Maria's voices calling from within.  We
had unfortunately left our guns in the verandah, and could not get at
them without approaching dangerously near to the huge reptile.  Every
moment I dreaded to see it break through the slight door.  John and
Domingos had hatchets in their belts, but we were possessed of no other
weapons.  How to get rid of the creature was the question.  We shouted
at the top of our voices, hoping to frighten it away, but our cries had
no effect.  Every moment we knew, too, that it might come down and
attack us.  Ellen and Maria were naturally in a great state of alarm.
They had secured all their pets, though John suggested that by
sacrificing some of them they might possibly satisfy the boa.  He
shouted out to them a recommendation to that effect.  "No, Senor John,
no!" answered Maria from within.  "Senora Ellen says she would remain
here for a week, rather than give up one to the horrid monster."

As we stood at a respectful distance, the serpent now and then turned
his head, as if he would dart at us, when Domingos cried out, "Oh, my
young masters! fly! fly!  The boiguaeu is coming!"

"We must cut its head off if it does!" exclaimed John, "I have a great
mind to dash in and get hold of my gun."

I entreated him not to attempt so rash an experiment.  While we were
watching the serpent, the Indians we had been expecting appeared,
emerging from the thick part of the forest, Duppo and Oria ran towards
them.  They seemed to be telling them about the boa.  Instead of coming
on to our assistance, however, away they started back into the forest.

"The cowards!" exclaimed John; "they have run off and left us to fight
the battle by ourselves."

"I am not quite so certain of that," I answered.

We waited.  Still the boa did not move, but continued watching the door.
Probably through one of the chinks its eye had caught sight of Nimble
or True, who had also fortunately been inside.  After waiting till our
patience was nearly exhausted, the Indians re-appeared, carrying between
them a young peccary, while others carried long coils of sipos.  At some
little distance from the hut they stopped, when one of them climbed a
tree, to which he secured a loop of sipos, passing through it another
long line.  At the end of this a loop was formed.  With a stake they
secured the peccary close to the loop, so that to get at it the serpent
must run its head through the noose.  The peccary, having its snout tied
up, was unable to squeak.  As soon as the arrangement was made, they
retired to a distance, holding the other end of the line.  One of them
then unloosed the peccary's muzzle, when the creature instantly began to
grunt.  At that instant the serpent turned its head, and, unwinding its
huge body, made its way towards the animal.  In another moment almost
the peccary was struck, and the huge serpent began to fold its body
round it.  Its own head, however, was meantime caught in the noose, but
this it apparently did not feel, and opening its wide jaws, began to
suck in the animal.  As it did so the Indians pulled the noose tighter
and tighter.  The teeth of the reptile are so formed that it could not
again force the peccary out of its mouth, while the noose prevented it
swallowing it.  John and I eagerly sprang forward and seized our guns,
but Duppo now coming up, told us that there was no necessity to use
them, as in a short time the boa would be dead.

As the boa lay on the ground John boldly rushed up and gave it a blow
with his axe.  The natives now without fear forced their spears into the
creature's mouth, and dragged out the mangled body of the peccary.  This
done, they hoisted the serpent up by the neck to the branch of the tree,
whence it hung down, showing us its full length, which could not have
been much less than twenty-five feet.  To make sure that it would not
come to life again, one of them climbed up, and with his knife split
open the body.  Even during the short time it had coiled itself round
the peccary it had broken every bone in the creature's body.  I observed
that it placed coil above coil, as if to increase the force of the
pressure, and it had instantly begun to swallow its prey without first
lubricating it, as it is erroneously described as doing.  The part of
the peccary which had entered the mouth was, however, covered with
saliva, but this had only been poured upon it in the act of swallowing.

We thanked the Indians for the assistance they had given us in killing
our enemy.  They had come, they said, to finish the canoe, and also to
inquire about Maono and Illora, whose absence had caused the tribe great
alarm.  They had also brought us some mandioca-flour and a supply of
fruits.  Farinha or flour, I should say, is produced from the same
root--cassava, or manioc--as is tapioca, and is like it in appearance,
only of a yellower colour, caused by the woody fibre mixed with the pure
starch which forms the tapioca.  There were also several cabbage-palms,
always a welcome addition to our vegetables.  Among the fruit were some
pine-apples, which had been procured in a dry treeless district--so we
understood--some miles in the interior.

Ellen begged that they would remove the body of the serpent to a
distance, as she did not at all like seeing it hanging up to the tree
near us.  Fastening sipos to it, they accordingly dragged it away.  By
the following morning not a particle of it remained, it having furnished
a feast to several armadillos, vultures, and other birds of prey.

The last evening of our stay had arrived.  Our provision were ready for
embarking, and all our goods packed up.  I was awoke by hearing Domingos
cry out--

"Some rats, or other creatures, have got into the hut, and are eating up
the farinha."

On striking a light, we hurried to the corner in which our provisions
were stored, intending to drive out the intruders, when, instead of
rats, we found a column of ants passing to and fro between the door and
our baskets of food.  Each of them carried a grain of a tapioca-like
substance as big as itself.  In vain we tried to drive them off.  Though
hundreds were killed, others came on in a most determined manner, as if
they had resolved to rob us at all cost.  At last John proposed that we
should blow them up.  We called out to Ellen not to be alarmed, and then
spread a train of powder across the column, when we set it on fire.
This seemed to stagger them, but others still came on.  Not till we had
performed the operation three times did they seem to discover their
danger, when the first coming on turned round and warned those behind,
and the whole took their departure.  The next morning we traced them to
a spot at a considerable distance, where we came upon a mound of earth
between two or three feet high, and nearly eleven yards in
circumference.  This we found was the dome which protected the entrance
to the abode of our visitors of the previous night.  It was a wonder
they had not found us out before.  It was of a different colour to the
surrounding ground.  This was owing to its being composed of the
under-soil brought up from below.  We perceived a number of small holes
in the sides--the commencement of galleries.  We discovered, on digging
into it, that each led to a broad gallery four feet in diameter.  This
again led down into the centre of the wonderful habitation.

"Hilloa!" cried Arthur; "here comes Birnam Wood in miniature."

He was at some distance from us.  On going up to him we found what
looked like a vast number of leaves moving along over the ground.  On
examining them, we discovered that each was of the size and shape of a
small coin, and carried by an ant.  On tracing them back we found the
tree at which they were at work.  It was covered by vast multitudes.
Each ant was working away at a leaf, cutting out a circle with its sharp
scissor-like jaws.  As soon as the operation was complete, it lifted it
up vertically and marched away towards the mound.  As one lot of
labourers descended, others ascended and took their places, so that in a
short time the tree was denuded of leaves.  These leaves were used, we
discovered, to thatch the domes of their galleries and halls to keep
them dry, and protect the young broods in the nests beneath them.  One
body of workers was employed in bringing the leaves which they cast down
on the hillock, while another placed them so as to form the roof,
covering them with a layer of earth brought up in single grains with
prodigious labour from the soil below.  There appeared to be three
different classes of workers--some employed entirely below, others
acting as masons or tilers, and others entirely engaged in bringing the
materials from a distance.  There were, besides, soldiers armed with
powerful mandibles, who accompanied the workers for defence, and walked
backwards and forwards near them without doing anything.  They have also
a queen-ant, who dwells in the centre of their castle, and is engaged in
laying the eggs, not only to furnish broods for the colony, but to send
forth vast numbers of winged ants to form new ones.  At the commencement
of the year the workers can be seen clearing the galleries, and
evidently preparing for some important event.  Soon afterwards a vast
number of winged males and females issue forth, the females measuring
two and a quarter inches in expanse of wing, though the males are much
smaller.  Few of them, however, escape to enjoy existence, for they are
immediately set upon by numbers of insectivorous animals and devoured.
The few females who escape become the mothers of new colonies.

While digging, we came upon a snake-like creature about a foot long.
Directly Duppo saw it he entreated us not to touch it, as it was
fearfully poisonous, and called it the mother of the saubas.  We,
however, knew it to be perfectly harmless.  He declared that it had a
head at each end of its body.  We convinced him, however, that he was
wrong, by showing him the head and tail.  The body was covered with
small scales, the eyes were scarcely perceptible, and the mouth was like
that of a lizard.  He asserted that the sauba-ants are very much
attached to the snake, and that, if we took it away, they would all
desert the spot.  In reality, the snake found a convenient hiding-place
in the galleries of the ants, while, when in want of food, it could at
all times make a substantial meal off them.  When the ant-eater opens
one of these galleries, the workers immediately run off and hide
themselves, while the soldier-ants rush forth to attack the intruder,
and, of course, immediately fall victims; thus preserving, by the
sacrifice of their own lives, the rest of the community.  The peculiar
motion of the snake we found, scientifically called _amphisbaenae_,
wriggling as it does backwards and forwards, has given rise to the idea
of its having two heads.  Duppo told us many other stories about it,
which I have no space to mention.  These ants sometimes form mounds from
thirty to forty yards in circumference, and have been known to burrow
even under rivers.  As they attack fruit-trees, they are a great pest to
the inhabitants of the settled parts of the country, and are sometimes
destroyed by forcing fumes of sulphur through their galleries.  Their
chief use in the economy of Nature seems to be the consumption of
decayed vegetable matter, as they are exclusively vegetarians.

While the Indians were getting the boat down to the water, and Ellen and
her attendants, assisted by Domingos, were packing up, John, Duppo, and
I took a ramble into the woods to kill some more game, as we were not
likely to have anything but fish for some time to come.  As we were
going along, I heard the twittering of some dull-plumaged birds in the
bushes, and was trying to get a shot at them, when I saw John, who was a
little way ahead, jumping about in the most extraordinary manner.  Duppo
cried out, on seeing him, "Tauoca!" and made a sign to us to run off,
himself setting the example.  John followed.  "I have been attacked by
an army of ants," he exclaimed.  "See, here are hundreds sticking to
me."  Duppo and I went to his assistance, and we found his legs covered
with ants with enormous jaws, holding on so tight to the flesh that, in
pulling them off, the heads of many were left sticking in the wounds
they had made.  We caught sight of the column which was advancing, about
six deep, with thinner columns foraging on either side of the main army.
Creatures of all sorts were getting out of their way with good cause,
for whenever they came upon a maggot, caterpillar, or any larvae, they
instantly set upon it and tore it to pieces, each ant loading itself
with as much as it could carry.  A little in front of them was a wasp's
nest, on a low shrub.  They mounted the twigs, and, gnawing away at the
papery covering, quickly got at the larvae and the newly-hatched wasps.
These they carried off in spite of the efforts of the enraged parents,
who kept flying about them.  They were ecitons, or foraging ants, of
which there are numerous species.  They also came upon a bank, in their
course, in which was a nest belonging to a large species of white ant.
They forced their way in, attacked them, and dragged out the bodies of
the slain.  These were cut into three or four pieces, each of which was
lifted up by an eciton and carried off.

However, a volume could be filled with accounts of the numberless ants
and termites of South America, and their curious and varied habits.  One
species is quite blind; others tunnel as they go, or form ways to enable
them to make their attacks in secret.  For this purpose the little
creatures will form miles of covered ways.  Some build their nests of
clay in trees, and others hollow out abodes under the bark.  They vary,
too, in size and form.  Some are half an inch long; some white, others
red and black; some sting furiously.  The ants inhabiting trees are
those which commit depredations in houses chiefly.  The most annoying of
the species is the fire-ant--a little creature of a shining reddish
colour.  They live in the sand, where they form subterranean galleries
covered by a sandy dome.  They enter houses, and attack eatables of all
sorts.  When they attack human beings they fix their jaws in the flesh,
and, doubling up their tails, sting with all their might; and a very
fearful sting it is.  When we met with them we were obliged to smear the
ropes of our hammocks with balsam of _copauba_.  Eatables are suspended
in baskets by ropes covered with the same balsam, and the legs of chairs
and footstools are also covered to prevent their climbing up and
stinging those sitting on them.  Villages have sometimes been deserted
in consequence of the attacks of these fierce little insects.  However,
they are only found on the sandy banks of the river and drier parts of
the country.

After this digression I must continue my narrative.  We shot only two or
three birds, and then had to hurry back to prepare for our departure.
Our new canoe floated well, but was smaller than we could have wished.
Over the centre was an awning of palm-leaves, under which was seated
Ellen, with her black and brown attendants and her numerous pets,
surrounded by our goods and chattels.  Four Indians sat in the bows to
paddle, while John and Domingos took it by turns to steer.  Duppo had
especial charge of the various pets, while I was glad to be relieved
from the labour of paddling.  I had my gun ready for a shot, and we kept
out our books of natural history, which I wished to search through, and
two or three others for reading.  We were thankful to be once more on
our voyage, but still we could not help looking with some interest and
regret at the beautiful spot in which we had spent the last few weeks.
"All on board?" cried Domingos.  "On, boys, on!" and giving a shove with
his pole, we left the bank and glided down the stream, our dark-skinned
crew keeping time with their paddles to the monotonous song which they
struck up.  Although the wet season was commencing, the weather promised
to be fair for a time; and we hoped soon to have Arthur on board, and to
continue our voyage without interruption till we should at length fall
in with those dear ones of whom we were in search.

I have already described the broad river, and the wall of strangely
varied and lofty trees which border it.  We kept along the left bank,
not to run the risk of missing the entrance to the igarape of the
recluse, as we called it.

