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Title: Across Unknown South America
Author: Landor, A. Henry Savage (Arnold Henry Savage), 1865-1924
Language: English
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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.

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[Illustration: The Author.]



ACROSS UNKNOWN

SOUTH AMERICA

BY

A. HENRY SAVAGE-LANDOR


WITH 2 MAPS, 8 COLOURED PLATES, AND 260 ILLUSTRATIONS
FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE AUTHOR


_IN TWO VOLUMES_


VOL. I


HODDER AND STOUGHTON

LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO

_Printed in 1913_

_Copyright in the United States of America_

_by A. Henry Savage-Landor_


THIS WORK IS DEDICATED

TO

THE PEOPLE

OF THE

GREAT BRAZILIAN REPUBLIC



PREFACE


SOUTH America is, to my mind, "the Coming Continent"--the Continent of
the future. Everybody knows the wealth of the Argentine, Peru, Chile, and
Bolivia; but the interior of Brazil, the largest and richest country of
all, not unlike forbidden Tibet, was perhaps better known a century or
two ago than now. Few people realize that Brazil is larger than the
United States of North America, Germany, Portugal, and a few other
countries taken together. The interior is practically a _terra
incognita_--although the ancient Jesuits and, at a later date, escaped
slaves and native rubber collectors have perhaps found their way inland
to a considerable distance.

When I started on the transcontinental journey I did not take Europeans
with me. It is not easy to find men who can stand the strain of so long a
journey. I was also not surprised, although I was disappointed, not to be
able to obtain suitable officers in Brazil to go part of the journey with
me, so that I might be relieved of a portion of the tedious scientific
work of the expedition, especially taking and computing daily
astronomical observations, to which much time has to be devoted. All the
work of all kinds eventually fell upon my shoulders, and after departing
I found myself filling the posts of surveyor, hydrographer,
cartographer, geologist, meteorologist, anthropologist, botanist, doctor,
veterinary surgeon, painter, photographer, boat-builder, guide,
navigator, etc. The muleteers who accompanied me--only six, all
counted--were of little help to me--perhaps the reverse. So that,
considering all the adventures and misfortunes we had, I am sure the
reader, after perusing this book, will wonder that we got back at all,
and will be indulgent enough to give me a little credit for saving,
through innumerable disasters--and perhaps not altogether by mere
luck--all my photographs (800 of them), all my note-books, all my
scientific observations, as well as all the vocabularies I made of the
various Indian languages of tribes found on my way. Also for bringing all
my men out alive.

Here are, briefly, a few results of the expedition:--

(_a_) First of all it has proved that, far from South America's being an
impenetrable continent--as was believed--it is possible for any
experienced traveller to cross Brazil in any direction, if he could
obtain suitable followers.

(_b_) It has proved that the "millions of savage Indians" supposed to be
swarming all over the interior of Brazil do not exist at all. All the
pure Indians of Central Brazil taken together may number a few hundreds,
or including half-castes (negroes and Portuguese), a few thousands. As
for the wild beasts and snakes, no one ever need fear being troubled by
them. They are more afraid of you than you of them, you can take my word
for it. So that the terror which has so far prevented people penetrating
the interior has no reasonable ground, and this book ought to be the
means of making European people some day swarm to develop that marvellous
land now absolutely uninhabited.

(_c_) Meteorological observations were recorded daily right across
Brazil.

(_d_) Altitude observations, forming a complete chain and including all
minor undulations, were registered across the entire South American
continent from the Atlantic coast at Rio de Janeiro as far as Callao on
the Pacific coast. The observations were taken with a hypsometer and
several excellent aneroids. These show that many of the elevations marked
on the existing maps of Brazil are inaccurate, the error amounting
sometimes to several hundred feet.

(_e_) A complete survey was made of new country between the Araguaya
river and the Madeira, including a careful survey of the Arinos river and
the river Arinos-Juruena, one of the most powerful tributaries of the
Amazon. In the small map, reproduced from the best existing maps, at the
end of the first volume, several high mountain ranges, quite as high as
the Andes, may be noticed extending from north to south between the
rivers Madeira, Tapajoz, Xingu, Araguaya and Tocantins. Those high ranges
are merely the work of imaginative cartographers, who have drawn them to
make the map look pretty. They do not exist. I have left them in order to
draw the attention of the reader to them. The position of the
Arinos-Juruena is from 1 to 1½ degrees farther west than it is there
drawn, and should be where I have marked the red line of my route.

(_f_) Everything that was of interest pictorially, geologically,
botanically, or anthropologically was photographed or sketched.
Astronomical observations were constantly taken to determine the
positions of our camps and places of importance.

Botanical and geological collections were made, but unfortunately had to
be abandoned.

(_g_) During the journey the head waters of the following important
rivers were visited: The Rio Vermelho, Rio Claro, Rio Araguaya, Rio
Barreiros, Rio das Mortes, Rio S. Lourenço, the Cuyaba river, the Xingu,
the Paranatinga, the Paraguay river (Paraná), the Rio Arinos, the
Secundury.

(_h_) The entire course of the river Tapajoz was studied, and also the
entire course of the Amazon from its mouth almost to its birthplace in
the Andes.

(_i_) Useful vocabularies were drawn up of the following Indian
languages: Bororo, Apiacar, Mundurucu, Campas or Antis.

(_k_) The expedition has furthermore shown that it is possible with poor
material in the way of followers to accomplish work of unusual
difficulty.

(_l_) That it is possible for people in a normal condition of health to
go at least sixteen days without food while doing hard work.

(_m_) That it is possible to cross an entire continent--for one entire
year--in the company of dangerous and lazy criminals without any weapon
for protection--not even a penknife--and to bring forth from such poor
material remarkable qualities of endurance, courage, and almost
superhuman energy.

(_n_) Last, but not least, on that expedition I was able to collect
further evidence that a theory I had long held as to the present shape
of the earth was correct. I had never believed in the well-known theory
that a continent, now submerged, once existed between America, Europe and
Africa--in other words, where the Atlantic Ocean is now. That theory has
found many followers. In support of it one is told that such islands as
Madeira, the Canaries, the Azores, are the topmost peaks of a now partly
submerged range of mountains which once stood upon that vanished
continent. It is also a common belief that Northern Africa underwent the
contrary process, and was pushed up from under the sea. That is why--it
is said--the Sahara Desert, which was formerly, without doubt, an ocean
bed, is now dry and above water.

One has only to look at any map of the entire world to see what really
happened to the earth in days long gone by. Let me first of all tell you
that there never existed a continent between Africa and South America. In
fact, I doubt whether there is as much as a square mile between those two
continents more submerged to-day than it was thousands upon thousands of
years ago.

Here is what really happened. The earth at one period changed its
shape--when, is merely guesswork, and is of no consequence here--and the
crust of the earth--not the core, mind you--split into two great gaps
from Pole to Pole, with a number of other minor fissures. In other words,
the earth opened just like the skin of an over-heated baked apple. The
African and American continents, as well as Australasia, with New Guinea,
the Celebes Islands, the Philippine Archipelago and China, which before
that event formed part of one immense continent, thus became divided,
leaving North and South America isolated, between the two great
Oceans--the Atlantic and the Pacific--which were then, and only then,
formed.

It is easy, by looking intelligently at a map, to reconstruct the former
shape of the world. You will notice that the most western portion of
Africa fits exactly into the gap between North and South America, while
the entire African coast between Dahomey and the Cape Colony fits in
perfectly in all its indentations and projections into the coast line of
South America. The shores of Western Europe in those days were joined to
North America, and find to-day their almost parallel and well-fitting
coast line on the east coast of the United States and Canada. On the
opposite side of the world, the western side of South America, the same
conditions can be noticed, although the division of the two continents
(America and Asia) is there much wider. Fragments were formed, leaving
innumerable islands scattered in the Pacific Ocean, half-way between the
actual continents of Asia, Australia and America. A mere glance is
sufficient to see how well Australia fits in along the Chilian and
Peruvian coast, the great island of New Guinea along part of Peru and
Ecuador, and the west coast of the Central American Isthmus. The
Philippine Islands lay probably in those days alongside of Guatemala,
while California bordered on Japan.

Such immense rivers as the Amazon, and its portentous tributaries flowing
from south to north, were also formed perhaps at that time, great
fissures caused by the sudden splitting and cooling of the earth's crust
becoming the river beds. So perhaps was formed the giant cañon of
Colorado and the immense fissures in the earth's crust that occur in
Central Asia, in Central Africa, and, as we shall see, on the central
plateau of Brazil.

Undoubtedly the Antarctic continent was once joined to South America,
Australia and Africa. During the last Antarctic expeditions it has been
shown that the same geological formation exists in South America as in
the Antarctic plateau. On perusing this book, the reader will be struck
by the wonderful resemblance between the Indians of South America, the
Malay races of Asia, and the tribes of Polynesia. I maintain that they
not only resemble each other, but are actually the same people in
different stages of development, and naturally influenced to a certain
extent by climatic and other local conditions. Those people did not come
there, as has been supposed, by marching up the entire Asiatic coast,
crossing over the Behring Straits and then down the American coast, nor
by means of any other migration. No, indeed; it is not they who have
moved, but it is the country under them which has shifted and separated
them, leaving members of the same race thousands of miles apart.

I was able to notice among the Indians of Central Brazil many words of
Malay origin, others closely resembling words of languages current among
tribes of the Philippine Islands. The anthropometric measurements which I
took of South American Indians corresponded almost exactly with those of
natives of the Sulu Archipelago and the island of Mindanao.

I hope some day to use the wealth of material I have collected among
innumerable tribes on the Asiatic coast, on the islands of the Pacific
Ocean, in South America and in Africa, in making a comparative study of
those peoples. It should prove interesting enough. I have no space here
to go deeply into the subject, as this is merely a book descriptive of
South America. I may add that the most ardent supporter of the above
theory is the celebrated explorer and scientist, Colonel Marchand, of
Fashoda fame--a man who has studied and understands the mysteries of this
world better than any man living.

My sincere thanks are due to the following gentlemen for much politeness
shown me in connection with the expedition: To Mr. Gustave Babin, the
famous writer of Paris; to Mr. Manoel Bomfin (ex-deputy of Brazil), to
Senador Alcindo Guanabara, for the keen interest taken in the expedition
and for proposing to Congress after my return that a grant of £4,000
should be given to me as a reward for the work done. I herewith also
express my gratitude to the Brazilian Government for paying me that sum,
which came in usefully to defray part of the expenses of the expedition.
To H.E. Dr. Pedro de Toledo, Minister of Agriculture, for the intelligent
desire shown to help as much as he could in the venture, and for kindly
giving me the free use of all the telegraphs in Brazil, including the
Amazon Cable, and other important privileges; to Dr. José Carlos
Rodriguez for hospitality and much valuable advice; to Dr. Paolo de
Frontin, Conseilheiro Antonio Prado, Dr. José Pereira Rebonças and Mr.
Mockill and their respective Companies for the many privileges granted me
upon the various railways of which they were the Presidents; to Colonel
R. E. Brazil and Commandante Macedo for their kind hospitality to me
while navigating the lower Tapajoz river; to Dr. A. B. Leguia, President
of the Peruvian Republic; to the British Ministers at Petropolis, Lima,
La Paz, and Buenos Ayres, and the British Consuls of Rio de Janeiro,
Pará, Manaos, Iquitos, Antofogasta, Valparaiso; finally to the British
and American Residents at all those places for much exquisite hospitality
offered me.

Special thanks are due to Mr. Regis de Oliveira, ex-Brazilian Minister in
London, for valuable credentials given me before my departure which paved
the way to the hearty reception I received everywhere in Brazil.

A. HENRY SAVAGE-LANDOR.

SAVOY HOTEL, LONDON.

_September_ 1913.



CONTENTS

VOL. I


CHAPTER I
The Heart of Brazil--Brazil, its Size and its Immense Wealth--Rio de
Janeiro--Brazilian Men of Genius--São Paulo--The _Bandeirantes_--The
Paulista Railway  pp. 1-25

CHAPTER II
Coffee--The Dumont Railway  pp. 26-37

CHAPTER III
On the Mogyana Railway  pp. 38-51

CHAPTER IV
The Terminus of the Railway--An Unpleasant Incident--The Purchase
of Animals--On the March with the Caravan  pp. 52-68

CHAPTER V
Travelling across Country--A Musical Genius--Valuable Woods--Thermal
Springs  pp. 69-85

CHAPTER VI
Inquisitiveness--Snakes--A Wonderful Cure--Butterflies--A Striking
Scene  pp. 86-101

CHAPTER VII
In the City of Goyaz  pp. 102-117

CHAPTER VIII
Fourteen Long and Weary Days--Disappointment--Criminals as
Followers  pp. 118-131

CHAPTER IX
The Departure--Devoured by Insects  pp. 132-148

CHAPTER X
Fishing--Termites--The Great Araguaya River  pp. 149-159

CHAPTER XI
The _Tucano_--Fish of the Araguaya River--A Bad Shot--A Strange
Sight  pp. 160-178

CHAPTER XII
Geological Speculation--Beautiful Pasture-land  pp. 179-195

CHAPTER XIII
The River Barreiros--A Country of Tablelands  pp. 196-206

CHAPTER XIV
The Bororo Indians  pp. 207-223

CHAPTER XV
Bororo Superstitions--The Bororo Language--Bororo Music  pp. 224-241

CHAPTER XVI
Bororo Legends--The Religion of the Bororos--Funeral Rites  pp. 242-263

CHAPTER XVII
The River Das Garças--Majestic Scenery  pp. 264-279

CHAPTER XVIII
The Salesian Fathers--A Volcanic Zone  pp. 280-291

CHAPTER XIX
The Paredão Grande--A Cañon--A Weird Phenomenon--Troublesome
Insects  pp. 292-310

CHAPTER XX
Wild Animals--An Immense Chasm--Interesting Cloud Effects  pp. 311-327

CHAPTER XXI
A Beautiful Lagoon--Strange Lunar Display--Waves of Lava--Curious
Grottoes--Rock Carvings--A Beautiful Waterfall  pp. 328-343

CHAPTER XXII
In Search of the Highest Point of the Brazilian Plateau--Mutiny--Great
Domes--Travelling by Compass--A Gigantic Fissure in the Earth's
Crust  pp. 344-358

CHAPTER XXIII
The Jangada River--Demented Descendants of Slaves--Appalling
Degeneration--Giant Monoliths--The River Roncador--Gigantic Natural
Gateways--The Discovery of Fossils  pp. 359-376

CHAPTER XXIV
A Swampy Valley--Impressive Scenery--"Church Rock"--Escaping
before a Forest Fire--The Rio Manso--Difficulties of marching across
Virgin Country--Beautiful Rapids  pp. 377-398

CHAPTER XXV
The Blue Mountains--The Cuyabá River--Inaccurate Maps--A Rebellion
in Camp--Infamy of Author's Followers--The Lagõa dos Veados
and the Seven Lakes--Falling Back on Diamantino--Another
Mutiny--Slavery--Descending from the Tableland  pp. 399-432



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

VOL. I

THE AUTHOR                          _Photogravure Frontispiece_
                                                                       PAGE
RIO DE JANEIRO, SHOWING THE BEAUTIFUL AVENIDA CENTRAL                     4
RIO DE JANEIRO AS IT WAS IN 1903                                          8
DR. PEDRO DE TOLEDO, MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, BRAZIL                     12
SENADOR ALCINDO GUANABARA, A GREAT LITERARY GENIUS AND PATRIOT OF BRAZIL 16
THE MUNICIPAL THEATRE, RIO DE JANEIRO                                    20
BARON DE RIO BRANCO                                                      24
DR. PASSOS                                                               28
A BEAUTIFUL WATERFALL AT THERESOPOLIS                                    32
ANTONIO PRADO'S COFFEE ESTATE                                            32
THE STATION AND SHED OF THE GOYAZ RAILWAY, ARAGUARY.
        MR. LUIZ SCHNOOR AND HIS TWO ENGINEERS                           48
TYPICAL TREES OF THE BRAZILIAN FOREST, GOYAZ. THE STEM
        DEVOID OF BRANCHES AND FOLIAGE UP TO A GREAT HEIGHT              48
AUTHOR DEPARTING FROM MORRO DA MEZA, SHOWING STYLE OF
        COSTUME WORN DURING THE EXPEDITION                               56
ALCIDES AND FILIPPE THE NEGRO                                            56
GOYAZ RAILWAY IN CONSTRUCTION: THE CUT LEADING TO THE PARANAHYBA RIVER   64
AUTHOR'S CARAVAN CROSSING A STREAM                                       64
CHARACTERISTIC TYPES OF BRAZILIANS OF THE INTERIOR.
        (NOTICE THE DEGENERATE FACES AND DEVELOPMENT OF GOITRE)          68
A TYPICAL VILLAGE OF THE PROVINCE OF GOYAZ                               68
PICTURESQUE OX-CARTS OF GOYAZ                                            76
A HOME IN CENTRAL BRAZIL                                                 80
A CLEVER AUTOMATIC POUNDING MACHINE                                      80
BRAZILIAN PACK-SADDLES                                                   88
A TYPICAL VILLAGE. (THE HIGHER BUILDING IS THE CHURCH)                   88
AUTHOR'S CARAVAN ABOUT TO CROSS THE RIVER CORUMBA                        96
BURITY PALMS                                                             96
THE PRESIDENT OF GOYAZ AND HIS FAMILY. (GIANT CACTUS IN THE BACKGROUND) 100
THE MAIN SQUARE OF GOYAZ CITY, SHOWING PRISON AND PUBLIC LIBRARY        108
SOME OF THE BAGGAGE AND SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS USED BY
        AUTHOR ON HIS EXPEDITION                                        108
AUTHOR'S SIX FOLLOWERS                                                  112
VIEW OF GOYAZ CITY FROM STA. BARBARA                                    120
AUTHOR'S MEN PACKING ANIMALS                                            120
SOME OF AUTHOR'S PACK ANIMALS                                           128
AUTHOR'S CARAVAN ACROSS THE IMMENSE PRAIRIES OF MATTO GROSSO            144
THE ARAGUAYA RIVER (LOOKING NORTH)                                      152
THE ARAGUAYA (LOOKING SOUTH)                                            152
CARAJA INDIAN OF THE UPPER ARAGUAYA RIVER                               160
TYPICAL FLAT-TOPPED PLATEAU OF CENTRAL BRAZIL                           168
ONE NIGHT'S FISHING ON THE ARAGUAYA                                     168
THE PAREDÃOZINHO                                                        176
TYPICAL SCENERY OF MATTO GROSSO                                         176
VOLCANIC SCENERY OF MATTO GROSSO (CHAPADA IN FOREGROUND)                184
PECULIAR FORMATION OF CENTRAL PLATEAU                                   184
CURIOUS DOMES OF LAVA WITH UPPER STRATUM OF EARTH, SAND AND ASHES       192
GREAT UNDULATING CAMPOS OF MATTO GROSSO                                 192
TYPICAL BRAZILIAN PLATEAU, SHOWING WORK OF EROSION                      200
ON THE PLATEAU OF MATTO GROSSO (ALCIDES IN FOREGROUND)                  200
A FINE BORORO TYPE ON A VISIT TO AUTHOR'S CAMP                          208
BORORO MEN, SHOWING LIP ORNAMENT                                        216
BORORO MEN                                                              216
BORORO INDIANS                                                          224
BORORO MEN (THE APRONS ARE NOT ACTUALLY WORN)                           228
BORORO WARRIORS                                                         232
BORORO WARRIORS                                                         232
THE HORRORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY: BORORO CHILDREN                             236
BORORO CHIEF RATTLING GOURDS FILLED WITH PEBBLES, IN ORDER TO
        CALL MEMBERS OF HIS TRIBE (_Coloured Plate_)                    238
BORORO CHILD SHOWING STRONG MALAY CHARACTERISTICS                       240
BORORO GIRLS                                                            244
BORORO GIRLS (SIDE VIEW)                                                244
BORORO WOMEN, SHOWING METHOD OF CARRYING CHILDREN                       248
BOROROS SHOWING FORMATION OF HANDS                                      248
BORORO WOMEN                                                            252
BORORO WOMEN                                                            252
BOROROS THRASHING INDIAN CORN                                           256
A BORORO BLIND WOMAN                                                    256
BORORO CHILDREN                                                         260
BORORO WOMEN                                                            260
ISOLATED CONICAL HILLS WITH TOWER-LIKE ROCKY FORMATIONS ON SUMMIT       268
THE ENDLESS CAMPOS OF MATTO GROSSO                                      268
GEOMETRICAL PATTERN ON THE SURFACE OF A FLOW OF LAVA
        (CAUSED BY SUDDEN CONTRACTION IN COOLING)                       272
THE OBSERVATORY AT THE SALESIAN COLONY.
        (PADRE COLBACCHINI IN THE FOREGROUND)                           280
BORORO WOMEN AND CHILDREN                                               280
STRANGE FORMATION OF VOLCANIC ROCK                                      288
VOLCANIC CAVITIES (MATTO GROSSO)                                        288
A VERTICAL MASS OF SOLID ROCK OF A BRILLIANT RED COLOUR                 292
THE PAREDÃO GRANDE (MATTO GROSSO) (_Coloured Plate_)                    294
THE PAREDÃO GRANDE, SHOWING VERTICAL ROCKS WITH GREAT ARCHES            300
MUSHROOM-SHAPED ROCKS OF VOLCANIC FORMATION                             308
A GREAT EARTHQUAKE FISSURE IN THE TERRESTRIAL CRUST (MATTO GROSSO)      308
STRANGE GEOMETRICAL PATTERN OF LAVA OVER GIANT VOLCANIC DOME            316
AUTHOR'S TROOP OF ANIMALS WADING ACROSS A SHALLOW STREAM                324
CENTRAL CLUSTER OF TREES AND PALMS IN A CUVETTE (MATTO GROSSO)          332
A GIANT WAVE OF LAVA                                                    332
STRANGE ROCK-CARVINGS OF MATTO GROSSO                                   336
WEIRD LUNAR EFFECT WITNESSED BY AUTHOR (_Coloured Plate_)               340
A GIANT QUADRANGULAR BLOCK OF ROCK                                      344
ROCK-CARVINGS IN MATTO GROSSO                                           344
A PICTURESQUE WATERFALL ON THE S. LOURENÇO RIVER                        352
A CAÑON OF MATTO GROSSO                                                 356
HOW AUTHOR'S ANIMALS ROLLED DOWN TRAILLESS RAVINES                      360
HIDEOUS TYPES CHARACTERISTIC OF CENTRAL BRAZIL.
        TWO WOMEN (LEFT) AND TWO MEN (RIGHT)                            364
AUTHOR'S CARAVAN MARCHING ACROSS TRAILLESS COUNTRY                      368
THE RONCADOR RIVER                                                      368
FOSSIL SKULL OF A GIANT ANIMAL DISCOVERED BY AUTHOR (SIDE VIEW)         376
FOSSIL SKULL OF GIANT ANIMAL (SEEN FROM UNDERNEATH)                     376
A GRAND ROCK ("CHURCH ROCK")                                            384
CHURCH ROCK (SIDE VIEW)                                                 384
QUADRANGULAR ROCKY MOUNTAIN CONNECTED BY NATURAL WALL OF ROCK
        WITH THE VERTICAL-SIDED RANGE IN BACKGROUND                     388
QUADRANGULAR ROCKY MOUNTAIN SHOWING ROCKY WALL
        CONNECTING IT WITH THE NEIGHBOURING RANGE                       392
AUTHOR'S CARAVAN IN THE HEART OF MATTO GROSSO                           392
A GIANT DOME OF LAVA                                                    396
CAMPOS AND CHAPADA OF MATTO GROSSO                                      396
MARVELLOUS SCENERY OF THE CENTRAL BRAZILIAN PLATEAU. "CHURCH ROCK"
        STANDING IN THE CENTRE (_Coloured Plate_)                       400
A STREET OF DIAMANTINO                                                  404
THE DOGS OF THE EXPEDITION                                              404
MATTO-GROSSO GIRL, A MIXTURE OF PORTUGUESE, INDIAN AND NEGRO BLOOD      412
BRAZILIAN CHILD, A MIXTURE OF PORTUGUESE AND NEGRO                      412
MAP SHOWING AUTHOR'S ROUTE                                              432
MAP SHOWING THE ARINOS AND ARINOS-JURUENA RIVERS                        432



CHAPTER I

     The Heart of Brazil--Brazil, its Size and its Immense Wealth--Rio
     de Janeiro--Brazilian Men of Genius--São Paulo--The
     _Bandeirantes_--The Paulista Railway


"MORE than three months to reach the spot?" asked the cinematograph man
in amazement. "Then perhaps Monsieur is on a journey to Mars or the moon!
There is no spot on earth that takes so long to reach." (Hearty laughter
at his own wit.)

That exclamation, and wise words that follow, came from the assistant of
one of the largest firms of cinematograph appliances in Paris, where I
had called in order to purchase a moving picture apparatus and 10,000
metres of film to be used on my forthcoming journey across the South
American continent.

The shop assistant had very honestly warned me that if the films were to
be used in a damp, tropical climate, they must be exposed and developed
within three months of their manufacture. After that time they would
become so perforated and fogged as to be quite useless. I had remarked
that it would take me more than three months to reach the spot where I
should begin to take cinematograph pictures.

"Will Monsieur please tell where is the spot where he would be likely to
use the films?" continued the assistant, still overcome with surprise.

"In the heart of Brazil."

"In the heart of Brazil ... in the very heart of Brazil?... _Oh, mon
Dieu! mon Dieu!_" (More laughter and a look of compassion at me.) "_Mais
nous avons une de nos maisons tout à fait près de là!_" (Why, indeed, we
have one of our factories quite close to there.)

It was then my turn for hearty laughter and the look of compassion.

"Pray," I inquired, "tell me more exactly. Where is your factory close to
the heart of Brazil?"

"It is quite, quite close. It is in Montreal, Canada.... You will send
your films there ... two or three days' journey.... It will take us a
week to develop them ... two or three days for their return journey. In a
fortnight you will have them back again."

Quite close, indeed: only a distance of some 65° of latitude--or some
7170 kilometres as the crow flies--with no direct communication by land
or water!

That was the Frenchman's knowledge of geography; but I find that the
average Englishman, unless he is directly interested in those countries,
knows little better, and perhaps even less. Time after time I have been
asked in London if Brazil were not a province of Mexico, and whether it
is not through Brazil that the Americans are cutting the Panama Canal!
There are many who have a vague idea that Brazil is a German colony;
others, more patriotic, who claim it as an English possession. Many of
those who have looked at the map of the world are under the impression
that Spanish is spoken in Brazil, and are surprised when you tell them
that Portuguese happens to be the local language. Others, more
enlightened in their geography by that great play _Charley's Aunt_,
imagine it a great forest of nut trees. Others, more enlightened still,
believe it to be a land where you are constantly walking in avenues
adorned with wonderful orchids, with a sky overhead swarming with birds
of beautiful plumage. I have been asked in all seriousness whether I
found the Andes quite flat--great prairies (the person had heard of the
Argentine _pampas_ and got mixed up)--or whether "it" was merely a large
lagoon!

I could quote dozens more of these extreme cases of ignorance, but of one
thing I am certain, and that is, that there are few people in the British
Isles who realize the actual size of the great Brazilian Republic.

Brazil is 8,524,778 square kilometres--with the territory of the Acre
newly acquired from Bolivia, 8,715,778 sq. kil. in extent; that is to
say, it covers an area larger than the United States of North America,
Germany, Portugal, Greece and Montenegro taken together.

Some of the States of the Republic are larger than some of the largest
countries in Europe: such as the State of the Amazonas with 1,894,724 sq.
kil.; the State of Matto Grosso with 1,378,784 sq. kil.; the State of
Pará with an area of 1,149,712 sq. kil.; the State of Goyaz with 747,311
sq. kil.; the State of Minas Geraes with 574,855 sq. kil.; the Acre
territory, 191,000 sq. kil.

There are fewer people still who seriously appreciate the great
importance of that beautiful country--with no exception the richest, the
most wonderful in the world; to my mind undoubtedly the continent of the
future.

Incalculable is the richness of Brazil in mineral wealth. Magnificent
yellow diamonds are to be found in various regions, those of Minas Geraes
and Matto Grosso being famous for their purity and extraordinary
brilliancy; agates, moonstones, amethysts, emeralds, sapphires, rubies,
topazes, and all kinds of beautiful rock crystals are plentiful. Gold
exists in many regions on the central plateau--but particularly in Minas
Geraes and Matto Grosso; and platinum in the States of São Paulo, Minas
Geraes, Sta. Catharina and Espirito Santo; silver, mercury, lead, tin,
salicylated and natural copper are found in many places, as well as
graphite, iron, magnetic iron, oxide of copper, antimony, argentiferous
galena, malachite, manganese oxide, alum, bituminous schist, anthracite,
phosphate of lime, sulphate of sodium, hæmatite, monazitic sands (the
latter in large quantities), nitrate of potassium, yellow, rose-coloured,
and opalescent quartz, sulphate of iron, sulphate of magnesia, potash,
kaolin. Coal and lignite of poor quality have been discovered in some
regions, and also petroleum, but not in large quantities.

[Illustration: Rio de Janeiro, showing the beautiful Avenida Central.]

Springs of thermal and mineral waters are numerous--particularly those of
which the waters are sulphurous or ferruginous; others contain arsenic
and magnesia.

Most beautiful marble of various colours is to be found, and also
enormous quantities of mica and amianth; porphyry and porphyroid granite,
carbonated and hydroxided iron, argillaceous schist, mica schist.

Even richer than the mineral wealth is the botanical wealth, hitherto
dormant, of Brazil. Valuable woods occur in many Brazilian
forests--although it must not for one moment be imagined that entire
forests are to be found composed of useful woods. Indeed this is not the
case. Most of the woods are absolutely valueless. Still, when it is
realized that the forests of Brazil extend for several millions of square
kilometres, it is easy to conceive that there is plenty of room among a
majority of poor trees for some good ones. Most Brazilian woods are
interesting on account of their high specific gravity. Few, very few,
will float on water. On the central plateau, for instance, I could not
find a single wood which floated--barring, under special conditions, the
burity palm (_Mauritia vinifera_ M.). Along the banks of the Amazon and
in the northern part of Brazil this is not quite the case. Some Brazilian
woods, such as the iron-tree (pao-ferro), whose name fitly indicates its
character, are of extraordinary hardness. The Brazilian forest, although
not specially rich in woods for building and naval purposes, is
nevertheless most abundant in lactiferous, oliferous, fibrous, medicinal,
resinous, and industrial plants--such for instance as can be used for
tanning purposes, etc. No country in the world is as rich as Brazil in
its natural growth of rubber trees; nor have I ever seen anywhere else
such beautiful and plentiful palms: the piassava (_Attalia fumifera_ M.),
the assahy (_Euterpe oleracea_ L.), the burity (_Mauritia vinifera_ M.),
the carnahuberia (_Copernicia cerifera_ M.), the palmito (_Euterpe
edulis_ M.), and many others. I shall give a more detailed description of
the most important of these plants as we proceed on our journey and find
them in their habitat.

Where, perhaps, Brazil's greatest richness lies is in its hundreds of
thousands of square miles of wonderful pasture lands--perfectly ideal,
with plenty of excellent water and a delicious climate--capable of some
day fattening enough cattle to supply half the world with meat.

All these wonderful riches are absolutely dormant; more than that,
absolutely wasted for lack of population, for lack of roads, trails,
railways, or navigation of the rivers. The coast of Brazil is highly
civilized, and so, more or less, is the immediate neighbourhood of large
cities; but the moment you leave those cities, or the narrow zone along
the few hundred kilometres of railways which now exist, you immediately
relapse into the Middle Ages. When you get beyond the comparatively
narrow belt of semi-civilization, along the coast, Brazil is almost as
unknown as Mars or the moon. The people who know least the country are,
curiously enough, the Brazilians themselves. Owing greatly to racial
apathy, they care little for the trouble of developing their beautiful
land. They watch with envy strangers taking gold, diamonds, platinum, and
precious stones out of their country. They accuse foreigners of going
there to rob them of their wealth; yet you seldom meet a Brazilian who
will venture out of a city to go and help himself. The Brazilian
Government is now beginning to wake up to the fact that it is the
possessor of the most magnificent country on earth, and it is its wish to
endeavour to develop it; but the existing laws, made by short-sighted
politicians, are considered likely to hamper development for many years
to come.

Brazil is not lacking in intelligent men. Indeed, I met in Rio de Janeiro
and S. Paulo men who would be remarkable anywhere. Councillor Antonio
Prado of S. Paulo, for instance, was a genius who had done wonders for
his country. The great development of the State of S. Paulo compared with
other States is chiefly due to that great patriot. Then the Baron de Rio
Branco--the shrewd diplomatist, who has lately died--has left a monument
of good work for his country. The cession of the immensely rich tract of
the Acre Territory by Bolivia to Brazil is in itself a wonderful
achievement. Dr. Pedro de Toledo, the present Minister of Agriculture, is
a practical, well-enlightened, go-ahead gentleman, who makes superhuman
efforts, and in the right direction, in order to place his country among
the leading states of the two Americas. Dr. Lauro Severiano Müller, the
new Minister of Foreign Affairs, is a worthy successor of Baron de Rio
Branco. There are many other persons of positive genius, such as Senator
Alcindo Guanabara, a man of remarkable literary ability, and one of the
few men in Brazil who realize thoroughly the true wants of the Republic,
a man of large views, who is anxious to see his country opened up and
properly developed. Another remarkable man is Dr. José Carlos Rodriguez,
the proprietor of the leading newspaper in Rio--the _Jornal do
Commercio_--and the organizing genius of some of the most important
Brazilian commercial ventures. Having had an American and English
education, Dr. Rodriguez has been able to establish in Rio the best
edited and produced daily newspaper in the world. Its complete service of
telegraphic news from all over the globe--on a scale which no paper, even
in England, can equal or even approach--the moderate tone and seriousness
of its leading articles, its highly reliable and instructive columns on
all possible kinds of subjects by a specially able staff of the cleverest
writers in Brazil, and the refined style in which it is printed, do great
honour to Dr. Rodriguez. Then comes another man of genius--Dr. Francisco
Pereira Passos, who, with Dr. Paulo de Frontin, has been able in a few
years to transform Rio de Janeiro from one of the dirtiest and ugliest
cities in South America into the most beautiful. The great drive around
the beautiful bay, the spacious new Avenida Central--with its parallel
avenues of great width--the construction of a magnificently appointed
municipal theatre, the heavenly road along the Tijuca mountains
encircling and overlooking the great harbour, and a thousand other
improvements of the city are due to those two men. Dr. Paulo Frontin has
also been active in developing the network of railways in Brazil.
Whatever he has undertaken, he has accomplished with great judgment and
skill.

[Illustration: Rio de Janeiro as it was in 1903.]