"Do you think we shall persuade him to come with us?" asked Ellen.  "I
should be so delighted if we could draw him out of his strange way of
life and restore him to society."

John thought there was little chance of our doing so.

"If anybody can, I think Arthur may," I observed.

"Then you agree with me in my notion?" said Ellen.

"It is possible you may be right," I answered; "but yet it would be very
strange."

The recluse formed the chief subject of our conversation during the
day's voyage.  At length we approached his igarape.  I almost expected
to see him and Arthur standing on the bank, but looked out in vain.  To
give them notice of our approach, I fired off my rifle.  We had already
made the canoe fast at our former landing-place.  Ellen, John, and I
were going towards the hut when Arthur appeared.  "O Arthur will he
come--will he come?" cried out Ellen.

Arthur shook his head.  "I am very glad to see you," he said; "but if
you had delayed a few days longer perhaps he would have made up his
mind.  However, you must come and try what you can do."

"And how is Maono?"  I asked.

"He is wonderfully recovered, but is still unable to move."

"I hope he and his wife will not insist on Oria remaining with them!"
said Ellen.

"I think not," answered Arthur.  "Were it not for their other children,
they would like to come themselves, I suspect, were Maono better.  But
you must come and see our friend; he has been so kind and gentle, and
talked a great deal to me.  I have been greatly puzzled to know the
meaning of some of his questions.  Sometimes he spoke as if he would
like me to remain with him; but when I told him that I could not leave
you, my old friends, he agreed that I ought not."

As we entered the open space before the hut of the recluse he advanced
to meet us, and courteously invited us to remain till the next day.  We
had wished to push on, as we had still some hours of daylight; but
Arthur begged us so earnestly to remain, that at last John agreed to do
so.  The Indians built themselves a hut near the canoe, in which
Domingos remained to watch over our goods; while we passed the night at
the hermitage.  Ellen tried her utmost to persuade our host to accompany
us; but he declined, saying that he could not abandon his present mode
of life, and would not desert his patient Maono till he had recovered.
Maono and Illora showed more pleasure at seeing us than is usually
exhibited by Indians.  His head was still bound up, and both he and his
wife appeared clothed in light garments, which, though not so
picturesque as their savage want of attire, made them look much more
civilised.

The next morning we were on foot before daybreak, and having
breakfasted, and bid farewell to the chief and his wife, repaired at
early dawn to the canoe, attended by the recluse.  Again Arthur
entreated him to accompany us, observing that Maono had so far recovered
that Illora might attend to him without his aid.  He seemed to hesitate,
but finally shook his head, saying, "It cannot be; no, it cannot be!"

"Then do you wish me to remain with you?" asked Arthur, looking up in
his face.

The recluse seemed to be agitated with contending feelings.  "No, boy,
no!" he answered.  "I cannot allow you to leave friends who have shown
that they are interested in your welfare.  But take this packet, and do
not open it till you have rejoined Mr Faithful's family.  You will, I
doubt not, ere long find them, for from the information I have obtained
they some time ago proceeded down the river.  Where they are settled I
cannot tell, but two if not more messengers have been despatched by them
in search of you, some of whom have either gone higher up the river, or
have fallen victims to the treacherous savages."

Arthur took the packet from the recluse with a look of surprise.

"It will explain all," said the latter.  "Put it by now, and keep it
carefully.  I have acted for the best, and you will acknowledge that
when you come to notice the contents."

Saying this, he pressed Arthur's hand, and assisting Ellen into the
canoe, waved an adieu, and turning hastily round, with long hasty
strides hurried back towards his abode.  The Indians stood up and
saluted him with signs of respect, and then, at the command of Domingos,
began to ply their paddles, and we once more recommenced our voyage.
Arthur watched the recluse till he disappeared among the trees.

"It is very, very strange," I heard him say to himself; "I cannot
understand it."  Several times he pulled out the packet and looked at it
wistfully.  "I must not disobey him," he added aloud, "and yet I long to
know what he meant by giving me this."

"So do I," said Ellen; "but I am sure you ought to obey him."

Arthur started; he seemed not to be aware that he had been speaking
aloud.

John looked at Ellen.  "Sister," he said rather gravely, "do not utter
your ideas; whatever they may be, you are likely to be wrong."

Ellen was silent.  Arthur replaced the packet in his wallet, and the
subject was not again alluded to.  For several hours we glided down the
stream without interruption.  In the middle of the day we landed to give
our crew rest and to cook our dinner.  While the men were resting, we
rambled through the forest with Duppo.  We took Duppo that we might not
run the risk of losing our way.  We had gone on for some distance, when
he exclaimed, "_Jacare tinga_!"  I called True close to me, knowing that
the words meant alligator.  Duppo crept cautiously on.  Every moment we
expected to come up with the monster, though on dry ground we knew we
had little cause to fear it.  "What is that?" exclaimed John, and he
fired his rifle at a creature which went bounding through the forest.
For a moment I caught sight of a jaguar, and directly afterwards we came
on an alligator which had evidently just been killed by the jaguar.  I
should have liked to have seen the combat in which the fierce mammal had
come off victorious.  What mighty strength it must have put forth to
kill the huge reptile which lay mangled before us, a considerable
portion of the interior devoured.  Duppo, on seeing it, began to search
about in the neighbourhood, and came before long on a conical pile of
dead leaves, from among which he dug out upwards of twenty eggs.  They
were nearly twice the size of those of a duck, and of an elliptical
shape.  The shells were very hard, of the texture of porcelain, and
extremely rough on the outside.  Duppo rubbed them together, producing a
loud sound.  Then he shook his head, as much as to say, "If the mother
were alive that would bring her, but there she lies;" and he then told
us that it was the way his people had of attracting alligators when they
found a nest, knowing that the female is sure to be near, and will come
to see what is the matter with her eggs.  We carried them on board as a
present to our crew, knowing that they would be acceptable, as the
natives are very fond of them.  At night we landed on an island, and
built our huts in the same style that we had done on descending the
Napo.  And thus, with various incidents which I have not space to
recount, we proceeded on our voyage for several days without
interruption.



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

JOYFUL NEWS.

Day after day we sailed down the mighty Amazon, often the opposite shore
appearing like a blue line in the distance, and yet we were upwards of
twelve hundred miles from the mouth.  Now it again narrowed into more
river-like proportions.  Sometimes we found ourselves navigating between
numerous islands, cut off from the mainland by the rush of waters; but
along the whole extent, often for a hundred miles together, not a hut
was to be seen, not a sign of a human habitation.  Whenever we came near
the abode of man we landed, and Domingos or John and one of the natives
approached cautiously to make inquiries; but hitherto without success.
Here and there we came to a mission establishment of the Portuguese.
They consisted generally of the priest's house, a larger building for
the church, and a few huts scattered about, inhabited by natives.  As
far as we could judge, these so-called Christian natives were but little
raised above their still heathen countrymen, while the effect of the
religion they had assumed was to make them more idolatrous and
superstitious than before.  The priests, however, were very civil, but
there was nothing to tempt us to remain at their stations; we therefore,
after gaining the information we required, pushed on and camped in our
usual way.  We agreed that our father had probably acted in the same
way, for we could gain no certain news of him.  We heard, however, what
gave us some anxiety--that the country was in a greatly disturbed state,
and that the natives had, in several places, risen against the
Portuguese, and driven them from their settlements.  The poor priests,
indeed, seemed unhappy about themselves, and not at all confident that
their flocks might not rise and treat them in the same way.  One,
indeed, gave out strong hints that he would like to accompany us, and
would undertake to pilot us down the river; but our canoe had already as
many on board as she could carry, while our provisions were so greatly
diminished that they would not hold out much longer.

We frequently avoided the main channel, the navigation of which in bad
weather is dangerous, and made our way through some of the numerous
channels filled by the rising waters on either side.  Thus we paddled on
through channels sometimes so narrow that the boughs arched almost
overhead, at other times spreading out into lake-like expanses.  I have
already so frequently described the vegetation, the numberless palms and
other trees, some of enormous size, with their festoons of air-plants
and climbers of all sorts, that I need not again draw the picture.
Emerging from a narrow path, we entered a calm and beautiful lake, when
there appeared before us, floating on the water, a number of vast
circular leaves, amid which grow up the most gigantic and beautiful
water-lilies.

"Oh, what flowers!" exclaimed Ellen; "do gather some."

"Surely those cannot be leaves!" exclaimed Arthur.  "See, a bird with
long legs is walking over them!"

John fired, and the bird fell in the centre of the leaf on which it was
standing, and which still supported it in the water; and taking it off
the leaf, alongside which we paddled, we found it to be a jacana,
remarkable for the great length of its toes, especially the hinder one,
and their spine-like claws.  It was a wonderfully light bird also, and
these peculiarities enable it to walk over the leaves of the
water-plants and procure its food, which consists of worms.  The beak
was orange colour, but the greater part of the body black, with the back
and wing-coverts of a bright chestnut, with a few yellow touches here
and there, and the legs of a greenish-ash colour.  We heard the shrill
and noisy notes of its fellows in the trees near us.  "Ah, that is a
_piosoca_!" said Duppo, "and that leaf is its oven;" and so it was in
shape like the pans in which the natives roast their mandioca meal.

Ellen had, in the meantime, been examining one of the beautiful flowers
which the boatmen picked for her.  The outside of the leaves was of a
delicate white, deepening in colour through every shade of rose to the
deepest crimson, and then fading again to a creamy-yellowish tint at the
heart.  Many of the leaves were five feet and upwards in diameter, and
perfectly smooth on the upper surface, with an upright edge of an inch
to two inches all the way round.  We managed, though not without
difficulty, to pull up some stalks, and found them covered with long
sharp spines.  The construction of the leaf was very curious, it being
supported below by a number of ribs projecting from the stalk, and
giving it greater buoyancy and strength.  One of the boatmen, plunging
down, brought up a young leaf from the bottom.  It had the form of a
deep cup or vase, and on examining it we discovered the embryo ribs, and
could see how, as they grew, their ramifications stretched out in every
direction, the leaf letting out one by one its little folds to fill the
ever-widening spaces.  At last, when it reaches the surface of the
water, its pan-like form rests horizontally above it without a wrinkle.
This beautiful lily, then unknown to science, has since been called the
Victoria Regia.

Nothing could exceed the beauty of this calm lake, covered for a
considerable distance with these magnificent flowers.  Among the lilies
appeared a variety of other water-plants, some gracefully bending over
like bamboos, others with large deep serrated leaves, while the
different forest trees in varied forms rose round us, fringed by a broad
band of feathery grass.  Several trees floated on the borders covered
with water-fowl, among which were many ducks and ciganas, while amid the
lofty branches of the living forest flew numerous macaws of a red,
green, and yellow species, and one of the small flock of the still more
beautiful blue macaw, appeared to add their lovely tints to the
landscape.  Such was the scenery through which we passed during the
greater part of the day.  Had we felt sure about the safety of our
family, how much more should we have enjoyed it.  Our anxiety again
increased.  We had good reason to be anxious about ourselves.  Our stock
of provisions was almost exhausted; all our luxuries except coffee had
come to an end, and of that we had very little, while we had only a
small supply of farinha remaining.

We encamped at the end of our day's voyage through that labyrinth of
canals on the only spot we could find free from trees, the rising waters
having covered nearly all the ground.  While looking for some poles for
our hut, I saw on the branch of a tree overhanging the water, gazing
down upon us, a hideous monster, fully five feet long, which at the
first glance I took to be a species of alligator with which I was
unacquainted.  Presently, as I gazed at it, it filled out a large bag
under its throat, and opened its hideous mouth.  It was covered with
scales, had a long tail, the point of which was hid among the branches,
and enormous claws at the end of its legs.  I beat a quick retreat,
calling to John to come to my assistance with his gun, for I fully
believed that the creature would leap off and attack me.  The Indians,
hearing my voice, came towards me, and cut down some long thin sipos, at
the end of which they formed a running noose.  Thus prepared, they
boldly advanced towards the creature, and one of them throwing up the
noose, adroitly caught it round the neck.  The others, taking the end,
gave it a sudden jerk, and down it came to the ground.  As soon as it
regained its feet it boldly made at them, but they nimbly leaped out of
its way; and as its movements were slow, there seemed but little risk of
its catching them.

"Why, that must be an iguana!" exclaimed John.

While some kept hauling at the creature's neck, turning it when it tried
to get away, others ran to the canoe and brought their spears, with
which they ran it through the neck, and quickly killed it.  It was an
iguana (_Iguana tuberculata_).  Though the head was very different from
that of the alligator, being blunt, yet, from having a number of sharp
teeth, it could evidently have given a severe bite.  Its head was
somewhat large, and covered with large scales.  It had an enormous wide
mouth, while under its chin was a sort of big dew-lap, which, as it had
shown me, it could inflate when angry.  At the sides of the neck were a
number of tubercles, while the tail was very long, thin, and tapering.
It was of a dark olive-green, but the tail was marked with brown and
green in alternate rings.  The creature was nearly six feet long.  The
Indians seemed highly delighted with their prize, and as soon as our
huts were built, commenced skinning and cutting it up.  Domingos assured
us that it was very good to eat, and produced a fricassee for supper,
which we could not help acknowledging was excellent.  A part also was
roasted.

Shortly afterwards I saw another iguana on the ground.  True darted at
it, and I shouted to him to come back.  Fortunately for itself, my
shouts startled the iguana, which took to the water, and swam away,
sculling itself forward by meant of its long tail at a rapid rate.

Arthur had manufactured a net for catching insects.  As soon as we were
seated in front of our hut, enjoying the cool air after the sun had set,
Ellen exclaimed, "Oh, see what beautiful fireworks!"  At a short
distance from us there appeared suddenly to rise thousands of sparks of
great brilliancy.  Arthur ran forward with his net, and quickly
returned, placed the hoop on the ground, and lifted up the end, when so
bright was the light which came from the interior that we could without
difficulty read a page of the book on natural history we had been
examining a short time before.  On taking out some of the insects he had
caught to look at them more narrowly, Arthur placed one on its back,
when it sprang up with a curious click and pitched again on its feet.
On examining it we found that this was produced by the strong spine
placed beneath the thorax, fitting into a small cavity on the upper part
of the abdomen.  It brings this over its head, and striking the ground
with great force, can thus regain its natural position.  The creature
was about an inch and a half long, and of a brown colour.  The light
proceeded from a smooth, yellow, semi-transparent spot on each side of
the thorax.  We found that even with a single one passed over the page
we could see the letters clearly.  Ellen ran and brought a vial, into
which we put a dozen, when it literally gave forth the light of a bright
lamp, sufficient to write by.  It is known in the country as the cocuja.
It is the elater, or still more scientifically, the _Pyrophorus
noctilucus_.  The forest behind the hut was literally filled at times
with brilliant sparks of light, now vanishing, now bursting forth with
greater brightness than at first.  The Brazilian ladies wear these
beetles alive secured in their hair, and sometimes on their dresses,
which thus glitter brightly as they move about in the dusk.

The next morning at daylight Duppo was busily employed hunting about in
the neighbourhood, and at length shouted to us to bring a basket.  We
found he had just discovered the nest of an iguana, filled with eggs.
He assured us that they were excellent.  On boiling some for breakfast,
we agreed with him.  Like those of the turtle, they did not harden by
boiling, but only became somewhat thicker, and were filled almost
entirely with yellow, having very little albumen.  We all set to work to
hunt for more, and were fortunate in finding another nest, the eggs
being a welcome addition to our scanty supply of food.  The Indians
meantime, while we were finishing breakfast, set off into the forest,
and just as we were ready to start came back with another iguana.

We were constantly employed in trying to teach Duppo English.  Arthur
was explaining to him the animals of our country, and was mentioning the
cow, and describing its milk.  He seemed much interested, and then gave
us to understand that they also had cows in their land, which, instead
of walking about on four legs, grew in the ground, and were of great
size.  After this he was constantly looking out along the banks, and at
length he shouted out to the men, "Massaranduba!" and they at once
paddled in for the bank.  One of them accompanied us with an axe.  As we
passed along we found on the ground a number of woody vessels, which had
evidently contained seeds.  Duppo picked up one of them, and found
another piece close by which fitted on to it, and then told us that they
were called monkeys' drinking-cups; the Portuguese call them _cuyas de
macaco_.  These shells had contained nuts.  When falling off the tree--
the sapucaya--the tops split off, and the nuts are scattered on the
ground.  Duppo made us understand that these cups would serve well to
collect the milk from the cow he promised to show us.

I may observe that the trees which bear the monkey drinking-cups are
closely allied to the Brazil-nut tree, the fruit of which we had often
seen sold in England under that name.  Its seeds are also enclosed in
large woody vessels, but they, having no lid, fall entire to the ground,
and are thus easily collected by the natives.

Supplied with these vessels, we went on a few yards further, when we
stopped under an enormous tree, one of the giants of the forest.  Its
trunk was covered with deeply scored reddish and rugged bark.  Duppo
patted it, saying, "This my cow."  Another tree of the same species, but
much smaller, grew near.  He ran to it, and saying, "Small cow give
better milk," began to attack it with his axe.  After making a few
strokes, out flowed a perfectly white liquid, which John, kneeling down,
caught in the monkey-cup.  As soon as it was filled I handed him
another, the milk continuing to flow in great abundance, so that we soon
had four cups filled full of the tempting liquid.  On tasting it we
found it sweet, and of a not unpleasant flavour, and wonderfully like
milk.

We returned to the boat with our prize.  Domingos had meantime been
boiling some coffee; as we had now no sugar, the fresh milk proved a
most valuable acquisition.  The Indians, however, recommended us not to
take much of it.  We kept it, intending to use it again in the evening,
but on taking off the lid of one of the monkey-cups, we found that our
milk had thickened into a stiff and excessively tenacious glue.  "My cow
good?" asked Duppo, as he saw us tasting the liquid.  When we showed him
the gluey substance in the evening, he inquired sagaciously whether the
milk of our cow would keep so long, and we confessed that, in that
climate, it would be very likely to turn sour.  After this, on several
occasions we obtained fresh milk from the cow-tree for our breakfasts
and suppers.

We encamped at night on a bank, and found two sorts of tiger-beetles,
with very large heads, running about on the sand.  It was extraordinary
how rapidly they moved.  Arthur and I tried to catch them, but each time
they baffled us.  One was very similar in hue to the sand over which it
runs, the other was of a brilliant copper colour.  Arthur, who was very
acute in his remarks, observed that the white species ran far more
swiftly than the copper-coloured one.  As they only appear in the gloom
or night, the white is far more easily seen than the darker one; and
this has by the Creator greater means afforded it of escaping from its
enemies.  The dark-coloured one, however, he discovered, is not left
without means of defence; for when at last Duppo caught one for him, he
found that on touching it it emitted a strong, peculiar, and offensive
putrid odour, which is not the case with the whiter one.

"How delightful it is!" he exclaimed, "to examine the habits of God's
creatures, and see how admirably adapted they are to the life they are
destined to lead."

I must not, however, attempt to describe the numberless insects and
creatures of all sorts we met with on our voyage.  Duppo brought us a
large wood-cricket, called the _Tanana_, the wonderfully loud and not
unmusical notes of which we had often heard.  These sounds, we found,
were produced by the overlapping edges of the wing-cases, which they rub
together.  In each wing-case the inner edge, near the lower part, has a
horny expansion.  On one wing this horny expansion is furnished with a
sharp raised margin; on the other, the strong nervure which traverses it
on the other side is crossed by a number of short, sharp furrows, like
those of a file.  When, therefore, the insect rapidly moves its wings,
the file of one expansion scrapes sharply across the horny margin of the
other, thus producing the curious sounds.  The wing-cases, which are of
a parchment-like nature, and the hollow drum-formed space which they
enclose, assists to give resonance to the tones.  The music they make is
employed undoubtedly to serenade their mates, for the same object which
induces the feathered tribe to utter their varied notes in the forest.

We had once more entered the main stream, which, after the confined
navigation of the last few days, appeared to our eyes almost like the
wide ocean.  We landed rather earlier than usual, as a favourable spot
appeared, and we could not tell how far off another might be found.  We
had formed huts as usual, our camp-fire was lighted, and Domingos and
Maria were engaged in cooking our evening meal, making the most of the
scanty fare we had remaining.  A point was near from which we believed
we could get an uninterrupted view for a great distance down the river.
As we found we could make our way to it without much difficulty, we
begged Ellen and Oria to accompany us.

On reaching the point we sat down on a bank.  A small object appeared in
the distance on the water.  Arthur was the first to espy it.  I thought
it was but a log of wood.  We pointed it out to Oria.  She at once
declared that it was a canoe.  It was certainly approaching, and at
length we made out a small canoe gliding over the smooth water; and as
it came near we saw a white man in the stern steering, and ten natives
urging her on with rapid strokes.  "What if those people should be able
to give us news of our father!" exclaimed Ellen.  "Do call them, lest
they should pass by."  John hailed the canoe.  Presently we saw the
white man stand up and look towards us.  Instantly the head of the canoe
was turned in our direction.  We hastened down to the point where they
would land, and the white man stepped on shore.  He gazed first at one,
then at the other, with an inquiring glance.

"Can you tell me, my friend," asked John, "if an English family are
stopping anywhere on the banks down the river?"

"Indeed I can, senor," answered the white man; "for I have been sent up
by the master to look out for some part of his family who ought long
since to have arrived.  He has already sent two messengers to inquire
for them; and his heart, and those of the senora and senorita, are
well-nigh worn out with anxiety on their account.  At last I begged that
he would let me go; and I promised not to return without gaining tidings
of them."

"Why, then you must be Antonio, and we are those you are looking for!"
said John.

"Heaven be praised!" exclaimed Antonio, our father's old servant, who,
rushing forward, seized John in his arms, and gave him a warm embrace.
He then turned to me, and gave me the same affectionate yet respectful
greeting.  "And this is the senorita!" he exclaimed, turning to Ellen.
"Oh, it does my old heart good to see you.  How little did I think that
before the sun set I should behold those I so longed to find.  And
Domingos and Maria; surely they have come with you!"

"Oh yes," said John; "they are at the camp.  Send your montaria round
the point, and come with us.  We shall soon be there."

As may be supposed, we had numberless questions to ask about our father
and family; how far off they were from us, and all that had happened.

"Oh, senor, I should like to have a dozen tongues in my head to reply to
you," answered Antonio.  "They are well and safe now, though the times
are perilous.  And, Heaven be praised, they have passed numberless
dangers unharmed.  It has taken me two weary weeks to come thus far, but
I hope that we may descend the river to them in far less time.  How
could I have expected to meet with you when others, we had cause to
fear, had failed.  First, a Brazilian trader, who was proceeding up in
his montaria, undertook the task, promising without fail to find you,
and speedily to send down notice; but after waiting and waiting some
weary weeks, no news came, and my master, your father, was resolved to
go himself, though unwilling to leave the senoras without his
protection, when, just then, two young Englishmen arrived from Para, and
made themselves known to your father as friends of yours; and hearing
that you were missing, agreed to go up in search of you."

"Why, those must be our two school-fellows, Houlston and Tony Nyass!"  I
exclaimed.

From the description which Antonio had given of them, we had no doubt
that this was the case.  But what had become of them?  A few minutes
before I had thought all our anxieties were over, but now they were
again aroused on account of our friends.  What if they had fallen into
the hands of the Majeronas, or been exposed to some of the storms we had
so narrowly escaped!  "You forget how easily they may have passed us,"
observed Arthur.  "We might have been not a quarter of a mile apart, and
yet have passed without seeing or hearing each other."

Dear Ellen was so agitated with the thoughts of meeting those we loved
so soon, that she could scarcely speak.  She overheard, however, the
remarks between Arthur and myself.  "And why do you doubt that all will
come right in the end?" she exclaimed.  "Think of the many dangers we
have gone through, and how we have been preserved from them all.  Let us
hope the same for our friends."

Domingos was standing over the fire with his frying-pan when we came
round the point with Antonio.  At that moment he happened to look up,
when, forgetting what he was about, he let the frying-pan and its
contents fall into the middle of the fire, thereby spoiling a delicious
fricassee of iguana, and sprang forward to welcome his fellow-servant,
and to make inquiries for their master.  The two rushed into each
other's arms, and the tears fell from the black man's eyes when he heard
that our father was well.

We spent the evening at our encampment, hearing from Antonio all that
had occurred: how our father had received information of the intended
attack of the Majeronas, and had embarked just in time to escape them.
He would have waited for us higher up the river had he not been
compelled, for the sake of obtaining assistance for our mother, to
proceed downwards.  They had all been hospitably received at the farm of
a Brazilian family, where she having recovered, he determined to wait
for our arrival.  The first messengers he had despatched not having been
heard of, on the arrival of Houlston and Tony Nyass, they had insisted
on proceeding upward.  As they also had not returned, Antonio, with the
party we had met, had been sent to search for us.

It was the happiest evening we had spent since the commencement of our
journey.  Anxiety about our friends did not damp our spirits, as we
hoped that they would hear of us at some of the places at which we had
called; and that we should soon all meet, and continue our adventures in
company.  "Fancy Tony and I, and old Houlston, after all, sailing
together on the Amazon, just as we used to talk about at school!"  I
acclaimed.  "It will be jolly, will it not, Arthur?"



CHAPTER NINETEEN.

A HAPPY MEETING.

A week had passed away.  The two canoes keeping in company, we no longer
felt the solitude which had oppressed us as we navigated that vast
stream, or the intricate labyrinth of channels, often far away from the
main shore.  Several times we had inquired of Antonio whether we were
approaching the farm of Senhor Pimento, where our family were living.
"Paciencia; logo, logo," was his answer--"Patience; soon, soon we shall
be there."  We turned off from the main stream, and ascended an igarape
thickly shrouded by palms and other trees, completely shutting out the
sky above us.  At the end of the vista the bright sunlight shone on an
open space, where appeared a small lake, on the opposite side of which
we could distinguish several buildings raised on piles--a large one in
the centre with a deep verandah, the palm-thatched roof of which
extended beyond the walls; the whole surrounded by plantations of
mandioca, cacao, peach-palms, and other trees.

"Is that where we are going?" asked Ellen eagerly of Antonio.  "We shall
see--we shall see, senorita!" he answered.  Rounding a point, we
observed a hut beneath a grove of inaja palms; their leaves springing
almost from the ground, and spreading slightly out from the slender
stem, so as to form an open vase of the most graceful shape.  Few
objects of the vegetable kingdom are more beautiful.  "Oh, what lovely
trees!" exclaimed Ellen.  "And see! there is some one coming out from
among them."