It would be impossible to enumerate here all the clever men of Brazil.
They are indeed too numerous. The older generation has worked at great
disadvantage owing to the difficulty of obtaining proper education. Many
are the illiterate or almost illiterate people one finds even among the
better classes. Now, however, excellent and most up-to-date schools have
been established in the principal cities, and with the great enthusiasm
and natural facility in learning of the younger generations wonderful
results have been obtained. On account partly of the exhausting climate
and the indolent life that Brazilians are inclined to lead, a good deal
of the enthusiasm of youth dies out in later years; still Brazil has
in its younger generation a great many men who are ambitious and heartily
wish to render their country service. It is to be hoped that their
efforts may be crowned with success. It is not talent which is lacking in
Brazil, it is not patriotism; but persistence is not perhaps the chief
characteristic among races of Portuguese descent. In these days of
competition it is difficult to accomplish anything great without labour
and trouble.

I left London on December 23rd, 1910, by the Royal Mail steamship
_Amazon_, one of the most comfortable steamers I have ever been on.

We touched at Madeira, Pernambuco, and then at Bahia. Bahia seen from the
sea was quite picturesque, with its two horizontal lines of buildings,
one on the summit of a low hill-range, the other along the water line. A
border of deep green vegetation separated the lower from the upper town.
A massive red building stood prominent almost in the centre of the upper
town, and also a number of church towers, the high dome of a church
crowning the highest point.

I arrived in Rio de Janeiro on January 9th, 1911.

It is no use my giving a description of the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Everybody knows that it is--from a pictorial point of view--quite a
heavenly spot. Few seaside cities on earth can expect to have such a
glorious background of fantastic mountains, and at the same time be
situated on one of the most wonderful harbours known. I have personally
seen a harbour which was quite as strangely interesting as the Rio
harbour--but there was no city on it. It was the Malampaya Sound, on the
Island of Palawan (Philippine Archipelago). But such an _ensemble_ of
Nature's wonderful work combined with man's cannot, to the best of my
knowledge, be found anywhere else than in Rio.

It does not do to examine everything too closely in detail when you
land--for while there are buildings of beautiful architectural lines,
there are others which suggest the work of a pastrycook. To any one
coming direct from Europe some of the statuary by local talent which
adorns the principal squares gives a severe shock. Ladies in evening
dress and naked cupids in bronze flying through national flags flapping
in the wind, half of their bodies on one side, the other half on the
other side of the flags, look somewhat grotesque as you approach the
statues from behind. But Rio is not the only place where you see
grotesque statuary--you have not to go far from or even out of London to
receive similar and worse shocks. If Rio has some bad statues it also
possesses some remarkably beautiful ones by the sculptor Bernardelli--a
wonderful genius who is now at the head of the Academy of Fine Arts in
Rio. This man has had a marvellous influence in the beautifying of the
city, and to him are due the impressive lines of the finest buildings in
Rio, such as the Academy of Fine Arts. Naturally, in a young country like
Brazil--I am speaking of new Brazil, now wide awake, not of the Brazil
which has been asleep for some decades--perfection cannot be reached in
everything in one day. It is really marvellous how much the Brazilians
have been able to accomplish during the last ten years or so in their
cities, on or near the coast.

Brazilians have their own way of thinking, which is not ours, and which
is to us almost incomprehensible. They are most indirect in their
thoughts and deeds--a characteristic which is purely racial, and which
they themselves cannot appreciate, but which often shocks Europeans. For
instance, one of the most palatial buildings in the Avenida Central was
built only a short time ago. In it, as became such an up-to-date
building, was established a lift. But do you think that the architect,
like all other architects anywhere else in the world, would make the lift
start from the ground floor? No, indeed. The lift only starts from the
second floor up--and, if I remember rightly, you have to walk some
thirty-eight steps up a grand staircase before you reach it! Do you know
why? Because the architect wished to compel all visitors to the building
to admire a window of gaudy coloured glass half-way up the staircase. In
this way they reason about nearly everything. They have not yet mastered
the importance and due proportion of detail. Frequently what is to us a
trifling detail is placed by them in the forefront as the most important
point of whatever they undertake.

Thanks to the strong credentials I carried--among which were letters from
H.E. Regis de Oliveira, Brazilian Minister in London--I was received in
Rio de Janeiro with the utmost consideration and kindness. From the
President of the Republic to the humblest citizens, all with no exception
treated me with charming civility. My stay in Rio was a delightful one.
The Brazilians of the principal cities were most courteous and
accomplished, and it was a great pleasure to associate with them. Intense
interest was shown by the Government of the country and by the people in
my plan to cross the continent. Dr. Pedro de Toledo, the Minister of
Agriculture, was specially interested in the scheme, and it was at first
suggested that the expedition should be an Anglo-Brazilian one, and that
I should be accompanied by Brazilian officers and soldiers. Colonel
Rondon, a well-known and brave officer, was ordered by the Government to
find suitable volunteers in the army to accompany my expedition. After a
long delay, Colonel Rondon informed me that his search had been
unsuccessful. Colonel Rondon said he would have gladly accompanied the
expedition himself, had he not been detained in Rio by his duties as
Chief of the Bureau for the Protection and Civilization of the Indians.
Another officer offered his services in a private capacity, but he having
become involved in a lawsuit, the negotiations were suddenly interrupted.

[Illustration: Dr. Pedro de Toledo, Minister of Agriculture, Brazil.]

I endeavoured to find suitable civilians. No one would go. The Brazilian
forest, they all said, was worse, more impenetrable than any forest in
the world. Brazilian rivers were broader, deeper and more dangerous than
any river on earth. Wild beasts in Brazil were more numerous and wilder
than the wildest animals of Africa or Asia. As for the Indians of Central
Brazil, they were innumerable--millions of them--and ferocious beyond all
conception. They were treacherous cannibals, and unfortunate was the
person who ventured among them. They told stories galore of how the few
who had gone had never come back. Then the insects, the climate, the
terrible diseases of Central Brazil were worse than any insect, any
climate, any terrible disease anywhere. That is more or less the talk one
hears in every country when about to start on an expedition.

I had prepared my expedition carefully, at a cost of some £2,000 for
outfit. Few private expeditions have ever started better equipped. I
carried ample provisions for one year (tinned meats, vegetables, 1,000
boxes of sardines, fruits, jams, biscuits, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, tea,
etc.), two serviceable light tents, two complete sets of instruments for
astronomical and meteorological observations, and all the instruments
necessary for making an accurate survey of the country traversed. Four
excellent aneroids--which had been specially constructed for me--and a
well-made hypsometrical apparatus with six boiling-point thermometers,
duly tested at the Kew Observatory, were carried in order to determine
accurately the altitudes observed. Then I possessed two prismatic and six
other excellent compasses, chronometers, six photographic cameras,
specially made for me, with the very best Zeiss and Goertz lenses, and
some 1,400 glass photographic plates--including some for colour
photography. All articles liable to be injured by heat and damp were duly
packed in air- and water-tight metal cases with outer covers of wood.
Then I carried all the instruments necessary for anthropometric work, and
painting materials for recording views and scenes in colours when the
camera could not be used, as at night or when the daylight was
insufficient. I had a complete supply of spades, picks, large saws, axes,
and heavy-bladed knives (two feet long) for cutting our way through the
forest, making roads and constructing rafts, canoes and temporary
bridges.

I carried, as usual, very little medicine--merely three gallons of castor
oil, a few bottles of iodine, some formiate of quinine, strong carbolic
and arsenical soaps, permanganate and other powerful disinfectants,
caustic--that was about all. These medicines were mostly to be used, if
necessary, upon my men and not upon myself.

I had twelve of the best repeating rifles that are made, as well as
excellent automatic pistols of the most modern type, and several thousand
rounds of ammunition--chiefly soft-nosed bullets. These weapons were
carried in order to arm my followers. Although I had several first-class
rifles for my own use--following my usual custom, I never myself carried
any weapons--not even a penknife--upon my person except when actually
going after game. Again on this occasion--as on previous journeys--I did
not masquerade about in fancy costumes such as are imagined to be worn by
explorers, with straps and buckles and patent arrangements all over. I
merely wore a sack coat with ample pockets, over long trousers such as I
use in town. Nor did I wear any special boots. I always wore comfortable
clothes everywhere, and made no difference in my attire between the
Brazilian forest and Piccadilly, London. When it got too hot, naturally I
removed the coat and remained in shirt sleeves; but that was all the
difference I ever made in my wearing apparel between London and Central
Brazil. I have never in my life adopted a sun helmet--the most absurd,
uncomfortable and grotesque headgear that was ever invented. I find,
personally, that a common straw hat provides as much protection as any
healthy person requires from the equatorial sun.

If I give these details, it is merely because they might be of some use
to others--not because I wish to advertise these facts; and also, if I do
not give the names of the firms which supplied the various articles, it
is because--unlike many other explorers--I have been in the custom of
never letting my name be used in any way whatever for advertising
purposes.

There are many people who are enthusiastic over a dangerous project when
they first hear of it, but on thinking it over and talking with friends
and relatives their enthusiasm soon wears off. That is what happened in
Rio. I wasted some time in Rio--socially most enjoyably employed--in
order to get followers and come to some suitable arrangement with the
Government. I was deeply indebted to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr.
Pedro de Toledo, for allowing me the free use of all the telegraphs in
Brazil, and also for a special permission (of which I never availed
myself) to use, if necessary, the flotilla of Government boats on the
Amazon. Credentials were also furnished me, but owing to the way in which
they were worded they were more of a danger to me than a protection. They
actually proved to be so once or twice when I was compelled to present
them. The expedition was considered so dangerous that the Government
published broadcast statements in the official and other papers stating
that "Mr. A. H. Savage Landor's expedition across Brazil was undertaken
solely at his own initiative and absolutely at his own risk and
responsibility." They also circulated widely the statement that I had
promised not in any way to injure or hurt the native Indians, that I
would not supply them with firearms of any kind, and that I would in no
way ill-treat them. I had gladly promised all that. I had not even
dreamt of doing any of those things to the natives, and naturally I
strictly kept my promise.

In a luxurious Administration car placed at my disposal by Dr. Paulo
Frontin I left Rio by the Central Railway, escorted as far as S. Paulo by
Dr. Carlo da Fonseca, a railway engineer, sent to look after my comfort
by the Central Brazilian Railway Company.

On approaching S. Paulo in the early morning I was much struck by the
activity of the waking city as compared with Rio. Carts were dashing to
and fro in the streets, the people walked along fast as if they had
something to do, and numerous factory chimneys ejected clouds of smoke,
puffing away in great white balls. The people stopped to chat away
briskly as if they had some life in them. It seemed almost as if we had
suddenly dropped into an active commercial European city. The type of
people, their ways and manners were different from those of the people of
Rio--but equally civil, equally charming to me from the moment I landed
at the handsome railway station.

With a delicious climate--owing to its elevation--with a population of
energetic people chiefly of Italian origin, instead of the apathetic
mixture of Portuguese and negro, S. Paulo was indeed the most flourishing
city of the Brazilian Republic. Its yearly development was enormous.
Architecturally it was gradually becoming modified and improved, so that
in a few years it will be a very beautiful city indeed. Already the city
possessed beautiful avenues and a wonderful theatre.

[Illustration: Senador Alcindo Guanabara, a great Literary Genius
and Patriot of Brazil.]

Everybody knows what an important part the enterprising people of S.
Paulo have played in the expansion and colonization of the central and
southern regions of Brazil. The early activity of the Paulistas--it dates
back to 1531--can be traced from the River Plate on the south, to the
head waters of the Madeira in Matto Grosso on the east, and as far as
Piantry on the north.

I cannot indulge here, as I should like to do, in giving a complete
historical sketch of the amazing daring and enterprise of those early
explorers and adventurers and of their really remarkable achievements.
Their raids extended to territories of South America which are to-day
almost impenetrable. It was really wonderful how they were able to locate
and exploit many of the most important mines within an immense radius of
their base.

The history of the famous Bandeiras, under the command of Raposo, and
composed of Mamelucos (crosses of Portuguese and Indians) and Tupy
Indians, the latter a hardy and bold race, which started out on
slave-hunting expeditions, is thrilling beyond words and reads almost
like fiction. The ways of the Bandeirantes were sinister. They managed to
capture immense numbers of slaves, and must have killed as many as they
were able to bring back or more. They managed, therefore, to depopulate
the country almost entirely, the few tribes that contrived to escape
destruction seeking refuge farther west upon the slopes of the Andes.

Although the Brazilians--even in official statistics--estimate the number
of pure savage Indians in the interior at several millions, I think that
the readers of this book will be convinced, as I was in my journey
across the widest and wildest part of Brazil, that perhaps a few hundreds
would be a more correct estimate. Counting half-castes, second, third and
fourth crosses, and Indians who have entirely adopted Portuguese ways,
language and clothes, they may perhaps amount to several thousand--but
that is all.

The Jesuits endeavoured to save the Indians from the too-enterprising
Bandeirantes, with the result that the missions were destroyed also and
the missionaries driven away or killed.

Brazil occupies to-day in the world's knowledge practically the same
position that forbidden Tibet occupied some fifteen or twenty years ago.
It was easier to travel all over Brazil centuries ago than now.

The Bandeirantes became extraordinarily daring. In 1641 another
slave-hunting Paulista expedition started out to sack the missions of
Paraguay and make great hauls of converted Indians. The adventurers
invaded even the impenetrable territory of the Chaco. But, history tells
us, the Jesuits, who were well prepared for war, were not only able to
trap the 400 Paulista Bandeirantes in an ambuscade and to set free their
prisoners, but killed a great number of them, 120 of the adventurous
Bandeirantes thus supplying a handsome dinner for the cannibal Chaco
Indians. Infuriated at the reverse, the survivors of the expedition
destroyed all the missions and Indian villages upon their passage, not
one escaping. They came to grief, however, in the end. Few only returned
home to tell the tale. That lesson practically ended the slave-hunting
expeditions on a large scale of the Bandeirantes, but not the
expeditions of parties in search of gold and diamonds, many of which were
extraordinarily successful. Minor expeditions were undertaken in which
Paulista adventurers were employed under contract in various parts of
Brazil for such purposes as to fight the Indians or to break up the
so-called Republic of the Palmeiras--an unpleasant congregation of
negroes and Indians.

The astonishing success which the dauntless Paulistas had obtained
everywhere made them thirst for gold and diamonds, which they knew
existed in the interior. They set out in great numbers--men, women, and
children--in search of wealth and fresh adventure. Several of the towns
in distant parts of the interior of Brazil owe their origin to this great
band of adventurers, especially in the section of Brazil now called Minas
Geraes. The adventurers were eventually outnumbered and overpowered by
swarms of Brazilians from other parts of the country, and by Portuguese
who had quickly arrived in order to share in the wealth discovered by the
Paulistas. They finally had to abandon the mines which they had conquered
at an appalling loss of human life.

The ardour of the Paulistas was quelled but not extinguished. About the
year 1718 they started afresh to the north-west in the direction of the
Cuyaba River and of Goyaz, where they had learnt that gold and diamonds
of great beauty were to be found. So many joined in these adventurous
expeditions that S. Paulo was left almost depopulated. That is how those
immense territories of Goyaz and Matto Grosso were discovered and annexed
to S. Paulo, but eventually, owing to their size, these became split up
into _capitaneas_, then into states.

The Paulistas were great fighters. In 1739 they were able to drive away
the Spaniards from Rio Grande do Sul and forced them to retreat into
Uruguay. After many years of vicissitudes in war and exploration--after
phases of prosperity, oppression, and even of almost total ruin, owing to
maladministration and official greed--things began to look up again for
São Paulo when the port of Santos was thrown open to the trade of the
world, in 1808. The history of Brazil during the last hundred years is
too well known to be repeated here.

During the last few years the State of São Paulo has attained amazing
prosperity, principally from the export of coffee--perhaps the most
delicious coffee in the world. Although nearly all the rivers of the
State of São Paulo are absolutely useless for navigation, owing to
dangerous rapids, the State is intersected by innumerable streams, large
and small--of great importance for purposes of irrigation and for the
generation of electric power. The most important harbour in the State is
Santos. Ubatuba, São Sebastião, Iguape and Carranca are ports of less
consequence. It is principally from Santos that the exportation of coffee
takes place.

[Illustration: The Municipal Theatre, Rio de Janeiro.]

The State extends roughly in a parallelogram from the ocean, south-east,
to the Parana River, north-west; between the Rio Grande, to the north,
and the Rio Paranapanema, to the south, the latter being two tributaries
of the Parana River. The State can be divided into two distinct zones,
one comprising the low-lying lands of the littoral, the second the
tablelands of the interior north-west of the Serra Cadias, Serra do
Paranapiacaba and Serra do Mar--along or near the sea-coasts. The first
zone by the sea is extremely hot and damp, with swampy and sandy soil
often broken up by spurs from the neighbouring hill ranges. It is well
suited for the cultivation of rice. The second zone, which covers
practically all the elevated country between the coast ranges and the
Parana River, is extraordinarily fertile, with a fairly mild climate and
abundant rains during the summer months. During the winter the days are
generally clear and dry.

It is in that second zone that immense coffee plantations are to be
found, the red soil typical of that tableland being particularly suitable
for the cultivation of the coffee trees.

It is hardly necessary here to go into detailed statistics, but it may be
sufficient to state, on the authority of the Directoria de Estatistica
Commercial of Rio de Janeiro, that during the first eleven months of the
year 1912, 10,465,435 sacks of coffee were exported from Brazil--mostly
from São Paulo--showing an increase of 548,854 sacks on eleven months of
the previous year. That means a sum of £40,516,006 sterling, or
£5,218,564 more than the previous year; the average value of the coffee
being, in 1912, 58,071 milreis, or, taking the pound sterling at 15
milreis, £3 17_s._ 5½_d._ a sack--an increase in price of 4,628 reis =
6_s._ 2_d._ per sack, on the sales of 1911.

The other exports from the State of São Paulo are flour, mandioca,
cassava, bran, tanned hides, horns, fruit (pineapples, bananas,
cocoanuts, abacates (alligator pears), oranges, tangerines, etc.), wax,
timber (chiefly jacarandà or rosewood), a yearly decreasing quantity of
cotton, steel and iron, mica, goldsmith's dust, dried and preserved fish,
scrap sole leather, salted and dry hides, wool, castor seed or bean,
crystal, _mate_, rice, sugar, rum (_aguardente_) and other articles of
minor importance.

The area of the State of São Paulo has been put down at 290,876 sq. kil.

Its population in 1908 was calculated at 3,397,000, and it had then more
inhabitants to the square kilometre than any other part of Brazil. It is
useless to give actual figures of the population, for none are reliable.
Although this State is the most civilized in Brazil, yet a good portion
of its western territory is still practically a _terra incognita_, so
that even the best official figures are mere guess-work.

Owing to the wonderful foresight of that great man, Antonio Prado--to my
mind the greatest man in Brazil--a new industry has been started in the
State of São Paulo which promises to be as lucrative and perhaps more so
than the cultivation of coffee. It is the breeding of cattle on a
gigantic scale, the magnificent prairies near Barretos, in the northern
part of the State, being employed for the purpose. Slaughter-houses and
refrigerating plants of the most modern type are to be established there,
and with such a practical man as Antonio Prado at the head of the
enterprise, the scheme is bound, I should think, to be a success. With
the population of the Republic gradually increasing--it could be
centupled and there would still be plenty of room for as many people
again--the São Paulo State will one day supply most of the meat for the
principal markets of Brazil. A good deal of the cattle which will
eventually be raised on the marvellous campos of Matto Grosso and Goyaz,
and destined to Southern Brazilian markets, will find its way to the
coast via São Paulo. The rest will travel perhaps via Minas Geraes.

For some years cattle breeding has been carried on successfully enough,
but on a comparatively small scale, in this State. Experiments have been
made in crossing the best local breeds, principally the Caracù, with good
foreign breeds, such as the Jersey, Durham and Dutch stocks. Pigs of the
Berkshire, Yorkshire, Canasters and Tatus type are the favourites in São
Paulo, and seem to flourish in that climate.

Sheep-breeding is also successful, and would be even more so if proper
care were taken of the animals. Of the wool-producing kinds, those
preferred are the Leicester, Merino, Oxford and Lincoln, the Oxford
having already produced quite excellent results.

The Government of the State, I understand, is at present giving great
attention to the matter, and is using discrimination in the selection of
suitable breeds from foreign countries in order to procure the best
animals of various kinds for the production of meat, butter, and hides. I
also believe that an endeavour is being made to produce in the State a
good breed of horses for military and other purposes.

The elevation of São Paulo city is 2,450 ft. above the sea level.

Thanks to the kindness of the President of the Paulista Railway, a
special saloon carriage was placed at my disposal when I left São Paulo,
and a railway inspector sent to escort me and furnish me with any
information I required. I preferred travelling seated in front of the
engine, where I could obtain the full view of the interesting scenery
through which we were to pass.

[Illustration: Baron de Rio Branco.]

The Paulista Railway was interesting, as it was the first line in Brazil
constructed entirely with Brazilian capital. The line was begun in 1870,
but since that date several extensions have been successfully laid out.
Up to 1909 the lines owned and worked by the Paulista Railway were the
1·60-metre-gauge trunk line from Jundiahy to Descalvado (north of S.
Paulo), and the two branch lines of the same gauge from Cordeiro to Rio
Claro; Laranja Azeda to S. Veridiana; the two branch lines of 0·60 m.
gauge from Descalvado to Aurora and from Porto Ferreira to S. Rita do
Passo Quatro. Then they possessed the one-metre trunk line from Rio Claro
to Araraquara, with the following branch and extension lines: Visconde de
Rio Claro to Jahu; Araraquara to Jaboticabal; Bebedouro to Barretos; Mogy
Guasso Rincão to Pontal; S. Carlos to S. Euxodia and Rib. Bonita; Agudos
to Dois Corregos and Piratininga; and the loop line through Brotas. Of
the total charters for 1,114 kil. 261 have been granted by the Federal
Government and are under their supervision, whereas 583 kil. are under
charter granted by the State of São Paulo.

The following statistics taken from the last Brazilian Year Book show the
wonderful development of the passenger and goods traffic on the Paulista
Railway:--

-----+-----------+-----------+--------------+------------+------------
     |           |           |Goods carried,|            |
     |           | Passengers|  including   |Transport of|Baggage and
     |Line open. |  carried. |   Coffee.    |  Animals.  |  Parcels.
-----+-----------+-----------+--------------+------------+------------
     |Kilometres.|           |     Tons.    |            |   Tons.
1872 |     38    |    33,531 |    26,150    |    4,919   |    --
1890 |    250    |   348,150 |   300,857    |    5,768   |   2,613
1908 |  1,154    | 1,084,081 |   959,742    |   36,072   |  12,558
-----+-----------+-----------+--------------+------------+------------

At Jundiahy the Paulista Company has extensive repairing shops for
engines. Formerly they had there also shops for building carriages, but
these are now constructed at the Rio Claro Station, partly from material
which comes from abroad. The rolling stock of the Company is excellent in
every way--quite up-to-date, and kept in good condition--almost too
luxurious for the kind of passengers it has to carry.

It is principally after leaving Campinas that the scenery of the line is
really beautiful--wonderful undulating country--but with no habitations,
except, perhaps, a few miserable sheds miles and miles apart. At Nueva
Odena the Government is experimenting with Russian and Italian labourers,
for whom it has built a neat little colony. After a time each labourer
becomes the owner of the land he has cultivated. I am told that the
colony is a success.



CHAPTER II

     Coffee--The Dumont Railway


MY object in travelling by the Paulista Railway was to inspect the line
on my way to the immense coffee plantations at Martinho Prado, owned by
Conselheiro Antonio Prado. The estate is situated at an elevation above
the sea level of 1,780 ft., upon fertile red soil. It is difficult,
without seeing them, to realize the extent and beauty of those coffee
groves--miles and miles of parallel lines of trees of a healthy, dark
green, shining foliage. A full-grown coffee tree, as everybody knows,
varies in height from 6 ft. to 14 or 15 ft. according to the variety, the
climate, and quality of the soil. It possesses a slender stem, straight
and polished, seldom larger than 3 to 5 in. in diameter, from which shoot
out horizontal or slightly oblique branches--the larger quite close to
the soil--which gradually diminish in length to its summit. The small
white blossom of the coffee tree is not unlike jessamine in shape and
also in odour. The fruit, green in its youth, gradually becomes of a
yellowish tint and then of a bright vermilion when quite ripe--except in
the Botucatú kind, which remains yellow to the end.

The fruit contains within a pericarp a pulp slightly viscous and sweet,
within which, covered by a membrane, are the two hemispherical coffee
beans placed face to face and each covered by a tender pellicle. It is
not unusual to find a single bean in the fruit, which then takes the
shape of an ellipsoid grooved in its longer axis--and this is called
_moka_ owing to the resemblance which it bears to the coffee of that
name.

The coffee chiefly cultivated in Brazil is the _Arabica_ L. and to a
small extent also the _Liberica_ Hiern, but other varieties have
developed from those, and there are crosses of local kinds such as the
Maragogype, which takes its name from the place where it was discovered
(Bahia Province). Those varieties are locally known as Creoulo, Bourbon,
Java, Botucatú (or yellow bean coffee), the Maragogype, and the Goyaz.
The Creoulo, the Botucatú and the Maragogype are wilder and show more
resistance than the Java and Bourbon sorts, which are nevertheless more
productive under good conditions and with careful cultivation, which the
first three qualities do not exact.

The coffee tree is a most serviceable plant, every part of which can be
used. Its wood is much used in cabinet making, and makes excellent fuel;
its leaves, properly torrefied, and then stewed in boiling water, give a
palatable kind of tea; from the sweet pulp of its fruit an agreeable
liqueur can be distilled; from its beans can be made the beverage we all
know, and from the shells and residue of the fruit a good fertilizer can
be produced.

The chemical examination of the cinders of the coffee bean shows that it
contains 65·25 per cent of potash, 12·53 per cent of phosphoric acid,
11·00 per cent of magnesia, 6·12 per cent of lime, and some traces of
sulphuric and salicylic acid, oxide of iron and chlorine.

An interesting study has been made by Dr. Dafert of the weight of the
various components of the coffee tree at different ages, from which it
appears that the proportion of potash increases progressively in the
organs as they are more and more distant from the roots. The contrary is
the case with lime and phosphoric acid, which preponderate generally in
the seeds.

With this knowledge a scientific cultivator can judge exactly how to
treat the exigencies of the different trees at different ages. Naturally,
the condition of the soil has to be taken into consideration in any case.
According to experiments made by Dr. Dafert each kilo of coffee beans has
extracted from the soil--potash 0·7880 gramme; phosphoric acid 0·4020
gramme; magnesia 0·3240 gramme; lime 0·1470 gramme.

These experiments apply merely to coffee grown in Brazil, and are no
doubt at variance with experiments on coffee grown elsewhere. Taking all
things into consideration, it has been proved by chemical analysis that
the Brazilian coffee comes as near as any in its components to what the
normal or perfect coffee should be.

The soil, the elevation of the land, the zone and the climate naturally
have considerable influence on the quality of the coffee. The _Coffea
Arabica_ seems to feel happy enough in a temperate zone and at elevations
from 1,500 to 2,300 ft. The States of São Paulo, Minas Geraes, Rio de
Janeiro and Espirito Santo fulfil most if not all these conditions.

[Illustration: Dr. Passos.]

The coffee trees can stand cold--if not of long duration--down to
freezing-point, as well as a fairly high temperature. Unlike the Liberia
coffee, they fare better on undulating or broken ground than on the flat.

Two distinct seasons--the dry and the rainy--each of about six months'
duration--such as are found in the above-mentioned States of Brazil, seem
perfectly to suit the growth of the coffee trees. The trees are in bloom
for three or four days some time during the months of September to
December. If the rains are not abundant when the trees are in blossom,
and during the maturing of the fruits, the latter do not develop
properly, especially those at the end of the branches, where the berries
become dry before their time or even do not form. If the rain comes too
long before the trees are in bloom it causes the blossoms to open before
their time and they are frequently spoiled by the cold which follows. The
coffee beans are collected in April, during the dry weather.

The coffee trees are very sensitive to winds, cold or hot, especially
when blowing continuously in the same direction, which causes the undue
fall of leaves and rupture of the bark at the neck of the roots. Wind,
indeed, is one of the most dangerous enemies of coffee trees, and it is
to obviate this danger that in many countries--but not in Brazil--a
protecting plantation in lines of other trees--generally useful fruit
trees--is adopted in order to screen the coffee trees from the prevailing
wind, as well as to give a further income from the fruit produced.

It has been proved that even from good trees below a certain altitude the
coffee is of inferior quality, while above that height the crop becomes
irregular. In zones fully exposed to the sun the quality is superior to
that of regions where the sun does not reach or only reaches for a short
portion of the day.

The _Coffea Arabica_ is not particularly exacting in the quality of the
soil, but the soil on which it flourishes best is that formed in great
part by decomposed vegetable matter--as, for instance, from ancient trees
mixed with volcanic earth, such as the famous red earth of the State of
São Paulo. Volcanic cinders also are said to be wonderful fertilizers for
the soil, and well adapted for the welfare of coffee trees.

One thing is undoubted, and that is that the State of São Paulo possesses
the ideal soil for coffee plantations. Analysis has shown that, curiously
enough, the soil of São Paulo is not in itself very rich. It has an
insufficient quantity of fertilizing substances, particularly of lime;
but it should not be forgotten that locality and climatic conditions must
be taken into serious consideration, and that we must not be misled by
the difference between the apparent and the real fertility of the soil.
What would be a poor soil in Europe may prove to be an excellent one in a
tropical country. So the famous "red earth" of São Paulo, which in a
drier climate would be sterile and unproductive, is there excellent
because of its extremely permeable, porous and powdery qualities.

The special terms used for naming the different kinds of earth suitable
for the cultivation of coffee are: _terra roxa_ (red earth), _massapé_,
_salmorão_, _catanduva_, _terra de areia_ (sand earth), _picarra_ (stony
earth), and _pedreguelho_ (stony earth).

The _terra roxa_ is an argillaceous, ferruginous earth of diabasic
origin, occasionally mixed with sand. It contains salicylic acid, oxide
of iron, alumina, phosphoric acid, oxide of manganese, lime, magnesia,
potash and soda.

The _massapé_, originally decomposed gneiss-granitic rock mixed with
clay, contains oxide of iron. Its occasional blackness is due to the
decomposed vegetable matter it embodies.

The _salmorão_ includes in its formation small stones indicating the
incomplete decomposition of the rock from which it originates.

The _catanduva_--which is of inferior quality--is composed of much
disintegrated vegetable matter and fine dust.

The names of the other kinds of earth well denote their quality.

One reason why coffee cultivation is so popular in Brazil is because of
the general belief that no trouble is required to look after the trees--a
very mistaken notion indeed. There is a marked difference between
plantations carefully looked after and those that are not. More than
usual care must be taken to select the seed for new plantations. The
young plants must get strong in a nursery and then be transplanted into
proper soil, the prudent distance between trees being generally from 9 to
12 ft. For the convenience of collecting the beans and keeping the soil
clean, a perfect alignment in all directions is necessary. The most
suitable month for planting coffee in Brazil, according to the authority
of Dr. Dafert, is the month of July.

Great care must be taken of the trees themselves and of the soil around
the trees, which must be kept clean and absolutely free from grass. The
capillary roots of the trees extending horizontally near the surface of
the soil are much affected by the presence of any other vegetation, and
by the collection of insects which this produces and harbours. Frost,
rain, and the heat of the sun naturally affect the trees more when the
soil is dirty than when kept clean. Many of the coffee estates suffer
considerably from insufficient labour. The effects of this are quickly
visible on the trees. Artificial fertilization is useful, even necessary
after a number of years, and so is careful pruning in order to keep the
trees healthy, strong and clean.

[Illustration: A Beautiful Waterfall at Theresopolis.]

[Illustration: Antonio Prado's Coffee Estate.]

Coffee trees have many natural enemies--chiefly vegetable and animal
parasites--which mostly attack the leaves. The _Ramularia Goeldiana_, a
parasite not unlike the _Cercospora Coffeicola_, is one of the worst, and
undoubtedly the chief offender in Brazil, although great is the number of
insects prejudicial to the trees. The most terrible of all, perhaps, are
the ants and termites, such as the _Termes opacus_, which attack and
destroy the roots of young trees. The _cupim_ (_Termes album_) or white
ant, and the _carregador_ or _Sauba_, a giant ant with which we shall get
fully acquainted later on our journey, are implacable enemies of all
plants. Also the _quen-quen_, another kind of ant. These ants are so
numerous that it is almost an impossibility to extirpate them. Various
ways are suggested for their destruction, but none are really effective.
Certain larvæ, flies and cochinilla, owing to their sucking habits,
deposit on the leaves and branches a viscous sugary substance, which, on
account of the heat, causes fermentation known locally as _fumagina_.
This produces great damage. Birds pick and destroy the berries when ripe;
and caterpillars are responsible for the absolute devastation of many
coffee districts in the Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo States. Other pests
of the _Heteroptera_ type attack the roots to such an extent as to cause
the death of the trees.

Among the diseases of the trees are the _Aphelencus Coffeæ_ and the
_Loranthus brasiliensis_--the latter a terrible parasite which quickly
envelops the stem and branches of the tree and ends by killing it.

The collection of the berries is the busiest process in the fazendas, and
has to be performed with considerable care, for some of the berries are
already ripe and dried when others hidden under the branches have not yet
reached the required degree of maturity. An experienced hand can collect
from 400 to 450 litres of coffee berries per day. It takes an average of
100 litres of coffee berries to produce 15 kilos of prepared coffee beans
ready to be shipped. The crop is not the same every year. After one
plentiful crop there generally succeeds one year, sometimes two or three,
of poor--almost insignificant--collections, varying according to the care
that is taken of the trees and the soil.

When once the coffee has been collected and transported to the fazenda in
baskets, blankets and sheets, it is necessary to remove the skin and
viscous pulpy matter which envelop the beans. This is done partly by
maceration in water tanks, and afterwards by drying upon extensive flat
terraces, tiled or cemented, and locally called _terreiro_. The process
of drying by machinery has not been adopted in Brazil; principally
because of its high cost. The coffee is first placed for some days in
mounds on the terraces, until fermentation of the outer skin begins,
which afterwards hastens desiccation when coffee is spread flat in a thin
layer on the terraces. When once the coffee berries have been freed from
their pulpy envelope and skin, the desiccation--if the weather is
propitious--takes place in a few days. Care must be taken to move the
berries constantly, so that they dry evenly on all sides, as perfect
desiccation is necessary in order to preserve the coffee in good
condition after it is packed for shipment.

There are two ways of preparing coffee for export--the humid and the dry.
In the humid process the berries are placed in a special machine called
_despolpadore_, which leaves the beans merely covered and held together
in couples by the membrane immediately enclosing them after the skin and
viscous sugary coating have been removed. Those coffees are called in
commerce, _lavados_, or washed.

The dry process consists, after the berries have been skinned and dried,
in removing part of the pulp and membrane in a special machine and a
series of ventilators. They are then quite ready for export.