As she spoke, a person emerged from the wood, engaged apparently in
reading.  As his back was towards us, he did not observe the approach of
the canoes.  "Oh, it is papa!" exclaimed Ellen; "I am sure of it."  And
in another instant we were on shore, and Ellen flying over the ground.

It was indeed a happiness to see her in our father's arms.  "And my boys
too, safe after all your dangers!" he exclaimed, as he embraced us.
"And your young friend too!"

Maria and Domingos came running up to kiss his hand, pleasure beaming in
their dark countenances.  We hurried forward to the house, and in a few
minutes had the happiness of seeing our mother and Fanny.  Even Aunt
Martha, I thought, looked far more kindly than she used to do, and was
as gentle and affectionate to Ellen as she could be.  It was indeed a
happy meeting.

We, of course, had to recount all our adventures; and thus most of the
talking was on our side, as Antonio had already told us all that had
happened to them.  Our Brazilian friend, Senhor Pimento, was a fine
burly old gentleman, habited in light nankeen jacket and trousers, with
a broad-brimmed hat.  He was of a somewhat dark hue, and his wife, who
was a slight, active old lady, was considerably darker.  Their family
consisted of a son, who was away hunting at the time, and two daughters.
I cannot call them fair, but they were attractive, lively girls, who
had lived in that remote district all their lives, and knew nothing of
the world beyond, believing Para, next to Rio, to be its largest city.
Fanny and her Portuguese friends were much pleased with Oria and Duppo,
and delighted when they found that they could speak a little English, a
language the two latter were trying to learn.  The house was of
considerable size, built of palm-trees, thatched with palm-leaves; and
even the doors and windows were composed of palm-leaves, not opening on
hinges, but being hooked up or taken down like mats.  There were open
galleries round on either side, and several of the rooms were open also;
and in these the hammocks of the men of the party were hung up.  The
floors were also of split palm-trees, and were raised about ten feet
above the ground, so as to be at a sufficient elevation during the
higher floods which occasionally inundate the larger portion of that
region.  None of the inmates of the house were idle.  Senhor Pimento was
constantly out, superintending his labourers; while Donna Josefa, his
wife, was engaged in household matters.  The young ladies, it must be
owned, were the least industrious of the family.

Arthur had said nothing of the packet he had received from the recluse,
yet I was sure that he would not lose a moment in opening it after the
time had arrived when he had permission to do so.  Ellen came running to
me the following morning, I having gone out before breakfast to look
round the farm.  I saw by her beaming countenance that she was full of
some matter of importance.

"It is as I told you, Harry!" she exclaimed.  "The recluse is Arthur's
father--I knew it--I was sure of it.  Arthur read to me last night some
of the letter he gave him.  Poor fellow, he is in a great state of
agitation, and blames himself for having come away and left him.  The
recluse--that is to say, Mr Mallet--speaks somewhat vaguely of a
fearful event which compelled him to leave England; and he says that,
though yearning to have his son by his side, he will not take him out of
the path which Providence has placed him in, and from the protection of
kind friends--that he himself, long an outcast from his fellow-men,
cannot help him, and that by starting alone in life he will have a far
better prospect of success than should it be known whose son he is.
These remarks, though Arthur is thankful to have found his father, have
made him very unhappy.  He will talk to you by-and-by, when he has
thought the matter over; and do you know, the recluse--I mean, Mr
Mallet--says that papa is an old friend of his, and that Arthur may tell
him so, as he is sure that though papa may not desire to meet him, he
will not in consequence withdraw his protection from his son."

"That I am sure papa will not," I exclaimed.  "Poor Arthur!  I do not
know whether to be sorry or glad at what you have told me.  Had he
spoken to me I might have been better able to advise him."

Ellen looked into my face.  Perhaps she thought that I felt a little
jealous that Arthur had not first consulted me.  We agreed not to say
anything about the matter, but to let Arthur speak to our father
himself, being assured that he would do what was kind and generous, and
act as he judged for the best.

Arthur during the day was, I observed, more silent than usual.  He was
waiting, I suspected, to become more acquainted with our father before
venturing to speak to him.  I was not present when he did so.

The day after our arrival Duppo came to me with a countenance of alarm.
"We get among witches!" he exclaimed, looking round cautiously.  I asked
him what he could mean; and he then told me that he had seen the two
young ladies in a wood close to the house, amusing themselves by playing
with venomous snakes, which he was sure they could not do if they were
like other human beings.  "Come, you see them," he said, wishing to
prove his assertion correct; and he led me round the house, through the
grove of palms, where, sure enough, seated on a bench, from whence there
was a lovely view of the lake, were the two daughters of our host.  I
confess I was almost startled on seeing them with a number of brilliant
looking snakes.  One was round each of their necks, while others they
had twisted like bracelets, encircling their arms; and one of the girls
was holding another in her hand, allowing its forked tongue to dart out
towards her face.  They were of a bright grass-green colour, with
remarkably thin bodies; and it was curious to see the graceful way in
which the lithe, active creatures crawled about, or lay coiled up
perfectly at home in their laps.  Unwilling to be an eavesdropper, I was
retiring, when I met Fanny and Ellen, and told them what I had seen, and
Duppo's suspicions.  Fanny laughed, saying they were perfectly harmless,
and had been tamed by their friends, and returned with me to where the
girls were seated.  Duppo, however, beat a retreat, evidently unwilling
to be in such a dangerous neighbourhood.  They were highly amused at
hearing of Duppo's alarm, and showed me that the snakes were perfectly
harmless.  I took one in my hand, when the creature coiled itself round
my arm, and I could admire at leisure its colour, and the beautiful
topaz yellow of its eyes.  The snakes were between two and three feet
long.  They were so thoroughly tamed, that though placed on the ground
they did not attempt to escape, but came back immediately they were
called by their young mistresses.  So slender were their bodies, that
when coiled completely up I could place one on the palm of my hand.

Though I told Duppo afterwards that I had actually handled the snakes,
he was not convinced of their harmless character, and insisted that it
was another proof that they had been charmed by the white witches, which
he still evidently considered our Brazilian friends.  Oria, however, was
far braver; for when she saw Fanny and Ellen play with the creatures,
she without hesitation took one of them up, and allowed it to coil
itself round her neck, where it made a pretty ornament on her dark skin.

Pedro, the son of our host, returned the next day with a boat-load of
turtle and fish which he had caught; as well as a number of birds, some
of them of exquisite plumage.  John, Arthur, and I begged to accompany
him the next time he set out on a similar expedition; and we found that
he proposed starting again the following day.  Meantime Senhora Josefa,
with the assistance of her slaves, was employed in salting and drying
the fish and fowl she had just received.

We started in the morning with two canoes, equipped with nets, spears,
and lines, bows and arrows, and blow-pipes as well as guns.

The lower portion of the banks of the Amazon were at this time covered
with water on either side, varying in height from one to ten feet, and
in some places reaching twenty.  This district, known as the Gapo,
extends from the Napo upwards of seventeen hundred miles, to the very
borders of Peru.  It thus becomes a region of countless islands,
separated by expanses of water--but not open water, as forest trees
appear growing out of it in all directions; while in other parts there
are numbers of lakes of all sizes--some many miles in extent, others
mere pools, dry in summer, but all abounding in fish of various sorts,
in turtles and alligators.  We could often, in consequence of the
flooded state of the country, make short cuts in our canoe directly
through the forest, in some places with a depth of five to ten feet
below our keels.

As we were paddling on through a scene such as I have described, we
passed near a raft secured to the trunks of four trees, on which was an
Indian family, with a small fire burning on it.  The mother was cooking
fish, while the father lay in his hammock suspended between the trees.
A small, crazy looking canoe was moored to it.  The family appeared
perfectly contented and unconcerned, and accustomed to the curious mode
of life.  Pedro told us they were Muras Indians.  During the dry season
they live on the sand-banks, employed in catching turtle in the large
river; and when the rainy season sets in they retire to these solitudes,
whence they sally forth in their canoes to catch manatees and turtle,
and fish of many sorts.  We were proceeding away from the main stream by
a broad water-path, with numberless narrower paths leading off in all
directions.  During the first part of our voyage we could see for a
considerable distance through the irregular colonnade of trees; but as
we progressed the path became narrower, and the trees grew closer
together, their boughs frequently stretching forth over our heads.  From
many of them beautiful bright yellow flowers hung down, the stems
several feet in length, while ferns and numerous air-plants thickly
covered the trunks of the palms or drooped over from their summits.  Now
and then we passed through a thicket of bamboos, their slender foliage
and gracefully-curving stems having arranged themselves in the most
elegant feathery bowers.  Crossing through the forest, we passed a grove
of small palms, their summits being but a few feet above us.  They bore
bunches of fruit, which our Indians cut off with their knives.  We found
it of an agreeable flavour.  The birds feeding overhead now and then
sent down showers of fruit, which splashed into the water round us.
Frequently we heard a rustling in the leaves, and caught sight in many
places of troops of monkeys peeping down from among the dense foliage.
Then off they would go, leaping from bough to bough through the forest.
Here a flock of paroquets appeared in sight for a few moments.  Now one
of the light-blue chatterers, then a lovely trogon, would seize a fruit
as it darted by; or the delicate white wing and claret-coloured plumage
of a lovely pompadour would glance from the foliage; or a huge-billed
toucan would pitch down on a bough above us, and shake off a fruit into
the water.  Gay flowers, too, were not wanting, of the orchid tribe:
some with white and spotted and purple blossoms; the most magnificent of
a brilliant purple colour, called by the natives Saint Ann's flower,
four inches across.  We plucked some, which emitted a most delightful
odour.  At last we came out once more into the bright sunshine, at a
small lake, the surface of which was adorned in many parts with
numberless beautiful water-plants--graceful lilies, yellow
bladder-worts, and numbers of a bright blue flower, which contrasted
with the green leaves.  The whole track, indeed, consisted, we found, of
igarapes, lakes, and gapo; here and there patches of high and dry land
so mingled together that we could not have told whether we were on the
main shore or on an island.

At length we reached another lake with higher banks, where Pedro told us
we would encamp and commence fishing.  The little lake extended over an
area of about ten acres, and was surrounded by the forest.  The borders
were somewhat swampy, and covered with a fine grass.  On these borders
the hunters erected little stages, consisting of long poles, with
cross-pieces secured by lianas.  The pool abounded with turtle.  Our
hunters mounted the stages, armed with bow and arrow.  The arrow was so
formed that the head when it struck the animal remained in its body,
while the shaft floated to the surface, though remaining attached to it
by a long line.  We remained in a larger canoe to watch proceedings,
while Pedro and two Indians entered a smaller one.  The Indians did not
even wait for the turtles to come to the surface; but the moment they
saw a ripple in the water, the man nearest shot his arrow with unerring
aim, and it never failed to pierce the shell.  As soon as one was shot,
Pedro paddled towards it, and, taking the shaft and line in his hand,
humoured the creature as a fisherman does a salmon, till, exhausted, it
rose to the surface, when it was further secured by another arrow shot
at it, and then with the two lines easily hauled into the canoe.  John
and I tried our skill; but our arrows missed their aim, and I very
nearly shot our friend Pedro instead of the turtle.

Another small canoe had been sent for, which now arrived.  So rapidly
were the turtle shot that both canoes were actively engaged in picking
them up.  Fully forty were thus killed in a short time.  The net was
then spread at one end of the pool, while the rest of the party began
beating the water from the opposite side with long poles, some along the
edges and others in the canoes.  We could see the backs of the turtles
as they swam forward.  When they got close to the net the two ends were
rapidly drawn together, surrounding a large number of them; and then all
hands uniting at the ropes, quickly dragged it towards the shore.  As
they appeared above the water, the men seized them, and threw them into
the canoes, which came up to the spot.  Many, however, managed to
scramble out again before they were turned on their backs.  Arthur and I
rushed in with the rest to assist in their capture, when suddenly I felt
an extraordinary sensation in my foot.

"Oh, I have been bitten by a water-snake!"  I exclaimed, leaping up.

"And so have I!" cried Arthur.  And we rushed on shore, both of us
looking anxiously down at our legs.  No wounds, however, were to be
seen.

When the net was finally drawn on shore, after a vast number of small
turtle had been taken out of it, several curious fish were seen, and
among them five or six eel-looking creatures, with large heads.  The
Indians cried out something; but not understanding them, I took up one
of the creatures to examine it, when instantly I felt the sensation I
had experienced in the water, and now discovered that they were electric
eels.  To prove it yet further, I took out my knife, and Pedro, Arthur,
and I, with several Indians, joined hands, when instantly the rest,
greatly to their astonishment, felt the shock as if they had touched the
fish itself.  We persuaded the other Indians to try the experiment; and
they were greatly amused and astonished at finding the electric spark
pass through their systems.

Altogether we caught upwards of a hundred turtle.  We then moved on to
another lake with a sandy shore, where the net was again drawn for the
sake of obtaining fish.  I had never seen so many and various fish taken
together.  It would be impossible to describe them.  Among them was a
beautiful oval-shaped fish, which the natives call _acara_.  There are
numerous species, we heard: some of them deposit their eggs in the sand,
and hover over them until the young are hatched; but there are others
which take still greater care of them, and have a cavity near the gills,
in which the male takes up the eggs and carries them there, not only
till they are hatched, but actually keeps the young fry in safety within
them.  When able to swim they go out and take exercise; but on the
approach of danger they rush back into their parents' mouths for
protection.  This cavity is in the upper part of the bronchial arches.
I should scarcely have believed the fact from the report of the natives,
had I not actually seen both the eggs and the young fry in their
parents' head.  There are several species of fish in the waters of the
Amazon which are thus wonderfully supplied with the means of protecting
their young.

"You shall now see another way we have of taking fish," said our friend
Pedro.

We paddled off to a still part of the lake.  He then poured out of a
calabash some coloured liquid.

"And now let us land," he said, "and while we take our dinner, watch the
result."

The liquid, he told us, was produced from a poisonous liana called
_tambo_.  This is cut up into lengths, washed, and soaked in water,
which becomes thus impregnated with the juice.

Before dinner was over, as we looked out on the pool we saw the surface
covered with fish floating on their sides, with their gills wide open.
The canoe then pushed off, and collected them in great numbers.  The
poison appeared to have suffocated the fish, although only a small
quantity had been poured into the water.

We were as successful in shooting birds, monkeys, and other game, as we
were in fishing.  One of the Indians used his bow in a curious way,
which we had not before seen employed.  Throwing himself on his back, he
placed his feet lifted up above his body against the bow, and drew the
string to his head with both his hands.  It was surprising what a
correct aim he could thus take.  He quickly brought down several birds
on the wing at a great height.  He showed us also that he could shoot up
in the air, and make the arrow fall wherever he pleased.  Several times
it descended within a few inches of his own head or feet, where it stuck
quivering in the ground.  We dreaded that it might stick into him; but
he laughed at our fears, assuring us that there was not the slightest
danger, as he had practised the art from his boyhood, and could perform
still more difficult feats.  Darkness coming on prevented him from
exhibiting them.  We spent the night on the driest spot we could find on
the banks of the lake.  Blazing fires were lighted to keep jaguars,
pumas, and boas at a distance.

Next morning, loaded with the spoils of the chase, we commenced our
voyage homewards.  We were passing a dry, thickly-wooded island, when we
caught sight of a number of people among the trees, while fires were
burning in the centre of several open spots.  We asked Pedro what they
were about.

"They are my father's labourers," he said.  "You shall come on shore,
and we will see how they are employed."

We found a number of Indians and a few blacks busily engaged in various
ways; some in making gashes in the stems of trees, under each of which
they placed a little clay cup or a shell, into which trickled the sap
issuing from the wound.  This sap we found was of the consistency of
cream.  And now we saw for the first time the india-rubber with which we
had only before been acquainted when using it to rub out our pencil
strokes when drawing at school.  The trees which were thus treated had a
bark and foliage not unlike that of the European ash; but the trunks
were of great size, and shot up to an immense height before throwing off
their branches.  People with large bowls were going about from tree to
tree, and emptying the contents of the little cups into them.  From
thence they were carried to their camp.  Here we found large bowls full
of the cream-like sap.  The labourers were provided with a number of
clay moulds of various shapes, though most of them were in the form of
round bottles.  These moulds were dipped into the liquid, and then hung
up to dry.  As soon as one layer was dry the mould was again dipped in,
and thus coat after coat was put on.  Pedro told us it took several days
before the coating was considered sufficiently thick.  It was then hard
and white.  This operation being finished, it was passed several times
through a thick, black smoke which issued from fires.  We found that
this smoke was produced by burning the nuts of the inaja and other
palm-trees, by which means the dark colour and softness are obtained.
The process is now complete; and the moulds being broken, the clay is
emptied out, and the rubber is fit for sale.

The Brazilian india-rubber tree--the _Siphonia elastico_
(_caoutchouc_)--differs from the _ficus_ which furnishes the
india-rubber of Africa and the East Indies.  It bears a small flower and
circular fruit, with strongly-marked divisions in the rind.

Having left some of our game for provisioning the camp of the
india-rubber collectors, we made the best of our way homewards.  Evening
was coming on.  We were still at some distance from home.  The sky had
become overcast, and rain had begun to fall.  It seemed impossible that
we should find our way through the forest in the darkness.  We entered
at length a channel, the land on one side of which was elevated some
feet above the water.  As we were paddling along it, Pedro proposed that
we should land and camp.  Just then we caught sight of a fire burning in
a shed at some distance from the bank.

"We may there find shelter," said Pedro, "without having the trouble of
building huts, which, after all, would not keep out the rain."

We three accompanied him towards the fire.  We found two Indians
standing near it, both busily employed in concocting some mixture in a
large pot simmering over the flames.  They were evidently, by the manner
in which they received us, displeased at our coming.  Pedro, however,
told them that we proposed spending the night at their hut; and sent to
the canoe for some game, which put them in better humour.  He inquired
what they were about.

"I see what it is.  They are making the wourali poison for tipping the
arrows for their bows and blow-pipes.  See! we will make them show us
the process."

After a little talk with the Indians, they consented to do as he wished.
First they showed us some long sticks of a thin vine--the wourali
itself.  This, with the root of a plant of a very bitter nature, they
scraped together into thin shavings.  They were then placed in a sieve,
and water poured over them into an earthen pot, the liquid coming
through having the appearance of coffee.  Into this the juice of some
bulbous plants of a glutinous nature was squeezed, apparently to serve
the purpose of glue.  While the pot was simmering, other ingredients
were added.  Among them were some black, venomous ants, and also a
little red ant, which stings severely.  They seemed to set great value
also on the fangs of two snakes, which, when pounded, were added with
much ceremony.  One, Pedro told us, was the venomous _labarri_; and
another, the largest among the venomous reptiles in America, known as
the _curucu_, or bushmaster (_Lachesis mutus_).  The Indians, however,
call it the _couana couchi_.  It is of the most beautiful colour.  Its
body is brightly tinted with all the prismatic colours; and sometimes it
is to be seen coiled round the branches of a tree, ready to strike its
prey.  It is allied, I should say, to the fearful _fer de lance_, which
strikes its prey with so rapid and straight a stroke that it is
impossible to escape it.  A quantity of the strongest Indian red pepper
was lastly added; and as the ingredients boiled, more of the juice of
the wourali was poured in as was required.  The scum having been taken
off, the compound remained on the fire till it assumed the appearance of
a thick syrup of a deep brown colour.  Whether all these ingredients are
necessary, I cannot say.  Others also, I believe, are occasionally used.

I should have observed that we, as well as the other Indians, were
desired to keep at a respectful distance during the operation, as it is
considered that even the vapour ascending from the pot is injurious to
health.  Having been pronounced perfectly made, the syrup was poured
into a number of little pots, and carefully covered over with skin and
leaves.  We observed that the two Indians who manufactured it washed
their hands and faces frequently.  Pedro purchased several pots which
had thus been manufactured, as the poison is an article of commerce
throughout the country.

The Indians' hut was at some distance from the shed.  After supper we
hung up our hammocks, and after turning into them, went to sleep.
Little did we think of the fearful danger we ran that night.



CHAPTER TWENTY.

ANOTHER FLIGHT.

Early the next day we arrived at Senhor Pimento's farm.  The turtles
were turned into a large tank near the house, staked round so as to
prevent the creatures from getting out.  Here they would live for many
months.  Most of the Brazilian, as well as many of the natives' houses,
have similar reservoirs attached to them, in which turtle are kept
alive, to be taken out as required for use.

We found our two sisters seated by the bank of the lake, and little Oria
with them.  They seemed somewhat agitated.  Oria had been out the
previous day, they told me, in the forest to gather fruit, and had
unwisely wandered on, without waiting for Duppo, who was to follow her.
Unaccustomed to that part of the country, she had lost her way.  As
evening approached, she found an Indian hut, when, the rain coming down,
she crept into it for shelter.  No one was there.  She had thrown a mat
over her, and had dropped off to sleep, when she was awakened by hearing
several persons talking.  Although their dialect was very different from
her own, she could understand them.  As she listened she became more and
more interested.  They were speaking of a plot to surprise the whites,
and put them to death, so that not a Portuguese should remain in the
country.  This plan, Oria understood, was very soon to be carried into
execution.  Fanny and Ellen cross-questioned Oria, and seemed satisfied
that they clearly understood her.  They then begged me to go and call
our father, that we might have his opinion before alarming our host and
hostess.  I fortunately found him near the spot.  He came to the
conclusion that Oria's opinion was to be relied on, and at once
determined to warn Senhor Pimento.

Soon afterwards I met Duppo.  He drew me aside, with a mysterious look.
He, too, evidently had something which he wished to communicate.  He in
vain, however, tried to find words to explain himself.  Just then we
caught sight of the daughters of our host in the distance.  He shook his
head at them, and then made signs that no good could come from living
with a family who could play with poisonous snakes with impunity; and
then pointed to the canoe, and urged us to go away from so dangerous a
neighbourhood.  I felt sure, however, that he had some other reason,
which he was afraid to communicate.  I told him so, and I asked him if
he did not believe that the natives in the neighbourhood were about to
attack the plantation.  He looked surprised, evidently not being aware
that Oria had already warned my sisters.  At last he confessed that such
was the case, and implored me earnestly to induce my family to fly.  On
this I went in search of John, who had talked of going out to shoot.  I
persuaded him, though not without difficulty, to remain at home, and
come and consult with our father.  He had, in the meantime, found Senhor
Pimento.

"I am afraid that I shall be unable to persuade our Portuguese friend to
take precautions against an attack of the natives.  He declares that
they have always been on good terms with him, and he sees no reason to
be alarmed," he observed.

"What, then, do you mean to do, father?"  I asked.

"To take the wisest course," he answered.  "I have directed Domingos and
Antonio to get the montarias ready, and to ascertain the feeling of the
Tucuna Indians who came with you.  They are, however, anxious to return
homewards; and I have promised them one of the canoes, and additional
payment, if they will accompany us in our flight to a place of safety.
There is an uninhabited island some way down the river, where, I hope,
we may remain concealed, should what we apprehend take place.  As delay
may be dangerous, I have told Senhor Pimento that I purpose starting
this evening; and I have urged him to have his own montarias ready, and
manned by negroes in whom he can place confidence.  I shall be very glad
if I can, at all events, induce him to take this precaution, so that,
should he see any likelihood of his being attacked, he may, at all
events, get on board, and save the lives of his family and himself.  We
will, as soon as the canoes are ready, carry our own property down to
them.  But we must take care that we are not observed by the natives,
who might attempt to stop us, or watch the direction we take.  Your
mother and sisters are engaged in packing up, and I hope that soon all
will be ready."

Though Senhor Pimento appeared to be incredulous as to the sinister
intentions of the natives, I thought that possibly Pedro might be
induced to believe them.  I therefore went in search of him.  I told him
what we had heard.

"It may be," he answered.  "I have had many black looks of late from
those who used at one time to be ready to kiss my feet.  I am,
therefore, inclined to agree with you that some mischief is intended.  I
will try and persuade my father to act prudently; but he has been so
long accustomed to look down upon the natives, it will be difficult to
persuade him that they will dare to injure a white skin.  I think your
father is very right to escape from hence, though we shall be sorry to
part from you."

I thanked Pedro for his kind feelings, and urged him to try and induce
his father to act with caution.  As all the natives on the estate were
absent gathering caoutchouc, our operations were conducted with less
difficulty than would otherwise have been the case.  Our own Indians had
fortunately remained behind.  It was settled that two should go in our
canoe.  John should act as captain of our father's, and Domingos of
ours.  Our goods were quickly conveyed on board.  We found that Senhor
Pimento had sent a supply of farinha, as well as several turtles and
other provisions, on board each of them, as a mark, he said, of his
good-will.

We bade him and Senhora Josefa and their two daughters farewell.  Pedro
accompanied us down to the canoe.

"Do not fear," he said, "about us.  I suspect we shall soon be following
you.  But should nothing happen to us, forget not those who held you in
affectionate esteem."

I am, of course, only translating his words.

The canoes shoved off, and working our paddles, we glided across the
lake.  It was nearly dark before we reached the entrance to the igarape
down which we were to proceed.  It was a perfect calm.  The tall trees
were reflected in the mirror-like expanse of the lake, sprinkled, as it
were, with the myriads of stars which shone forth from the clear sky.
Here and there a night-bird darted from its covert in search of its
insect prey.  The tree-crickets had begun to utter their evening notes,
and from far and near came forth from the forest the numberless sounds
which often to the solitary traveller make the night hideous.

"Oh, what can that be?" we heard Ellen exclaim from the other canoe.
"See! see!"

We looked astern, towards the plantation we had left.  Bright flames
were darting up from among the buildings very instant growing higher,
while dreadful cries, coming across the water, struck our ears.

"Oh, I am afraid our friends have delayed too long to escape," exclaimed
Arthur.  "Could we not go back to help them?"

I asked our father if he would allow us to do so.

He hesitated.  "They have their montarias; and should they have been
attacked, you can render them no assistance."

Still, I did not like the thought of deserting our friends, and
promised, should we not meet with them, to return at once.  At last he
consented to our going; and turning the head of our canoe, we paddled
back towards the shore we had left.  We had nearly reached it, when we
saw a boat approaching.  It might have our friends on board, or might be
manned by natives.  We approached cautiously, ready to turn round at a
moment's notice.