The preparation of coffee from the drying terraces is slightly more
complicated. The coffee passes through a first ventilator, which frees it
from impurities such as earth, stems, stones, filaments, etc.; from this
it is conveyed by means of an elevator into the _descascador_, where the
membrane is removed. Subsequently it passes through a series of other
ventilators, which eliminate whatever impurities have remained and
convey the coffee into a polishing machine (_brunidor_). There the coffee
is subjected to violent friction, which not only removes the last atoms
of impurity but gives the beans a finishing polish. The coffee is then
ready for the market.

I spent a most instructive day inspecting the fazenda of Conselheiro
Antonio Prado and having things clearly explained by his intelligent
overseer, Mr. Henrique P. Ribeiro.

From that place I drove across country, through endless groves of coffee
trees--for miles and miles--as far as the next great coffee estate,
belonging to the Dumont Company, an English concern, with an authorized
capital of £800,000, the estates being valued at £1,200,000. It is not
often one sees an estate so beautifully managed and looked after in a
country like Brazil. The buildings, the machinery, the "drying terraces,"
everything was in capital order. To indicate on what scale the Company
does business, it will be sufficient to state that in 1911 the coffee
crop amounted to 109,368 cwts., which realized on a gross average 56_s._
10½_d._ per cwt. This crop was not as plentiful as in the previous year,
when 110,558 cwts. were harvested. The gross profit for the year up to
June 21st, 1911, was £123,811 2_s._ 5_d._, which, less London charges,
still showed the substantial sum of £119,387 11_s._ 8_d._ There had been
a considerable rise in the rate at which coffee was sold in 1911--viz.,
56_s._ 10½_d._ per cwt. as compared with 41_s._ 8½_d._ the previous year;
but notwithstanding the high price, the high rate of exchange, and the
cost of laying the coffee down in London--which had risen on the estate
by 1_s._ 11½_d._ and by 1_s._ 3½_d._ in respect of charges between the
estate and London, the Company had been able to earn a profit of 20_s._
4¾_d._ per cwt.

I was taken round the estate by Mr. J. A. Davy, the general manager,
whose good and sensible work was noticeable at every turn. The trees
seemed in excellent condition and likely to have a long life on the
specially suitable rich red soil, and with sufficient breathing space
allowed to maintain them in good health. The soil was of such unusual
richness in that particular spot that no artificial stimulation was
required in order to keep the trees healthy and vigorous. One could walk
for miles and miles along the beautiful groves of coffee trees,
clean-looking with their rich deep green foliage.

They seemed to have no great difficulty on the Dumont estate in obtaining
sufficient labour--greatly, I think, owing to the fair way in which
labourers were treated. Mr. Davy told me that over an area of 13,261
acres a crop had been maintained which averaged 8¼ cwts. per acre.

Experiments have also been made on the Dumont Estate (at an elevation of
2,100 ft. above the sea level)--chiefly, I believe, to satisfy the wish
of shareholders in London--in the cultivation of rubber, but it did not
prove a success--as was, after all, to be expected. It is not easy to
make the majority of people understand that coffee grows lustily in that
particular part of the State of São Paulo mainly because of the eminently
suitable quality of the soil; but it does not at all follow that soil or
climatic conditions which are good for coffee are suitable for rubber
trees, or vice versa. In the case of the Dumont Estates, although the
best possible land was chosen and three different varieties of
rubber--the Pará, Ceará and the Castilloa were experimented with, it was
soon discovered that only one kind--the Ceará--attained any growth at
all, and this gave very little latex--owing undoubtedly to the nature of
the soil and the climate. The cost of extracting the latex was
prohibitive. With wages at four shillings a day a man could collect about
one-third of a pound of latex a day. Rubber trees could, in that region,
not be expected to produce more than one-fifth of a pound of rubber a
year, so that the cost of collecting and shipping rubber from
ten-year-old trees would amount to 3_s._ 3_d._ per lb., without counting
the cost of planting and upkeep.

By a special train on the Dumont Railway line I travelled across
beautiful country--all coffee plantations--the property of the Dumont
Company and of Colonel Schmidt, the "Coffee King," whose magnificent
estate lies along the Dumont Railway line. I regretted that I could not
visit this great estate also, but I was most anxious to get on with my
journey and get away as soon as possible from civilization. It was
pleasant to see that no rivalry existed between the various larger
estates, and I learnt that the Dumont Railway actually carried--for a
consideration, naturally--all the coffee from the Schmidt Estate to the
Riberão Preto station on the Mogyana Railway.



CHAPTER III

     On the Mogyana Railway


I ARRIVED at Riberão Preto at 3.45 p.m. on March 29th. Riberão Preto--421
kil. N.N.W. of São Paulo and 500 kil. from Santos--is without doubt the
most important commercial centre in the northern part of the State of São
Paulo, and is a handsome active city, neat and clean-looking, with an
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese population of some 25,000 souls. Its
elevation above the sea level is 1,950 ft. The people of Riberão Preto
subsist chiefly on the coffee industry. There are one or two theatres in
the city, the principal being a provincial one. There are several hotels
of various degrees of cleanliness and several industrial establishments.
Unlike other cities of the interior, Riberão Preto boasts of a good
supply of _agua potavel_ (drinking water), and the town is lighted by the
electric light.

The value of land in the vicinity of Riberão Preto varies from 300
milreis to 1,500 milreis for the _alqueire_, a price far superior to that
of other localities on the same line, where cultivated land can be
purchased at 300 milreis an _alqueire_ and pasture land at 100 milreis.

At Riberão Preto I was to leave the Dumont Railway. Special arrangements
had been made for me to meet at that station a special Administration car
which was to be attached to the ordinary express train on the Mogyana
Railway line.

I had been warned at the Dumont Estate that a brass band had been sent to
the Riberão Preto station, where some notabilities were awaiting my
arrival in order to greet me with the usual speeches of welcome. As I
particularly dislike public speaking and publicity, I managed to mix
unseen among the crowd--they expecting to see an explorer fully armed and
in khaki clothes of special cut as represented in illustrated papers. It
was with some relief that I saw them departing, with disappointed faces,
and with their brass instruments, big drums and all, after they had
entered the luxurious special car placed at my disposal by the Mogyana
Railway and found it empty--I humbly watching the proceedings some
distance away from the platform.

Thanks to the splendid arrangements which had been made for me by Dr.
José Pereira Rebonças, the President of the Mogyana, I was able to take a
most instructive journey on that line, the Traffic Superintendent, Mr.
Vicente Bittencourt, having been instructed to accompany me and furnish
all possible information.

A few words of praise are justly due to the Mogyana line for the
excellence of the service and the perfection of the rolling stock. I
inspected the entire train and was amazed to find such beautiful and
comfortable carriages, provided with the latest improvements for
passengers of all classes. It is seldom I have seen in any country a
train look so "smart" as the one in which I travelled from Riberão Preto
to the terminus of the line. The appointments of every kind were
perfect, the train ran in excellent time, and very smoothly over
well-laid rails. The special car in which I travelled was "palatial and
replete with every comfort," if I may use the stock words invariably
applied to railway travelling.

Here are a few interesting points regarding the Mogyana Railway.

By a provincial law (São Paulo) of March 21st, 1872, a guaranteed
interest of 7 per cent on a capital of 3,000,000 milreis was granted for
ninety years for the construction of a railway of 1 metre gauge from
Campinas to Mogymirim, and of a branch line to Amparo, to the north-east
of Campinas and due east of Inguary. By a similar law of March 20th,
1875, a guaranteed interest was granted for thirty years as to the
capital of 2,500,000 milreis for a prolongation of the line to Casa
Blanca.

By a provincial law (Minas Geraes) of October 1st, 1881, another
guarantee was granted of 7 per cent for thirty years, upon a maximum
capital of 5,000,000 milreis, for a continuation of the railway through
the provincial territory from the right bank of the Rio Grande to the
left bank of the Paranahyba River. Finally, by a provincial contract of
Minas Geraes of October, 1884, a further guarantee was granted of 7 per
cent for thirty years, on a maximum capital of 5,000,000 milreis, for the
construction of the prolongation of the railway from its terminal point
at the Rio Grande as far as the Paranahyba via the city of Uberaba.

In view of other important concessions obtained, one may consider that
the Mogyana Company is perhaps the most important railway concern in
Brazil, up to the present time. It does great credit to Brazilians that
the railway was constructed almost entirely by capital raised on bonds in
Brazil itself, the only foreign loan issued in London being a sum raised
amounting merely to £341,000 at an interest of 5 per cent. Between the
years 1879 and 1886 the Company returned to the Government of São Paulo
the interests received, thus liquidating its debt. A decree of October
18th, 1890, fixed the capital spent on the Rio Grande line and a branch
to Caldas at 4,300,000 milreis gold and 1,853,857.750 milreis paper as
guarantee of the interest of 6 per cent conceded by the National
Treasury.

In the year 1900 the value of interests received amounted to
3,190,520.418 milreis in paper, and 1,963,787.300 milreis in gold, out of
which 544,787.300 milreis were in debenture bonds. On the same date the
value of interests repaid to the National Treasury amounted to
1,606,578.581 milreis in paper currency.

The federalized lines of the Company were: from Riberão Preto to Rio
Grande (concession of 1883); from Rio Grande to Araguary (concession of
1890); with a total extension of 472 kil., and a branch line from
Cascavel to Poço de Caldas, 77 kil., the last 17 kil. of which were in
the Province of Minas Geraes. The extension from Rio Grande to Araguary,
282 kil., was also situated in the Province of Minas Geraes.

Having dodged the expectant crowd at the station unnoticed, I did not go
with the Traffic Superintendent, Mr. Vicente Bittencourt, into the
luxurious special car as the train was steaming out of the Riberão Preto
station, but preferred to travel in front of the engine so as to get a
full view of the beautiful scenery along the line. We went at a good
speed over gentle curves rounding hill-sides, the grass of which bent
under a light breeze. Here and there stood a minute white cottage--almost
toy-like--where coffee gatherers lived. On the left we had a grandiose
undulating region--what the Americans would call "rolling
country"--combed into thousands of parallel lines of coffee trees,
interrupted at intervals by extensive stretches of light green grazing
land. Only now and then, as the engine puffed and throbbed under me, did
I notice a rectangle of dried brownish yellow, where the farmers had
grown their Indian corn. These patches were a great contrast to the
interminable mass of rich dark green of the coffee trees and the light
green of the prairies.

Near these patches--prominently noticeable in the landscape because so
scarce--one invariably saw groups of low whitewashed or red-painted
houses, mere humble sheds. Where the land was not yet under
cultivation--quite a lot of it--low scrub and stunted trees far apart
dotted the landscape.

On nearing villages, as the express dashed through, goats stampeded in
all directions: sleepy women and men looked at the train half dazed as it
went by, and children, with quite a characteristic gesture, screened
their eyes with their elbows to protect them from the dust and wind the
train produced. I was astonished to notice how many fair-haired children
one saw--curious indeed in a population of Latin races and negroes. That
golden hair, however, seemed gradually to grow darker, and became almost
black in the older people.

Hideous barbed-wire fences gave a certain air of civilization to those
parts, but the landscape was nevertheless getting desolate as we
proceeded farther north. Except in the immediate vicinity of habitations,
one felt the absolute lack of animal life. Only rarely did we see a black
bird of extraordinary elongated form dash frightened across the railway
line, much too fast for me to identify to which family it belonged.

One could not help being impressed by the immensity of the landscape,
endless sweeping undulation after undulation spreading before us, but not
a real mountain in sight. It was like a solid ocean of magnified
proportions. Just above the horizon-line a large accumulation of globular
clouds of immaculate white intensified the interesting colour-scheme of
greens and yellows on the earth's surface to its full value by contrast.

The large proportion of cultivated land which had impressed me so much in
the vicinity of Riberão Preto gradually diminished; and at sunset, by the
time we had reached Batataes, only 48 kil. farther on,
hardly any more coffee plantations were visible. Only fields of short
grass spread before us on all sides. An occasional bunch of trees hiding
a humble farmhouse could be perceived here and there, but no other sign
of life upon the immense, silent, green undulations of symmetric curves,
not unlike enormous waves of the sea.

Farther north upon the Mogyana line, land seemed to diminish in price
considerably. Its quality was not so good, especially for coffee
plantations. At Batataes, for instance, 548 kil. by rail from the coast,
prices were cheaper. Good land for cultivation could be obtained at 200
milreis, and campos at 25 milreis an alqueire.

Such low prices were general north of Riberão Preto, although naturally
they were likely to increase as the country got slowly opened up with new
roads and railroads. Away from the railway the price of land was much
lower.

One thing that particularly struck the traveller straying in those parts
was the poverty of all the minor towns and villages. The industrial
development of the larger settlements consisted merely of a distillery of
"fire-water" (_aguardente_), or, if the city were modern and up-to-date,
of a brewery, the only two profitable industries in those regions.

Batataes--according to Brazilian statistics--was stated to
"_deve ter_"--"it should have perhaps" some 5,000 inhabitants. The zone
around it was said to be suitable for coffee growing; in fact, the
municipality possessed much machinery for the preparation of coffee.

At 7.50 p.m. punctually--as she was due--the engine steamed into the
Franca station, where the train was to halt for the night. The passenger
traffic was not yet sufficiently extensive on that line to allow trains
to travel continuously during the twenty-four hours. Passenger trains ran
only in the daytime.

I was treated with the greatest consideration while travelling on the
Mogyana. Not only was the Administration saloon car, containing a
comfortable bedroom, placed at my disposal, but telegrams had been sent
all along the line with orders to supply me with anything I required. At
Franca, much to my surprise, I found an imposing dinner of sixteen
courses waiting for me in the station hotel--with repeated apologies that
they were distressed they could not produce more, as the telegram
announcing my arrival had been received late. On no account whatever was
I allowed--as I wished--to pay for anything. I was rather interested to
watch in the station restaurant the wonderful mixture of people who had
assembled: priests, monks, railway porters, commercial travellers--some
black, some white, some a combination of the two--all sitting together in
a jovial manner sipping coffee or devouring a meal.

The city of Franca itself, 2 kil. away from the station, 617 kil. from
the sea at Santos, 528 kil. from São Paulo, was in the most remote
northerly corner of the State of São Paulo, and had a population of 9,000
people or thereabout. The electric light had been installed in the town,
and there was a theatre. Much difficulty was experienced in obtaining
sufficient water for the needs of the population. In the municipality
there existed a number of machines for use in the rice and the coffee
culture, as well as two steam saws, a butter, and a sugar factory.

There were several trails--so-called roads--branching off from this town
and leading to Borda de Matta, Garimpo das Canoas, Potrocinio do
Sapucahy, S. José da Bella Vista, etc.

The climate was healthy and delightful. While I was there the Fahrenheit
thermometer registered 76° at an elevation of 3,450 feet. With a fairly
good soil, the municipality could produce cereals in plenty under proper
cultivation. Land was cheap enough in that region--150 milreis per
alqueire for good land for cultivation, and 25 to 30 milreis per alqueire
for campos.

We proceeded on our journey north the next morning, passing through
Indaya, 3,450 ft. above the sea level--a settlement boasting of two
houses upon the highest point of the railway line in the State of São
Paulo. We were nearing the Rio Grande, or Great River, which, flowing in
a westerly direction, formed in that region the northern boundary of the
State of São Paulo with the State of Minas Geraes. As we got near the
river a greater lack of cultivation was noticeable, with more extensive
zones of wooded country, especially in the depressions of the land. The
undulations of the landscape were more accentuated as we approached the
Minas Geraes province. Clouds hung low in the valleys, and we
occasionally went through banks of mist not unlike those of Scotland. At
Chapadão the ground was more "_accidenté_"--to use an appropriate French
expression--with deep depressions and indentations in the surface soil
caused by erosion.

The high land on which we had been travelling between Franca and Igaçaba,
the station after Chapadão, gave birth on the west to several important
tributaries of the Rio Grande, enumerated below, from south to north; the
Rio Salgado, the Rio do Carmo, Riberão Ponte Nova, Rib. Bandeira, Rio da
Soledade, Rib. S. Pedro; on the east was the Rib. S. Jesus, also a
tributary of the Rio Grande.

As the train sped down the incline towards the Rio Grande we were now
treated to magnificent scenery on our right. An isolated hill stood at
the bottom of the valley with higher mountains on either side of it, and,
beyond, a high flat-topped plateau. The railway line skirted snake-like
along the hill-side. The hill-tops were getting more rounded and fairly
thickly wooded. As we got to a lower elevation the isolated hill assumed
the appearance of an elephant's back. A grassy valley several miles wide
opened up before us.

At Rifaina Station we had reached the level of the banks of the Rio
Grande, that is to say, 1,950 ft. above the sea level. The valley of the
river was formed, in this case also, by erosion which had left isolated
hills in terraces, one with as many as six distinct terraces, others with
rounded backs, but all plainly showing in their stratification, which was
identical with that of the surrounding elevations, that in former days
there stood, where the valley was now, a plateau which had subsequently
been gradually eroded by the action of water and wind.

Having crossed the river, we arrived at Jaguara--we were now travelling
in the Minas Geraes Province--where a breakfast awaited us of rice, pork,
dried beef, as hard as leather, omelette with shrimps (a much cherished
dish in those parts), beans, mandioca, and coffee. Black railway porters,
firemen and engine drivers all sat round the table and ate heartily, the
meal costing 2 milreis, or about 2_s._ 8_d._

The railway ran almost parallel with the river on the north side round
the immense curve which the Rio Grande describes in that particular
section. We passed Sacramento (elev. 1,850 ft.), and, in numerous curves,
the railway rose by a gradient of 3½ per cent among hills seemingly worn
out by torrential rains into rounded shapes with huge gaps between. We
left the Rio Grande, there about 100 yards wide with thickly wooded banks
and islands. At Conquista we had already again reached an elevation of
2,350 ft., but we still continued to rise by a gradient of 2½ to 3 per
cent, until a pass was reached from which two exquisite panoramas were
obtained. One, particularly interesting, looked over Conquista with its
whitewashed houses--some 250 of them--and red-tiled roofs against the
background formed by the rugged sides of the natural cauldron worn in the
tableland by erosion.

At 538 kil., 2,700 ft. above the sea level, a view was obtained of a
small coffee plantation, but most of the country around was scantily
wooded, grassy in places, barren in others.

The railway, having descended to 2,500 ft., rose again to 2,900 ft. near
Paneiras Station. Then, through beautiful grazing country, gently
undulating, we descended and mounted and went round sweeping curves,
which formed in places regular loops not unlike a horseshoe. Two pits
producing a considerable quantity of lime existed some 2 kil. from
Paneiras. Weak attempts were noticeable here and there at growing coffee.
We were now in an eminently wonderful pasture land--getting more and more
beautiful as we neared Uberaba, where we found ourselves on almost flat
country at an elevation of 2,900 ft., with hardly any trees at all and
with a delicious climate. The town of Uberaba, with some 12,000 people,
was situated at a slightly lower elevation--only 2,700 ft.

[Illustration: The Station and Shed of the Goyaz Railway, Araguary.

Mr. Luiz Schnoor and his two engineers.]

[Illustration: Typical Trees of the Brazilian Forest, Goyaz.

The stem devoid of branches and foliage up to a great height.]

Uberaba was perhaps the most important distributing centre in the western
part of Minas Geraes, for many trails branched from that place to various
distant points in the farther interior. The most important trail was the
one to Sta. Rita do Paranahyba, thence to the capital of Goyaz Province
via Marrinhos and Allemão; whence a second trail went to Fructal via
Conceiçao das Alagaos; a third, to Sant' Anna do Paranahyba, going on the
whole almost due west, but with great deviations, went almost across
South America as far as Pulacayo, in Bolivia, crossing first the State of
Matto Grosso in its southern and narrower point via Coxim and Corumba,
then all Bolivia, eventually joining the La Paz-Antofagasta Railway line
at Uyum (Pulacayo is connected by rail to Uyum), and ending at the
Pacific Ocean. Another trail led to Monte Alegre; yet another to
Uberabinha--although the railway had already connected that town with
Uberaba. This last trail continued, making great detours, to Bagagem,
then to Patrocino, from which place it deviated due north to Paracatú,
where three ramifications occurred: one to Sta. Lucia, Pyrinopolis, and
Goyaz (capital); the second to Jamarria, Jocaré (on the San Francisco
River), and Carrinhan (on the Carinhaha River, a tributary of the San
Francisco), and eventually by water to the Atlantic Ocean; the third
trail proceeded due east--across the S. Francisco River to Montes Claros
and Grão Mogol; a fourth in a south-easterly direction led to Curvelho
and Sta. Lucia, where it met the railway to Rio de Janeiro. Another route
proceeded south to Sta. Rita do Paraiso.

The price of land--which was excellent in the valley of the river--in the
vicinity of Uberaba was from 30 to 150 milreis per alqueire--each
alqueire being reckoned at 10,000 square braças, and a braça being about
6½ ft., or a little over two metres.

After leaving Uberaba the scenery was magnificent, especially when a
storm approached as we were steaming over the Serra de Caracol. Dense
black clouds collected and capped the dark green forest of the Serra,
while down, down below on our right the endless gently undulating plain
of fresh green grass was brilliantly illuminated by a warm dazzling sun.
Most beautiful grazing land--practically going to waste now--we crossed
on reaching the highest point of the Serra; grass, grass, as far as the
eye could see--quite flat land--but not a head of cattle in sight; in
fact, no sign of animal life, and a stillness of death except for the
puffing of the railway engine on which I sat. Water, however, did not
seem to abound--only a small stream, near which curious-looking patches,
or _bosquets_ of trees lay in dark spots on that light green expanse. We
were then at an elevation of 3,400 ft., amid delightfully cool and crisp
air.

At Burity passed the great route of the cattle dealers from Goyaz and
Matto Grosso for Sta. Rita, Passos, and Tres Corações do Rio Verde. At
Palestina (845 kil. from the sea) we were on what seemed an interminable
flat plateau with ideally green grass, and here and there patches of
stunted vegetation. Land could be purchased there as low as 10 milreis an
alqueire, although the best land cost from 50 to 300 milreis.

All was absolutely flat until we reached Sicupira (elev. 3,100 ft. above
the sea level), where we began to descend to the Rio Uberabinha, its
delightfully clear crystalline water winding its way through scrub.

At Uberabinha we again came across the wonderful red earth of the Riberão
Preto district. Situated at an elevation of 3,050 ft. stood the little
town of some 4,000 inhabitants, about 500 yards from the comfortable and
pretty station. Although the land was beautiful, cultivation could not be
said to be prevalent. Merely some rice, beans, and Indian corn were grown
in small quantities.

From Uberabinha the railway line descended all the time through thinly
wooded country of shrubs and stunted trees; the verdant prairies, so
refreshing to the eyes, were left behind, and the country became more
broken, but the land was still excellent for agricultural purposes. After
crossing a well-constructed iron bridge resting on two masonry pillars
and spanning the picturesque rapids of the Rio das Velhas--the river,
with its turbid, muddy, nasty-looking water, being there some 80 yards
wide, at an elevation of 2,050 ft. above the sea level--we again began a
steep ascent by a gradient of over 3 per cent, following most of the time
the river course. The thickly wooded banks obstructed a good deal of the
view except here and there, where a charming glimpse of the water could
be obtained.

Seven hundred and eighty-nine kilometres from Campinas--or 982 kil. from
the Atlantic Ocean at Santos--we arrived at the terminal station of the
Mogyana Railway at a place called Araguary, 3,150 ft. above the sea
level--one of the dirtiest and most unpleasant spots on the face of the
earth. The termini of railway lines in newly developed countries seem to
act like filters. Whatever is good passes through; only the impurities or
dregs remain.



CHAPTER IV

     The Terminus of the Railway--An Unpleasant Incident--The Purchase
     of Animals--On the March with the Caravan


A GREAT crowd had assembled at the station. The train had hardly stopped
when my car was invaded by boisterous people, who embraced me and patted
me on the back in the most approved Brazilian style. Before I could
inquire who they were, one fellow, more boisterous than the others,
informed me that he had purchased a great many mules for me, that he had
engaged men for me, and also procured riding and pack-saddles, harness,
implements, clothing and bedding for the men he had engaged, and I do not
know what else. Everything was paid for. I could return the sum paid out
the next day. Another man said he had already prepared a sumptuous
apartment for me in the best hotel in the town.

When asked who had instructed them to make such arrangements, they were
vague, and on being pressed for an answer gave names of people of whose
existence I was perfectly ignorant. Before I could realize what all this
meant I discovered--much to my annoyance--that all my baggage had been
taken out of the train and had been conveyed to the hotel. I was
therefore compelled to proceed there myself, in the company of my new
"friends," who shouted everything they had to say at the top of their
voices, so that I should not fail to understand. It was already night,
and the streets of the town were in such a terrible condition that the
overladen carriage--there were people on all the seats, on the box and
standing on the steps--nearly turned over on going round corners. The
wheels sank up to their axles in mud.

We pulled up at the hotel door, where another crowd of loafers had
assembled. I was literally dragged into the hotel--for I had become
somewhat reluctant, first on seeing the appearance of the place, then on
being met by waves of a nauseating odour which suggested the
non-existence of sanitary arrangements and worse.

"Come in, come in!... wait here!" shouted they in a most excited manner,
when I expressed a wish to inspect the palatial quarters which they had
been good enough to reserve for me.

"Wait a moment!" shouted the landlord, a slumbering, disjointed,
murderous-looking creature, whose violent gestures and waving of hands in
front of my face were somewhat irritating. He dashed into a room on the
ground floor--and we outside could hear an altercation between the
loud-voiced proprietor and the plaintive moans of a half-dying man.

A moment later the half-dying man, skeleton-like, with livid eyes, a
complexion the colour of a lemon gone bad, and quivering bare legs, was
literally dragged out of the bed and roughly thrown out of the door.

"Here is your room!" cried the landlord triumphantly to me, as he flung
out of that apartment some cheap canvas bags, clothes--which from birth
had been innocent of washing and pressing--and the socks, shoes, and day
shirt of the guest who had been ejected.

The odour alone, as I peeped into the room, was enough to stifle any one
with the sense of scent even less delicate than my own. As for the vacant
bed--any pariah dog of any other country would have been offended to be
offered such filthy accommodation.

In Brazil--as elsewhere--it does not do to lose one's calm. I also wished
to avoid an unpleasant quarrel, as I have a belief that quarrels are bad
for one's health. I spoke gently and kindly to the hotel-keeper, and said
that, although I had ordered nothing, still, as he had kindly reserved
that charming apartment for me, I should be very pleased to pay for it,
which I would do at once. If he would excuse me, I preferred to go back
to sleep in my private car. Upon hearing these words a nasty tragi-comic
scene occurred, which, had I not remained cool and collected, might have
ended badly.

"Do you know, sir," shouted the landlord, with livid features and eyes
shooting out of their orbits, so enraged was he--"do you know that I am
the Chief of Police here, and that everybody is afraid of me? I have only
to give orders and every one will kill any one I like." Here he
discontinued shaking his somewhat grimy hands under my nose and, drawing
himself up, stood upon the doorstep of the hotel in order to harangue the
great crowd which had collected.

"We are all millionaires in Brazil," shouted the landlord, with an effort
which seriously impaired the safety of his fully-congested jugular vein.
"We are all atheists and anarchists in Brazil. Down with the infamous
oppression and slavery of Europe! Down with kings and emperors! Down with
Europe, the land of oppression and cruelty!" And again: "We in Brazil are
the richest people on earth. We are all millionaires in Brazil. We do not
need foreign charity!"

"Down with foreigners!" answered the chorus of assembled natives.

The railway inspector who had been sent by the Company to accompany me
became scared at the turn matters were taking, and told me, against the
instructions he had received, that I could not now return to the car.
Upon hearing this, my new friends, believing they had me in their power,
renewed their vocal attack.

I remained some time endeavouring to collect my baggage, pretending to
pay no attention whatever to the absurd oratory. To this day I cannot yet
grasp what the oppression of Europe had to do with my wanting to pay for
something I had never had. I then repeated my offer, which was again
refused. With the protection of his strong rear-guard, the Chief of
Police advanced bravely towards me, holding in a suggestive manner with
his right hand the pommel of his revolver in the back pocket of his
trousers. In a tragic manner he exclaimed:

"We will settle this matter, to-morrow."

"We will settle it at once," I placidly replied.

"No, to-morrow," he repeated, with a vicious look.

"Very good: at what time and where?"

"At ten o'clock," he eventually grunted, after I had repeated the above
question four times.

I also politely invited all the others present to come forward if they
had any claims to square. I was quite ready to settle anybody at any time
and anywhere. Perhaps they might get more than they wished.

I departed with my baggage laden on two carriages and a cart, and
eventually found accommodation at an equally filthy hotel near the
station--only the latter place was kept by a humble and honest, decrepit
old woman. I do not know that I have ever spent a more miserable evening
anywhere. I do not mind roughing it in the roughest way possible, but I
have always detested pretentious efforts at civilization of an inferior
kind. Thus I sat having a meal--eggs, beans, rice--all soaked in
_toucinho_ (pork fat) which I detest and loathe. I watched black railway
workmen and porters stuffing themselves with food in a most unappetizing
way, and making disgusting noises of all kinds.

Fortunately I remembered that a friend of mine--a railway contractor, Mr.
Louis Schnoor--must be at that time in Araguary, looking after the
construction of the new railway line which will eventually join Araguary
to the capital of Goyaz. I went in search of him, stumbling along the
terrible roads with deep holes and pools of water and mud. As luck would
have it, I was able to purchase from him, that very same evening, a
number of excellent mules, which he very generously had offered to place
at my disposal without payment. Also he promised to supply me with two
reliable men--a job not at all easy in that particular part of Brazil.

[Illustration: Author departing from Morro da Meza,

Showing costume worn during the expedition.]

[Illustration: Alcides. Filippe the Negro.]

Mr. Louis Schnoor--a Brazilian of German extraction--was a godsend to
me. Thanks to him, I returned that night quite happy to the miserable
hotel. Happy, because in less than half an hour I had arranged to leave
that pestilential hole the following day. Mr. Schnoor had kindly
undertaken that he would send me, at eleven o'clock the next morning, in
a special train to the end of the line in construction, some 45 kil.
farther north. In a town of gentle folks like Araguary the luxury of
sleeping with one's window open could not be indulged in--especially as
nearly all the houses were one storey high. So the night was rendered
particularly oppressive and long, tormented as you were in your bed by
its innumerable inhabitants, which stung you all over. I had taken the
precaution to spread a waterproof sheet under my own blankets on the bed,
but that, too, proved ineffective. Mosquitoes were numerous.

No sanitary arrangements to speak of existed in Araguary, so that
everything was flung out of the windows into the streets, which made
walking about the town most objectionable. The odour everywhere was
revolting, as can well be imagined. The city was nevertheless considered
by the natives as all that is most perfect in the way of civilization,
for not only did it possess a few anæmic electric lights--so far apart as
to be a nuisance instead of a help in seeing one's way about--but also,
behold! it actually boasted of a spasmodic cinematograph. There were some
500 houses, all counted, at Araguary, all more or less miserable-looking,
and a population of some 2,500 souls--"lost souls," I should think.

Slowly, very slowly came the next morning, March 31st. At ten o'clock
sharp I called on the Chief of Police at his hotel, and found that he had
departed early in the morning and was not to be expected back for some
hours! A charming way of keeping an appointment which he was so anxious
to bring about.

In the company of Mr. Louis Schnoor I also called on the
persons who said they had made arrangements for my expedition, as I did
not wish to have any misunderstanding in the matter. Far from having
purchased mules, horses, saddles and harness, they could produce nothing
on demand, and finally asked me to remain in Araguary for one
month--fancy one month in Araguary!--so that they could produce their
purchases.

As I was driving in Mr. Schnoor's carriage we met, a long way from his
home and hotel, the Chief of Police and hotel proprietor. I immediately
dismounted and informed that gentleman of my visit at the appointed time.
I also demanded that whatever he wished me to settle must be settled at
once.

"Nothing at all," said he, shaking me warmly by the hand. "You owe me
nothing. It was all a mistake. It was all a mistake. Please do not think
of it any more. You owe me nothing, nothing, nothing. If I can be of use
to you, pray order me! I am your humble servant." And his delightful
politeness was such that I could hardly realize it was the same vicious
man of the previous evening. In my surprise I had to turn to Mr. Schnoor
to inquire whether I had got hold of the wrong man.

Yes, indeed. Some of those fellows of Central Brazil were a remarkable
mixture of villainy and charm--in chemical language one might describe
them as sublimates of rascality and delightful manners.

However, good manners or not, I had taken such a dislike to the place
that I was glad when eleven o'clock came and Mr. Schnoor conveyed me to
the special train--an engine and one car. I inspected the new station of
the Goyaz railway, which was already finished--a useful, well-constructed
building, quite sufficient for its needs. In the company of Mr. Schnoor,
his chief engineer, Mr. Schirmer and Mr. Bertoux, we left Araguary--oh,
what a relief!--for the end of the line, 45 kil. away. I had decided to
go and wait there in the open country the few hours which would be
necessary to collect the men who were to accompany me, and the mules.

The work on that portion of the Goyaz line which was already laid was
well and quickly done. Mr. Schnoor assured me that in four or five months
more they expected to run trains to Catalão. An iron bridge will
eventually be built across the Paranahyba River, within a short distance
of which the line had already been laid when I was there. Some delay had
been experienced in making a deep cut on the south side of Paranahyba
Hills, where the strata had been found much harder than expected.

I camped for a day and a half at Morro da Meza, a lovely spot at an
elevation of 2,850 ft., from whence an immense panorama could be enjoyed.
What a relief this heavenly place was after Araguary, and how
everlastingly grateful I shall be to my friend Mr. Schnoor for having
deposited me there!

I took the opportunity of the solitude to rearrange my baggage. On April
1st my good friend Schnoor reappeared to see that all arrangements were
satisfactory for my departure.

Morro da Meza will ever remain present in my mind, for it was my
jumping-off place into the wilds. It was from there that the actual
marching on horseback and on foot began, and it was there I last saw a
railway train for the best part of a year.

On April 1st, at 4 p.m., I left Morro da Meza, went through the new
railway cut in preparation, crossed the Paranahyba River (at an elevation
of 1,970 ft. above the sea level), and made my camp on the opposite side
of the stream at Anhãnguera (elev. 2,100 ft. above sea level) in the
railway engineers' camp, 800 yards away from the water. The engineers, an
Italian, Mr. Schnoor's father-in-law, and a Russian--a Mr.
Martens--showed me every possible civility. A curious incident occurred
while we were having dinner. The day was a holiday, and the workmen on
the line were resting. We were sipping our coffee, when a man entered our
hut and said a companion of his had been shot. We rushed to see him, and
we found that the poor wretch had had his skin perforated in eight
different places by the same bullet. What was more remarkable was that
each perforation was close to dangerous places in the man's anatomy, and
yet not a single wound was mortal. This is how it happened. The man was
lying down in his suspended hammock, resting his left hand on his left
knee. A friend came along to show him a new automatic pistol he had
purchased. In the usual silly fashion he had pointed it at his friend.
The pistol went off, and the bullet passed just under the skin at the
knee, at the side of the knee-cap, and having come out again, went right
through the soft part of the hand between the thumb and index finger. It
then perforated the arm at the biceps, and further entering the chest,
shaved the heart and came out at the shoulder-blade, continuing its
flight beyond to somewhere where no one could find it again. That spoke
highly for the penetrating power of bullets from automatic pistols, and
also for the little harm those little bullets may inflict. The man, after
we had carefully dressed his wounds, looked, perhaps, a little miserable,
but he was able to depart on horseback carrying with his good arm a
bottle of medicine.