"Who goes there?"  I asked.

I was greatly relieved by hearing Senhor Pimento's voice.

"Turn round!" he exclaimed.  "Fly! fly!  I fear we may soon be pursued.
We are all on board.  I wish we had followed your advice."

Back we paddled, as fast as we could urge our canoe through the water.
Meantime the whole plantation appeared in a blaze--not only the
buildings, but the fields and groves of fruit-trees seemed to have been
set on fire.  We made for the mouth of the igarape, where we found our
father's canoe waiting for us.  Away we all went together.  The cries
and shouts of the Indians, as they searched about for the proprietor,
reached our ears.  We had too much reason to believe that we should be
followed.  There was sufficient light to enable us to keep in the centre
of the water-path.  We anxiously looked astern, expecting every moment
to see the canoes of our enemies in our wake.  In some places the
igarape was so narrow, and the trees so completely joined overhead, that
we could with difficulty discover our way, and were compelled to paddle
at less speed to avoid running among the bushes at its borders.  And
now, from every side, those sounds which I have so often mentioned burst
forth from the forest; yet, though so frequently before heard, their
effect was wonderfully depressing.  Sometimes, indeed, they sounded so
exactly like the cries of natives, that we felt sure we were pursued,
and expected every moment to discover our enemies close astern of us.

We continued our night voyage, paddling as fast as we could venture to
move through the darkness.  Now and then the light penetrated into the
centre of the igarape, and allowed us to move faster.  Ever and anon
flights of magnificent fireflies flitted across the igarape, revealing
the foliage on either side, amid which sometimes it seemed as if
gigantic figures were stalking about, to seize us as we passed.  They
were, however, only the stems of decayed trees, or distorted branches
bending over the waters.

Thus we went on, hour after hour, not venturing to stop even to rest the
weary arms of the paddlers; for we had received too clear a warning of
what would be our fate should we fall into the power of the hitherto
submissive, but now savage and vindictive natives.  It was no slight
cause probably which had induced them to revolt.  The cruelty and
tyranny, the exactions and treachery of the white man had at length
raised their phlegmatic natures, and they were about to exact a bitter
revenge for long years of oppression and wrong.  As in many similar
instances, the innocent were doomed to suffer with the guilty; and as
far as we had been able to judge, our friend Senhor Pimento had treated
those around him with all kindness and consideration.

At length a pale light appeared ahead; and emerging from the dark shades
of the igarape, we entered the wide expanse of the Amazon, across which
at that instant the moon, rising above the line of forest, cast the
silvery light of her bright beams.  My sisters, and even the Brazilian
girls, uttered exclamations of admiration.  We made our way across the
lake-like expanse, which was now just rippled with a light breeze; and
after an hour's progress, found ourselves approaching a lofty wall of
forest.  Coasting along it, we entered a narrow channel similar to the
one we had quitted.  Here and there the moonbeams, penetrating amid the
branches, enabled us to find our way till we reached an open spot on the
shores of a small lake.

"Here," said our father, "is the place I have selected for our retreat;
and as the Indians will believe that we have continued down the stream,
there is little probability, I think, of their coming here to search for
us.  If they do, we may escape through the opposite side, and take one
of several channels which will again conduct us into the main stream."

There was sufficient light to enable us to erect rude huts for the
accommodation of the ladies of the party.  As there was no fear of the
glare of the fires shining through the forest, and thus betraying our
position, we could venture to light a sufficient number for the
protection of the camp against wild beasts.

The next morning found us quietly settled in our new location.  My
father and mother did their best to comfort Senhor Pimento and his
family for the loss of their property.

"Think how much worse it would have been," said my father, "had you, and
your wife, and daughters, and son been deprived of your lives!  We
should be thankful for the blessings we receive."

"See, it is true--it is true," answered our Portuguese friend.  "But--"

"Oh, utter not any `buts,'" observed my father.  "`But' is an ungrateful
word.  It should be discharged from human language."

Ellen had saved all her pets, even her humming-bird; and she and Fanny,
with the assistance of their Brazilian friends, had plenty of occupation
in arranging accommodation for them.

My father was anxious to have a larger vessel built, fit to navigate the
lower part of the river, over whose sea-like expanse strong winds
occasionally blow, which our smaller canoes were but ill-calculated to
encounter.  The first thing, however, to be done, was to erect huts, in
which the party might live till the vessel could be got ready, or till
they received information that the voyage could be accomplished without
risk of being attacked by the rebels.

"I have been thinking, Harry," said Arthur, "that if Houlston and Nyass
should come down, and make for Senhor Pimento's farm, would there not be
a great risk of their falling into the hands of the rebels, and being
killed?"

"Indeed there would," I answered.  "I did not think of that.  I wish we
could send and stop them."

"Would it not be better to go ourselves?" asked Arthur.

"Indeed it would," I exclaimed.  "We will see what my father says to
it."

I told John, who agreed with me; and we at once determined to proceed up
the stream with our Tucuna Indians.  We promised them that on finding
our friends they should have our canoe in which to perform their
homeward voyage.  They seemed perfectly satisfied, and we congratulated
ourselves on the arrangement we had made.  As there might not be room to
return in their canoe, John, Arthur, and I determined to go alone.  We
would not even take Duppo, as he could do little, compared with the
other Indians, in working our vessel.  Fanny and Ellen were very unhappy
at the thoughts of our going.  We begged them to look after Duppo, and
to give him his lessons in English till we should return.

We started early in the morning, paddling vigorously up the stream,
which we found a very different thing to going down with it.  At first
we kept along the shore, opposite Senhor Pimento's sitio, and then
crossed over, that we might have a better chance of seeing our friends,
should they be coming down.  For some time, when the wind was fair, we
rigged a sail, and were thus able to run up with ease against the
current.  At night we always chose a spot where we could command a view
of the river, which had so much fallen by this time that we hoped our
friends would keep in it instead of branching off among the channels at
the side.

For several days we continued our voyage, till we began to fear that
some accident might have happened, or that, not hearing of us, they
might have pushed onwards, with the intention of sailing up the Napo.
Sometimes we slept under the awning in the montaria; sometimes we built
huts, according to our usual custom, on the shore.

One morning, just as we were embarking, John shot a fine paca, which we
took on board, and agreed we would roast during our noon-day meal, when
our Indians generally lay down to sleep.  At the hour we intended, we
found a bank, which afforded us a tempting resting-place.  Arthur and I
agreed to act as cooks; while John, who had been up before daybreak with
his gun in the forest, said he would rest till dinner was ready.  The
chief Indian, Tono, meantime took his blow-pipe and bow, saying he would
go into the forest and shoot some more game for supper, our stock having
become somewhat scanty; while his companions lay down to sleep in the
canoe.  John lay down on the grass, away from the fire, though near
enough for the smoke to keep the flies at a distance.  We had the paca
scientifically trussed and spitted, and placed over the fire on two
forked sticks.  Sometime!  Arthur, sometimes I turned the spit.  It was
my turn to attend to it, and Arthur was sitting near me, when I felt the
ground shake, as if some large object had pitched down on it at my side;
and what was my horror, on turning my head, to see Arthur, in the claws
of an enormous puma, being dragged over the ground.  We had imprudently
left our guns in the montaria.  At the same time John awoke, and quickly
sprang into the canoe.  I felt for my knife--the only weapon I
possessed--when I found that I had left it on the other side of the
fire, where John had been lying.  As I turned my head for an instant,
intending to seize it, I saw another puma stealthily approaching.
Arthur did not cry out, but lay with his face on the ground, the better
to avoid the stroke of the puma's paw.  Horror kept me from moving.  The
savage beast was dragging Arthur away.  Despair seized me.  His death
seemed inevitable.  All passed in a moment.  Then I saw John standing up
in the montaria, with his rifle pointed at the puma's head.  My tongue
clove to my mouth.  I could not shout out to awake the Indians.  The
second puma was drawing near.  I might be its victim.  Just then John's
rifle echoed through the forest: the puma which had seized Arthur sprang
up in the air, and then down it fell, its claws only a few inches from
Arthur's body.  I now rushed up to him, and dragged him out of the way
of its dying struggles, calling to John to look after the other puma.
The Indians had now started to their feet, uttering loud shrieks.  The
puma stopped just as I fancied it was about to spring at me, and turning
round, bounded into the forest.  They then, running up to where the puma
lay, quickly despatched it with their spears; while John and I lifted up
Arthur and carried him to the side of the fire.  He was insensible, but
groaned heavily.  His arm and shoulder were fearfully torn, while his
head had received a blow, though comparatively a slight one, or it would
inevitably have killed him.

"O John, do you think he will recover?"  I exclaimed, as we examined his
hurts.

"If we knew how to treat him, he might," answered John; "but I am a very
bad doctor, and I am afraid our Indians are not better ones."

"Then, John, we must go back to the island," I exclaimed; "it would be
impossible to continue our voyage with Arthur in this state; and though
we have been many days coming up, we may hope to get back again in two
or three."

John agreed with me, and we explained our intentions to the Indian
boatmen.  They looked very dissatisfied, especially Tono, who just then
returned from his shooting excursion.  I had not from the first liked
his countenance, and I saw by his gestures that he was endeavouring to
incite his companions to disregard our orders.

Though on their side they mustered four stout, athletic fellows, yet
John and I had our rifles, and we agreed, for Arthur's sake, to make
them do as we thought best.  John at once reloaded his rifle; and as
soon as he had done so, he told me to hurry down to the boat and seize
mine.  I got hold of it before the Indians were aware of my intention,
and quickly rejoined him.  Our first care was to wash and dress Arthur's
wounds as well as we could.  John covered me with his rifle, while I
went down to get the water.

"Now, Harry," he said, "as we do not know when we shall be able to dress
another paca, we had better make a good dinner off the portion which has
escaped burning during the time you were unable to turn the spit."

Having finished our meal, and secured a portion for Arthur--in the hope
he might recover sufficiently to eat it--we handed the rest to our crew.
They took it sulkily enough, and returned with it to the montaria.

"We must keep a sharp look-out on these fellows; for, depend upon it,
they intend to play us a trick," observed John.

Our chief difficulty was now how to get Arthur into the montaria; for
while we were occupied in so doing, they might suddenly attack us.

"You must guard me, Harry, while I lift him up.  He is a good weight,
but still I can carry him as far as the montaria," observed John.

He did so; while I walked by his side, with my rifle ready for action.
When the Indians saw how much Arthur was hurt, they appeared to feel
compassion for him, and expressed their sorrow by signs.  When we
ordered them to shove off, they obeyed at once, and willingly paddled on
down the river again.

"I really think, after all, we must have been mistaken in our opinion of
those men," said John.  "I never like to think harm of our
fellow-creatures.  Perhaps, after all, they did not understand us."

I was not quite so certain of this.  A strong breeze came up the river,
and prevented us making as much progress as we had expected.  As evening
drew on it increased greatly, and signs of a storm appeared in the sky.
We were over on the southern shore, and had passed an island near the
mainland similar to the one on which our family had lately taken refuge.
Just then the tempest burst on us.  I had observed an opening in the
forest, apparently the mouth of a channel, and towards it we now
steered.  It was not without difficulty, however, that we could keep the
canoe before the fast rising seas.  Had we fallen into the trough, we
should instantly have been upset.

The Indians seemed well aware of our danger, and paddled steadily.  I
was thankful when at length we found ourselves is calm water, though the
wind still whistled and howled through the trees, which bent their tall
boughs over our heads, as if they would come down and crush our bark.
We paddled on, therefore, for some distance, till we reached a sheltered
spot, where we agreed to land and build a hut, that Arthur might sleep
more comfortably than he could in the canoe.

When we told the Indians what we wanted, they immediately set to work,
with apparent good-will; and in a short time had erected a neat and
comfortable hut, with a bed-place of bamboos.  On this, having spread
several mats brought from the canoe, we placed Arthur.

"Oh, how kind you are," he whispered.

I was rejoiced to hear him speak.

"I know all about it," he added; "I saw the puma, but had not time to
cry out."

The Indians had consumed the remainder of the paca; and as there was
still an hour or more of daylight, they proposed going out to catch some
fish.  I thought of accompanying them, but I did not like to leave
Arthur.  John then said he would go; but when he got down to the water,
the Indians had already shoved off.

"I dare say I may find some game in the woods, and that may be better
for Arthur than fish," he observed, coming back.

We saw the canoe at a little distance, the Indians standing ready, some
with their harpoons and others with their bows, to strike any fish which
might be passing.  Now they came nearer to us, and I saw they had struck
several fish.  With these they returned to the shore, and called to me
to come and receive them.  Tono then made signs that he would go and get
some more, and again they paddled off.  I became quite vexed at having
entertained unjust suspicions of them.  After they had got to a little
distance, I saw them strike another fish--evidently a large one, by the
time they took to haul it in.  Now they went further and further off.
At length I lost sight of them.

John had in the meantime gone into the woods with his gun.  He returned,
just as it was growing dusk, with a couple of birds, which he
immediately plucked and prepared for roasting at the fire which I had
made up.  Our pot for boiling fish had been left in the canoe.  We
could, therefore, only roast a portion of those just caught by the
Indians.