The Goyaz railway was making rapid progress. The rails were soon to be
laid on the north side of the river as far as Catalão. The bed of the
railway was fast being made ready.

It was not until April 3rd that I was able actually to make a start with
my caravan. My good friend, Mr. Louis Schnoor, had promised me two
men--Alcides Ferreiro dos Santos and Filippe da Costa de Britto; the
first a German Brazilian of a violent revolutionary temper but of
extraordinary bravery; the other a pure negro of a boisterous, simple
nature, also of indisputable bravery in moments of great danger. These
two men--both natives of Araguary--proved themselves to be on that
fateful expedition the two best men I possessed. Thus, if nothing else
can be said in praise of Araguary, it must be said in justice that it can
produce some men of great courage and faithfulness--a boast which cannot
well be applied to many places in Brazil.

On April 3rd, at 9 a.m., after a touching farewell, I left the engineers'
camp mounted on a magnificent mule that Mr. Schnoor had insisted on
lending me as far as Goyaz, with the pack animals which I had purchased.
I did not follow the principal road, which went by a somewhat circuitous
route from Araguary to the capital of Goyaz via the towns of Catalão and
Bomfin, but preferred to travel across country by a short cut which took
you there in an almost direct line in a north-westerly direction. On
getting over the Serrinha (elev. 2,250 ft.), a hill range, one obtained a
gorgeous view of the valley of the Paranahyba River--a river which,
already of good width there, became eventually the great Parana. It is on
the right bank of the river, near its mouth, some thousands of miles from
where we were, that Buenos Aires is situated.

Going through a beautiful forest in undulating country, we reached the
summit of a flat-topped tableland, 2,500 ft. above the sea level, with a
gentle slope towards the north, where the edge of its summit was some 50
ft. lower than on the south. The vegetation was somewhat stunted, but
interesting, for many were the trees I noticed which could be put to some
use or other. The Barbatimão (_Stryphnodendron bar._ M.) was plentiful,
and could be used advantageously in tanning leather; the Pao ferro
(_Cæsalpinia ferria_ M.) and the Paneira, were present in quantities.

Through the forest we descended in three hours to the Rio Virissimo,
which, swollen by the sub-tributaries Barrocas, Indaica, Pirahitinga and
Perobas on the east and Vae Vem on the west, throws itself into the
Paranatinga between Morro Alto and Porto do Barreiro. That stream had
been bridged over. We had descended to 2,000 ft. During the entire
distance--we had travelled some 23 kil. from the Paranahyba River--we had
passed only two miserable sheds and we had not met a single soul, barring
a glimpse at a shaggy female who happened to be opening the door of her
hut as we were passing, and with a yell of terror banged it again, and
bolted it as she perceived us riding by.

A peculiar kind of wild fig-tree was to be seen, ball-like in appearance,
with branches inclined down instead of skyward like most trees. On our
right as we proceeded down to the farms of S. Jeronymo and Sta. Barbara
(elev. 2,400 ft.) stood a mountain with beautiful grazing land upon its
slopes. Healthy fat cattle, in most wonderful condition--testifying to
the excellence of the grazing in that region--were bred by the farmers.
To the north, north-east and north-west behind this place were to be seen
delightful green round-topped hills, also with excellent grazing. A few
cows and imported zebus were to be seen, it is true, but the country
could support a million times that number and more.

It was that evening that I noticed for the first time in Brazil a
peculiar and most wonderful effect of light at sunset--not unlike an
aurora borealis. White, well-defined radiations shot skyward from the
west, where the sun had set, and stood out luminously against the dark
blue sky, like the spokes of a gigantic wheel. This effect, as we shall
see, was repeated frequently at sunset, and sometimes was even more
beautiful than on the occasion of that first acquaintance with it.

We marched 39½ kil. that day--with my nine pack-mules, Formosa (which in
Portuguese means "beautiful"), the splendid white mule I rode, and three
other mules ridden by my men. It was a real pleasure to see the appetite
of the animals when we made camp. How joyfully they ground with their
powerful jaws the Indian corn which each had received in a nose-bag soon
after we had halted, removed the loads and saddles from their backs, and
properly groomed them!

When we started the next morning we went through most beautiful grazing
land for some 20 kil., and through marvellous grassy slopes on the
mountains beyond. Streamlets of clear abundant water were passed. From
2,050 ft., the elevation of the stream, we rose to 2,650 ft., then
descended gradually to the village of Corumbahyba, with its brand-new
red-tiled roofs and whitewashed houses--very tiny, and, with one
exception, all one-storied. The windows and doors were gaily decorated
with bright blue paint. There was a church, of course, on one side of the
large square smothered in high grass, and by the church two wooden
pillars supported a beam from which hung a bronze bell. Then in the
centre of the square stood, most prominent of all in the village, a huge
wooden cross in a dilapidated condition. What little life seemed to exist
in the place was to be found in the local store, where an inquisitive
crowd had collected when I arrived.

[Illustration: Goyaz Railway in Construction.

The cut leading to the Paranahyba River.]

[Illustration: Author's Caravan crossing a Stream.]

My mules were let loose to graze in the square, joining a number of cows
that were there already. As I sat in the shop, closely examined by the
inhabitants, I returned the compliment by analysing them. What a
strange, dried-up, worn-out appearance young and old presented! What
narrow, chicken-like chests, what long, unstable legs and short arms.
And, dear me! what shaggy, rebellious hair, which stood out bristle-like
in all directions upon their scalps! Yet those people came from ancestors
who must have been, centuries ago, magnificent types of humanity to be
able to accomplish what they did in the way of colonization. With the
habit we possess of looking for finer, healthier specimens of humanity in
the country than in the cities, this condition of affairs came somewhat
as a surprise to me, since that rule generally applied to most nations I
have visited except Brazil. Those people, partly by constant
intermarriage among themselves, partly by the mixture of black blood with
the white, and greatly owing to the effects of the most terrible
complaint of the blood in existence--universal in Brazil--partly, too, by
the dull, uninteresting, wasted lives they led and the poverty of their
nourishment, were reduced to a state of semi-idiocy. The men hardly
seemed to have the strength and energy to walk or even stand up--although
I must confess, to my regret, that they had not yet lost the power of
talking.

Their features were unattractive. Eyes wide apart and widely expanded, so
that the entire circle of the iris was exposed, although the eyeball
itself was not _à fleur de tête_, but rather sunk into excessively
spacious orbital cavities in the skull. The part of the eyeball which is
usually white was yellow with them, softened somewhat by luxuriant
eyelashes of abnormal length. In fact, the only thing that seemed
plentiful and vigorous with them was the hair, which grew abundantly and
luxuriantly everywhere, just as bad grass and weeds do on uncultivated or
abandoned lands. There was a lot of hair everywhere--on the scalp, on the
eyebrows, on the men's unshaven cheeks, on the chest, the arms, hands,
and the legs. It is, I believe, a well-known fact that hair is generally
more luxuriant, the weaker and more anæmic the subject is--up to a
certain point.

Deep grooves and hollow cheeks--the latter due to absence of
teeth--marked the faces of even young men. Then one of the most
noticeable peculiarities was the extraordinary development, prominence
and angularity of the apple of the throat. The ears--which to my mind
show the real character and condition of health of a person more than any
other visible part of his or her anatomy--were large and prominent,
occasionally well-formed, but lacking colour and the delightful,
well-chiselled, vigorous curves of healthy, normal, intelligent people.
The hands and feet were generally small and well-shaped, in wonderful
condition--though not necessarily clean--owing to the inborn reluctance
which all the people of Brazil have towards manual labour.

It has always been my experience that, generally speaking, malformed
people possess distorted brains--which does not mean at all that the
brain of a malformed person may not perhaps develop in a marvellous
manner in one particular direction. What I maintain is that, with few
possible exceptions, the brains of malformed people are seldom perfectly
balanced. In those particular subjects it did not take a deep student of
human nature to set down the entire crowd of them as visionaries, most
fantastically inclined--in which direction, having no restraint whatever,
they ran absolutely amuck.

Yet there was something very charming about the people of the interior of
Brazil, after they had overcome their first suspicion of strangers and
their own shyness. They seemed imbued with the idea that everybody went
there specially to do them harm. They lived in a constant state of fear
and trembling, even of their own relations and friends. They all went
about armed to the teeth, and would not dream of going a yard outside
their homes without a revolver, a rifle and a dagger. Even to walk about
the village the men were all armed.

When not in a rage or sulky--which seemed to be their almost constant
condition--they were the most good-hearted people I have ever met;
gentle, affectionate--in fact, so sentimental that it became a positive
nuisance. If one learnt how to deal with them--which was not always
easy--they were really delightful people in their enviable simplicity.

A reflection of the people's mentality was to be discovered at a glance
in examining the articles that were for sale in the only shop in the
village. There, remember, you were in a country which, from an
agricultural point of view, could be made of immense value. Now, did you
notice any implements in the shop which suggested agricultural pursuits
of any kind whatever? No; what you found were patent leather dress shoes,
elaborately embroidered top-boots, fancy neckties, gaudy gilt and silver
spurs of immense size, bottles of powerful perfumes, fancy soaps,
mirrors, combs, and highly-coloured calicoes, beer, fire-water, and other
such articles of luxury.

[Illustration: Characteristic Types of Brazilians of the Interior.

(Notice degenerate faces and development of goitre.)]

[Illustration: A Typical Village of the Province of Goyaz.]

The Corumbahyba village stood at an elevation of 2,250 ft. in a hollow
surrounded by low hills. The water was delicious at that place.

As I was getting through my lunch--which I enjoyed thoroughly after my
morning march of 23 kil.--I saw crossing the square two murderers laden
with iron chains, led along with a rope by two mounted men. The natives
present laughed as they saw the poor devils struggle along. Not a sign of
pity or care was shown by anybody present.

After leaving Corumbahyba we witnessed a panorama of magnificent mountain
scenery from a height of 2,550 ft., to which we had ascended. Then came a
steep and rugged descent through a forest down to a streamlet (2,250
ft.); then up another ascent to 2,350 ft. and down again to 2,050 ft. at
the great Corumbá River, there 300 yards wide. We crossed this beautiful
stream--animals and all--on three canoes joined together, upon which a
platform had been built.



CHAPTER V

     Travelling across Country--A Musical Genius--Valuable
     Woods--Thermal Springs


AT the river were several picturesque two-wheeled carts waiting to be
ferried across. Drawn by ten, twenty, and even as many as thirty oxen,
these heavy hooded vehicles travelled across country in a most wonderful
manner. Naturally they had to be of solid construction to stand the wear
and tear demanded of them. Their wheels were heavy solid discs of hard
wood encircled by powerful tyres of iron. A primitive system of brake--a
mere bar of wood held in position by ropes--retarded the speed of the
vehicle down extra-steep declivities. When going up or down hill the
friction of the wheels upon their axles produced a continuous shrill
whistle, which, when heard from a distance, sounded not unlike the
whistle of a locomotive. In the deathly stillness of the Goyaz landscape
those whistles could be heard a long way off. The expectant
farmers--expectant, because those trading carts conveyed to them a good
deal of the food-stuff, salt, and other necessaries of life, as well as
the luxuries they could afford--were clever at recognizing the whistles
of the various carts, and they identified one special cart or another by
what they poetically called the "voice of the wheel" or the "song of
Goyaz."

There were some picturesque rapids just above the spot where we crossed
the Corumbá River, which flowed in a tortuous channel with a general
direction of W.S.W.

To the east of our track, as we proceeded northward, stood a glorious
range of hills with magnificent grazing land extending for many miles. In
front of us to the north and N.N.E. towered a high plateau, the Serra de
Callos, also called, I believe, Serra do Cusuzeiro.

Still travelling up and down and across several streamlets, we reached at
sunset the Rio Boccagna (2,230 ft. above the sea level), which, soon
after passing the place where we crossed it, entered the large river
Bagri, winding its way through a gorgeous forest. We had passed during
the day really wonderful grazing land on either side of the track, but
principally to the east, between the north bank of the Corumbá River and
Camp Mazagan. There were plenty of small streams in the hilly and
sometimes slightly wooded valleys.

At seven o'clock, having ridden that day 76 kil., we halted after dark at
the _moradoria_, or farm, of Mazagan (elev. 2,375 ft. above the sea
level). We were politely asked to enter the house, and immediately
preparations were made to clear out the best room for me. The
illumination was not grand: an ancient metal arrangement--not unlike a
Pompeian lamp--with a wick soaked in oil profusely smoking. In the dim
light I could just distinguish in the background, reclining against the
wall, a youth with a guitar, from which two chords--always the same two
chords--were strummed. The boy seemed in a trance over this musical
composition, and even our appearance had not disturbed his efforts. He
had taken no notice whatever of us. Dinner was prepared--it took a long
time--the musician all the time delighting his admiring family with the
two monotonous chords.

"It is a pity," said his delighted mother to me, "that we cannot send him
to school. He is a genius; he would astonish the world."

"Yes," I hastily agreed, "it _is_ a pity you cannot send him ...
somewhere!"

"Can you not take him with you?"

I explained to the poor woman that it required very civilized people to
appreciate her son's music. Among the wild Indians I expected to find,
later on in my journey, I was sure that with music like that, we should
all be killed; they were such savages!

After two solid hours--and the two chords still continuing, with no signs
whatever of relenting--I asked the musical genius if he could treat me to
a different tune. Alas! he knew no other, but as he saw that I was so
fond of music he would again, with the greatest pleasure, go on playing
the same air--he called it an air.

"_Muito obrigado!_ (Thank you very much!)" I moaned, with a sickly smile
on my lips and a violent internal wish to smash guitar and guitarist.

"_No hai de que!_ (Do not mention it!)" and here recommenced the
repetition of the two chords.

"I should like to go to sleep now; thank you very much again for the
lovely music," I next plaintively added, in my most approved Brazilian
politeness.

"Oh, not at all: I shall go on playing while you are sleeping. It will
give you pleasant dreams!"

It was too pathetic. Nothing short of murder could have stopped his
enthusiasm. Being a traveller of years' experience, I was not to be
outwitted. As he would not stop the music, I stopped hearing it by
stuffing my ears tight with cotton-wool. So I slept soundly enough,
notwithstanding the orchestral entertainment. At sunrise, when I opened
my eyes again, the boy was still at it. I removed the cotton from my ears
... yes, indeed, the identical two chords!

The boy and the guitar will perhaps never know what a narrow escape they
both had! In despair I gave orders to get the mules ready at once in
order to depart immediately.

Those halts in farmhouses were dreary beyond words. The Brazilians of the
interior--quite unlike those of the big towns in or near the coast--were
sullen people, with no conversation--or else too much--no interest in
anything, no art, no imagination. They were timid and vain to an
incredible degree, suspicious, avaricious, and easily offended, so that
the greatest tact had to be used with them. They were ignorant of
everything even in their own immediate neighbourhood. Yet, mind you, with
all that, extraordinarily kind and ultra-polite of speech. They all
seemed turned out of the same mould. When you had seen one you had seen
them all. There were, of course, a few exceptions--Brazilians of recent
German, French, Italian or Spanish origin--but these exceptions were
indeed very rare in the interior.

Ill-fed, his blood corrupted and impoverished to the utmost degree--his
health, therefore, never in a normal condition--his finances at the
lowest ebb, the Brazilian of the interior had little indeed to make him
happy. His home at best was as miserable and dirty as possible. The room
generally given to an honoured guest--the best in the house--was the
granary. More than once was my camp-bed perched on a mound of Indian
corn. And the furniture? A wooden bench of the roughest
description--really an instrument of torture rather than an article of
comfort; a few wooden pegs in the wall for hanging rifles or other
things; an occasional wooden bedstead; seldom, very seldom, a stool or a
chair--in any case, never a comfortable one such as you invariably find
with peasants and old-established colonists of most other countries. They
cared not for comfort. Their beds, a mass of rags, were shared by masters
and hens and dogs. Everything was in an abandoned state, everything had
fallen to rack and ruin. All looked as if they were tired of life, too
indolent to move. They seldom saluted when you met them on the trail, nor
when you entered their houses; if they did, they rapidly touched their
dilapidated hats as if afraid to spoil them. Never did you perceive a
smile upon their long-drawn countenances. When they greeted one another
they laid their bodies close together as if about to dance the _tango_,
and patted each other repeatedly on the shoulder-blades, turning their
heads away as if to avoid their reciprocal evil odour. It is not the
fashion in any part of Brazil to shake hands. Some say it is because of
the unpleasant feeling of touching sweating hands; others suggest that it
is to prevent the contagion of the many skin complaints from which
people suffer. When they do shake hands--with a stranger, for
instance--one might as well be grasping the very dead hand of a very dead
man; it is done in so heartless a manner.

For a consideration they reluctantly gave a stranger what little they
possessed, but they had not the remotest idea of the value of things. In
one farmhouse you were charged the equivalent of a few pence for an egg
or a chicken; in the next farm a small fortune was demanded for similar
articles of convenience. Men, women, children, dogs, pigs and fowls, all
lived--not happily, but most unhappily--together.

No sooner were we able to saddle the animals and pack the baggage and pay
our hostess, than we tried to make our escape from that musical farm. But
luck was hard on me that day. One mule was lost, a second received a
terrible gash in his hind quarters from a powerful kick from another
mule.

We went on among low, fairly grassy hills to the west, W.N.W. and to the
east of us. We still had before us the Serra de Callos--a flat-topped
tableland some 12 kil. in diameter on the summit, where it was almost
circular. Its deeply grooved sides showed clearly the great work of
erosion which had occurred and was still taking place in those regions.
With the exception of two spurs, which projected on the west and east
sides of the plateau, its sky-line was quite clean and flat.

After rising to an elevation of 2,600 ft., then descending to 2,450 ft.,
we crossed two streamlets which afterwards joined a fairly important
torrent. One was called the Rio Boa Vista. We gradually then rose to
2,750 ft. on another flat tableland to the east of the Serra de Callos,
with its sides eroded in two distinct terraces, the higher one being
almost a straight wall from two-thirds up the side of the range. In the
lower portion a number of rounded mounds were to be observed, which, with
a stretch of the imagination and for the sake of comparison, resembled,
perhaps, elephants' heads.

North-east of the Serra stood a thickly-wooded, detached mound, while to
the north as we went along there was displayed before us a magnificent
view of the flat valley into which we were about to descend.

Where the country was wooded many trees and plants were to be found,
useful for their tanning, medicinal, oliferous or lactiferous qualities:
such as the Dedal, a yellowish-leafed shrub from which a yellow dye can
be obtained; the tall thin Arariba Amarelho, or Amarelhino (_Centrolobium
robustum_), a great number of Lobelia trees, with their elongated light
green leaves and clean barked stems, which eject, from incisions, a
caustic and poisonous juice. The tallest of all the trees in that region
was perhaps the Jacaranda, with its tiny leaves.... There were four kinds
of Jacaranda--the Jacaranda _cabiuna_, _rosa_, _tan_ and _violeta_,
technically known as _Dalbergia nigra_, _Machærium incorruptibile_,
_Machærium cencopterum_, _Machærium Alemanni_, Benth. The three latter
have a specific gravity higher than that of most woods in Brazil, except
the Pao de ferro (_Cæsalpina ferrea_), the very plentiful Barbatimao
(_Stryphnodendron barbatimao_), a mimosa-like tree, and the Vinhatico
amarello (_Echyrosperum Balthazarii_), the last of which has the highest
specific gravity of all.

Then we found plenty of Sambaiba, an excellent wood, and Imuliana, a wood
of great resistance, much used in certain parts of Brazil for
constructing fences.

A peculiar tree with concave leaves shaped like a cup was locally called
Ariticun or Articun. It produced a large fruit, quite good to eat.

Much botanical variety was indeed everywhere around us.... There was the
_terra da folha miuta_, which, as its name tells, possessed minute shiny
leaves; then the tall Faveiro (_Pterodon pubescens_), producing a bean,
and having dark leaves not unlike those of mimosas. Then, many were the
kinds of acacias we noticed as we went along.

[Illustration: Picturesque Ox-carts of Goyaz.]

Still descending, we arrived at the little town of Caldas de Goyaz--so
called because there were three hot springs of water of different
temperatures. I visited the three springs. The water tasted slightly of
iron, was beautifully clear and quite good to drink. Two springs were
found in a depression some 150 ft. lower than the village--viz., at an
elevation of 2,450 ft., whereas the village itself was at 2,600 ft. These
two springs were only 20 ft. away from a stream of cold water. A short
distance from the cold stream was another stream of hot water emerging
from the rocks.

Small rectangular tanks had been made at the two higher springs, which
were said to possess wonderful curing qualities for eczema and other
cutaneous troubles; also for rheumatism and blood complaints of all
kinds. Whether those waters were really beneficial or not, it was not
possible to ascertain on a passing visit. I drank some of the water and
it did me no harm, so if it does no good neither is it injurious.

The village of Caldas showed signs of having seen better days. It was
clean-looking, but like all other villages of Goyaz it was dreary in the
extreme. There were only a few houses in the place, and each had a shop;
all the shops sold similar articles--nickel-plated revolvers, spurs and
daggers, calicoes, gaudy wearing-apparel, perfumery, and so on.

For any one interested in the study of the effects of erosion on a
gigantic scale, no more suitable country could be found than Central
Brazil. Here again to the E.N.E. of Caldas stood the Serra do Sappé. In
this case it was not a tableland, like the Serra de Caldas, but purely a
hill range. The plateau of Serra de Caldas, I was told, measured on its
summit 12 kil. by 18 kil.

Again, after leaving Caldas, we went through most wonderful grazing
ground to the north-east and east of our route at the foot of the Serra
do Sappé. We had descended to the Rio Lagiadi, 2,480 ft. above the sea
level, which flowed into the Pirapitinga River (a tributary of the
Corumbá). Once more did we admire that evening the remarkable effect of
solar radiation, this time a double radiation with one centre--the
sun--to the west, and a second centre, at a point diametrically opposite,
to the east. Those radiations, with a gradually expanded width, rose to
the highest point of the celestial vault, where they met. The effect was
gorgeous indeed, and gave the observer the impression of being enclosed
in the immeasurable interior of an amazingly beautiful sea-shell turned
inside out.

We arrived in the evening at the farm of Laza (elev. 2,450 ft.), where we
had to abandon the wounded mule, and also another which, on coming down
a steep incline, had badly injured its fore leg.

The pack-saddles used in the interior of Brazil (Minas Geraes, Goyaz and
Matto Grosso) were the most impracticable, torturing arrangements I have
ever had to use on my travels. The natives swore by them--it was
sufficient for anything to be absurdly unpractical for them to do so. It
only led, as it did with me at first, to continuous unpleasantness,
wearying discussions and eventual failure if one tried to diverge from
the local habits, or attempted to eradicate deeply-rooted ideas.

Let me describe a typical Brazilian pack-saddle. It weighed, with its
inseparable protecting hide, well over 90 lbs. It was bulky and
cumbersome, most difficult to lift and set right on the animal's back. It
consisted of two great parallel, clumsily-carved, heavy U-shaped pieces
of wood supported upright on two enormous pads, at least double the size
and thickness necessary. The breast and tail pieces were of extra thick
leather of great width, which had the double disadvantage of being heavy
and of producing bad sores by their constant friction and hard, saw-like,
cutting edges. Then the saddle allowed the loads to hang much too low on
the sides of the animal's body. This naturally saved trouble and effort
to the men who packed the animals. Two of them simply lifted the loads
simultaneously on the two sides and hooked them to the saddle by means of
adjusted loops of leather or rope. Then came the difficulty of keeping
the loads in position, so that they would not shift back and forth. This
was done by passing a leather thong over all and under the animal's
belly, which was then squeezed beyond all measure. Result of this:
continuous trouble to pack rebellious animals, who knew what was coming;
painful marching for the animals, who thus had difficulty in breathing,
and therefore extra long marches, almost an impossibility without much
injury to them. We will not speak of sore backs, sore sides, sore chests,
and sore tail root--which was a matter of course after a pack animal had
borne for a few hours one of those torturing arrangements on its back.

I had tried to adopt lighter saddles of a more practical design, such as
I had used on other expeditions; but as this involved a different method
altogether of packing the animals, it led to much derision,
unpleasantness, and refusal to do the work except in their own stupid
way, so that in order to save time, expense and trouble I had to conform,
much against my will, to the Brazilian method. It was an impossibility to
induce a Brazilian of the interior to agree that any other way of doing
anything was better or even as good as his own.

A painful phase of human existence, as the country became more and more
sparsely inhabited, was the number, relative to the population, of cases
of sexual insanity, due naturally to the great difficulty of intercourse.
We will not refer to sexual vices--extremely common--which reduced the
few inhabitants to a state of absolute idiocy. Thus at Laza farm there
were only three women and no men. They were all of a certain age, and for
many many years had been there alone, and had not seen a man. They had
become absolutely insane, and it required no little tact to prevent a
catastrophe. One--a repulsive, toothless black woman, formerly a
slave--was in such an excited state of mind that I was really glad when I
saw my troop of animals started on the march early the next morning.

On April 6th we were still on the north side of the Serra de Caldas, at
the northernmost point of which flowed a _riberão_, or great river (elev.
2,450 ft.). Most beautiful grazing land spread to the north of us,
enormous stretches of undulating country verdant with delicious grass.
The Sappé Mountains were still visible in the distance.

Marching through enchanting country--almost level, or merely rising or
descending a few feet--with a magnificent view of distant mountains to
our right and of low flat plains and far-away tablelands to our left, we
arrived, after a morning's march of 36 kil., at the fazenda of Pouso Alto
(elev. 2,600 ft.).

[Illustration: A Home in Central Brazil.]

[Illustration: A Clever Automatic Pounding Machine.]

Outwardly Pouso Alto was by far the neatest-looking fazenda we had yet
seen since leaving Araguary, but on entering the house the floor was a
mass of dirt. Fowls were running to and fro all over the rooms. A rough
table of Portuguese origin, a couple of benches so dirty that one did not
dare to sit on them, some roughly made bedsteads, miserable and
filthy--but no washstands or basins, no articles of necessity were
anywhere to be observed or found. The mattresses--if one can elevate them
to the dignity of such a name: they were mere bags filled with anything
that had been found handy, such as the leaves and stalks of Indian-corn,
wool and dried grass--were rolled up in the daytime. Only one bed was
still made up. On it a cackling hen was busy laying an egg. That
egg--a very good egg--was triumphantly served to me for breakfast.

The walls of nearly all the farmhouses in the southern part of the
Province of Goyaz were made of wooden lattice work, the square cavities
formed by the cross sticks being filled in and the whole plastered over
with mud, which eventually became hard when dry. Near the foundations the
walls were strengthened with mud bricks half baked.

Evidently, as was the case with this particular old house, in former
days, when Goyaz was more prosperous than it is now, in the time of the
Emperor, most of the houses were whitewashed--a luxury which in these
days of misery the farmers can no longer indulge in. The doors and
windows were rambling, though the frames of them were generally solidly
made, but one never saw a pane of glass in any window anywhere in the
country. At night the people barricaded themselves tight into their rooms
and let no air in. It was partly due to fear of attack. Whenever a
building was whitewashed one invariably saw on it the impression of its
owner's spread hand in outline, or else his signature in blue paint. The
favourite colours in house decoration--where any were noticeable--were
blue and a dirty cinnabar red.

Dogs were numerous everywhere, and, like their masters, were indolent and
sleepy.

In the afternoon of that same day we travelled some 13 kil. more, on
practically level ground intersected by a couple of streamlets. Marching
through thinly wooded country, grassy here and there, one began to notice
a variation in the scenery, which was gradually becoming more tropical
in appearance. Palm trees, especially burity (_Mauritia vinifera_ M.), in
single specimens, or in groups, could be seen in the great stretches of
good grazing country which appeared on both sides of our course.

We spent the night at the fazenda of Ritiro Alegre (elev. 2,450 ft.),
which words translated mean "the merry rest"--a most undeserved name, I
can assure you, for neither merriment nor rest was to be obtained there.
An evening in a Brazilian farm was, nevertheless, occasionally not devoid
of interest or of comic scenes.

These folks evidently valued little the life of their children. As I was
sitting on the doorstep waiting for my dinner to be cooked, down came,
galloping at a breakneck speed and riding bareback, a little child of
eight, carrying slung under his arm a smaller child of one, the latter
squealing terribly. They both landed safely at the door. Then there
appeared one of the picturesque carts drawn by twelve oxen, anxiously
awaited by the family. Twenty snarling, snorting, ill-natured pigs
provided enough noise seriously to impair the drums of one's ears; and
when you added to this the monotonous bellowing of cows and oxen, the
frantic neighing of horses and mules waiting to be fed, the crowing of
cocks and the cackling of hens, the unmusical shrieks of a beautiful
_arara_ (or macaw, of gorgeous green, blue, and yellow plumage), and of
two green parrots--to which total add, please, the piercing yells of the
children--it was really enough to drive one insane.

They were superior farmers, those of the "Merry Rest"--no one could
doubt it when the lady of the house and her pretty daughter arrived from
an errand and found strangers in the house. Dear me, what style, what
enchanting affectation, the pretty maid and her mamma put on when they
perceived us!... With an air of solemnity that was really delightful,
they each offered us the tip of one finger for us to shake, and spoke
with such affectation that their words stumbled one against the other.
Their vocabulary was evidently restricted, and in order to make the
conversation elegant they interpolated high-sounding words which did not
exactly belong, but sounded grand in their ears. It was a trial to have
to remain serious.

Dinner was served--always the same fare wherever you went. Boiled rice
(very badly boiled), beans, stewed chicken chopped up, _pimienta_
(peppers), fried eggs and Indian corn flour, which one mixed up together
on one's plate and rendered into a paste. The coffee was always plentiful
and good, but so strong that it was quite bitter.

By the light of a wick burning and smoking terribly from the neck of an
ex-medicine bottle filled with oil, we enjoyed our meal, watched intently
by the entire family, silent and flattened in semi-obscurity against the
walls. The primitive lamp gave so little light--although it gave abundant
smell--that the many figures were almost indistinguishable against the
dirty background, and all one perceived on raising one's eyes from the
dinner-plate was a row of expanded eyes, following the movements of our
hands, and just under that row a row of white teeth.

When seen in a stronger light it was curious to notice criminal
characteristics on nearly every face one saw; in the servants at those
farmhouses one frequently observed murderous-looking creatures whom one
would not care to meet alone in the dark. They were a special breed of
stranded outcasts who had drifted there--the outcome of a complex mixture
of Portuguese, former black slaves, and Indians. When you realized that
the people who had drifted into the interior were the worst Portuguese,
the worst blacks, and the Indians who intermarried with these gentry the
worst Indians, you can well imagine what fine results could be expected
from such a breed.

One trait predominant among these people was the unreasonable jealousy of
the men over their women. Had they been so many Venuses of Milo the men
could not have guarded them with more ferocity. I am sure it would take a
brave man indeed, and, above all, a totally blind man, to fall in love
with the farmers' wives, daughters, or servants of the Province of Goyaz.

I must say this in favour of my Brazilian men, that, whatever other
faults they may have had, they always, behaved in a most chivalrous,
dignified way with the women-folk we met. Never once did I have to
reprimand them.

In the morning, as the cows were driven into the yard to be milked, and
the calves were being suckled by their mothers, and the children, rubbing
their sleepy eyes with the backs of their hands, scrambled out of the
house upon their drowsy legs, the girls of the family brought the last
cups of coffee to us departing strangers. We packed our animals, paid the
bill, and were off again.

On April 7th we crossed the Piracanjuga River, another tributary of the
Corumbá, 50 yards wide, flowing from north-east to south-west, at an
elevation of 2,300 ft. One league (6 kil. 600 m.) farther on we crossed
another stream flowing east, in its turn a tributary of the Piracanjuga.

One of the most beautiful trees in that region was the _caneleira_, of
the family of the _Laurineas_. Beautiful, too, were the _oleo pardo_ and
_vermelho_ (_Myrocarpus frondosus_ and _Myrospermum erythrozylon_).

We were next treated to a view of an extensive, deliciously green valley,
most excellent for grazing purposes, extending from north to south to the
west of our route. In the central depression of this valley were _burity_
palms in abundance. They say that wherever you find a burity you are sure
to find water. It is perfectly true, as the burity only flourishes where
there is a good deal of moisture in the soil.

Having crossed a low pass, we found ourselves in another valley--this one
sparsely wooded (2,500 ft. above the sea level), very beautiful, with
undulations some 200 ft. high, and with streamlets at the bottom of most
of the undulations. The summit of the highest elevation on that
undulating land was 2,750 ft., the level of the principal streamlet 2,600
ft. above the sea.



CHAPTER VI

     Inquisitiveness--Snakes--A Wonderful Cure--Butterflies--A
     Striking Scene


TWENTY-NINE kilometres from the "Merry Rest" we arrived at the little
town of Pouso Alto--duly translated "high camp"--situated 2,750 ft. above
the sea level on an elevation between the two rivers Piracanjuba, and the
Furmiga (which afterwards became the Rio Meio Ponte), throwing itself
into the Paranahyba River.

Pouso Alto was like all the other _villas_ or settlements of Goyaz, only
perhaps a little larger. The same whitewashed houses with doors and
windows decorated with blue, the same abandoned, deserted look of the
principal square and streets; in fact, another "city of the dead." Only
two men--drinking in the local store--were visible in the whole village.

The usual impertinent questions had to be answered.

"Who are you? Why do you come here? Is your country as beautiful as ours?
Have you any cities as large as ours in your country? How much money have
you? Are you married? You are English; then you come here to steal our
gold and diamonds."

"Have you any gold and diamonds here?"

"No!"

"No, you cannot travel for pleasure. The English only travel to take away
all the riches from other countries! Those instruments you carry" (a
compass and two aneroids) "are those that tell you where to dig for
gold!"

I could not help remarking to this gentleman that so far the country I
had traversed seemed merely to be rich in misery, that was all.

Nothing could be imagined more funereal than those little towns. My men
intended remaining there for the night, but I insisted on pushing on for
a few more kilometres--especially as in these places my men were led to
drink and became unmanageable. On we went for 9 kil. to the farm of
Bellianti (elev. 2,500 ft. above the sea level).

On April 8th we made an early start and travelled through a luxuriant
forest, which was daily getting more and more tropical as we went farther
north. We were, of course, do not forget, south of the equator.

Thirteen kilometres from camp we crossed the Rio Furmiga (or Meio Ponte)
about 100 yards wide, flowing there in a direction from east to west at
an elevation of 2,000 ft. Most gorgeous, richly verdant vegetation
overhung and festooned the banks of the stream.