"They ought to be back by this time," observed John, as the shades of
night fell over the river.

"The fish seemed to be plentiful, and probably they have been tempted to
go further off than they proposed," I observed.

Still we waited and waited, and they did not return.  John went a little
way along the bank, and shouted loudly; but no answer came to his hail.
At length we hung up our hammocks; and having attended to Arthur, added
fuel to our fire, and placed True at the entrance of our hut to watch,
we lay down to rest.  Still, neither John nor I felt much inclined to
sleep.

"I am afraid that Tono and his people, after all, have gone off in the
canoe," I said at last.

"I suspect so too," he answered; "but yet they were behaving so well,
that I did not think they would play us so treacherous a trick."

"We shall soon see, however.  I cannot help expecting to hear them
return every moment."

We waited and waited, anxiety keeping us awake.  Several times I got up
to give Arthur a little water, which was all he appeared inclined to
take.  He was much less feverish than I expected.  Towards morning,
however, he began to ramble in his speech, and talked about his mother
and father, and a young sister who had died.  "I thought I should find
him," I heard him say.  "Oh, that my mother could have lived to have
seen him again!  Oh, that I could once more be with him!  If he were
here now, I am sure that I should soon get well."  These words were said
at intervals, between other less coherent remarks.

Daylight broke before I had closed my eyes.  We again looked out, in the
faint hope that the Indians might have landed at some spot near us, and
encamped for the night; but we could nowhere see them.  We were at
length convinced that they had made off with our canoe, and deserted us.
Had we been by ourselves, our position would have been bad enough; but
with poor Arthur in his wounded state, requiring immediate help, it was
still worse.  The Indians had so long behaved well and faithfully, that
we had not supposed them capable of such conduct, although they had
showed such discontent on the previous day.

"What must we do?"  I asked of John.

"We must either build a canoe or a raft, or wait till we can hail some
passing craft, and get taken off," he answered.  "Our father will
certainly send and look for us by-and-by, when he finds that we do not
return; but in the meantime they will all be very anxious, and think
that we have been cut off by the rebels."

John and I had fortunately brought our guns and ammunition; so that we
were better off than we might have been had the Indians overpowered us,
and put us on shore by force.  We were, indeed, able to supply ourselves
amply with food, but it was not well suited for Arthur.  By the end of
the day he appeared to have grown worse instead of better.  I sat up
with him part of the night, forgetting how little sleep I had had for
some time.  He rambled more than ever.  It was painful sometimes to hear
him.  When he at last dropped to sleep, I began to doze also, till I
slipped off my seat, and lay utterly overcome with fatigue on the
ground.  It was daylight, and I found John lifting me up.  I had never
seen him look so anxious.

"I thought you had swooned, Harry," he said; "and poor Arthur seems no
better.  What can we do for him?"

I looked at Arthur.  He was in a troubled sleep, was very pale, and
uttering incoherent expressions.  I would have given anything to have
known what to do; but except moistening his lips with water, there was
nothing I could think of likely to benefit him.  All day long he
remained in that state.  I sat by his side, while John occasionally went
out with his gun.  He was never long absent, as he said he could not
bear the thought of being away from Arthur, fearing he might be worse.
Now and then I got up and added fresh fuel to our fire, that I might
make some broth with some of the game John had brought in; thinking that
might possibly do good to my poor patient.  I was thus employed, when I
heard John shout out.  Taking a glance at Arthur, I ran forward, when I
caught sight of John near the bank, waving his hat, while just beyond
him was a montaria, with a number of people in her, among whom I
distinguished the tall figure of the recluse standing up and waving in
return.  The canoe approached the bank just as I reached it; and
directly afterwards two other persons jumped up and waved to us, while a
dog put his paws on the gunwale and uttered a loud bark.  True, who had
followed me, barked in return.  What was my joy to recognise my two old
school-fellows Houlston and Tony.  In a couple of minutes they were on
shore, and we were warmly shaking hands; while True and Faithful were
rubbing noses with equal cordiality.

"Where is my boy?" exclaimed the recluse--or rather Mr Mallet, for so I
should properly call him.

"He is with us.  He has been sadly hurt.  If any one can do him good, I
am sure you can, sir," I said.

"Oh, take me to him--show me where he is!" exclaimed Mr Mallet, in an
anxious tone.  "Hand me out that box there!  It contains the few
medicines I possess--it may be of use."

"Is it Arthur Mallet he is speaking of?" asked Houlston, following with
the chest.  "What is the matter with him?"

I told him briefly what had occurred.  There were several other persons
in the canoe, but I was too much interested in my friends to observe
them.  We hurried back to the hut where Arthur was lying.  The recluse
had hastened on before us, and was now kneeling by the side of his young
son.  He was perfectly calm, but I saw how much he felt, by the
expression of his anxious countenance.  Arthur opened his eyes and
recognised his father.

"This is what I was praying for," he whispered.  "I have been very ill,
and was afraid of leaving the world without once again seeing you.  I am
so thankful.  If it is God's will, I am now ready to die."

"Oh, but I pray it may not be his will, my boy," said Mr Mallet.  "You
must live for my sake, to be a comfort and support to me."

"You will not go back, then, and live in the woods by yourself, my dear
father?" said Arthur.

"No; I hope to live wherever you do, my boy," he answered.

Arthur's pale countenance brightened, and he pressed his father's hand.

"You must not talk, however, Arthur," said Mr Mallet.  "You require
rest, and I may find some remedies which may benefit you."

He eagerly looked over the contents of his medicine-chest; and desiring
to have some fresh-water brought him, he quickly compounded a draught,
which he gave to Arthur.  We left the father and son together, while we
returned to the canoe.  On our way Houlston and Tony recounted to me
briefly what had occurred.  They had made their way nearly up to the
mouth of the Napo, when, not finding us, they had determined to visit
every spot on the shore where we were likely to have stopped.  They had
at length put into the creek, near the abode of the recluse.

"Much to our surprise," said Houlston, "we were accosted in English by a
tall white man.  On telling him our errand, he informed us that you had
long since gone down the stream, and seemed very much surprised and
grieved to find that we had not encountered you.  He at once volunteered
to accompany us, saying that he was greatly interested in your welfare,
and could not rest satisfied without assisting in our search for you.
We were, of course, very glad to have his company; and going back to his
hut, he soon returned with two Indians--a man and his wife--who also
wished to come with us.  They are there," and Houlston pointed to the
canoe.

Just then one of the Indians landed; and though dressed in a shirt and
trousers, I recognised him as our friend Maono.  He was followed by
Illora, also habited in more civilised costume than when we had at first
seen her.  They greeted me kindly, and inquired, with more warmth than
Indians generally exhibit, for their son and daughter.  I assured them
of their welfare, and of the esteem in which they were held by my
family.  They appeared to be gratified, and then inquired for the
Indians who had accompanied us.  Maono was excessively indignant when we
told him of the trick they had played us, and threatened to put them to
death when he got back to his people.  We entreated him, however, for
our sakes, not to punish them so severely; indeed, we told him we would
rather he pardoned them altogether, as they had been influenced by a
desire to return to their people, and perhaps supposed that we might
prevent them from so doing.  They had till that moment been faithful and
obedient, and we assured him that we had had no cause to complain of
them.

Some time was spent in talking to Tony and Houlston.  On our return to
the hut we found Mr Mallet standing in front of it.  He said Arthur was
improving, but begged that we would remain where we were, as he was
unwilling to move him at present.  We of course willingly agreed to do
what he wished, and forthwith set to work to put up huts for the time we
might have to remain on the island.  We gave up our hut to Mr Mallet
and Arthur, and made a large fire in front of it, while we had another,
at which we cooked our suppers.  Not for a moment, I believe, did the
recluse close his eyes during that night, though most of our party slept
soundly.  Whenever I awoke I saw him moving to and fro.  Once I could
not help getting out of my hammock and asking him whether Arthur was
improving.  "I trust he may be," was the answer.  "I shall know
to-morrow."

In the morning Arthur certainly appeared better, his wounds having been
dressed by the skilful hands of his father.  Arthur's state, however,
was still too precarious to allow of his removal without risk.  Anxious
as we were to get back to our friends, we remained, therefore, three
days longer on the island.  Occasionally John, Houlston, Tony, and I
made excursions to the mainland, finding it inhabited, to shoot; while
Maono and Illora were very successful in their fishing expeditions.

"Oh, I wish Arthur was well!" exclaimed Tony.  "This is just the sort of
fun we were looking forward to; and I say, Harry, I hope it is only the
beginning of our adventures.  Our employers, I know, will very gladly
send us up the river to purchase produce, and I dare say you can make
arrangements to come with us."

I of course said I should be very glad to do so, though I could not then
say what my father intended to do after reaching Para.

We shot a good deal of game--quadruped, four-handed, and feathered.
Among the latter, by-the-by, was a curious bird, which we found feeding
on the marshy banks of a lake, to which we made our way, attracted by
its loud and peculiar cry.  Creeping on, we caught sight of it as it
stood on the shore.  Houlston, who first saw it, declared that it was a
large crane.  It was about the size of a swan, and getting nearer, I saw
that it had an extraordinary horn on the top of its head, surrounded by
black and white feathers, while the upper part of its wings had two
sharp horns projecting from them--formidable weapons of attack or
defence.  Houlston fired, but missed.  He had not improved as a
sportsman since we parted.  John at that moment came up, and sent a ball
into the bird's neck.  On this True and Faithful dashed forward, but
still the bird, though unable to run, showed fight with its wings and
kept them at bay.  It soon, however, sunk down lifeless on the ground.
Its plumage was very handsome.  The head and neck were of a
greenish-brown colour, covered with soft feathers.  The breast and
thighs were of silvery white, and the back was black, with the exception
of the upper part, which was brown, with yellow spots.  It was, we
found, the anhima of the Brazils, known also as the horned kamichi, or,
more learnedly, _Palamedea_.  It is sometimes called the horned
screamer, from its loud and wild cry.  We laughingly told Houlston that,
as he had missed it, he should have the honour of carrying it; which he
very good-naturedly did, though it was a considerable load to bear
through the forest.



CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

CONCLUSION.

Next morning Mr Mallet gave us the satisfactory intelligence that
Arthur was sufficiently well to bear moving.  We therefore at once
proceeded on our voyage.  Each day after that he improved; and at length
we came in sight of the island where we had left our family.  We had
some, difficulty in finding our way up the narrow channel which led to
their camp.  As we approached the spot, we saw a good-sized vessel on
the stocks, surrounded by a number of persons.  One of them, discovering
us as we turned the point, shouted to his companions, when, suddenly
leaving their work, they advanced towards us with guns in their hands in
a threatening attitude.  We shouted out to them, when they, perceiving
that we were friends, came forward to meet us.  Our father was among the
first we saw.  After he had received us affectionately, and warmly
greeted Houlston and Tony, we told him that Mr Mallet had come with us.
No sooner did my father see him, than, taking his hand, he exclaimed,
"What, my old friend and school-fellow!  I little expected to find you
out here!  Where have you come from?"

"From the wilderness, where I have spent long years of banishment, and
from whence my young son succeeded in thus too far dragging me forth.  I
could not make him lead the life I have so long lived, and I cannot bear
the thought of parting from him."

"And what could make you wish to think of doing anything of the sort?"
exclaimed my father.  "You surprised all your friends by leaving
England--so my brother long since wrote me word--and no one has been
able to account for it."

"Not account for it!" exclaimed Mr Mallet.  "Surely my friends would
not have wished me to remain, dishonoured or disgraced, or doomed to a
felon's death?"

He looked round as he spoke, and seeing that I was nearer than he had
supposed, led my father to a distance.  Meantime our mother, Fanny, and
Ellen, had come down.

I need not describe our meeting, or the concern Ellen exhibited at
hearing of Arthur's accident, and saw his still, pale face as we lifted
him out of the canoe.  He was, however, able to walk with our
assistance.  We found the whole party very anxious, as information had
reached them that the natives had discovered their retreat and intended
attacking them.  They had therefore been hurrying on the large montaria
with all speed, in hopes of getting away before the arrival of the
enemy.

In a short time our father and Mr Mallet arrived.  A wonderful change
had taken place in the countenance of the latter.  He now looked bright
and cheerful, and a smile played over his features such as I had never
before seen them wear.  After being introduced to my mother and sisters,
and Senhor Pimento's family, he hurried up to Arthur, and as he threw
his arms round his neck tears burst from his eyes, but they were
evidently tears of joy.

"But we must not lose time," said my father, pointing to the vessel, at
which Domingos and Antonio and the other men were still busily working.
We soon had occupation given us--ample to employ our minds as well as
our hands.  Arthur was taken good care of by my mother and sisters, and
I was glad to see him play with Nimble and Toby, who at once knew him.
We worked away till dark.  The fires were lighted, and by their bright
blaze we were still able to continue our labours.  Thus we hoped in a
couple of days to have our craft ready for launching.  It was decked
over astern and forward, so as to afford a cabin to the ladies and
shelter for our stores, which required protection from the weather.  We
had large mat-sails and long oars, so that she was well fitted, we
hoped, to encounter the heavy seas we were likely to meet with towards
the mouth of the mighty river.  John suggested that we should erect a
stockade near the vessel, behind which we might defend ourselves, and
prevent her from being burned, should the rebels make the threatened
attack.  This we all set to work to do; and as we had an abundance of
materials at hand, a fort was soon erected, of sufficient strength, if
defended by firearms, to repel any attack the natives were likely to
make against it.