As we went farther toward the interior the vegetation grew more
beautiful, the people more repulsive. The majority of the people suffered
from goître in more or less advanced stages. Many were the persons
affected by leprosy.

We were in a region where oranges (imported, of course) of most excellent
juicy quality were obtainable--for instance at the farm of Felicidade
(elev. 2,350 ft.). All those farms--very old--showed signs of having
seen better days--no doubt when slavery existed in a legal form in Brazil
and it was possible to work those estates profitably. With the
prohibitive price of labour--and in fact the impossibility of obtaining
labour at any price in the interior--farming cannot indeed flourish
to-day. The comparatively few immigrants who landed at the various ports
in Brazil were at once absorbed near the coast, and seldom left the port
of landing, where labour was anxiously required.

For the first time, that day did I see two snakes, which were concealed
in the deep grooves left by a cart wheel. One wound itself around the
front leg of my mule, and for a moment I was anxious lest the animal had
been bitten; but fortunately the snake, which had been trodden upon, did
no damage. Only rarely did we see a bird anywhere, except in villages,
where an occasional crow, with its dried-up neck and jerky motions, could
be seen. How like the inhabitants those birds were!

[Illustration: Brazilian Pack-saddles.]

[Illustration: A Typical Village.

(The higher building is the church.)]

Twenty-seven kilometres farther we reached Santo Antonio, a village
situated in quite a heavenly spot, 2,800 ft. above the sea level, but in
itself one of the most miserable villages I have ever seen. There were
altogether some forty houses scattered about, eight of which were along
the sides of the principal square--an abandoned field. The church had the
appearance of a disused barn. A large wooden cross stood in front of it,
upon which birds had built their nests. Four thin, anæmic-looking palms
stood at different angles by the side of the cross. We had the misfortune
to stay there for the night. By seven o'clock everybody had barricaded
their houses and had retired to sleep. There was, of course, no such
thing as a post-office or a telegraph in the place. The nearest place
where a letter could be posted was some 72 kil. away on the high road
between Goyaz and Catalão. Goats tied in pairs, with a log of wood
between in order to keep them apart, seemed to have the run of the place,
and were the only things there which appeared to have any life in them.

But if the place was miserable, if the natives were repulsive and dull,
there was plenty to be thankful for in admiration of the really glorious
country around, and the superb sunsets to which we were treated every
evening. Again that evening, when everybody in the place was slumbering,
the sunset was more wonderful than words can describe. The usual
radiations, which again reached the highest point of the sky's vault,
were that night white on the west, with corresponding ones of brilliant
cobalt blue to the east.

A drizzling rain rendered the night cold and damp, although the
Fahrenheit thermometer registered a minimum temperature of 70°.

On leaving S. Antonio the trail ascended to a height of 3,100 ft. (4½
kil. from the village), and we were then in a rich forest region, where
the _acaju_--of the _Terebinthaceæ_ family--was plentiful, with its huge
leaves and contorted branches. The acaju produced a refreshing fruit,
either of a bright red or else of a yellow colour, not unlike a large
pepper, outside of which was strongly attached a seed possessing highly
caustic qualities. Many _gordinha_ trees were also to be seen. It was
interesting to see how those zones of forest were suddenly succeeded by
beautiful and vast areas of grazing land, such as we found that day. We
crossed three streams at the respective elevations of 2,550 ft., 2,650
ft., and 2,750 ft., after which we reached an elevation of 3,000 ft., the
highest we had so far attained on our route from the coast, where we
found ourselves on a grassy tableland of considerable beauty. Looking
back to the S.S.E., we perceived the two hill ranges, one behind the
other, which we had crossed. Between them and us were marvellous slopes
covered with green grass, but not in the lower portion, where bordering
the stream was luxuriant forest. This was noticeable also on a hill to
the west, forming a minor tableland with rounded sides.

To the N.N.E. was a perfectly flat plateau. The distance rendered it of a
deep blue, and its level sky-line gave the appearance of the horizon upon
the ocean, except that there rose two small peaks which stood up slightly
above the elevation of the plateau. On all that beautiful land only two
small miserable farms were to be seen. Yet it seemed to be a paradise on
earth--delightful climate, excellent soil, useful woods in the forest,
plenty of delicious water.

Three more streamlets flowing from west to east were encountered at
elevations of 2,700 ft., 2,750 ft. and 2,800 ft., with undulating grassy
land between of wonderful beauty.

Having deviated somewhat from our route, we at last descended into a
grassy valley--absolutely flat--the best of all we had seen. It had been
fenced all round. Upon inquiry, I learned that it had been acquired by
the Redemptionist Friars. There is one thing friars certainly know. It
is how to select the best land anywhere to settle upon.

We had travelled 46 kil. 200 m. that day when we arrived at Campinas
(elev. 2,550 ft. above the sea level)--the usual kind of filthy village
with tiny, one-storied houses, more like toys than real liveable
habitations. This time the doors and windows were bordered with grey
instead of blue. On nearing those villages in Central Brazil one
frequently found an abundance of rough wooden crosses scattered upon the
landscape. They marked the spots where individuals had been killed.

In the room where I put up in the village, in the _hospedagem_, or
rest-house, the floor was besmeared with blood, the result of a recent
murder. The shops grew more and more uninteresting as we got farther into
the interior. The difficulties of transport were naturally greater, the
prices rose by leaps and bounds, as we got farther; the population got
poorer and poorer for lack of enterprise. The articles of luxury and
vanity, so frequently seen in shops before, were now altogether absent,
and only bottles of inferior liquor and beer were sold, matches and
candles--that was all. No trade, no industry, no money, existed in those
places. If one happened to pay with a five- or a ten-milreis note (6_s._
8_d._ or 13_s._ 4_d._), one could never obtain change. Frequently, unless
you wished to leave the change behind, you were obliged to carry away the
balance in cheap stearine or beer. I took the stearine. A short distance
from the town was a seminary, with four German friars, very fat, very
jolly, very industrious.

Alcides, one of my men, was by way of being a veterinary surgeon. Here is
how he cured a wounded mule, which, having received a powerful kick from
another animal, displayed a gash 3 in. long in her back, and so deep that
the entire hand could be inserted and actually disappear into the wound.
Francisco, another of my men, having duly and firmly tied the animal's
legs--a sensible precaution--proceeded with his naked arm to search for
_bishus_: anything living is a _bishu_ in Brazil, from an elephant to a
flea; but in this particular case it was applied to insects, such as
_carrapatos_, maggots, or parasites, which might have entered the wound.
Having done this at considerable length and care, he proceeded to tear
off with his nails the sore edges of the laceration, after which he
inserted into the gash a pad of cotton-wool soaked in creoline. That was
the treatment for the first day. The second day, the wound proceeding
satisfactorily, he inserted into it, together with his hand, a whole
lemon in which he had made a cut, and squeezed its juice within the raw
flesh. The amazing part of it all was that the animal, with an additional
bath or two of salt and water, absolutely recovered from the wound and
got perfectly well.

The Redemptionist monks had a fine vineyard adjoining their
monastery--the only one of any size and importance we had seen since
leaving the railway--and also some lovely orange groves in a walled
enclosure. They had built a mill on the bank of the stream. Most of that
beautiful valley for miles and miles belonged to them. The town of
Campinas--not to be confounded with Campinas of São Paulo Province--had a
population of 600 souls.

When we left that place the next morning, again we went across beautiful
flat stretches of grassy land--several miles long and broad--regular
tablelands, at an elevation of 2,700 ft.--most wonderful pasture lands
now going absolutely to waste. Plentiful streamlets intersected those
lovely meadows at a slightly lower elevation--merely a few feet--where
the water had eroded itself a channel. Those streams were generally
bordered by a thick growth of trees and entangled vegetation. We stopped
for lunch at the farm of _Boa Vista_ (Belvedere or Fine View), so
called--according to the usual Brazilian way of reasoning--because it was
situated in a deep hollow from which you could see nothing at all!
Another more rational name which this place also possessed was Bocca do
Matto (Mouth of the Forest), because it truly was at the entrance of a
thick forest extending to the north.

We went, in fact, from that point through densely wooded country,
although the trees were of no great height or size. The ground was swampy
and sloppy, most unpleasant for marching, for some nineteen kilometres,
until we arrived at Goyabeira (elev. 2,700 ft.), having covered 56 kil.
100 m. that day--not at all bad marching considering that we could not
change animals and we conveyed all our baggage along with us.

I saw that day another snake, called by the natives _duas cabecas_ (and
Tu Nou), or double-headed snake, because its marking gives that
impression at first sight.

After leaving Goyabeira the thick growth continued over several ridges,
the highest of which was 2,950 ft., with streams between at elevations
respectively of 2,630 and 2,700 ft. I noticed in the forest some
beautiful paneira trees, with their trunks enlarged near the base--a
regular swelling all round. One of the peculiarities of this tree was
that it produced a kind of vegetable wool contained within fairly hard
capsules.

That was indeed a day of surprises for us. As we were proceeding over
another hill range between two streams (elev. 2,850 ft.), we saw at last
some butterflies of a gorgeous lemon yellow, some of a rich orange,
others of red and black, great numbers of pure white, and some huge ones
of an indescribably beautiful metallic blue colour. There were swarms of
them near the water. So unaccustomed were they to see human beings that
many settled on my white coat and on my straw hat and came along
undisturbed for long distances upon my person. They were so beautiful
that I had not the desire to kill them, even for the sake of bringing
back a valuable collection. It would have been easy to capture them, as
you could touch them several times with your fingers before they would
fly away. One butterfly particularly took a great fancy to my left hand,
in which I held the reins of my mule, and on which it sat during our
marches for several days--much to my inconvenience, for I was afraid of
injuring it. It would occasionally fly away and then return. At night
while we were camping I transferred it to my straw hat, on which it
quietly remained until the next morning. The moment I had mounted my
mule, the butterfly would at once fly again to my hand. This great
affection was due chiefly, I believe, not to any magnetic attraction, but
merely to the delicately scented soap which I used in my morning bath,
and which greatly attracted the butterfly.

On many occasions on that expedition I had similar experiences with
butterflies.

For the first time, too, I perceived that day a few _colibris_--tiny
humming-birds of wonderful plumage.

Twenty-three kilometres from Goyabeira--after many ups and downs along a
deep-channelled, slushy trail, and having crossed over several swampy,
troublesome streamlets--we suddenly emerged into a marvellous undulating
open plain with lovely grass and numerous fat cattle grazing upon it. In
the distance upon the hill-side four or five farm-sheds could be
perceived. We had stopped at one farm on the way in hopes of getting
food, but they could only sell us some _feijão_--beans soaked in lard--so
that it was with some haste that we directed our mules to the more
imposing building in expectation of finding there at least some rice and
eggs. We hurriedly crossed the plain and then the stream, and halted at
the Cachoeira Grande (Grand Rapid) farm, 2,950 ft. above the sea level. A
pure negro was in charge of the place, whose wife was also as black as
the ace of spades. Curiously enough, they possessed a child much
discoloured and with golden hair and blue eyes. Such things will happen
in the best regulated countries. The black man swore it was his own
child, and we took--or, rather, did not take--his word for it.

We went on thirteen more kilometres that afternoon, when we were
overtaken by a hurricane and torrential rain which drenched us to the
marrow of our bones. We halted for the night at the farm of _Lagoa
formosa_ (Beautiful Lagoon), 3,000 ft. above the sea level.

It was on April 12th that we proceeded to climb the dividing range
between the waters flowing south into the Paranahyba (afterward called
the Parana) River, and those flowing north eventually into the Amazon.
This range of mountains was by some called Serra de Sta. Rita, by others
Serra Dourada. It was not possible to ascertain the real name from the
local people, who could tell me the names of no place, or mountain, or
stream, and hardly knew the names of their own homes.

On a flat expanse some 13 kil. from Lagoa Formosa we came upon a small
lake. We travelled mostly across campos (or prairies), with waters from
that point flowing northward. Seventeen kilometres farther we entered the
neat-looking village of Curralhino (elev. 2,600 ft.), with two squares
and streets actually with names to them. We were from this point on the
main route between São Paulo and the capital of Goyaz, and also met there
the telegraph line between Goyaz and São Paulo.

We were getting near the capital of the province. A little more life was
noticeable in this settlement than in those we had met before. Caravans
of mules and horses occasionally passed through, and bullock-carts, with
eighteen and twenty oxen, slowly and squeakily crept along. We were going
through a region that was more than hilly--almost mountainous--the first
of the kind we had encountered since leaving the railway.

[Illustration: Author's Caravan about to cross the River Corumba.]

[Illustration: Burity Palms.]

At Camp Maria Alves we were at an elevation of 3,000 ft. Beautiful
crystals were to be found at and near this place. Many were enclosed in
hard envelopes of yellow lava, which contained besides semi-crystallized
matter easily crushed--to be strictly accurate, the imprisoned
infinitesimal crystals were easily separated, under gentle pressure. Some
spherical balls and pellets of lava I picked up, when split contained red
baked earth which had evidently been subjected to intense heat. In the
centre of these pellets one or more crystals of great clearness were
invariably to be found. These pellets must have been expelled with
terrific force from a volcanic vent, and must have travelled great
distances, for the depression where I found them had a surface of
alluvial formation.

On April 13th we again rose over a range where we encountered a good deal
of igneous rock and quantities of beautiful crystals. We had a range to
the west of us and one higher and more important to the north-east, the
latter more broken up than any we had so far seen in the three last
provinces crossed. We somehow missed now the lovely pasture lands of the
day before, so refreshing to the eye, and the landscape had suddenly
become more rugged and barren, except near water. Some 9 kil. from the
farm Maria Alves the Uru or Uruba River (elev. 2,550 ft.) flowed
north--there merely a picturesque torrent among rocks and overhanging
vegetation on both banks.

The wonderful effect of erosion was noticeable on the mountain sides to
the north of us, where it had left a top terrace with deep corrugations
in the lower sides of the mountain. A miserable-looking farmhouse could
be seen here and there--quite as miserable as the country in itself was
rich. Some shaggy policemen, in rags and barefooted, passed us, guarding
an ox-cart dragging treasure to the capital. Only the oxen and some cows
which were about looked at us with interest, and sniffed us--it is
wonderful how quick animals are at detecting the presence of
strangers--but the people took no notice of us. Here and there a
tumbled-down tree blocked the way. There were tracts of pasture land. My
men were considerably excited on seeing a poisonous snake crawl swiftly
towards our mules. It was perhaps an absent-minded or a short-sighted
snake, for no sooner did it realize our presence than it quickly veered
round to escape. My men killed it.

At an elevation of 2,550 ft. we met a limpid stream of most delicious
water. At that particular spot it flowed south.

We were now confronted with a range of actual mountains. The trail took
us over wonderful rugged scenery, masses of pillar-like grey rock of
granitic formation. On the summit of the pass we were over strata of
half-solidified tufa in sheets--or foliated--easily crumbled and finely
powdered between one's fingers. The strata were at an angle of 45°,
showing that they had undergone some disturbance. They had been subjected
to great heat, for in some places they had been hard baked, which
rendered them of a yellowish brown colour. On the left of us--to the
west--a great vertical pillar of rock plainly showed the stratification,
the continuation of which could be followed on the opposite side of the
pass, both in the horizontal strata and those which had been forced up at
an angle. Looking back from the pass, we obtained a heavenly panorama of
wooded hills to the south-east, far, far beyond in the background, and of
glorious campos between them and us. With the winter coming on--of
course you know that south of the equator they have their winter when we
have our summer--beautiful yellowish, reddish and brown tints of the
foliage added picturesqueness to the landscape.

The pass itself was 2,850 ft. above the sea level. There was not much in
the way of vegetation, barring a few stunted _sucupira_ trees. The air
was exquisitely pure and the water of two streamlets at 2,550 ft.
delicious and cool. We were marching over quantities of marble fragments
and beautiful crystals, which shone like diamonds in the sun. Having gone
over the pass, we came upon a most extraordinary geological surprise.
There seemed to have been in ages long gone by a great subsidence of the
region north of us. We were then on the steep edge of what remained of
the plateau, and down, down in the depth below was an immense valley in
which Goyaz city lay.

To the west of us--as I stood impressed by that awe-striking scene--we
had the irregularly-cut continuation of the edge of the plateau on which
we stood, supported as it were on a pillar-like granitic wall of immense
height and quite vertical, resting on a gently sloping base down to the
bottom of the vast basin below.

This great natural wall of gneiss, which contained myriads of crystals
and mica schists, shone like silver in the spots where the sun struck it,
and with the lovely pure cobalt blue of the distant hills, the deep green
of the valley below, and the rich brown and yellow and red tints of the
near foreground, made one of the most exquisitely beautiful sights I have
ever witnessed. The nearest approach to it in my experience was,
perhaps, the eastern escarpment of the Abyssinian plateau in Africa,
where a similar panorama on a much smaller scale could be seen, but not
the same geological formation.

[Illustration: The President of Goyaz and his Family.]

[Illustration: Giant cactus in the background.]

No sooner had I recovered from the strangeness and marvellous beauty of
Nature's work around me, than I felt a great shock at seeing what men had
done in that region. We were at this point on the high road between São
Paulo, Uberaba and Goyaz capital. As my animals stumbled down the steep
escarpment traces could be seen of what must have been formerly a
beautiful paved road, well-drained on both sides with channels, and held
up in terraces by stone works where the gradient was steepest. Here and
there bits still remained, demonstrating how well the road had been made.
But, uncared for and abandoned, most of it had been washed away by the
heavy rains, which had turned that road into a foaming torrent in wet
weather. Near habitations, the well-cut slabs with which the road was
paved had come convenient to the natives for building purposes. During
the time of the Emperor Pedro II., I was told, that was a magnificent
road, kept in excellent repair.

Goyaz city lay before us down, down below, in the hollow of the huge
depression. Its single row of low whitewashed houses of humble
architectural pretensions became less and less impressive and less
picturesque as one got nearer. I had by that time grown quite accustomed
to this optical disillusion, for it was frequently the case with the work
of man in Brazil. It always needed distance--the greater distance the
better--to lend enchantment to it.

With a feeling of intense oppression--perhaps due to the stifling air and
the lower elevation (1,950 ft.) at which Goyaz city lay--we entered the
capital of Goyaz. At the sound of our mules upon the pavement, timid men,
timid women and children cautiously peeped from each window through the
half-closed Venetian blinds. We only had to turn round to peep at them,
and with terrified squeals the hidden creatures banged and bolted the
windows. The sight of a stranger in Goyaz was apparently an event.
Whether we were expected or not, I do not know, but the whole population
seemed to be hiding behind the tiny windows to look at us. The few who
were caught in the street seemed as if they wanted to bow but had not the
courage to do it. Indeed, their timidity was intensely amusing. Some,
more courageous, gave a ghastly grin, displaying rows of irregular teeth
in a terrible condition of decay.

DISTANCES BETWEEN ARAGUARY AND GOYAZ

Araguary to Paranahyba         59 kil. 400 m. = 9 leagues.
Paranahyba to Corumbahyba      59  "   400 "    9     "
Corumbahyba to Caldas          59  "   400 "    9     "
Caldas to Pouso Alto           79  "   200 "   12     "
Pouso Alto to S. Antonio       59  "   400 "    9     "
S. Antonio to Campinas         46  "   200 "    7     "
Campinas to Goyabeira          56  "   100 "    8½ "
Goyabeira to Curralhino        66  "       "   10     "
Curralhino to Goyaz            46  "   200 "    7     "
                           ---------------------------------
                 Total        531  "   300 "   80½ "
                           =================================



CHAPTER VII

     In the City of Goyaz


THERE was no such thing as an hotel in Goyaz capital. The nearest
approach to it was a filthy rest-house for muleteers, which was,
furthermore, already full. Against my usual custom--as I never, unless
absolutely necessary, make use of the credentials I carry for my private
needs--I had, therefore, to apply to the Presidente or Governor of the
Province to find some sort of accommodation in the town for my animals,
men, and myself.

"Take off your spurs before you enter!" roughly shouted a sentry at the
Governor's palace--a huge barn-like structure--just as I was stooping to
do that before being asked.

"Do not stand on the pavement," said the sentry again, anxious to display
his authority.

Being a law-abiding person I shifted to one side.

"Do not stop under the Presidente's window!" cried the policeman angrily
once more, digging me in the ribs with his bayonet.

I was beginning to be sorry I had not brought an aeroplane with me in
order to complete my toilet in the air before entering so sacred a
precinct, but patience being one of my chief virtues I transferred
myself to the remotest point across the square, where, stork-like, upon
one foot at a time I was able--this time undisturbed--to remove both
spurs.

"Take off your hat before entering," again shouted the policeman, as I
was still some fifteen yards from the door.

I really began to feel rather nervous, with all those orders grunted at
me. I wondered at the strange people who must visit the palace to have to
be instructed to such an extent before entering. I also stopped for a
moment to ponder whether I had taken off all that was necessary to enter
a palace where so much etiquette was required.

The moment I entered things were different. I was ushered into an
ante-room, where I had to go through a short cross-examination by some
police officers. Then, when they had made sure of my identity, they
immediately led me before the Presidente.

The Presidente greeted me with effusion. He was a most polished and
charming gentleman from Rio de Janeiro, had travelled extensively in
Europe, and could speak French and English. He roared heartily when I
told him of my experience outside his palace.

"They are all savages here," he told me; "you must not mind. The sentry
has orders to keep everybody away from the palace, as people come in the
afternoon and squat under my windows to jabber, and I cannot sleep. Those
orders, I assure you, were not meant for you. You will be my guest all
the time you are in the city, and I can accept no excuse."

The Presidente placed a small house near the palace at my disposal, and
insisted on my having all meals with his family--most refined, handsome,
exquisitely polite wife and daughters.

I presented the credentials I possessed from the Minister of Agriculture
in Rio and the Brazilian Ambassador in London, requesting the Presidente
to do all in his power to further the success of the expedition--I, of
course, paying all expenses. The Presidente, like most other Brazilians
of a certain age, was _blasé_ beyond words. Nothing interested him except
his family, and life was not worth living. He believed in nothing. He was
an atheist because he had not been as successful as he wished in the
world, and attributed the fault to God. He cared little about the future
of his country. If his country and all his countrymen went to a warmer
place than Heaven, he would be glad to see them go that way! As for going
exploring, mapping unknown regions, studying the country and the people,
building roads, railways and telegraphs, it little mattered to him, but
it seemed all nonsense.

"Instead of coming to these wild, deadly regions, why do you not go and
spend your money enjoying yourself in Paris or Vienna?" was his advice to
me.

"Perhaps I need a change occasionally, and I enjoy things all the more by
contrast when I return to Europe."

The Presidente was evidently not in good health and spirits. He was a
Senator of the Republic, and a man formerly of great ambitions, which
were more or less shattered when he was elected Governor of Goyaz
Province, with its population of corpses, and at a salary of £40 a
month--very little more than I paid my head muleteer--so that little
could be expected from the Governor of such a Province.

It was thus that the State of Goyaz, one of the naturally richest in
Brazil--it contained pasture lands unique for their beauty, forests with
valuable woods, plenty of water and great navigable rivers draining it
both north and south, of which it was sufficient to mention the
magnificent Araguaya River, the Rio Tocantins and the Paranahyba (or
Parana)--was instead one of the poorest. In the very heart of Brazil,
Goyaz was geographically and politically the centre of the Republic. With
an area of 747,311 sq. kil. (288,532 sq. miles), the Province had an
estimated population of some 280,000 souls, or less than one to every
square mile.

The region forming the present State of Goyaz was first explored in 1647
by Manoel Correa, a native of São Paulo, and in 1682 by another Paulista,
Bartholomeu Bueno de Silva, who both were prospecting for gold. The
latter was successful in locating gold mines and in making friends with
the local Indians of the Goyaz tribe, from whom the Province then took
its name. Some forty-three years later de Silva returned to São Paulo
with 918 ounces of gold. The news of these goldfields quickly attracted a
great number of adventurers to Goyaz. The country then saw its most
prosperous days, especially in and near Villa Boa, the present city of
Goyaz, where gold was said to have been plentiful in those days.

The enterprising Bartholomeu Bueno de Silva returned to Goyaz in 1731 as
a Capitão Mor, or Grand Captain, with the right to dispose of land. In
1822 Goyaz was recognized as a Province of the Empire, and subsequently
in 1869 it became one of the States of the Union, with autonomy as
regards local affairs under its own Constitution approved by the Federal
Constituent Assembly in 1891.

Cattle, horse and mule breeding on a small scale was the chief source of
income of that magnificent State--an income which in less indolent hands
might be increased ten-thousand-fold or more. Its horses and mules found
a ready market in the adjacent State of Matto Grosso and from there went
into Bolivia, while the States of Minas Geraes and São Paulo were the
chief buyers of pigs, _toucinho_ (dried pork fat), dried beef, hides raw
and cured, cheese, lard, etc.

Goyaz prided itself greatly on its horses, which enjoyed a certain fame
all over Brazil. Perhaps they were in a way as good as any produced in
the Republic. With a little study and care in the breeding they might be
greatly improved and rendered as sturdy and good-looking as some horses
of Asia and Northern Africa. So far they were far inferior in appearance
and endurance to the horses of Arabia, Turkestan, Europe and Abyssinia.

The most interesting type of the Goyaz horse was what is called the
_curraleiro_ or "stable horse," bred in the north of the State,
especially in the valley of Paranan, bordering upon Minas and Bahia. The
curraleiro was also known as _cavallo sertanejo_ or "horse of the
jungle"--two most inappropriate names, for it was, accurately speaking,
neither one nor the other.

The Goyaz horse was a typical Brazilian horse. It shared many of the
characteristics of the people of the Province. Timidity, laziness, lack
of affection and judgment, sulkiness and great stubbornness under
training of any kind were its qualities. This was due chiefly, I think,
to its inferior intelligence when compared with thoroughbred horses of
other nations. The Goyaz horse was small, fairly agile, and when well
cared for had a handsome shiny coat with luxuriant mane and tail. It was
capable of short, noteworthy efforts, but did not possess abnormal
endurance.

The present curraleiro is a mere degeneration of what must have formerly
been an excellent horse. Considering the absolute lack of care taken in
its breeding, it was certainly remarkable that it proved to be as good a
horse as it actually was. Judiciously crossed with Hungarian, Turkestan,
Arab or Abyssinian horses, I think that quite excellent results might be
obtained. It must be taken into consideration that great hardships and
work of the roughest character were demanded of animals in Central
Brazil.

A praiseworthy movement was started some years ago by Marechal Hermes da
Fonseca, now President of the Republic, to mount the entire Brazilian
Cavalry on national horses. That will perhaps lead some day to a great
improvement in the breeding of animals all over the country, and
especially in Goyaz, which provided the most suitable land for that
purpose. The same remarks could, perhaps, in a slightly lesser degree, be
applied to the breeding of donkeys and mules. No care whatever was
exercised by the breeders in order to improve the breeds. Everything was
left to luck and chance. The result was that a degenerate type of animal
was produced--wonderful indeed, considering the way it was bred, but
which might be improved to an immense extent and made into a remarkable
animal, in such a propitious climate and with such marvellous pasture
lands.

With cattle also, it is safe to assert that, since the colonial time,
very little fresh foreign blood of any importance has been introduced in
breeding--except, perhaps, some inferior types of the Indian humped zebu.
Most of the stock I saw in Southern Goyaz was intermixed with zebu. The
formerly existing bovine races, such as the Mocha, Coraçu and Crioula
have now almost altogether disappeared.

Unlike most other States of Brazil, Goyaz had no Provincial Customs
duties. With its immense frontier, bordering upon seven different other
States, it would be impossible to enforce the collection of payments. No
reliable statistics were obtainable as to the amount of exports or
imports of the State. Even approximately it would be impossible to make a
guess as to the actual amount of the resources of the State.

Sugar-cane and tobacco could be profitably grown in the State. The small
quantity of tobacco grown there was of excellent quality.

[Illustration: The Main Square of Goyaz City,

Showing Prison and Public Library.]

[Illustration: Some of the Baggage and Scientific Instruments used
by the Author on his Expedition.]

The Government of Goyaz Province consisted of three Powers: the
Executive, represented by the President, elected for three years by
universal suffrage; the Legislature--a Chamber of Deputies equally
elected for three years by suffrage; and a Judicial power constituted by
the High Court of Justice, _Juges de droit_--law judges--and District
Judges. To be elected President of Goyaz State all that was necessary
was to be a Brazilian citizen, over thirty years of age, and able to read
and write. The same applied to the election of Deputies--for whom a
residence of only two years in the State was sufficient.

The capital of Goyaz--situated on the Rio Vermelho, a tributary of the
great Araguaya River--had, according to the census of 1900, a population
of some 13,475 people, but I rather doubt whether it possessed as many as
8 to 10,000 souls when I visited it. One could notice indications that
Goyaz had been in days gone by a flourishing place. There were a number
of fine churches, and a large cathedral in course of construction--but
since abandoned. Some of the buildings, too--the finest was the
prison--must have been quite handsome, but were now in a dilapidated
condition. It was really heart-breaking to see such a magnificent country
go to rack and ruin--a State naturally the richest perhaps in Brazil, yet
rendered the poorest, deeply steeped in debt, and with the heavy weight
of absurdly contracted loans from which it had no hope whatever of
recovering under present conditions. They had in the province the most
beautiful land in Brazil, but it was a land of the dead. People,
industries, trade, commerce, everything was dead. Formerly, in the time
of the Emperor and of that great patriot General Couto de Magalhães,
Goyaz city could be reached--within a few kilometres--by steam on the
beautiful river Araguaya, which formed the western boundary of the
province, an ideal waterway navigable for 1,200 kil.--in Goyaz province
alone. In the time of the Emperor, when Brazil was a wild country, steam
navigation actually existed up the Araguaya River from Conceição as far
as Leopoldina (the port for Goyaz city). The river was free from
obstacles of any kind, even in the rainy season. There were then three
beautiful English-built launches on that service. A fine repairing shop
had been erected at Leopoldina.

But in these days of civilization, order and progress, the steamers have
been purposely run aground and left to rot. There was actually a tree
growing through the hull of one of those launches when I last heard of
them; the machine shop was robbed of all its tools, and the machinery
destroyed and abandoned. The Presidente told me that the Provincial
Government had eventually bought the wrecks of the launches and the
machine shops for £20--and as it cost too much to leave a man in charge
everything had since been abandoned.

When I visited Goyaz there was no sign and no hope of re-establishing
steam navigation on that marvellous waterway.

The Tocantins River, which intersected the Province from Goyaz city to
its most northern point, was also another serviceable stream--but no one
used it, except, perhaps, some rare private canoe taking up goods to
settlements on its banks.

The navigation of the Tocantins, when I was in Goyaz, extended merely to
the Port of Alcobaça, 350 kil. from Para, from which point rapids existed
which made steam navigation impossible as far as Praia da Rainha. The
distance of 180 kil. between those two places was eventually to be
traversed by a railway, a a concession for which had been granted to the
Estrada de Ferro Norte do Brazil. In the High Tocantins I believe two
steam launches were temporarily running as far as Porto Nacional or
perhaps a little higher.

Undoubtedly the State of Goyaz will some day, notwithstanding its
apathetic inhabitants, see great changes for the better. The new epoch
will begin when the several railways which were in course of construction
from various directions enter the Province. Not one of them had
penetrated the Province at the time of my visit, although the work of
preparing the road had just been begun on Goyaz territory, as we have
seen, for a few kilometres north of the Paranahyba River, on the
extension of the Mogyana line from São Paulo. A second railway line in
course of construction was a branch of the Western Minas Railway; and
there was a third up the Araguaya from Para. Those railways will
certainly revolutionize the country. The inhabitants of Goyaz,
ultra-conservative in their ideas, were not at all anxious to see a
railway reach their capital. In their curious way of reasoning they
seemed to think that the railway would make life dearer in the city, that
strangers would be coming in great numbers to reap the benefit of their
country, and that the younger people who were satisfied to live
there--because they could not get away--would all fly to the coast as
soon as the railway was established, to enjoy the luxuries of Rio and São
Paulo, of which they had heard, but could so far only dream of. They did
not stop to think that the railways will certainly make Goyaz the richest
country in the world.

The financial condition of that beautiful State can perhaps best be shown
by quoting the words of the Presidente himself in his message to the
Legislative Congress of Goyaz on May 13th, 1910, on assuming the
Presidency of the Province.

"On my assuming the Government of the Province, I ordered the Secretary
of Finance to give an account of the balance existing in the State
Treasury; and it was verified that up to April 30th last there existed a
sum of Rs. 87,000,000 (£5,800 sterling), which became reduced to Rs.
50,000,000 (£3,334 sterling) after the payments made on the 1st, 3rd, and
4th of the present month (May, 1910). It must be understood that the
above-mentioned sum does not represent a balance existing in the
Treasury, because it includes deposits and guarantees, as well as the
deposits of the Orphan Asylum and of the Monte Pio.

"Leaving out the sums left in the Treasury on deposit, and which
represent in fact a debt of the State, we come to the conclusion that
there is no money whatever in the Treasury, and that the State '_ainda
fica a dever_' (is instead deep in debt). The expenses were vastly higher
than the income of the Province and whereas the expenses of
administration increased daily, the receipts remained stationary."

There was a certain humour in the Presidente's remarks on crime, when he
referred to the difficulties experienced by the Chief of Police, who
received no remuneration.

[Illustration: The Author's Six Followers.]

"It is easy," he said, "to understand the drawbacks resulting for the
maintenance of order and the repression of crime, which is daily becoming
more common--owing, no doubt, to the facility of entrance, through our
unguarded boundaries, of persecuted people or fugitives from our
neighbouring States, and of the impunity of criminals due to the
benevolence of our juries. The diminution of our police force in so large
a State with such difficult communications has had the result that the
police force, moved incessantly from one end of the State to the other,
never arrives in time to prevent crime!

"Many criminals have been prosecuted and are now safely guarded in
prisons, but unhappily the greater number of criminals are loose all over
the State without fear of being prosecuted, and terrorizing the
population. Bands of gipsies were followed by officers and soldiers, and
their attacks on property and individuals were prevented.... In the town
of Catalão the two armed parties were successfully prevented from
violence and '_viessem ás máos_' (coming to blows). At Morrinhos armed
citizens in a menacing attitude were dispersed by the police ... in other
localities other riots or attempts (_sic_) at disorder were immediately
repressed, and we can now say that the State enjoys perfect peace, save
the municipality of Douro, which is threatened by bandits from Bahia.
They are constantly springing upon the terrified population of the
municipality and especially of the town.

"... The bandits continue their incursions; murders follow one another in
the entire zone between Formosa and Barreiros, including Santa Rita and
Campo Largo, the inhabitants of which zone are paralyzed with terror....
Our commerce with Bahia, as well as relations between private
individuals, is thus interrupted."

In his message the Presidente wisely and frankly disclosed the
difficulty of administering justice under existing laws, when juries
would absolve proved and confessed murderers wholesale. He endeavoured to
stimulate some sense of honour in the officials in charge of the various
municipalities, where "_as rendas em geral mal applicadas_" (the revenue
generally misapplied) found its way into channels through which it was
not intended to pass.