"I hope the fellows will come on!" exclaimed Tony, who, with Houlston,
was among the most active in the work.  "I should like to be engaged in
a skirmish.  We have had but a tame life of it.  I thought we might have
seen some of the fun going forward at Santarem; but the whites had all
escaped out of the place before we passed by, and the red-skins had
possession of it."

"I rather think we were fortunate in escaping those same red-skins!"
exclaimed Houlston.  "They murdered all the whites they could find, and
they would probably have treated us in the same way if we had fallen in
with them.  If those fellows had attacked us, depend upon it we should
have had to fight hard for our lives."

"Perhaps, my friend, we can find some better means of keeping the enemy
at bay than those you are taking," observed the recluse.  "However,
follow your own plan.  I trust, for the sake of humanity that it may be
labour lost."

I did not hear John's reply, but he continued the work.  Scouts were
sent out at night to watch the entrance of the channel, lest the rebels
might attempt to steal upon us during the hours of darkness; while we
all slept with our arms ready for instant use.

I was awakened by hearing a shot fired.  Another followed.  "The rebels
are coming!"  I heard my father shouting out.  "To your posts, my
friends!"

In less than a minute our whole party had assembled, and with my father
at our head, we advanced in the direction whence the shots had
proceeded.  Before we had gone many paces, our two scouts came running
up with the announcement that several canoes were approaching the mouth
of the igarape.  Daylight was just then breaking, though it had not
penetrated into the forest.  The two Indians were again sent back to
watch the further movements of the rebels.  We meantime held a council
of war, and having conveyed all our stores and provisions within the
stockade, retired to it, there to await the enemy.  In a short time the
scouts came back, reporting that the Indians had landed, and were
advancing through the forest.

"Let me now try, my friends, what I can do with these people," said the
recluse, standing up in our midst.  "I resided among them for some time.
They know me, and I trust will be more ready to listen to my arguments
than to those with which you are prepared to receive them."

"Pray do as you judge best," said my father.

Senhor Pimento appeared to have little confidence in his success, and
addressing his people, entreated them to fight bravely, as the rebels
would certainly give them no quarter.

The recluse, without further delay, taking not even a stick in his hand,
went forth from the fort, and was soon lost to sight among the shades of
the forest.  Our Portuguese friends were in a great state of agitation;
but my sisters, especially Ellen, remained perfectly calm.  I
complimented her on her courage.  "Oh, I am sure Arthur's father will
accomplish what he undertakes," she answered.  "I have therefore no fear
of an attack."

We, however, could not help looking anxiously for the return of the
recluse.  The time went slowly by.  "I am afraid the wretches will shoot
him before he has time to speak to them," observed Senhor Pimento.
Pedro, who was of a generous, warm-hearted disposition, proposed that
some of us should sally out, and try and overtake him before he reached
the enemy.

This was overruled by my father.  "Our friend does not act without
judgment," he observed.  "He knows the character of the people better
perhaps than we do.  Hark! what is that?"  The sound of many voices
shouting came faintly through the forest, as from a distance.

"Hurrah! they are coming on to attack us!" cried Tony; "we will give
them a warm reception."

"I hope rather that those sounds betoken that the Indians have
recognised our friend," observed my father.

Still we waited, many of our party looking out, as if they expected to
see the rebels approaching in battle array.  At length a single figure
appeared emerging from the forest.  It was the recluse.  He hurried
forward towards us, and on entering the fort, took my father, John, and
I aside.

"I have not been so successful as I should wish," he said.  "They are
perfectly ready to let the English, with whom they have no cause of
quarrel, go free, but they insist that the Portuguese gentleman and his
son should be delivered up to them, though they consent to allow the
rest of his family to accompany you if you wish it."

"We cannot accept such terms," said my father at once.  "We are resolved
to defend our friends with our lives!"

"I thought as much," said Mr Mallet.  "I promised, however, to convey
their message, in order to gain time.  Is there no way by which your
friends can escape by the other end of the igarape?"

"There may be, but the Indians know it as well as we do," observed my
father, "and would probably lie in wait to catch them.  I must ask you
to return and inform them that we cannot give up our friends who have
hospitably entertained us, and that if they insist on attacking the
fort, they must take the consequences."

The recluse once more went back to the insurgent Indians.  Pedro, on
hearing the message, tried to persuade his father to escape with him in
one of the small canoes; but the old gentleman declared at once that he
would not make the attempt, as he was sure he should thus only fall into
the hands of his enemies.

We now anxiously awaited the return of our friend.  An hour passed by,
when we saw among the trees a large number of natives approaching the
fort, some armed with muskets, but the greater number with bows and
arrows.

"We shall have no difficulty in beating back that rabble!" exclaimed
Tony.  "We must first pick off the fellows with firearms, and the others
will soon take to flight."

I did not feel so confident as my friend.  The enemy from their numbers
alone were formidable, and if well led, might, I feared, easily
overpower us.  Their numbers increased, and they seemed on the point of
making a dash at the fort, when a loud shout was raised behind them.
They turned round, looking eagerly in the direction from whence it came.
Presently three persons came out from among them.  One I recognised as
the recluse; but the other two I looked at again and again, and at
length was convinced that one was Don Jose, and the other his attendant
Isoro.  Don Jose, turning to the natives, addressed them in the Lingua
Geral, which they all probably understood.  They were sufficiently near
for us to hear what was said.

"My friends," he exclaimed, "what is it you require?  Do you seek the
blood of these white people?  What will that benefit you?  Listen to
Pumacagua--a Peruvian cacique--who regards with affection the whole
Indian race; who would wish to see them united as one tribe, prosperous
and happy, enjoying all the benefits of our magnificent country.  If you
destroy these people, you will but bring down the vengeance of the
powerful whites on your heads.  Some among them are my friends.  They
have never harmed you.  They wish you well, I know, and are even now
sufferers for the cause of liberty.  Be advised by me.  Return to your
homes, and seek not by force to obtain your rights.  It will, I know too
well by bitter experience, be in vain.  Trust to me and my English
friends, who will not rest till we have gained for you the justice you
demand."

We saw the leaders among the Indians consulting together.  The recluse
now went among them, and addressed them earnestly.  His and Don Jose's
words seemed to have a powerful effect.  Greatly to our relief, they
began to retire through the forest.  Our friends accompanied them to
their canoes, while Arthur and I followed at a distance to watch what
would next take place.  The canoes were launched, and the natives,
bidding an affectionate farewell to the recluse, and a respectful one to
Pumacagua, leaped into them, and took their departure to the opposite
bank of the river.  We hurried on to meet our friends, and soon
afterwards my father came out of the fort to welcome Don Jose.  They
greeted each other warmly.

"Finding that I could no longer render service to my countrymen, and
that my own life was in constant danger," Don Jose said, "I was on my
way down the river to join you, when I saw a large number of canoes
drawn up on the beach, a few people only remaining with them.  From them
I learned what was taking place, and I at once suspected, from what they
told me, who it was they were about to attack.  I instantly landed, and
overtook the main body of insurgents.  The rest you know."

Our friends then returned to the fort, and all hands at once set to work
to complete our vessel.  Tony alone was somewhat disappointed at so
pacific a termination to the affair.  The additional hands whom Don Jose
had brought with him were of great assistance, as they were all expert
boat-builders; and in less than a couple of days our craft was launched,
and ready to proceed on her voyage.  Don Jose and our father had, of
course, much to talk about.  The former seemed greatly out of spirits at
the turn affairs had taken, and in despair of the establishment of true
liberty in his country.  His affection for my father had induced him to
follow us, and he purposed to remain with him at Para till a change of
affairs in Peru might enable him to return.

The rainy season was now completely over; though the heat was very
great, the weather was fine.  At length our new vessel, which we called
the _Manatee_, with the canoes of Don Jose and Houlston in company,
emerging from the igarape, made sail to the eastward.

I have not space to describe the voyage.  Sometimes we navigated a wide
expanse of water, where the river's banks were several miles apart;
sometimes we passed amid an archipelago, through narrow channels where
the branches of the giant trees almost joined overhead.  Sometimes we
sailed on with a favourable breeze, and at other times had to lower our
sails and take to the oars.  For some hundred miles we had the green
forest alone in sight on either side, and here and there long extending
sand-banks, in which turtles are wont to lay their eggs.  As we passed
near the shore, vast numbers of wild fowl were seen on the banks, while
the river swarmed with living creatures.  Dolphins came swimming by,
showing their heads above the surface, again to plunge down as they
advanced up the stream.  Now and then we caught sight of a huge manatee,
and we saw alligators everywhere basking on the shores or showing their
ugly snouts above the surface.  At length a high, flat-topped range of
hills appeared on our left hand--the spurs, I believe, of the mountains
of Guiana.  The river was now for some distance fully ten miles in
width; so wide, indeed, that it looked more like an inland sea or the
ocean itself than a fresh-water stream.  At length we entered one end of
the Tajapuru, which is a curious natural canal, extending for one
hundred miles or more from the main stream towards the city of Para.  It
is of great depth in some places, and one hundred yards in width; but in
others so narrow that the topmost boughs of the trees almost met over
our heads.  Often as we sailed along we were hemmed in by two green
walls, eighty feet in height, which made it seem as if we were sailing
through a deep gorge.  Emerging from it, we entered the Para river, and
sailing on, were soon in a magnificent sea-like expanse, the only shore
visible being that of the island of Marajo, presenting a narrow blue
line far away on our left.  We passed a number of curious boats and
rafts of various shapes and rigs, bringing produce from the villages and
farms scattered along the banks of the many vast rivers which pour their
waters into the Atlantic.  Still, all this time, we were navigating
merely one of the branches of the mighty Amazon; for, though we had long
felt the influence of the tide, yet the water, even when it was flowing,
was but slightly brackish.

At length, entering the sheltered bay of Goajara, we, with thankful
hearts, saw the city of Para stretching out before us along the shore,
and our vessel was soon moored in safety alongside the quay.  Houlston
and Tony hurried off to their friends, who came down to welcome us and
take us to their house.  In most places we should have attracted no
small amount of curiosity as we proceeded through the streets.  Each of
the ladies, as well as Maria and the Indian girl, with two or more
parrots and other birds on their shoulders; Nimble sitting on mine with
his tail round my neck; Arthur carrying Toby; while Tony and Houlston
had a couple of monkeys apiece, which they had obtained on their voyage.
Such a spectacle, however, was too common in Para to attract much
attention.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I must now, as briefly as possible, bring my journal to a conclusion.
My father here resolved to establish a house of business, of which Mr
Mallet was to be made chief manager, with Arthur as his assistant.
Maono and Illora, after remaining some time with us, considerably, I
hope, to their benefit, returned to their people with the intention of
showing them the advantages of civilisation, and imparting a knowledge
of the true God and his plan of salvation, which they themselves had
obtained.  We were thankful that they consented to leave Duppo and Oria
with us.  The two young Indians made rapid progress in English, besides
learning Portuguese; and Ellen and Arthur spared no pains in their
endeavours to instruct them in the more important truths of religion.
Don Jose and his faithful Isoro returned at length to Ecuador, when
peace was once more established in that long distracted province; and
the cacique wrote whenever an opportunity occurred for sending a letter
down the Amazon.  Senhor Pimento and his family after a time returned to
their estate, and we never failed to pay them a visit when we went up
the river.  The rebellion of the natives was at length happily quelled,
with less bloodshed than often occurs under similar circumstances.

Houlston, Arthur, Tony, and I made not only one, but several excursions
up the mighty river, and throughout many parts of that wonderful region
embraced by the Brazils.  I might give a long account of our adventures,
which were not less interesting than those I have already described.
Perhaps I may some day have an opportunity of doing so.

Nimble and Toby lived to the extreme end of monkey existence--the
patriarchs of Ellen's ever-increasing menagerie, which was superintended
by Domingos when she had more important duties to attend to, and
guarded, I may add, by the two attached canine brethren, Faithful and
True.

I made two trips to England, each time on board the _Inca_, still
commanded by Captain Byles.  The first time Sam was on board, but on our
return to Para he obtained his discharge, and settled down in that city,
where I often had the pleasure of a long talk with him.  "Ah, Massa
Harry!" he used to say, "I chose de good part, and God take care of me
as he promise; and his promise neber fail.  He gib me good t'ings here,
and I know him gib me better when I go up dere;" and he pointed to the
blue sky, seen through the front of the provision store of which he was
the owner.

I am thankful to say that the rest of my friends also, as Sam had done,
chose "the good part."  Arthur had the happiness of being the means of
bringing his father to a knowledge of the truth.  His great wish was to
make the simple gospel known among the long benighted natives of that
magnificent region in which we met with the adventures I have recorded,
and, though hitherto opposed by difficulties which have appeared
insurmountable, he still cherishes the hope that they may be overcome,
and that missionaries with the Bible in their hand may, ere long, be
found traversing the mighty Amazon and its tributaries, now ploughed by
numerous steamers up to the very foot of the Andes, engaged in opening
up to commerce the unmeasured resources of the Brazils.  I should indeed
be thankful if my tale contributes to draw the attention of the
Christian philanthropist to the unhappy condition of the numerous tribes
of that interesting country which I have attempted to describe.





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