A fervent appeal the Presidente made to prevent the spread of smallpox.
The vaccine which the Government sent to various points of the State was
not used.

Curious, indeed, but perfectly true, were his statements regarding the
police force.

"The officers are zealous and understand their duty. The policemen,
notwithstanding all their defects, are being instructed and disciplined.
The policemen are in general 'criminals' (_morigerados_). _Ha falta de
armamento, e o existente não é o melhor._ (There is lack of armament and
the existing one is not the best.) The pay is small ... and the body
needs reorganization."

The Academy of Law (_Academia de direito_) was not satisfactory and did
not answer the purpose for which it was established.

The Lyceum, with its 105 pupils, gave fair results, barring the tolerance
in examinations, which, however, did not reach a criminal point (_sic_).
It possessed no building of its own, and was badly housed in a private
dwelling.

Public instruction was admittedly defective all over the province. The
teachers were almost as ignorant and illiterate as the people who went to
learn--and perhaps more so; while the Escola Normal (Normal School) for
women was almost altogether unattended. The public works were uncared
for--there was not a single new work of art begun in the State. Nor could
the State boast of a single road or trail or bridge in fair condition.

The laws on the possession of land would one day lead to immense
difficulties and confusion. The greater part of the land now occupied was
in the hands of people who had no legal right whatever to it.

The existing laws on mining were equally unsatisfactory, and the
Presidente rightly remarked that "without facilities and guarantees,
capitalists will never venture upon so risky and problematic an
enterprise as mining in a State so distant and so difficult of access."
He also exhorted the people to re-establish steam navigation on the
Araguaya River, such as existed in the days of the Empire.

I was told that a launch had actually been purchased in the United
States, but was either waiting at Pará for want of an engineer or else
had again been sold owing to the impossibility--due to lack of money--of
its being transported in sections over the rapids above Conceição.

The question of boundaries with neighbouring States was an amusing one.
According to some rule for which no one can account, the Government of
Goyaz claimed from the State of Matto Grosso enormous stretches of land
on the opposite side of its natural, indisputable geographical western
boundary, the main stream Araguaya, as well as the isolated settlement of
Conceição, on the opposite side of the Araguaya River, which was
undoubtedly in the State of Pará. One only had to glance at a map--bad as
maps were--to see that in both cases the claim was an absurd one. In the
case of Conceição it was perfectly ridiculous. The Pará Government held
the place with a military force and occupied the territory with complete
jurisdiction. In a more peaceful manner the State of Matto Grosso was in
possession of the entire territory west of the Rio Grande do Araguaya,
which the people of Goyaz said belonged to them. On the west the Araguaya
formed a perfect geographical boundary from the Southern Goyaz
boundary--where the Araguaya had its birth--as far as the most northern
point of the State; whereas, were one to accept the supposed Goyaz
boundary formed by the Rio das Mortes--a tributary of lesser volume than
the main stream--it would involve an imaginary compound boundary line up
the Paredão stream, then up the Rio Barreiros, then an imaginary straight
line from north to south across mountainous country, winding its way east
until it met the Serra dos Bahus, then again north-east over undetermined
country, then along the Rio Aporé and eventually joining the Paranahyba
River.

Curiously enough, nearly all the Brazilian Government maps--and all the
foreign ones copied, of course, from the Brazilian, all remarkable for
their inaccuracies--gave the wrong boundary as the correct one! In any
case, both the States of Matto Grosso and Pará were in actual occupation
of the respective disputed territories, and Goyaz was much too poor to
afford fighting for them, so that I fear her most unreasonable claims
will ever remain unsatisfied.

The final blow to the financial status of the Province was the loan
raised on the Banco do Brazil of Rs. 300,000,000 (£20,000 sterling) at an
interest of 7 per cent per annum. The Presidente counted on the receipts
from the exports as well as on economy in administration in order to pay
the interest on this sum--a dream which soon became impossible to
realize.

It was then attempted to float an internal loan of Rs. 200,000,000 (about
£13,334 sterling) at an interest of 6 per cent; but, as the Presidente
pathetically ended his message to the State Congress, "not a single
person presented himself to subscribe to the loan."

The receipts from the export of cattle from Goyaz State amounted in 1910
to only Rs. 171,901,000 (or £11,460 1_s._ 4_d._ sterling). After all
expenses were deducted the State of Goyaz then showed a deficit of Rs.
325,510,743 (£21,700 14_s._ 4_d_. sterling).



CHAPTER VIII

     Fourteen Long and Weary Days--Disappointment--Criminals as
     Followers


IT was in the town of Goyaz that I had entertained hopes of finding
suitable followers to accompany my expedition. The officials in Rio de
Janeiro had given me glowing accounts of the bravery of the people of
Goyaz. According to them those settlers of the interior were all
daredevils, courageous beyond words, and I should have no difficulty
whatever in finding plenty of men who, for a consideration, would join
the expedition.

"They will one and all come with you," a well-known Colonel had exclaimed
enthusiastically to me in Rio--"and they will fight like tigers."

I carried the strongest possible--although somewhat curiously
worded--credentials from the Federal Government to the Presidente and
other officials of Goyaz, the letters, which had been handed to me open,
stating that the Presidente was earnestly requested to do all in his
power to help to make the expedition a success. When I presented these
documents, I explained clearly to the Presidente that all I wished was
that he should help me to collect thirty plucky men, whom I would
naturally pay, and pay well, out of my own pocket, feed and clothe,
during the entire time the expedition lasted, as well as pay all their
expenses back and wages up to the day of reaching their original point of
departure.

"I cannot help you; you will get nobody. Besides, I have received an
official but confidential message from Rio requesting me to do all I can
to prevent your going on."

Such treachery seemed inconceivable to me, and I took no notice of it. I
again requested the Presidente to endeavour to find me men and animals,
as nothing would deter me from going on. If no Brazilians came, I said
that I would go alone, but that the value of the expedition would
naturally suffer, as I should thus have to leave behind all the
instruments, cameras, and other impedimenta, which, single-handed, I
could not possibly carry.

It was my intention to travel north-west from Goyaz city as far as the
River Araguaya. There I wanted to descend the Araguaya as far as the
Tapirapez River--a small tributary on the west side of the Araguaya,
shown on some of the very incorrect existing maps approximately in Lat.
11° S., and on others in Lat. 9° and some minutes S. Proceeding westward
from that point again, I proposed crossing over to the Xingu River, then
to the Tapajoz, and farther to the Madeira River. It was necessary for me
to hire or purchase a canoe in order to descend the Araguaya River as far
as the Tapirapez.

Believing that perhaps I might be able to find men without the assistance
of the Governor, I tried every possible channel in Goyaz. I sent men all
round the town offering high pay. I applied to the commanding officer of
the Federal troops. I applied to the Dominican monks, who have more power
in Goyaz State than all the officials taken together.

The Father Superior of the Dominicans shook his head at once and told me
that, much as he wished to oblige me, I was asking for something
impossible. He was right. The people were so scared of the Indians, and
of the horrors of camping in the jungle, that no money in the world would
ever induce them to move out of their town.

"Are there no young fellows in the town who will come along for the love
of adventure as well as the money they will get?" I asked.

"For love! ... love!" said the friar, bursting with laughter. "I do not
believe that such a thing exists in Brazil."

Having removed "love or money" from the programme of temptation, there
remained little else except patience. In the meantime I endeavoured to
hire a canoe. The Presidente kindly undertook to do this for me with the
help of a well-known Colonel, one of the most revered men in the city.

"There is only one boat on the Araguaya," said the Presidente to me. "You
cannot build a raft, as all the woods in these regions are too heavy and
not one will float. You must hire that boat or nothing."

[Illustration: View of Goyaz City from Sta. Barbara.]

[Illustration: Author's Men packing Animals.]

The honoured Colonel his friend also impressed that point well upon me.
"Only that boat or nothing." They also added that they had arranged for
me to hire that boat for four days, and it would only cost me £500
sterling. My distinguished friends had taken ten days to arrange that
bargain. It took me ten seconds to disarrange it all. All the more as
I had heard that a German traveller, Dr. Krause, had the previous year
gone down the Araguaya River, where he had done excellent research work,
and had also travelled up the tributary Tapirapez, crossing over nearly
as far as the Xingu River. He had found in that region no Indians and the
country of little interest. Furthermore, on my arrival in Goyaz capital I
learnt that a Brazilian Government expedition, under the leadership of
Dr. Pimentel, had already been in Goyaz some six months trying to start
on a journey down the Araguaya, and, if possible, also to go up the
Tapirapez and other tributaries of that great stream. Moreover, the
Araguaya was perhaps, after the Madeira, one of the best known southern
tributaries of the Amazon. As we have already seen, during the time of
Dom Pedro, the Emperor, there was even steam navigation almost all along
the course of the upper Araguaya as far as Leopoldina, the port for Goyaz
capital. Several Englishmen and Germans and very many Brazilians had
travelled on that river, where even military posts had at one time been
established at intervals on its banks.

So that, rather than be imposed upon and travel for hundreds of
kilometres in so well-known a region, I decided slightly to alter my
route in order to cover ground that was newer and infinitely more
interesting and important.

The Presidente's friend, the highly revered Colonel, had also undertaken
to purchase a number of horses and mules for me. "The people of Goyaz,"
said he, "are terrible thieves; they will swindle you if you buy them
yourself. I will purchase them for you and you will then pay me back the
money. By to-morrow morning," he had stated, "I shall have all the horses
and mules you require."

This was on the day of my arrival in Goyaz. Twelve days after that date
he appeared with a famished, skeleton-like horse--only one--for which he
made me pay nearly double what I had myself paid for other excellent
animals.

I took care after that experience to beware of the "revered and honest
men of Goyaz." Those who behaved honestly were generally those who were
described as thieves. Everything is reversed in Brazil, and I should have
known better.

Let us have a look around the city. Mules and horses were grazing in the
principal square on a severe slope; the streets were paved in a fashion
calculated to dislocate your feet or possibly break them if you happened
to be walking out after dark. There was not the slightest semblance of
drainage in any part of the town. The people flung out into the streets
all that could be flung out, and also a good deal that should not be
flung. The dirt was excessive all over the place when the rain did not
come to the rescue and wash it all off.

The boast of the town was its brilliant illumination--one hundred
petroleum lights all told, lighted up until ten p.m. when there was no
moon. When there was, or should have been, a moon, as on stormy nights,
the municipality economized on the paraffin and the lamps were not
lighted. I do not know anything more torturing than returning home every
night after my dinner at the palace, walking on the slippery, worn slabs
of stone of the pavements, at all angles--some were even vertical--in the
middle of the road. You stumbled, slipped, twisted your feet, jamming
them in the wide interstices between the slabs. I never could understand
why the municipality troubled to have lights at all. They gave no light
when they were lighted--not enough to see by them--and they were
absolutely of no use to the natives themselves. By eight o'clock p.m. all
the people were asleep and barricaded within their homes.

Yet--can you believe it?--in this mediæval city you would be talked about
considerably and would give much offence if you went out of your house in
clothes such as you would wear in England in the country. On Sundays and
during all Easter week--when I was there--all the men went out in their
frock-coats, top hats of grotesquely antiquated shapes, extra high
starched collars, and, above all, patent leather shoes--with the sun
scorching overhead. The women were amusing enough in their finery--which
had been perhaps the fashion elsewhere fifty or sixty or more years ago.
But they believed they were as well-dressed and quite as up-to-date as
the smartest women of Paris or London. They never let an opportunity pass
of telling you so.

The most striking building in the principal square of Goyaz was the
prison. I visited it in the company of the Chief of Police. The place had
been specially cleaned on the occasion of my visit, and that particular
day it looked quite neat. I was shown very good food which--at least that
day--had been prepared for the prisoners. Nearly all the prisoners were
murderers. "But the biggest criminals of all," said the Chief of Police
to me, "are not inside this prison; they are outside!" The poor devils
inside were mere wretches who had not been able to bribe the judges.

Curiously enough, petty theft was considered a shame in the Province of
Goyaz, and was occasionally severely punished; whereas murderers were
usually set free. I saw a poor negro there who had stolen a handful of
beans and had been sent to five years' penal servitude, while others who
had killed were merely sentenced to a few months' punishment. In any
case, no one in Brazil can be sentenced to more than thirty years'
detention, no matter how terrible the crime he has committed.

The display of police guarding the prison was somewhat excessive. There
were fifty policemen to guard fifty prisoners: policemen standing at each
door, policemen at each corner of the building, while a swarm of them
occupied the front hall. The various common cells were entered by trap
doors in the ceiling, of great height, and by a ladder which was let
down. Thus escape was rendered improbable, the iron bars of the elevated
windows being sounded every morning and night for further safety.

The sanitary arrangements were of the most primitive kind, a mere bucket
in a corner serving the needs of eight or ten men in each chamber.

As there was no lunatic asylum in Goyaz, insane people were sent to
prison and were kept and treated like criminals.

I noticed several interesting cases of insanity: it generally took either
a religious or a criminal form in Brazil. One man, with a ghastly
degenerate face, and his neck encircled by a heavy iron collar, was
chained to the strong bars of a window. His hands and feet were also
chained. The chain at his neck was so short that he could only move a few
inches away from the iron bars. He sat crouched like a vicious dog on the
window-ledge, howling and spitting at us as we passed. His clothes were
torn to shreds; his eyes were sunken and staring, his long, thin, sinewy
arms, with hands which hung as if dead, occasionally and unconsciously
touching this or that near them. I tried to get close, to talk and
examine him; but his fury was so great against the policeman who
accompanied me that it was impossible to get near. He was trying to bite
like a mad dog, and injured himself in his efforts to get at us. Another
lunatic, too--loose in a chamber with other prisoners--gave a wonderful
exhibition of fury--that time against me, as he was under the impression
that I had come there to kill him! He was ready to spring at me when two
policemen seized him and drove him back.

There was a theatre in Goyaz--a rambling shed of no artistic pretensions.
The heat inside that building was stifling. When I inquired why there
were no windows to ventilate the place I was told that a leading Goyaz
gentleman, having once travelled to St. Petersburg in Russia in
winter-time, and having seen there a theatre with no windows, eventually
returned to his native city, and immediately had all the windows of the
theatre walled up, regardless of the fact that what is suitable in a
semi-arctic climate is hardly fit for a stifling tropical country.

One thing that struck me most in Goyaz was the incongruity of the
people. With the little literature which found its way so far in the
interior, most of the men professed advanced social and religious ideas,
the majority making pretence of atheism in a very acute form. "Down with
faith: down with religion: down with the priests!" was their cry.

Yet, much to my amazement--I was there in Easter week--one evening there
was a religious procession through the town. What did I see? All those
fierce atheists, with bare, penitent heads stooping low, carrying lighted
candles and wooden images of our crucified Saviour and the Virgin! The
procession was extremely picturesque, the entire population, dressed up
for the occasion, being out in the streets that night, while all the men,
including the policemen and federal soldiers--all bareheaded--walked
meekly along in the procession, each carrying a candle. When the
procession arrived at the church, the Presidente himself--another
atheist--respectfully attended the service; then the priest came out and
delivered a spirited sermon to the assembled crowds in the square. Then
you saw those atheists--old and young, civil and military--again kneeling
on the hard and irregular paving-stones--some had taken the precaution to
spread their handkerchiefs so as not to soil their trousers--and beating
their chests and murmuring prayers, and shaking their heads in sign of
repentance.

Such is the world! The prettiest part of the procession was that formed
by the young girls, all garbed in immaculate white, and with jet-black
hair--masses of it--hanging loose upon their shoulders. The chanting was
musical and the whole affair most impressive.

I had received somewhat of a shock in the morning on passing the
principal church--there were five or six in Goyaz. Spread out upon the
pavement was the life-size wooden figure of our Saviour--which had
evidently long been stored in a damp cellar--much mildewed and left there
in the sun in preparation for the evening performance. The red wig of
real hair, with its crown of thorns, had been removed and was drying upon
a convenient neighbouring shrub! Really, those people of Goyaz were an
amusing mixture of simplicity and superstition.

One great redeeming point of the people of Goyaz was that they were
extremely charitable. They had erected a huge building as a workhouse. It
was entirely supported by charity. A small library had also been
established.

As I have elsewhere stated, I needed for my expedition no less than
thirty men, so that they could, if necessary, carry all my instruments,
cameras, provisions, ammunition, etc., where animals could not get
through.

Fourteen long and tedious days elapsed in Goyaz. No one could be induced
to come. In despair I sent a despatch to the Minister of Agriculture,
asking for the loan of at least four soldiers--whom I should naturally
have paid out of my own pocket, as I had duly explained to the
Presidente, who backed my request. To my regret I received a reply from
the Minister of War saying that at that moment the Government could not
possibly spare four soldiers. It must be said that, although the men of
Goyaz did not shine for their bravery, it was not so with the ladies,
several of whom offered, if necessary, to accompany the expedition and
do, of course, the work of the men. I believe that they meant it.

I have, indeed, the greatest respect and admiration for the noble
self-sacrifice of the women of Goyaz. Devoted mothers and wives, to men
who deserved no devotion at all--nearly all the men had
concubines--gentle, humble, thoughtful, simple and hard-working, they did
all the work in the house. They were a great contrast to the lazy,
conceited, vain male portion of the population. Certainly, in a
population of 10,000 people, I met two or three men who deserved respect,
but they were the exception.

If the men were so timid, it was not altogether their fault; they could
not help it. It was enough to look at them to see that no great feats of
bravery could be expected of them. They were under-developed, exhausted,
eaten up by the most terrible complaint of the blood. The lives in which
they merely vegetated were without any mental stimulus. Many suffered
from goître, others had chests that were pitiful to look at, so
under-developed were they; all continually complained, every time you
spoke to them, of headache, toothache, backache, or some other ache. They
were always dissatisfied with life and with the world at large, and had
no energy whatever to try and improve their condition. They were
extremely polite; they had a conventional code of good manners, to which,
they adhered faithfully--but that was all.

[Illustration: Some of Author's Pack Animals.]

At the end of the fourteen days in Goyaz I had been able to purchase a
good number of mules and horses--at a very high price, as the people
would not otherwise part with their quadrupeds. Also I had collected
all the riding and pack saddles and harness necessary, a sufficient
quantity of spare shoes for the animals, a number of large saws, axes,
picks and spades, large knives for cutting our way through the forest,
and every possible implement necessary on a journey of the kind I was
about to undertake. Everything was ready--except the men!

Alcides Ferreiro do Santos and Filippe da Costa de Britto--the two men
lent me by Mr. Louis Schnoor in Araguary--upon seeing my plight were at
last induced to accompany the expedition at a salary of close upon a
pound sterling a day each.

At the last moment the Presidente came to my rescue. He supplied me with
six men.

"They are criminals," he said to me, "and they will give you no end of
trouble"--a fact fully demonstrated three hours later that same evening,
when one of them--an ex-policeman--disappeared for ever with a few pounds
sterling I had advanced him in order to purchase clothes. Another fellow
vanished later, carrying away some 40 lb. of coffee, sugar, knives, and
other sundries. So then I had two criminals less.

I packed my animals, and was about to depart with the four remaining
rascals and the two Araguary men--six all told--when a policeman, sent in
haste, called me to the Palace. The truly good-hearted Presidente and his
charming family were in a great state of mind. They told me that my men
had gone about the town the previous night drinking, and had confided to
friends that they were merely coming with me in order to murder and rob
me of all I possessed as soon as they had an opportunity. It was an open
secret that I carried a very large sum of money upon my person, as after
leaving São Paulo city it was impossible to obtain money by cashing
cheques on letters of credit or other such civilized means, and it was
imperative for me to carry several thousand pounds sterling in cash in
order to be able to purchase horses, mules, boats, food, and pay the men,
as long as the journey should last.

When you stop to consider that I had before me the prospect of not
replenishing my exchequer for at least one year, or perhaps two years or
more, it will be easily understood that if one wants to travel, and
travel quickly as I do, there is no other possible way than to carry the
money with one in hard cash. The risk was certainly enormous, although no
one except myself ever really knew the amount that I actually carried. A
large portion of that sum was in Brazilian notes, a good deal in English
bank-notes, and some four hundred pounds sterling in English gold. As I
could trust nobody, that sum, except what I gradually spent, and barring
the few moments when I took my daily morning bath, never left my person,
even for a few minutes, for the entire period of one year. Most of the
notes were contained in two bulky leather bags and the gold in a third,
attached firmly to a strong belt which day and night--much to my
discomfort--encircled my waist. The larger bank-notes, letters of credit,
etc., were divided into my various coat, shirt, and trousers pockets. The
gold was so heavy that it caused with its friction a large sore on my
right hip--a sore which remained there more or less for an entire year.

"You cannot start under such conditions," said the Presidente
appealingly. "I cannot furnish other men. No one will go, notwithstanding
the high pay you give them."

I thanked the Presidente for his exquisite kindness, and for the very
generous and thoughtful hospitality he and his delightful family had
offered me in Goyaz, and which left in my mind the only pleasant moments
spent in that dull city.



CHAPTER IX

     The Departure--Devoured by Insects


A FEW minutes later I had again joined my caravan, watched intently, at a
respectful distance, by a few astonished natives of Goyaz. As soon as all
my mules and horses had been packed--they were very heavily laden--I took
my departure in a direction north-west by west. The six men mounted on
mules came along. I had armed all my followers with the best repeating
carbines that are made, as well as with excellent automatic pistols, and
the long daggers locally used; but personally I carried no weapons of any
kind.

Having been unsuccessful in obtaining sufficient men from the officials
of Goyaz, there yet remained for me one last faint hope. It was to try
and get a few followers from the Indian colony of the Salesian friars, a
few days' journey west of the Araguaya River.

On April 26th, from the height of Santa Barbara (elev. 2,150 ft. above
the sea level), a picturesque chapel and graveyard to the west of the
city, I bade good-bye for good to Goyaz capital (elev. 1,950 ft.). One
obtained from this point a fine view of the entire city spreading from
north to south, at the bottom of the imposing frame of mountains on the
south with their extraordinary columnar formation. Each natural column,
with its mineral composition and crystallization, shone like silver in
the bright light. The _ensemble_ from our point of vantage resembled the
set of pipes of an immense church organ. High hills stood to the east. In
the distance to the south-west the lower country was open with the
exception of mountains in the far background.

We marched rapidly enough across wooded country until we crossed the Rio
Vermelho (elev. 1,750 ft.). My men became very excited and began firing
their carbines recklessly. I had handed to them fifty cartridges each,
with strict instructions not to fire without my orders. I was some
distance off. When I heard the fusillade I immediately galloped to the
spot. The men had blazed away nearly all their ammunition, nor would they
cease firing when I ordered them until they had exhausted their supply of
300 cartridges in all. Why were they firing? Because, said they, they had
crossed the first water on their journey.

My heart absolutely sank into my boots when I realized that it was my
fate to travel with such contemptible imbeciles for perhaps a year longer
or more, and that was only the first day! Oh, what a prospect! We had our
first quarrel when the men demanded to have their belts replenished with
cartridges for their protection against attack. As I refused to let them
have them there was a mutiny, the men declining to go on another yard
unless the cartridges were handed to them. We had not been gone more than
three hours, and a mutiny already! With a great deal of patience I
induced them to go on, which they eventually did with oaths and language
somewhat unpleasant. Still I held firm.

After several ascents and descents and a great many mishaps with our
mules, unaccustomed yet to the work, we made camp, having marched 18
kil., on the bank of the Rio Agapa (elev. 1,650 ft.), near which the
grazing was fair.

Two mules escaped during the night, and we could only make a late start
the next morning. Alcides traced them all the way back to Goyaz, where he
recovered them. Up and down we went, from 1,760 ft. to 1,550 ft., at
which elevation we crossed the Rio Indio with a beautiful rocky bed the
banks of which showed strata of red and grey clay and delicious
crystalline water. No fossils of any kind were to be seen anywhere,
although I looked hard in search of them all the time. The country was
undulating and fairly thickly wooded near streams, otherwise it consisted
mostly of campos, at the highest point of which another beautiful
panoramic view of the escarpment in the plateau we had left behind could
be obtained. The elevation was constantly changing between 1,750 ft. and
2,050 ft. above the sea level. Burity and other palms were plentiful. We
crossed that day three streams, the last one the Rio Uva.

In a distance of 38 kil. we saw only a miserable shed, although we passed
a site where a ruined house and paddock showed that once there must have
been quite an ancient and important farm. Yes, indeed, Goyaz State had
seen better days in the time of the Emperor and when slavery was legal.
With the present lack of population and the prohibitive prices of labour
it was impossible to carry on farming profitably.

The landscape was everywhere beautiful, but one never saw a bird, never
perceived a butterfly, nor any other animal life of any kind. I was just
remarking this fact to Alcides when a snake, eight or nine feet long,
crossed at a great speed in front of my mule. The mules and horses were
rather frightened at first of snakes, and it was amusing to watch how
high they stepped when they saw them and tried to escape from them. We
were in great luck. A flock of six beautiful red _araras_ (macaws) passed
above our heads. They looked perfectly gorgeous as they flapped their
wings heavily and shrieked loudly as they sped along.

The formation of the soil in that region was interesting enough. Under a
greyish white surface layer there were thin sedimentary strata of
pebbles, deposited evidently by water, then under these a thick
stratum--30 ft. or more--of warm-coloured red earth. The streams which
had cut their way through this geological formation were invariably
limpid in the extreme.

We were beginning to find beautiful flowers and butterflies again, the
latter in great swarms near the water.

My caravan of grey and white pack-animals--some fourteen--was quite a
picturesque sight as it wound its way down steep hill-sides, the mounted
men urging the mules with shouts and lashes from their whips. We
experienced difficulty in finding a good camp that night, the grazing
being poor and the water scarce when sunset came. It seemed a pity that
the most suitable camping places were not always to be found when you
wished to halt!

We were now at an elevation of 1,550 ft. When we proceeded the next
morning we found nothing of interest. Fairly wooded country alternated
with campos, at first rather undulating, then almost flat, until we
arrived at the Tapirapuana River (elev. 1,350 ft.), 8 yards wide and 3
ft. deep, which we crossed without much trouble, in the afternoon, at a
spot some 28 kil. distant from our last camp. Luxuriant foliage hung over
the banks right down into the water, which flowed so slowly--only at the
rate of 1,080 metres an hour--that it looked almost stagnant, and of a
muddy, dirty, greenish colour.

We were much troubled by mosquitoes, flies and _carrapatinhos_, the
latter a kind of tiny little clinging parasite which swarmed absolutely
all over us every time we put our feet on the ground on dismounting from
our animals. The irritation was such that you actually drove your nails
into your skin in scratching yourself. They could only be driven away by
smearing oneself all over with tobacco juice, the local remedy, or with
strong carbolic soap, which I generally used, and which worked even more
satisfactorily.

A tubercular leper came to spend the evening in our camp. He was most
repulsive, with his enlarged features, especially the nose, of a ghastly,
shiny, unwholesome, greenish white, and pitifully swollen feet and hands.

The heat was not unbearable in that region--89° Fahrenheit in the shade,
105° in the sun. There was a breeze blowing that day from the north-east,
with a velocity of 200 metres a minute by anemometer.

A good portion of the following day was wasted trying to recover four
animals that had escaped. In order that they might graze properly it was
necessary to let them loose. They sometimes strayed away long distances.
Occasionally they hid in the shade of the _matto_ (forest and shrub), and
it was easy to miss them while looking for them. Luckily, two of my
men--Alcides and a man called Antonio--were excellent trackers, and
sooner or later they were generally able to bring back the animals, which
was not at all difficult, as one only had to follow the marks of their
hoofs to find where they had gone.

We departed late in the afternoon through thick shrub, over marked
undulations--in some spots quite steep. From the highest point that day
(elev. 1,900 ft.) we obtained an extensive view of flat tablelands in the
distance to the east, with a low hill-range standing in front of them. It
was scenery quite typical of Central Brazil, with no irregular, striking
mountains; but everywhere we had plenty to study in the effects of
erosion on that great continent.

I tried to make up for time lost by marching at night--a most trying
experience, as my men, unaccustomed to the work and frightened at every
shadow, let the mules stray in all directions. I unfortunately had to
hand over to my followers a few cartridges each, or else they would not
come on. Every now and then that night they fired recklessly in the
dark--much to the danger of beasts and men alike--thinking they had seen
an Indian, or a leopard, or some other wild animal. I was glad when we
arrived in camp and ascertained that no one had been wounded.

That night-march demoralized animals and men alike. Most of the animals
strayed away during the night, as the grazing was bad where we halted. I
was compelled to halt for two days in that miserable spot, simply
devoured by flies and mosquitoes and _carrapatos_, in order to recover
them.

If you do not know what a _carrapato_ is, let me tell you. It is an
insect of the order of Diptera and the genus _Mosca pupiparas_, and is
technically known as _Melophagus ovinus_. Its flattened, almost circular
body varies in size from the head of an ordinary nail to the section of a
good-sized pencil. Like the _carrapatinho_--its miniature
reproduction--it possesses wonderful clinging powers, its legs with hook
attachment actually entering under the skin. Its chief delight consists
in inserting its head right under your cutaneous tissues, wherefrom it
can suck your blood with convenient ease. It is wonderfully adept at
this, and while I was asleep, occasionally as many as eight or ten of
these brutes were able to settle down comfortably to their work without
my noticing them; and some--and it speaks highly for their ability--were
even able to enter my skin (in covered parts of the body) in the day-time
when I was fully awake, without my detecting them. I believe that
previous to inserting the head they must inject some poison which deadens
the sensitiveness of the skin. It is only after they have been at work
some hours that a slight itching causes their detection. Then comes the
difficulty of extracting them. If in a rash moment you seize the
carrapato by the body and pull, its head becomes separated from its body
and remains under your skin, poisoning it badly and eventually causing
unpleasant sores. Having been taught the proper process of extraction, I,
like all my men, carried on my person a large pin. When the carrapato
was duly located--it is quite easy to see it, as the large body remains
outside--the pin was duly pushed right through its body. The carrapato,
thus surprised, at once let go with its clinging legs, which struggled
pitifully in the air. Then with strong tobacco juice or liquefied
carbolic soap, or iodine, you smeared all round the place where the head
was still inserted. The unpleasantness of these various beverages
immediately persuaded the brute to withdraw its head at once. You could
then triumphantly wave the pin and struggling carrapato in the air. You
were liberated from the unpleasant visitor. It was not uncommon while you
were extracting one--the operation took some little time--for two or
three others to find their way into your legs or body. I fortunately
possess blood which does not easily get poisoned, and felt no ill effects
from the hundreds of these brutes which fed on me during the entire
journey; but many people suffer considerably. My men, for instance, had
nasty-looking sores produced by the bites of the carrapato. The mules and
horses were simply swarming with these insects, which gave them no end of
trouble, especially as they selected the tenderest parts of the skin in
various localities of the body to settle upon. Where an animal had a sore
it would soon be swarming with carrapatos near its edge. It would then
putrefy, and maggots in hundreds would be produced inside the wound
almost within a few hours.

There was, near by, an old _moradoria_, a large patch of _muricy_ trees
(_Byrsonima_), of which various species exist. These were not unlike
small olive trees and produced a small sweet fruit quite good to eat.

We went for 22 kil. through a forest with beautiful fan palms over 30 ft.
high. There was no animal life. We crossed three streamlets, the country
between being undulating. Between the last two streams we came across
rock showing through the alluvial deposits. It was an interesting
conglomerate of minute crystals cemented together by hardened clay, the
whole forming large blocks.

More trouble was in store for us. One of my mules was seriously injured.
Its spine was so badly strained that it was quite disabled for further
work. My cook, who had a slight attack of indigestion, wished to be left
there to die, and declined to proceed any farther. With true Brazilian
reasoning he wished, nevertheless, to be paid off before dying. With true
English reasoning I explained to him that money would be of little use to
him in the next world. If he really intended to die I would certainly not
pay him, but his wages would naturally go on while he was alive,
continued the journey, and did the cooking. He quickly returned to life,
and to his senses.

Really, in the entire experiences of my travels I have never come across
more pitiable specimens of manhood than those fellows. They absolutely
gave me a sickly feeling that I never lost while they were with me, for
many many months to come. The animals, too, were almost as bad as the
men. They had little endurance, they had no courage, everything seemed to
affect them. The worst Abyssinian mule, for instance, was, for equal
work, vastly superior to the best Goyaz mule. It was a useless task to
try and train those animals. On my many previous expeditions I had been
able to win the affection of my animals, and was able to train them in a
few days so that they obeyed with the perfection of soldiers, but in
Brazil, the last day I had them--after several months that they had been
with me--they were just as disobedient and stupid as on the first day. In
fact, they never even seemed to recognize us again. They had learnt
absolutely nothing, except bad habits. Everything seemed to frighten
them. One mule, for instance, was afraid of crossing small streams. Its
legs invariably began to quiver on entering the water, and down would go
mule and baggage rolling into the water. All the thrashing in the world
could not make it get up. We had to drag the brute bodily across the
stream, when it would jump up on its legs again. It was quite futile to
try and prevent that animal collapsing every time it had to go across
water. So that, on approaching any streamlet, we had to unload it in
order at least to prevent the baggage getting soaked.

The interior of Brazil--even comparatively near a city, as we were still
to Goyaz--did not compare in civilization with the lowest and poorest
countries of Central Asia or Africa. Humble countries like Persia and
Beluchistan or Abyssinia some ten or fifteen years ago were more advanced
than Brazil to-day. They had good trails on which a regular postal
service was established, there were regular rest-houses on those trails,
and horses or camels could easily be hired and exchanged at the different
stations, so that one could travel comparatively quickly. It was not so
in Brazil. Even if you wished to take a short journey of a few days from
a city, you had to purchase your horses or your mules, and have the
riding and pack saddles made for you at a high cost.

As we have seen, even in the city of Goyaz itself, there did not exist a
single hotel, nor did we find a proper rest-house in the 531 kil. between
the railway terminus and Goyaz capital. Nor is there one of these
conveniences west between Goyaz and Cuyaba, the capital of Matto Grosso.
Of course there were no hotels because nobody travelled, but it can also
be said that many people do not care to travel where there are no hotels.
In so humble and poor a country as Persia you always could indulge in a
delicious bath in every caravanserai, which you found in the remotest
spots all over the country. In Brazil you have to resort to the streams,
where the moment you remove your clothes you are absolutely devoured by
mosquitoes, flies and insects of all kinds--a perfect torture, I can
assure you. Once you were in the water, immersed up to the mouth, it took
a brave man to come out again, as millions of mosquitoes and flies and
gnats circled angrily and greedily above your head ready for the attack
the moment you came out.

We were travelling all the time at elevations varying from 1,450 ft. at
our last camp to 1,400 ft. at our present camp, the highest elevation
between these two places being on a rocky hillock about 100 ft. higher
than those altitudes.

Our camp was on a streamlet flowing from south to north, of milky water
containing lime, which made our tongues and gums smart when we drank it.

Again on May 3rd we went through forest all the time, with wonderful
palms and many medicinal plants. Alcides had an extensive knowledge of
the curative qualities of the various plants. Various species of the
_Caroba_ (_Bignoniaceæ_), very beneficial, they say, as a blood purifier,
especially in the worst of terrible complaints, were plentiful there.
Giant nettles, the _Ortiga_ or _Cassausan_, as it is locally called, were
also frequently noticeable, especially when we passed too near and were
stung all over by them.

We had risen to 1,200 ft. on the summit of a range called O Fogo. From it
we had another exquisite view of the mountain range called Bucainha,
which we had left behind to the east. It had a marked erosion on its
north side.

On the west side of the pass we found curious small domes as well as
pillars and other rocks of columnar formation. We had met during the day
many _Aricori_ palms, which, I was told, produced a sweet fruit excellent
to eat when ripe, in the month of November.

After a steep rocky descent we made our camp. We halted earlier than
usual. I was sitting outside my tent while my dinner was being cooked. I
could not help smiling at the warlike array which had been necessary in
order to make a start from Goyaz. The camp was a regular armoury.
Beautiful magazine rifles, now rusty and dirty owing to the carelessness
of the men, were lying about on the ground; revolvers and automatic
pistols stuck half out of their slings on the men's belts as they walked
about the camp; large knives and daggers had been thrown about, and so
had the huge, heavy, nickel-plated spurs of the men, with their gigantic
spiked wheels. These wheels were as much as two inches in diameter and
even more. It was the habit of Brazilians to wear the spurs upside down,
so that when they got off their mounts they had to remove them or it
would have been impossible for them to walk. Naturally, worn like that,
they were much more effective, and were intended to torment the animals
with greater success.

I reprimanded the men for keeping their weapons so dirty. One man
thereupon sat himself three feet away from me and proceeded to clean his
rifle, keeping the muzzle pointed constantly at me. On my suggesting that
he might point the weapon in another direction he roughly replied the
usual thing: "There is nothing to be afraid of, it is not loaded"--and he
proceeded to pull the trigger, the gun pointed straight at me, when I
leapt up and snatched it out of his hands. There was a cartridge in the
barrel and several cartridges in the magazine.

[Illustration: Author's Caravan across the Immense Prairies of
Matto Grosso.]

During the night the fusillade was constant. It was enough for the men to
hear a leaf fall. Immediately there was an alarm and the rifles were
fired. Once or twice the bullets came so unpleasantly near me that I
suspected they were intended for me. I thanked my stars that my men were
bad shots. To make sure of this fact, I one day had a shooting
competition. After that I became quite assured that it was sufficient to
be at the spot where they aimed to consider myself in absolute safety. It
was not so, of course, when they aimed somewhere else. I did not care to
take away the cartridges from them altogether, as they would have then
imagined that I was afraid of them--an impression which it would have
been fatal to let them entertain even for a moment. Each man was allowed
to replenish his belt each day to the extent of ten cartridges.

I have elsewhere referred to the absurd pack-saddles used in Brazil, so
heavy and unsteady when going over rough country, with the underpads so
difficult to adjust that the animals were soon a mass of sores on the
back, the sides of the body, on the chest and tail. I had other lighter
and more sensible saddles, but I had to discard them as the Brazilians
would not hear of using them, and I gave up in despair of teaching them
how to pack them. I eventually left those saddles behind.

The riding-saddles, too, were almost as absurd as the pack-saddles,
constructed as they were of innumerable and useless pieces of wood, iron
and leather. The stirrups were gaudy, and consisted of a regular shoe of
silver or other metal, into which you inserted the greater part of your
foot, or else of a much ornamented circular ring. The head-piece and bit
were also extremely heavy, clumsy, and highly decorated, for everything
must be made for show if it had to be used in Brazil.

It was not possible to associate in any way or be friendly with my men.
They were unpleasant beyond all conception. One could not say a word--no
matter how kind--without the prospect of a long argument or a row. It was
quite beyond them to be civil, and, like all ignorant people, they always
imagined that they could teach others everything--including good manners!
They were ridiculously courteous to one another--a muleteer talking to
another always addressing him as "Sir," and referring to his comrades as
his "colleagues."

We travelled that day nearly altogether over finely powdered reddish
earth of volcanic origin. I had so far not met with a single fossil, not
a shell, not a petrified bone of any animal, nor, indeed, impressions on
rock of leaves, twigs or other parts of plants. The farther one went on,
the more one had proof that that portion at least of the American
continent had never been submerged in its entirety.

Some rocks displayed on the surface peculiar perforations such as would
be produced by incessant water dripping over them, but these were caused,
I think, merely by water falling over them while they were in a molten
state; other rocks were thoroughly polished on the surface, as if sand or
other gritty substance had flowed with great force over them, mixed with
water--perhaps during a period of volcanic activity and torrential rains.

Geological research was somewhat difficult for a passing traveller in
that region, for everything was smothered in vegetation. Only here and
there in the cuts of rivers was I able to judge a little better of the
actual formation of the land.

We camped on the stream Agua Limpa, which duly deserved its name of
"clear water" (elev. 1,470 ft.). It flowed south. On May 4th, going
through forest again over a hill (elev. 1,650 ft.), we obtained a
glorious view of the immense expanse to the west and to the south-west--a
great stretch of greenish, long sweeping lines with a plateau in the
background. A somewhat taller hill rose at one end of it. We then
descended to another deliciously clear river, which deserved as well as
the previous one the name of Agua Limpa (elev. 1,450 ft.), but this one
flowed north into the Rio Claro. The land was fine, sparsely wooded all
the time, absolutely flat, but getting slightly undulating beyond that
stream. It seemed wonderful land for agricultural purposes.

After passing the Indain River, the Bom Successo, and another stream, all
three flowing south, we swerved more to the north-west, rising up on an
elevated spot, from which we obtained another glorious panorama, a high
Serra to the west, another in the distance to the east, the two extending
almost parallel towards the south, where the gap in the horizon line
between these ranges was filled by a very distant range showing a conical
peak, and to the west of this another in the shape of a dome. It was the
grandeur of these panoramas that impressed one most, rather than their
monotonous beauty.

All the outlines of the scenery of Central Brazil had, so to speak, been
worn smooth by the erosive action of water and wind, so that no
fantastically shaped mountains had yet been encountered, no landscape
which some great commotion had rendered strangely picturesque. There,
only the steady work of uncountable ages showed itself in a most
impressive way to those who understood. From a striking pictorial point
of view very little remained in one's mind of those wonderful scenes
after one had turned one's head away, except, perhaps, their immensity
and the deep green tones--the two salient points of the scenery.

When we had descended from the pass (elev. 1,650 ft.) we came to the Rio
Tres de Majo, where a hamlet of three sheds was found. Twenty-eight
kilometres from our last camp we arrived at the Rio Rancheria, where
stood a miserable farm. Both those streams, at an elevation of 1,300 ft.,
flowed into the Rio Claro to the north.

We had the misfortune of halting near the farmhouse, and suffered
tortures from the millions of mosquitoes, gnats, carrapatos and
carrapatinhos which made that night almost unbearable. I invariably found
that carrapatos and carrapatinhos were more plentiful where living people
or animals were to be found. Near those dirty farmhouses we were simply
swarming all over with them. My poor animals, owing to the long marches
we had been making, and the terrible pack-saddles, had sore backs and
loins, sore chests. Yet we could not stop, and the poor things must stand
the pain and strain.



CHAPTER X

     Fishing--Termites--The Great Araguaya River


AN amusing incident happened. A cow chewed up the coat of one of my men,
which was lying on the ground. In his fury the owner of the coat, on
discovering the misdeed, seized his carbine and fired four shots at the
cow and four at the farmhouse. None of us could tell where the bullets
went. The cow, startled by the shots, gave a few jumps and kicks, then,
absolutely uninjured, peacefully continued grazing. The house too
remained untouched. Amazing shots my men were!

Across almost flat country we reached the Rio Claro--"the Limpid River"
(elev. 1,250 ft. above the sea level), 200 metres wide, and flowing along
a winding course in a general direction of south-west to north-east. Wide
beaches of sand and fine gravel were to be seen on the convex or inner
curves of its channel. Along the banks there was luxuriant vegetation,
which hung down and dipped into the water.

Diamonds were to be found in that river. At low water curious eruptive,
highly ferruginous rocks showed in the river bed, some in the shape of
spherical balls riddled with perforations, as if they had been in a state
of ebullition, others as little pellets of yellow lava, such as I had
before encountered between Araguary and Goyaz, and which suggested the
spluttering of molten rock suddenly cooled by contact with cold air or
water.

We encamped some three kilometres from the Rio Claro, on the streamlet
Arejado, where again we were devoured by mosquitoes. Although we all had
thick mosquito nets, and although we slept wrapped--head and all--in our
respective blankets, the brutes managed to find their way in and stung us
with incredible vigour. We were fresh blood for them. The irritation
caused by their bites was a torment.

We were now getting closer to the country where we were to meet the
terrible wild Indians, the most ferocious and cruel cannibals on earth,
according to the accounts heard in Goyaz. My men were already beginning
to lose heart. With the sleepless night due to the mosquitoes, and the
heavy atmosphere caused by a fast-approaching thunderstorm, they were
morose in the morning. With the exception of Alcides and the negro
Filippe, the others came insolently forward and refused to go any
farther. They shoved the muzzles of their rifles under my nose; they
wished to be paid up instantly and go back. With a little patience it was
easy to get out of difficulties of that sort, if you possessed the gift
of keeping calm.

Faithful Alcides, who had a fiery temper, seized his rifle and was about
to fire at them, when I took the weapon from him.

"Do not shoot them, Alcides: these men have been good (_sic_) until now
because they were in good health. They are bad now because they are ill.
I will cure them."

And so saying I felt the pulse and forehead of the astonished rioters.

"Yes, indeed, these men are very, very ill. They need medicine. Alcides,
get the castor oil--the large tin."

I had two kinds of castor oil: one tasteless--_pour façon de parler_--for
my own use and cases of serious illness; another in large tins, of the
commonest kind, with an odour that would kill an ox, which I used
occasionally for punishment on my men when they were disobedient.

Alcides, who quickly entered into the spirit of that little joke,
immediately produced the deadly tin, collecting upon the ground the four
cups belonging to the strikers. Taking my instructions, he poured some
four ounces of the sickening oil into each cup--and perhaps a little
more. I handed a cup to each man and saw that he drank it. They all
eventually did so, with comic grimaces and oaths. The men, I must tell
you, had great faith in my powers as a medicine man. Once or twice before
I had already cured them of insignificant ailments, and whenever I told
them seriously that they were ill they believed, in their ignorance, that
they were really ill.

This done, and to put them again in a good temper, I patted them on the
back and, handing each of them a fish-hook and a line, sent them all to
fish in the river, saying that as they were so ill I would delay my
departure until the afternoon.

"That pool, over there," some three hundred yards distant, I suggested
would be an excellent place for them to fish in. In that direction, as
meek as lambs, like so many naughty children they all went, carrying the
lines away and some _toucinho_ (lard) for bait. Alcides, who was an
enthusiastic fisherman, also went off with a line, and had good sport. He
reported that the other men lay flat upon their backs most of the time,
groaning and moaning, upon the rocks, basking in the sun instead of
fishing. The castor oil in any case had the desired effect that the men
did not mutiny again for some time.

We did not leave camp until 2 p.m. The country was teeming with plants of
great medicinal value, such as the _sucupira_, which gave a bean much
used in Goyaz to relieve stomach troubles; the _algudanzinho_, with its
lovely cadmium-yellow cup-shaped flower--a plant which was most plentiful
in that region, and the root of which was said to be very beneficial for
the worst of venereal complaints; and also the _acaraiba_. Many were the
handsome wild flowers we came across, principally red and yellow; but to
my mind they could bear no comparison with even the ugliest European wild
flowers. They were coarse in shape and crude in colour, and in their
beauty there was the same difference as there would be between the lovely
refined face of an aristocratic woman and that of a handsome massive
peasant girl.

Water was certainly not lacking in that country. We crossed the Rio
Striminho, then the Rio Stacco flowing from south-west to north-east into
a lagoon formed by the Rio Claro. We camped on the bank of the Rio
Stacco. The water was delicious.

[Illustration: The Araguaya River (looking North).]

[Illustration: The Araguaya (looking South).]

The negro Filippe killed a wild boar. My men had a great time preparing a
huge dinner. They absolutely gorged themselves. Personally I never
touch pig in any shape or form, as I cannot get over the idea that its
meat is poisonous for any thoroughly healthy person. It may, of course,
not be so to people who are not absolutely healthy. The very sight and
odour of it make me quite ill, and I fully share the idea of Mahommedans
that the meat--certainly of tame pigs--is most unclean.

As we went on we had good sport, my men taking the greatest delight in
fishing in the rivers on the banks of which we halted. The travelling was
easy over flat country. We made short marches for some days, in order to
let the animals recover their lost strength. In the river Las Almas
(elev. 1,250 ft.), 20 metres wide and 3 ft. deep, flowing north-west, we
caught a beautiful _pintado_ fish--so called because of its spotted
appearance. That fish possessed a huge flat head, with long feelers, two
on the nose--at the side of the nostrils, to be accurate--two under its
lower mandible. The mouth was enormous in comparison with the total
length of the fish, and could be opened at an extraordinarily wide angle.
Inside were most peculiar teeth in sets of twos, while the mouth was
lined with thousands of hard, tiny sharp points. The eyes were far back
upon the skull. The bony dome of the palate was divided in the centre,
and a similar separation was to be observed in the centre of the lower
jaw, giving thus a great flexibility to the interior of the mouth. When
measured, the length of the head was exactly one-third of the length of
the entire fish.

Other fish, too, were caught that day, called _mandibé_ or _fidalgo_.

The aspect of the country was gradually changing. During that day's march
we had gone over beautiful open stretches of grassy land with only a few
stunted trees upon them. _Bosquets_ or tufts of small palms or other
trees were to be seen, raised on small mounds, showing how the country
was gradually wearing itself down. Nearly each tree was raised on a mound
of grey clay. Some fine specimens of _Lexia_ trees, with their peculiarly
distorted branches, were to be observed.

Those great scavengers of Brazil, the _Urubu_, of which two varieties
were to be found--the _Urubu commun_ (_Cathartes atratus_) and the _Urubu
rei_ (_Cathartes Papa_)--a cross between a vulture and a crow, were
fairly plentiful now that game was more abundant in the country. They
often pierced our ears with their unmusical shrieks. The _urubu_ belonged
to the vulture family and was found in all tropical South America. It had
black plumage, somewhat shaggy, with reddish legs and feet, and bluish,
almost naked, head and neck. Like all rapacious birds of its kind, it
lived entirely on dead animals and what refuse it could find about the
country. Near farms these birds were generally to be seen in great
numbers.

We had a delicious breakfast of fish--really excellent eating--which set
everybody in a good humour, and then we proceeded over slight undulations
(elev. 1,250 to 1,300 ft.) through forest until we got to the Ponte Alto
(High Bridge) River, so called because..., there is no bridge whatever
there! The Brazilians are really too delightful in their reasoning; and,
mind you, it is not done with a mischievous sense of the
ludicrous--indeed no; it is done seriously. The Ponte Alto stream was,
like most of the other watercourses of that region, wonderfully limpid.

From that point we were in charming open country, where we could freely
breathe the delicious air. Occasionally we saw some _angelin_ trees (the
_Angelino amargoso_ and _Angelino pedra_), technically known as _Andira
vermifuga_ M. and _Andira spectabilis_ Sald.

Nearly all the woods we found had a high specific gravity: the two
latter, for instance, 0·984 and 1·052 respectively, and a resistance to
crushing of kilos 0·684 and kilos. 0·648.

_Cacti_ of great size were numerous. We were now in a region where
termite-hills (ant-hills) were to be seen in great numbers. They stood
from 2 to 3 ft. above ground, although occasionally some could be seen
nearly double that height. Some of the ant-heaps were extraordinary in
their architecture, and resembled miniature castles with towers and
terraced platforms. Whether they had been built so by the ants or worn
down to that shape by the pouring rain and wind, was not so easy to tell.

The more one saw of the termites, the more one disliked them, for they
were the most insidious, destructive little brutes of that region. They
were ugly in appearance, with their fat white bodies of a dirty
greenish-white colour. Nevertheless one could not help having great
admiration for those little rascals, which in one night were able to
devour the bottom of stout wooden boxes, and in a few hours damaged
saddles, clothes, shoes, or any article which happened to be left resting
for a little while on the ground. They were even able to make an entire
house tumble down in a comparatively short time if the material used in
the construction were wood.

Yes, one hated them; yet, when one knew all about them, one had to spend
hours watching their doings with a microscope, it was so interesting.
They seemed to have two social classes among them--the labouring class
and the warriors. To the labourers was given the heavy task of digging
underground channels, the surplus earth of which was thrown up with great
force through apertures in the soil until the earth so displaced and
amassed formed a high heap, riddled in its interior by hundreds of
channels and miniature chambers and apartments. To the warriors--really
more like a kind of perfect police service--was entrusted the safety of
the colony and principally the protection of the young. White ants have
many enemies, especially among the larger ants, which carry on regular
wars against them; for although ants and termites--commonly called white
ants--have many points in common, yet they belong to totally different
orders of insects, as can be easily noticed in their structure and
development. The peculiar structure of the enlarged heads of the warrior
termites was particularly noticeable. Some had a formidable head provided
with tentacles and powerful rodent clippers--as well as the peculiar
whitish cuirasses in sections of the body. The workers had more normal
shapes, the head being better proportioned with the body.

It was enough to split one of the heaps and watch the termites at work to
learn a lesson of what devotion and duty mean. In the many passages
overcrowded with ants--there was never confusion--you saw hundreds of
them, either conveying food or building materials to the various
quarters. Some carried leaves, others carried pieces of wood, seeds, or
dead insects. If one was not strong enough to convey its load, others
came to its assistance--although they generally seemed to resent the
intrusion of others in doing their work. I always noticed that when one
was in difficulty and others ran to the rescue there generally ensued
what seemed to be a row, and the new arrivals hurriedly left--either
disgusted or angry, I could not tell which by their minute expression.

Then there were extraordinarily fat lady ants, lying flat upon their
backs, and with many attendants around them doing massage and general
nursing with the greatest possible gentleness and care. If one wanted to
see a great commotion one only had to introduce into one of the chambers
a larger ant of a different kind. What struck me was that the moment the
fray was over the termites at once--if perhaps a little more
excitedly--resumed their work.

What astonished me more than anything was that they would go on working
at all--as if nothing had happened--when I split open one of their
dwellings and many of the channels, which must have been normally in the
dark--were now exposed to the light. This made me suspect that their
vision was either missing altogether or was very defective.

Nature is a wonderful organizer. The majority of termites--including
warriors and workers--were sexless; that was perhaps why they were such
good workers, as they had nothing to distract them. The males and females
whose duty was merely to propagate and improve the race were provided
temporarily with wings, so that they could fly away from the colony and
disseminate their love among other winged termites of other colonies. The
relation between different colonies was friendly. When their task was
accomplished and flight was no more necessary for them, they conveniently
and voluntarily shed their wings, leaving merely a small section of the
wing root attached to the thorax.

The local name for all kinds of termites was _cupim_, but technically
they are known in the Order of _Neoroptera_ as _Termes album_. Another
variety of insect, the _Psocus domesticus_, was also as destructive as
the _Termes album_.

We frequently met with plants of _caju_, or _acaju_ or _acajueiro_
(_Anacardium Occidentale_ L.) on our course. They belonged to the
_Terebinthaceæ_ group. In a preceding chapter I have already described
the red or yellow delicious fruit of this tree. Then we found other
interesting trees, such as the _oleo_, the tall and handsome _poinna_,
and numerous specimens of the small but good-looking palm _pindova_.

There were not many flowers in that particular spot, barring perhaps an
occasional cluster of white flowers, principally _bocca de carneiro_,
said to have properties refreshing for the blood.

Near a small stream I noticed some lovely, slender, tall _jeguitiba
vermelho_ trees (_Couratari estrellensis_ Raddi), from 75 to 80 ft. high,
with branches and clusters of deep green healthy leaves at the summit
only.

There was a little less monotony in the scenery before us that day, for
to the west stood, over a long, slightly undulating line, one peculiar
conical hill heavily wooded. In pools of stagnant water were lovely
water flowers, and in the neighbourhood of that moisture many handsome
_burity_ palms were prominent in the landscape.

We had been mounting gently all the time from our last camp. Early in the
afternoon we reached that magnificent river, the Araguaya, over 200 yards
wide, although something like between 2,500 and 3,000 kil., or perhaps
more, from its mouth. Its lovely placid waters, reflecting with the
faithfulness of a mirror the vegetation on the high steep banks as well
as the clouds in the sky, made an effective picture. The dead silence,
disturbed only by the shouts of my men urging the mules to the
water-side, was most impressive, the water flowing so slowly that it
almost looked stagnant.

Not a mountain, not a hill could be perceived, except one low humble
range of hills to the south. It was on those hills that the great
Araguaya had its birth.

We crossed the great stream--mules, baggage and all, on three canoes upon
which a platform had been erected. Once landed on its western bank, we
were, notwithstanding local boundary quarrels, in the immense State of
Matto Grosso, the wildest of Brazil.



CHAPTER XI

     The _Tucano_--Fish of the Araguaya River--A Bad Shot--A Strange
     Sight


I SEEMED to have no luck on that journey. Everything went wrong all the
time. Everything seemed to stand in my way to prevent my progress. My men
were demoralized, my mules and horses in a pitiable condition. I called a
halt of two or three days in order that we might shoe the animals again
and rearrange the pack-saddles. We had, of course, a good supply of new
shoes, but the work of shoeing so many animals was hard, especially as I
had to do most of it myself with Alcides and Filippe, the other men being
absolutely useless. Add to this a stifling temperature of 90° Fahrenheit.

[Illustration: Caraja Indian of the Upper Araguaya River.]

To make things worse there came a downpour, such as I have seldom seen,
and which lasted for two entire days. That was the dry season too! The
house in which we had put up--and through the roof of which we could
admire the stars at our ease while in bed--was turned into a regular
swimming-tank when the rain came. We had a good deal of trouble to keep
our things dry, propping them up on improvised stands of stones which we
removed from the crumbling walls of the building. Fortunately, most of my
pack-saddle cases were air- and water-tight, so that the contents could
not be injured. The wind blew with great fury--at the rate of 460
metres a minute, to be strictly accurate.

There was a humble hamlet at Rio Grande or Porto do Castanho, on the
Matto Grosso side, where we had crossed the Araguaya River. It was the
gloomiest of gloomy places even in glorious weather. Imagine it on a wet,
windy day. The few tiny one-storied cabins--they could hardly be called
houses--had got soaked with the storm, and looked miserable. The
inhabitants were busy baling water from inside their dwellings. Many
tiles of the roofs had been blown away, and those that remained had grown
extra dark with the moisture, with merely a bluish tinge from the
reflected light of the grey sky upon their shiny surfaces. The solitary
palm tree at the end of the oblong square looked pitiful, with its long
bladed leaves split and broken by the wind, while the dense foliage along
the river banks was now several tones darker and richer than we had seen
it before.

Under usual circumstances the _plaza_--or square--was so high above the
river that one could not see the water at all until one went to the edge
of the stream, but during flood the river rose as much as 20 ft. and
occasionally overflowed the greater portion of the square.

The grass of the square--a mere field--alone seemed happy in the damp.
Half dried and anæmic from the hot sun, it seemed to be quickly coming
back to life and vigour in those few hours which had rendered us all
miserable. My poor horses and mules, worn and sore, stood dripping and
wretched, with quivering knees, in the middle of the square--too
miserable to feed, only now and then slashing their long wet tails to
right or left to drive away impertinent flies.

With the storm the temperature had suddenly descended to 75°, and
everybody was shivering with cold after the oppressive heat before the
storm.

Upon the half-rotted wooden cross which stood in front of the church was
perched a vulture--so thin and shaggy and soaked and motionless that you
might easily have mistaken it for a stuffed bird. It was the very picture
of misery. But everybody was miserable--one could not help it. I was,
too--who am not much given to being depressed.

While marching or camping in the midst of unspoilt nature, I never felt
depressed, no matter what happened, and was absolutely regardless of
climatic conditions; but in those miserable settlements--feeble attempts
at civilization--I must confess that I used to get low-spirited too, and
often thought what an idiot I had been to leave my happy homes in
Florence and in London, in order to come to these wretched places.

After the attempts at baling out the water had proved futile--as there
was more coming in than it was possible to fling out--the people in
resignation barricaded their doors and windows. Not a soul was to be seen
or heard anywhere. The place was absolutely dead. Even after the storm
was over no sign of life could be noticed. The people were all still
hiding and trembling in their houses, the comparatively slight but sudden
change in the temperature bringing upon most of them attacks of strong
malarial fever, which was there prevalent.

At last, splashing her little naked feet along the footpath in the
grass--now changed into a streamlet--there approached a little girl with
a face as black as coal. She looked terrified as she approached the
window out of which I was looking. But she overcame her fright and,
prettily stretching out her tiny hand, called out "_Boa tarde!_" (Good
afternoon). Her father and mother were ill; would I give her some
medicine for them? Soon after, when the sky had cleared, other patients
came along asking for quinine or any medicine I could give them. Others
wished to have their teeth pulled out. The Brazilians of the interior had
great trouble with their teeth, which were usually in a state of decay.

My own men had wrapped themselves up in their blankets in order to keep
warm. They had slept most of the time. They were too cold and lazy even
to get up to cook and eat their food. None of the houses possessed a
chimney, cooking being done outside; nor, of course, any sanitary
arrangements. Those of my men who had toothache cried and moaned the
whole night, as might be expected of children aged six of any other
country. I have seldom seen men more sensitive and frightened at pain or
illness.

The main structure at Porto do Castanho (Port of the Chestnut Tree,
because there should be a chestnut tree there) was the church, a mere
barn, which elsewhere but in central Brazil would not be considered good
enough for storing hay, still less for the worship of the Almighty. Not
that it was used much for the latter purpose, as there was no priest
within several hundred kilometres. The walls of the church were all
scraped and dirty, the corners chipped off by passing animals. All the
passers-by went and wiped their dirty hands on the walls of the
church--perhaps attracted by the whitewash, which none of the other
buildings possessed.

The shops--there were two--had nothing for sale, except some locally
grown tobacco. In one shop I found some small iron nails, which were sold
at the equivalent of 6_d._ each!

May 11th. The drenching rain continued the entire night, the minimum
temperature being 73° Fahrenheit. My poor animals were in a terrible
condition the next morning through the damp, the sores having become
badly infected. They were in a purulent condition, and a mass of
maggots--the terrible _bishus_, which were the pest of Brazil. So we had
the great job of cleaning them all with a powerful disinfectant as well
as washing them with a decoction of warm _barbatimão_ (_Stryphnodendron
barbatimão_ M.), a wood with a great resistance to crushing (K. 1·015)
and a specific gravity of 1·275. The decoction, which was really very
beneficial for wounds and sores of animals, was made with the bark of
that tree warmed in water over a fire. Another decoction we frequently
used was of salt and _carrapicho_ herb, but this was not quite so
effective as the former.

My men killed a magnificent _tucano_--a large bird with climbing,
inquisitive habits. It possessed an enormous yellow bill of singularly
light structure, the point of which was black. The lower part of the bill
was of a brilliant red, and of a similar red was the rib of the upper
part of the bill. The plumage was of a handsome velvety black on the body
and tail--quite shiny--while the chest was of a pure white, and the
under part of the tail of bright vermilion feathers. White feathers
showed at the base of the tail above.

The _tucano_ (_Ramphastos_) is too well known for me to describe it fully
again. It is found all over tropical Brazil. There are many different
varieties, such as the _Ramphastos vitellinus_, _Ramphastos ariel_, the
_Ramphastos Cuvieri_, the _Pteroglossus Beauharnaisii_, or curl-crested
tucano, etc., extremely common, especially farther north, near the
borders of the Amazon.

I was sorry when my men killed this beautiful bird. I had watched it for
some time, with its inquisitive habits, hopping from branch to branch,
peeping its bill into cavities and examining everything that happened
below by bending its head attentively, now on one side then on the other.
It evidently took intelligent interest in our doings. My men had gone out
to do their cooking. The bird watched them with the greatest
attention--with jerky movements not unlike those of a magpie.

The tucanos have, I believe, been described as being stupid; but on the
contrary I think they are extremely clever--quite as clever as many
parrots or macaws. I observed how shrewd that particular bird was. It
would come quite close to us, and examine with really amazing attention
what we were doing as long as we were not taking any notice of it, but
the moment a man happened to touch a stone or try to point a rifle at it,
it would fly a long distance off, with shrill yelps, and would not return
until it was quite sure that we were not noticing its presence.

The uses of the enormous bill of the tucano have often been discussed by
ornithologists, many of whom believe that the bill is of no use to that
bird and Nature made in this case a mistake and has not yet had time to
rectify it. Scientists frequently allege that Nature makes mistakes,
because many of them have never really understood Nature. How could they?
They have never been near enough to Nature unspoiled. Many of them also
believe that tucano birds are great fishers, following the notion that
many water birds have red or yellow bills of large size. That, too, is
another great mistake, for the tucano is eminently a fruit and nut eater,
and of course a feeder on worms and insects contained in fruit.

The huge bill, attaining the length of six or seven inches, is toothed at
the sides in order to be able to saw the stems of fruit. The shape and
size of the bill, far from being a mistake of nature, are made so in
order to enable that bird to dig holes into the bark of trees and to
enable it to crush and chew the many curiously shaped fruits found in
certain parts of the Brazilian forest. Moreover, the bill is also a great
protection to the head in going through the dense foliage, where thorns
are innumerable and alive with dangerous insects of great size, which
can, owing to the length of its beak, be destroyed at a distance from the
bird's most vital organs.

These birds have received the name _tucano_ from the noise they make,
which resembles "_tok-kan_" very sharply pronounced and with a snap at
the end of each syllable.

The tucanos are good climbers, but not good fliers. In fact, their flight
is somewhat clumsy and heavy. They seldom fly long distances. They spend
all their time on the higher branches of trees. They are generally to be
seen alone or in couples, or perhaps occasionally in flocks of three or
four.

What spare moments I had in Castanho--after the storm was over--I spent
on the banks of the river looking at the magnificent stream.

Looking south, a low hill range could be seen in the distance with a
conical summit rising slightly above the range--the Serra do Cayapo. It
was there, as I have said, that the great Araguaya had its birth. It was
interesting to note that the head waters of the Araguaya--flowing north,
of course--had their birth within an infinitesimal distance of those of
two such immense rivers as the Inducassu and the Sucuru, flowing into the
Parana, and also near the somewhat unknown Taquary River flowing into the
Paraguay.

It would be possible--although perhaps expensive--by means of raised
artificial lakes and locks actually to join at least one of these
southern great rivers to the great Araguaya, and thus--barring some
troublesome rapids--form a continuous waterway from south to north across
South America, from Buenos Ayres, roughly in Lat. 34° 5' south, to Pará
in Lat. 1° 27' 6" South. Imagine a distance by river extending for 33°
37' 54" (or 3,737 kil.) in a straight line--as the crow flies--and not
less than double that distance if we include the constant turns and
deviations in the various connected rivers.

Easier still and less expensive would be to connect by rail the last two
navigable points of those two streams. That will certainly be done some
day, when those abandoned regions are eventually populated and properly
developed.

There were some rocky falls just below Porto Castanho which prevented
navigation as far as the place where we crossed the Araguaya--otherwise
the river was navigable from those falls as far as Conceição.

The formation of the clouds over the great Araguaya River was peculiar.
Great clusters of globular clouds generally collected in three distinct
strata upon a whitish sky as far as high up upon the sky vault.

Facing north, the country appeared absolutely flat, and nothing could be
seen above the trees as far as the eye or even a telescope could
perceive. In that direction the stream, 200 yards wide, flowed through a
perfectly straight channel for about one mile.

The fishing in the river was excellent. One night we caught a lot of
fish. One, a huge _pirarara_ weighing 40 lb., then some _pirahiba_ and a
_pintado_, the latter 24 lb. in weight. The _pirarara_ was an
extraordinary-looking fish. It had a long head covered entirely with a
hard, bony, granular substance, which could only be cracked by a severe
blow with an axe. The eyes were prominent and placed quite close to
abnormally long antennæ or feelers. The back of the _pirarara_ was bluish
black, the centre of the body longitudinally was yellowish, whereas the
under part was white. The tail was of a bright vermilion, and the black
fins had red edges, which made the huge _pirarara_ a really beautiful
fish to look at.

[Illustration: Typical Flat-topped Plateau of Central Brazil.]

[Illustration: One Night's Fishing on the Araguaya.]

The _pirahiba_ had a grey back with stripes so faint that they were
hardly visible. Its head was flat and anchor-shaped. The eyes--very
small--were curiously situated on the top of the head instead of at
the sides--owing to the fact that the head was really so flat that it had
no sides: it was merely a gentle convex curve from one side of the mouth
to the other over the skull. The _pirahiba_ too, like most fish of those
rivers, possessed long tentacles. Its mouth and fins were slightly tinted
red. It displayed powerful teeth similarly arranged to those of the
_pintado_ fish previously described.

Then we got some _tubarao_ (or _Squalus carcharias_)--a small fish with a
long, pointed head like a bird's beak, of the _plagiostomos_ order, and
several _mand[~i]_--a small yellow fish with enormous eyes. The
_mand[~i]_ had remarkable vitality. Seven hours after it had been
caught--I had no idea the poor thing was still alive--it gave several
leaps in the air, and when I put it in a bucket of water it shortly began
to swim as if nothing had happened.

There were only two or three very small dug-outs on the Araguaya, none of
which were capable of carrying more than one or two people. There was no
boat there large enough to carry all my men and baggage, had I even at
that moment decided to descend that river instead of proceeding west. I
took observations for latitude and longitude at Porto Castanho, as well
as boiling-point observations with the hypso-metrical apparatus, the
latter in order to get the exact elevation, and also to keep a check on
my several aneroids which I used on the journey merely for differential
observations.

May 9th, 1910. Boiling point, 210° 3 F. Temperature of the air, 83° F. =
1182 ft. above the sea level. By Aneroid, 1190 ft.

My mules having had a good rest, I was making ready to start on May
12th, when one of my men refused to come any farther. He wished to be
paid off and go. So he received his pay and went. He would probably end
his existence in that filthy little hamlet. He would never have the
energy to return to Goyaz alone. I was rather glad he had gone, as, a few
nights previously, he had fired at me while I was asleep. The bullet had
actually made a hole through the canvas of my camp bed. I had fortunately
taken the precaution to alter the position of my bed--under my tent--a
precaution I took every night, after my men had gone to sleep in their
hammocks, some distance outside. The man had evidently aimed where he
thought my head was resting. I having turned the bed around, the bullet,
fired from the man standing, went just over my ankles, perforating the
canvas quite close to them. I naturally came out of my tent to see what
was the matter, and saw the man with the rifle in his hand.

"Why did you shoot?" I inquired, as the man, evidently surprised to see
me standing before him, ejaculated disconnected words.

"I saw a huge _onça_" (a jaguar) ... "it was there ... I saw its two eyes
shining like fire...."

"Did you kill the _onça_?"

"No, it leapt away."

I advised the man, patting him paternally on the back, not to startle
everybody again. If he should see another _onça_ he had better come to
me. I seldom missed when I fired at all--as I had been able to show them
a few days before. I did not wish my men to behave like so many timid
young girls, as I wished to be able to tell people in Europe that
Brazilians were brave and noble.

"Firing in such a fashion indiscriminately," I explained to him, "you
might have even killed one of your companions! Now go to sleep like a
good fellow, and do not fire again!"

I spoke to the rascal in the gentlest of ways, never for one moment
letting him suspect that I knew he had intended that bullet to go through
my head. Nor did I ever take any of the other men into my confidence.
When they asked what the commotion was about, I told them that their
companion had fired at a jaguar and the jaguar had leapt away. There is
only one effective weapon you can use with scoundrels. It is the greatest
calm and kindness.

The man, hiding his face in his hands, threw himself upon his hammock and
began to sob. He sobbed and sobbed and sobbed until the morning--much to
the inconvenience of everybody in camp. At sunrise he had been seized
with a severe attack of rheumatism which had contracted a leg badly. It
was pitiful to see him walking--but when he was not aware of being looked
at he walked as well as anybody else.

From that day that fellow never dared look me straight in the face. He
avoided riding near me on the march, and in camp was sulky and
unpleasant, retiring to a distance and declining to work. He was relieved
of the functions of cook. The last time he had produced a meal nearly
brought massacre upon him at the hands of the other men.

He received his full pay up to date, without uttering a word of thanks.
He duly signed a receipt with his thumb-mark, as he was unable to write.
When the troop of horses and mules and his companions left, he never
spoke a word of farewell to his companions or animals, nor to me. He sat
silent and motionless, with his eyes riveted to the ground as if in a
trance. Some days later we discovered that he had stolen from our store
some 40 lbs. of coffee and a large quantity of sugar, as well as a number
of other articles which had been useful to us.

The sky when we left was overcast, and huge globular clouds, white and
grey, hung in great masses, especially half way up the vault of the sky.
The country, after crossing the Araguaya, was remarkably beautiful, from
an agricultural point of view--enormous campos or prairies--over rich
alluvial deposits, with scanty stunted trees upon them. Plenty of
_burity_ palms grew in the lower depressions.

My men suffered intensely from the cold at night--the minimum being 60°
Fahr., maximum 92°, in the afternoon of the 13th. The temperature had
been much lower since we had crossed the great river. The elevation was
only 1,250 ft.

Rising slowly over an undulation in the country to 1,300 ft., we began to
find igneous rock showing through the surface soil, especially on the
higher points.

_Lixia_ (_Nephelium Litchi_ Carab), _caraiba_ and the _laranjeira do
campo_ (_Citrus vulgaris_), were trees to be seen in that region.

We had wonderfully clear sky in the morning. At noon it became slightly
clouded, while in the afternoon one-third of the sky was covered. A light
breeze blew from the west.

Some 28 kil. from the Araguaya we came to a small miserable farmhouse.
After a great deal of bargaining I was able to purchase some extra
horses. The people had no idea whatever of the value of money, and named
sums at first which would have easily purchased the finest horses on the
English turf. They descended in time to more reasonable figures.

Our life was rendered miserable all day by the millions of _pium_ or
gnats that swarmed around us and stung us with incredible fierceness and
viciousness. Those little brutes left on our skins black marks fully as
large as themselves wherever they stung us. The itching was most trying.
Those marks remained for several weeks, and only disappeared when we
perforated them with a needle to let the blood out, or waited long enough
for them to become desiccated and the skin re-formed.

_Pium_ is a word of the Tupi and Tupinamba Indians' language. Those tiny
insects entered your eyes, leaving behind an odoriferous acid which
caused great irritation of the lids. We removed dozens every day from our
eyes. Fortunately they were easily extracted. They also dashed into your
ears, up your nose, and, whenever you opened it, inside your mouth.

It was well worth going to Matto Grosso to enjoy the lovely moonlight
nights, only comparable in their luminous splendour to nights of Central
Africa in the middle of the Sahara desert, and to those on the high
Tibetan plateau in Asia. The light of the moon was so vivid that one
could see almost as well as in the daytime.

Personally, the crisp cool air (min. 59° Fahr.) made me feel in most
excellent health and spirits, but my men, who had putrid constitutions,
were a mass of aches and pains. Some cried like children the entire night
with toothache, moaning and shrieking like lunatics when the pain became
acute; others got internal aches, another had cramp in the legs. I must
say that Alcides, with all his faults, was the only one who always did
his work--not always with common sense, but he did it--and, when ill,
never gave exhibitions of pitiful weakness like the others.

Filippe, the negro, who eventually showed himself to be the bravest
Brazilian on that expedition, also stood the pain more calmly and with
manliness. As I had judged from the first moment I had laid eyes upon
them, those were really the only two men who were any good at all. "_Il
bon dì si vede dal mattino_" (A fine day is seen in the morning), says an
ancient and very true Italian proverb; truer, perhaps, in its philosophy
with individuals than with the weather.

Many of my men's complaints vanished with the warmth of the sun--108°
Fahr. at 1 p.m., with a maximum temperature during the day of 85° in the
shade.

With the beautiful clear sky and a gentle breeze blowing, it was a real
delight to march. Only a slight whitish mist--always in horizontal
streaks--was to be noticed near the earth. The sky, although limpid, was
never of a deep blue, but merely of a pale cobalt. The dew was heavy
during the night and soaked everything, making the baggage, the tents
particularly, heavy for the animals to carry. We still kept at an
elevation of 1,250 ft., noticing, as we marched on, an isolated range of
hills extending from north-east to south-west and showing considerable
erosion at its south-westerly terminus. Two conical hills--one a broken
cone--stood on the summit of a flat plateau, the entire range, as well as
the summit of hills, showing eroded slopes with vertical wall-like
superior portions.

After leaving the stream at the foot of a range 1,450 ft. above the sea
level, on rising over a low pass I could observe to the north-east of
that range great blocks of eruptive rock much perforated, in which were
embedded pellets of yellow lava and of red and black baked igneous rock.
On examining the north-eastern end of the main part of the range it was
apparent that what remained standing before us was merely one half of a
circular crater, the other half of which had collapsed or had been blown
up by volcanic action. The bottom of the crater was subsequently filled
with alluvial deposits. There was there a grassy plain with a few
_burity_ palms. In the valley before us was ideal pasture land, which
will some day be of great value.

We crossed two cols (elev. 1,550 ft.) with a beautiful plain between.
Then we descended into a third lovely valley on the north side of the
outer wall of the crater. The grazing was perfect for the animals.
Clusters of vigorous, healthy _burity_ palms stood in great numbers in
the centre and at the sides of the valley. This great valley was bounded
by two ridges extending in a northerly direction--two spurs, as it were.
The rounded, channelled outer sides of the crater to the north would tend
to strengthen the theory that those slopes were formerly a gradual
continuation of the present inclined valley. On those slopes of the
mountain hardly any vegetation could be noticed, perhaps owing to the
fact that hard volcanic rock existed under the thin surface padding of
yellowish earth.

The valley was buried in red and grey lapilli and ashes, finely broken up
marble cubes, and fragments of other forms of crystallized rock.

As we proceeded from camp Fogasso, the northern slopes of the crater
became divided into huge furrows, the vertical upper part of the crater
displaying vividly rich red tones. The crater was castellated at the
summit, like the walls of a fortress.

The geological formation of that portion of the Matto Grosso plateau
interested me greatly. Each individual spur, taken separately, showed
slopes sometimes abrupt, sometimes well rounded, separated from the next
spur of hills by a V-shaped or angular, or else a concave hollow. At the
bottom of those hollows one did not find the slopes continuing the line
of the crater, but the valley was there absolutely flat and cut the line
of the slope sharply. It would almost appear as if a subsidence of the
soil had taken place in that particular locality, or else one might
speculate whether those abrupt hills had not been the walls of what was
once a subterranean volcanic cauldron--the flat valley, in which we were,
having been the bottom of that cauldron. What little rock one found in
the river bed in this valley showed signs of having been exposed to
intense and prolonged heat, and so did the brilliant red summit of the
hill range, which was also of the deep red typical of hard-baked rock.

[Illustration: The Paredãozinho.]

[Illustration: Typical Scenery of Matto Grosso.]

The scene which I had before me there in Matto Grosso greatly reminded me
of a similar basin I had seen when the great Bandaisan mountain in
Japan was blown up by a volcanic explosion and left merely the bottom
part of its gigantic internal cauldron with vertical red walls around it.
With the exception of scanty and anæmic grass and a few stunted trees,
there was hardly any vegetation noticeable. The Fogasso stream, on the
bank of which we camped, flowed in an easterly direction into the
Araguaya.

The temperature on the plateau was ideal--min. 63° Fahr. during the
night; max. 75°. We were at an elevation of 1,450 ft.

On May 15th we were travelling along a valley over which must have once
risen the continuation of a range which stood to the north of us. There
were deep grooves and corrugations in the valley in a direction from
south to north between the two sections of the now interrupted range.
There we found soil of red, brown and yellow tints, or else great
stretches of grey volcanic ashes and earth mixed, as well as sharply
angular fragments of igneous rock, which showed that they had not
travelled there by rolling on the ground or propelled by water.

After this we passed close to another curious spur of mountains on the
east--quite isolated and of a red vertical columnar formation. Its summit
was broken up--much more so than that of the plateau-like range to the
south of us which we were following in a parallel line. The highest point
of that range, to the south, was wooded, and so were the two
conical-topped hills which towered over it. The strata where exposed
showed a slight dip to the north. We crossed the range by two low cols at
elevations of 1,550 ft. and 1,560 ft. respectively. On the summit and
even lower upon the sides of those cols we found huge boulders of
eruptive rock, highly ferruginous. Globular lumps, big and small, of
spattered smooth-surfaced yellow lava were to be found in myriads; also
many spherical pellets of ferruginous, highly-baked rock with innumerable
holes produced while in a state of ebullition. Some of the ferruginous
rocks had pellets of yellow lava firmly imbedded in them, which had
evidently penetrated while liquid into the hollows of the ferruginous
rock which was already in a semi-solid, or perhaps solidified, condition.
At any rate, when it happened the ferruginous rock was already harder
than the lava.

While I was studying attentively the geological conditions of that
region, the sky suddenly became as black as ink to the south, and a heavy
shower, which lasted half an hour, drenched us all to the marrow of our
bones. Then it cleared up, and the sun, supplemented by our natural heat,
dried our clothes upon us again as we went on.



CHAPTER XII

     Geological Speculation--Beautiful Pasture-land


THE stars were of extraordinary brilliancy at night; so much so that one
could see quite well enough by their light to get about. The atmosphere
being extremely clear, they appeared of immense size, the planets shining
with dazzling, changing colours which would have filled even the most
profane with reverence for their splendour.

I drew the attention of my men to the wonderful sight.

"They are stars!" they replied contemptuously; "Have you never seen stars
before?"

It was indeed difficult to enter into conversation on any subject with
them without having an ardent desire to strangle the lot, they were so
ignorantly offensive. I was thankful I had the sense always to go about
unarmed, or I am certain some of them would have paid somewhat dearly for
their impertinence. I was glad, too, that I never felt the weight of
loneliness, as days and days would go by without my saying a word to
them, barring perhaps a shout in camp to bring my breakfast, lunch, or
dinner.

What was even worse than entering into conversation with them was to
listen--one could not help it, they shouted so loudly all the time--to
the conversation among themselves. We will not refer to the choice
language they used, so inexplicably sacrilegious and indecorous that it
would have set on edge the teeth of the coarsest specimens of humanity;
but the subject--I say subject in the singular, mark you, for alas! there
was only one subject--discussed in all its phases perhaps, but only one
single subject--assassination. The accounts of different murders, in some
of which the men boasted they had taken part, were nightly repeated in
their minutest details to the assembled crowd--myself excluded--sitting
around the fire, while the _feijão_--beans, so loved by them--were being
stewed for hours and hours in a cauldron.

There was the story of one murder of which one of the men was
particularly proud, in which he reproduced the facial expression as well
as the smothered shrieks of the horrified victim. He gave a vivid
description of how the blood squirted out like a fountain from the
jugular vein of the throat as it was being severed. That story--most
graphically narrated, I admit--had taken the fancy of that cruel crowd.
Almost every evening, during the entire time those men were with me, many
long months, I heard that story repeated amid roars of laughter from the
company. Murder--when applied to others--was evidently for them a great
joke!

Inconsiderate to a degree, they would get up and sing at the top of their
voices in the middle of the night and keep everybody awake while the
_feijão_ was stewing. It took hours and hours before those awful black
beans had boiled sufficiently to be edible, and the man who acted as
cook had to sit up the whole night to stir them up and watch them. Yes,
the position of cook for the camp was not an enviable one, for it meant
marching all day and sitting up all night to prepare the _feijão_ for the
following day. Yet the love they had for their _feijão_--I never ate the
beastly stuff myself--was so great that those lazy devils, who could not
be induced on any account to do other work, did not mind at all having
sleepless nights to watch over the stewing cauldron. With the _feijão_
were placed in the pot large pieces of _toucinho_ (lard). We carried
quantities of _feijão_, for without _feijão_ you cannot induce a
Brazilian to do anything or go anywhere. Of the two he would rather
sacrifice his life than lose his daily _feijão_.

It requires great ability, I believe, to cook _feijão_ properly. I
noticed that all my men in a body were ever superintending its
preparation. When the cook in the early hours of the morning happened to
let the fire go down, or in his drowsiness was not stirring it properly,
there were angry shouts from the other men, who, every time they opened
one eye in their sleep, invariably gazed towards the beloved cooking-pot.

We came to a second range parallel with the one described before and
extending from north-east to south-west. Again a vertical natural wall
was noticeable to the east. This range was subdivided into many sections,
almost all of the same size and shape. The end section to the
north-east--which made an exception--was about three and a half times the
length of any of the others. I observed some deep vertical vents such as
are frequently to be seen in the sections of volcanoes that have partly
been blown up. These vents were particularly numerous in the
north-easterly block, where broad corrugations and some narrow ones--ten
in all--were also to be seen.

Two alternatives could explain the present configuration of that region.
There had been either a great volcanic explosion or else a sudden
subsidence. Personally I was inclined to favour the first hypothesis. I
shall explain why. First because the great fissures between the various
huge blocks and the grooves carved in those rocks would then at once
explain themselves--caused naturally by the violent shock. They had
apparently been enlarged in the course of time by erosion of water and
wind, and possibly by the friction of the débris of the masses of rock
settling down when the stratum was severed. The quantity of débris of
shattered rock minutely broken into cubes and other angular forms would
suggest that some great shock had occurred. Then the usual yellow pellets
of polished lava, either globular or pear-shaped, or like an elongated
oval ending in a point and well rounded at the other end, would also
indicate that these missiles had been flying great distances through the
air in a molten state before they had actually dropped. In fact, the
flight was so long as absolutely to cool and solidify them before they
fell--unless they had fallen in cold water--for they had retained their
original form, instead of getting flattened at the heavier end, as could
be expected had the lava reached the ground in a half-soft state. Large
blocks of lava--which naturally took a longer time to cool and a shorter
time to reach the earth after their flight through the atmosphere--had,
in fact, become flattened on the lower side where they struck the ground.
Others of a composite globular form had invariably been flattened into a
slight curve on the side where they had come in contact with the soil.

Ovoid rocks as large as a loaf of bread and composed of compressed
cinders were to be seen about, which, when easily split open, showed a
band of slightly ferruginous matter, very brittle, in a crystallized
condition. In the centre of these rocks were invariably found beautiful
crystals of great limpidity, easily separated from one another by a
slight pressure of the fingers.

Erosion had evidently since played great part in the present appearance
of the country, but to my mind--directly above what is now a
valley--there existed at one time a high range of mountains, which was in
those days the great dividing line of the waters flowing south and north.

One might, of course, also argue that what are the mountains now have
been pushed up from underneath above the ground into their present
position, but local conditions do not tend to encourage this theory.

The strata of red baked rock in the existing mountain side were almost
absolutely horizontal, with merely a slight dip to the north. In the
northern end of the range the rock showing through the vegetation was
white, as if it had been subjected to baking. The western aspect of the
first range showed also a vertical summit of red rock with a sloping spur
extending to the west.

We camped that night on the river Prata, which flowed south. Elevation,
1,300 ft. Maximum temperature 85° F., minimum 63½° F.

The formation of the clouds was always interesting. The long horizontal
streaks across the sky, which were daily noticeable, took a form that day
not unlike the vertebræ of an immense snake, whereas the higher clouds of
transparent mist in filaments looked exactly like a huge spider's web.

We established our camp under a tall, handsome, slender _Xinghi_-tree,
the triangular fruit of which, with a light brown, hard skin, was deadly
poisonous if eaten. Alcides told me that in Minas Geraes it was much used
in the manufacture of soap. This tree was extremely neat-looking, with
its clean sinuous branches and its pretty, light green, healthy leaves,
of an elongated oval shape.

[Illustration: Volcanic Scenery of Matto Grosso.

Chapada in foreground.]

[Illustration: Peculiar Formation of Central Plateau.]

My men had insisted on bringing dogs away with us for safety in case of
attack by Indians. They had in fact procured three--I would not care to
say how--before our departure from the Goyaz Province. Those dogs were
just as faithless and lazy and worthless as the people. They followed us
because they got plenty of food, otherwise they had no affection for
anybody; and, far from giving an alarm when any person or any animal
approached the camp, they were quite unmoved by anything that happened
around them during the day or night, except at meal-times. A handsome
_onça_ (jaguar) leapt close to camp, and on perceiving us bounded
gracefully away--the dogs remaining fast asleep with their noses resting
on their respective extended fore-paws. Another day during the march a
_veado_ (_Cervus elaphus_), a deer, sprang in his flight clean over
one of the dogs without the dog even noticing him! Game was plentiful in
that part of the country, and the animals were so unaccustomed to see
people, that one could get quite near them.

My men went after game in the morning and we did not make an early start,
in fact not until 10.30 a.m. It was amazing to see the amount of good
water that was to be found on the plateau. We crossed a streamlet flowing
south (elev. 1,300 ft.), and shortly afterwards, upon gently inclined
land, we crossed another stream, also flowing south.

We were travelling due west along the foot of a curious range which stood
to our north and of another of similar characteristics to the south. It
seemed quite possible, in fact, even probable, that the two ranges were
formerly only one, which had then split, and that we were travelling
inside the partially-filled-up fissure between the two divided ranges.
The sky-line of the two ranges matched exactly on both sides--first a
long hump, then two smaller humps, after that a more even and continuous
line.

On reaching an elevation of 1,500 ft. we were confronted with a splendid
view of a flat plateau to the west. By a steep descent we went down 300
ft. to a river (elev. 1,200 ft. above the sea level) in a hollow, reached
by going through dense tall grass and thick vegetation. A humble wooden
cross by the stream marked the spot where a Brazilian had been murdered
by Indians.

Interesting flows and domes of lava were to be seen near the stream,
after which our marching that day was mostly up and down campos with
magnificent grazing, the general slope of which was from north to south.
At an elevation of 1,400 ft., on turning our heads back, we had a general
view of the two ranges which had become separated.

On one side of the range, a sloping back was noticeable, whereas on the
opposite side were almost vertical sides, much grooved, with a terrace
about two-thirds up the total elevation, except at the western end, where
the terrace was instead exactly half way up, with a minor terrace near
the summit.

We met and crossed another streamlet, and then rose on our route to 1,550
ft., from where another beautiful view of the plateau to the south-west
could be obtained, a low hill range with a higher peak in front of it,
and the immense green campos at a slanting angle. Another fine panoramic
view of the two divided ranges was also before us, although from that
particular point of vantage it was slightly more difficult to reconstruct
their former appearance in one's imagination than from the centre of the
valley we had crossed, although even from that point the fact was
apparent with a little study.

On proceeding down to the river we met some flows of red lava and, upon
the top of nearly every undulation, boulders of black eruptive rock
showed through, highly ferruginous, as well as much lava in pellets.
Débris of baked red and black rock were to be found in quantities down
the slopes and at the bottom of those undulations, carried there
evidently by water. In one or two places, such as near the river at Ponte
Keimada, I smashed some of the larger boulders of yellow lava. Here is
what I found inside: Under an outer coating of lava an inch thick there
was a layer of solidified cinders. Under that lay a thin layer of lava,
then again yet another layer of grey ashes, then lava again. This would
indicate that those boulders had gradually reached their present shape
partly in revolutions through the air thick with cinders, partly by
rolling down or along intermittent stretches of molten lava and cinders
during a great eruption, or perhaps during several successive eruptions.
Personally, I think that it was during various periods of one eruption
before the lava had cooled, so that in its sticky state it would easily
collect the ashes round it, which it would certainly not do in its
polished, solidified state.

When we had passed beyond the western end of the two parallel ranges a
great change was noticeable in the appearance of the country we were
crossing. We missed the long, sweeping, uninterrupted lines of the
scenery, and had before our eyes a confused surface of bosses, mounds and
short undulations, with thick luxuriant vegetation upon them which
prevented my studying carefully their geological formation. The soil, of
a rich red colour, showed every indication of being extremely fertile in
that particular climate.

From the point where we stood, one could well judge the effects of the
great volcanic explosion on the back of the range--the one to our
left--where a long line of buttresses had formed, as if on that side a
subsidence on a large scale had also taken place. It was in any case
curious to notice that at the two termini east and west of the two
parallel ranges white rock in columnar form was exposed in both ranges in
corresponding sites.

The slope noticeable on the north side of the southern range could be
explained by the tilting of the strata where the separation took place.
The angle of the strata clearly demonstrated this fact.

Millions of mosquitoes and _piums_, _carrapatinhos_ and _carrapatos_ made
life unbearable both during the day and night. We never had a moment's
respite. The gnats, too, in thick swarms around us were a constant
worry--we were all day busy removing them from our eyes and ears. They
stung us all over most mercilessly. I was making a botanical collection,
which not only contained specimens of the leaves of all the trees we met
with, but also of minor plants and various kinds of grass. This involved
getting off my mule many times a day. Whenever I put my feet on the
ground or touched a blade of grass I well knew what was in store for me.
At once I became literally covered with _carrapatinhos_, and set to
scratch myself so violently that nothing short of digging my nails into
my skin seemed to relieve the irritation--and that, mind you, only
momentarily. One had to bear it, and wait until one got to camp in the
evening before one could disinfect oneself all over. In this world one
never gets credit for anything, but I do think that few men under those
circumstances would have gone on, as I did, collecting botanical
specimens for no reward whatever except my own pleasure, if pleasure it
can be called.

Again we noticed that day wonderful effects of clouds in filaments, one
group stretching along the sky in an arc from north to east like the
dorsal bone and ribs of an immense fish.

We camped on the bank of a stream (elev. 1,050 ft.) flowing north-east,
which was, I think, the same stream we had met in the morning, and which
had described a big turn.

My men amused me with their fears. Even when in camp they never left
their rifles for a moment. When they went only a few yards away, either
to fetch water or bring back a mule, they invariably took all their
weapons with them--carbines, automatic pistols, and daggers.

In order to collect specimens and examine the country, I sometimes
strayed away alone for long distances from camp--sometimes for two or
three hours at a time--always absolutely unarmed. My men began to be
thoroughly frightened of the immunity I possessed from attacks of wild
beasts and Indians. Although I told them that wild beasts never attacked
human beings unless attacked first, and that there were no Indians about,
my men would not believe me. They maintained that I must have some
special secret of my own which brought me back alive, and that I must be
even bullet-proof. They could never be induced to go alone--even when
armed--for more than a few metres from camp.

We were having cool nights. Minimum 59° Fahr., maximum 80° Fahr.--on May
17th. A mackerel sky of the prettiest design was overhead, like a lovely
mosaic of white and blue porcelain, while a band of clear blue encircled
us all around above the horizon line.

Across a forest we continued our journey, rising some 300 ft. to 1,350
ft. above the sea level, where we again found campos and forest
alternately upon deep masses of fine red sand or else great expanses of
grey and black volcanic cinders intermixed in patches. On reaching the
highest elevation we actually went over 6 kil. of volcanic sand and
ashes, and in one place traversed a patch of shattered débris with
cutting edges of eruptive rock, and brilliant red or deep black pebbles.
Then again we saw masses of the usual ferruginous, much-perforated
rocks--many so absolutely spherical as to resemble cannon-balls.

To the west we could see before us lovely green
undulations--campos--with, in the centre, a curious hump that looked as
though due to subterranean pressure. In the distance was visible another
of those long flat-topped plateaus typical of Brazil, with a headland
which, owing, it seemed, chiefly to erosion, had become separated from
the main range. It resembled and was parallel with the second range of
the split mountains we had just left. Some nine kilometres from our last
camp we encountered the river Das Corgo, flowing south (elev. 1,150 ft.)
over a bed formed by an impressive great flow of solidified red lava
covered in some places by deposits of bright red earth. Beyond the river
we found ourselves again upon yellow sand and ashes.

Beneath a cirro-cumulus--or mackerel sky--again that day, wonderfully
beautiful because of its perfection of design, we were gradually rising
over the domed elevation we had previously observed, upon which we found
masses of tiny pebbles--what are known to geologists by the Italian name
of "puzzolana" or _scoriæ_ reduced to a granular condition. Farther on,
travelling over other undulations, we sank into thick deposits of grey
and yellow volcanic scoriæ, such as fine sand, cinders, and lapilli. At
the highest point (elev. 1,270 ft.) we travelled over deep sediments of
sand and ashes mixed together. All those undulations, as a matter of
fact, were above great buried flows of red lava, which were invariably
exposed to sight in the depressions, particularly in the beds of rivers.

Being a great lover of good water--to my mind the elixir of life, the
great secret of health and strength--I was always enraptured by the
deliciousness of the water in the streams we met. It was so crystalline
and limpid that one could not resist the temptation of drinking it, even
when not thirsty. I always carried slung to my saddle an enamelled tin
cup attached to a string so as to be able to procure myself a drink at
all the streams without getting off my mount.

Twelve kilometres from our last camp we came to a watercourse flowing
into a big stream at the bottom of the valley. Its bed was in overlapping
terraces of polished red lava.

The green country before us, in great sweeping undulations, reminded one
much, in its regularity, of the great waves of the ocean--what sailors
call "long seas." Where the stream had cut through and left the
underlying dome of lava exposed one could easily judge of the thick
deposits of sand, ashes and pulverized rock which formed the strata above
it.

We travelled over more red volcanic sand for some four kilometres, rising
to 1,400 ft., on which elevation was thick _matto_, or stunted, much
entangled forest. Then we emerged once more into glorious open country,
marching over a stratum 8 ft. thick of whitish tufa and ashes, this
stratum lying immediately above one of red volcanic earth. The strata
were easily measurable where rivulets had cut deep grooves in the softer
superficial strata and had reached the foundation layer of lava.

The campos seemed to get more and more beautiful as we went west. What
magnificent grazing land! One could imagine on it millions and millions
of happy, fat cattle; but no, not one was to be seen anywhere. What a
pity to see such wonderful country go to waste! There was everything
there, barring, perhaps, easy transport, to make the happiness and
fortune of thousands upon thousands of farmers--excellent grazing,
fertile soil, good healthy climate and delicious and plentiful water--but
the country was absolutely deserted.

For miles the beautiful prairies extended, especially to the south-west,
where in the distant background loomed a high, flat-topped tableland,
interrupted by two deep cuts in its extensive monotonous sky-line. Those
cuts were near its southern end. To the south stood a long range of
wooded hills--also with an absolutely flat sky-line. We ourselves were
not higher than 1,400 ft. above the sea level. My animals stumbled along
over a region of much-broken-up débris; then again travelling was easier,
although heavy, over tufa, sand and ashes. On descending to a stream,
1,200 ft. above sea level, we slipped terribly on the steep argillaceous
slope, and the animals had great difficulty in climbing up on the
opposite side, where we made our camp.

[Illustration: Curious Domes of Lava with Upper Stratum of Earth,
Sand and Ashes.]

[Illustration: Great Undulating Campos of Matto Grosso.]

The streamlet flowed east into a larger stream, which we also crossed,
and which flowed south-west.

It seemed to be getting colder at night as we went westward (May 18th,
min. 57° Fahr.), whereas during the day the temperature was hot--max. 97°
F. As early as 9 a.m. the thermometer already registered 85° in the
shade, and not a breath of wind. The elevation was 1,150 ft. The sky was
in streaky horizontal clouds to the east, and thin misty clouds to the
south--cirro-stratus.

One of my horses having strayed away a long distance, we only left that
camp in the afternoon after the animal had been recovered. We rose
quickly over the usual red volcanic sand held down in its place by the
vegetation--rather anæmic at that particular spot. Higher up we again
sank in the white and yellow ashes, with occasional zones covered by
small, angular, black-baked débris.

Ants seemed to flourish happily in that region, for the ant-heaps were
innumerable and of great size, several with towers about 6 ft. in height,
resembling miniature mediæval castles.

Having risen--all the time over grey and white ashes--to 1,420 ft., we
found ourselves again upon open campos with a splendid view of the
flat-topped range we had already seen to the north and of another to the
south. At the angle where the northern range changed its direction
slightly there stood a high prominence of peculiar appearance. The range
extended west, where it ended, into a broken cone--as I have already
stated quite separated by erosion from the main range. All along the
range in the section between the prominence at the angle and the terminal
cone could be noticed three distinct level terraces and several
intermediate ones--not yet well defined nor continuous along the whole
face of the range. About half-way along its length, a semi-cylindrical
vertical cut was a striking feature, and appeared from a distance to be
the remains of an extinct crater. It may be noted that where that crater
was, the range was higher than elsewhere. Its summit, with an undulating
sky-line, lay to the west of it, no doubt formed by erupted matter. Other
great vertical furrows were noticeable not far from the crater and to the
west of it.

The scenery was getting stranger and stranger every day. We began to
notice solitary domes and cones in the landscape. That day, in fact,
beyond the great campos we had before us a curious little well-rounded
dome, standing up by itself upon an absolutely flat surface, at a
considerable distance from the flat tableland which stood on one side,
and of which formerly it evidently made part. Higher mountains, somewhat
nearer to us, were on the south-west.

We had reached the River Corgo Fundo (elev. 1,250 ft.), along the banks
of which the laminæ of red-baked rock could be observed with thin white
layers between. Above was a lovely green pasture with a tuft of deep
green trees, which looked exactly like a bit of a well-kept English park.
We mounted up again to 1,430 ft., then went down another descent into a
large plain with campos, upon which grew merely a few stunted trees. We
were still travelling over deep deposits of sand.

The range to the north of us extended, to be accurate, from north-east to
south-west, and at its south-westerly end possessed a dome not dissimilar
to the one already described on our previous day's march. This one was
perhaps more rounded and not quite so tall. It rose above the plateau in
two well-defined terraces, especially on the north-east side, but was
slightly worn and smoothed to the south-west. On the terminal
mound--clearly separated from the range by erosion--seven distinct
terraces could be counted, with some less defined intermediate ones.

In the bed of another stream flowing south--it was impossible to
ascertain the names of these streamlets, for there was no one to tell,
and none were marked on existing maps--another great flow of red lava was
visible. This stream flowed into the Rio das Garças or Barreiros, only
500 metres away--an important watercourse, throwing itself eastward into
the Rio das Mortes, one of the great tributaries of the upper Araguaya
River.



CHAPTER XIII

     The River Barreiros--A Country of Tablelands


THE Rio Barreiros was about 100 metres wide. It was reached through a
thick belt, 100 metres in width, of trees and bamboos of large diameter,
which lined both its banks. The river flowed swiftly where we crossed it,
over a bed of lava and baked rock, red and black, with huge treacherous
pits and holes which rendered the job of crossing the stream dangerous
for our animals. There were rapids lower down in the terraced mass of
rock forming the river bottom. The rock, worn smooth by the water, was
extremely slippery. It was only after we had all undressed and taken the
baggage safely across on our heads--the river being too deep for the
loads to remain on the saddles--that we successfully drove the animals
over to the opposite bank.

On the banks I collected some specimens of the laminated red rock, which
had no great crushing resistance when dry. It could be easily powdered
under comparatively light pressure, and scratched with no difficulty with
one's nails. It was of various densities of red tones, according to the
amount of baking it had undergone. The superposed red strata had a dip
northward in some localities. The rock was much fissured, and had either
gone through excessive contraction in cooling or else perhaps had been
shattered by some earthly commotion--such as must have occurred often in
that region in ages gone by, for, if not, how could one account for
finding scattered blocks of this red rock resting upon the surface of
great stretches--sometimes for 20 or 30 kil.--of uninterrupted sand or
ashes which covered such great expanses of that country?

In the valleys, near water, _burity_ palms were numerous.

Overhead the sky was always interesting. The days nearly invariably began
with a clear, speckless sky, but, mind you, never of quite so deep a blue
as the sky of Italy or Egypt. The sky of Central Brazil was always of a
whitish cobalt blue. That morning--an exception to prove the rule--we had
awakened to a thick mist around us, which enveloped and damped
everything. No sooner did the sun rise than the mist was quickly
dispelled. In the late morning, about 10 o'clock, clouds began to form
high in the sky--not along the horizon, as is generally the case in most
countries--and grew in intensity and size during the afternoon. Nearly
every day at about sunset a peculiar flimsy, almost transparent, streak
of mist stretched right across the sky from east to west, either in the
shape of a curved line, or, as we had observed as recently as the day
before, resembling with its side filaments a gigantic feather or the
skeleton of a fish.

In the State of Goyaz, it may be remembered, we had a more beautiful and
complete effect at sunset of many radiating lines, starting from the east
and joining again to the west, but here we merely had one single streak
dividing the sky in two. When the sun had long disappeared under the
horizon, that streak high up in the sky was still lighted by its
rays--becoming first golden, then red. The effect was quite weird.

My men went during the night on another fishing expedition, but with no
luck--partly due to the infamy of our dogs. They used as bait for their
large hooks _toucinho_, or pork fat, of which they had started out
provided with a huge piece. They walked off a good distance from camp to
find a suitable spot. Unfortunately, while they were there the dogs ate
up all the _toucinho_ and the result was that the men had to return
disappointed. There was plenty of game, especially wild pig and _veado_
(deer).

Alcides had a smattering of botany, which was a great danger to the
company. He knew, he thought, the uses, medicinal or otherwise, of all
plants, herbs and fruit, wild or not wild. This, in addition to the
greediness of the men--who, although actually gorged with food, were
always willing to devour anything else they found--led once or twice, as
we shall see, to the poisoning of himself and his companions so
dangerously as not only to cause terrible internal pains, but to bring
them all actually to death's door.

I never got poisoned myself, as I generally took good care to watch the
effects of those experiments upon my men first. Then also in my many
years of exploration I had learnt only too well to beware of even the
most seductive tropical plants and fruit. Notwithstanding all this,
Alcides was really wonderful at turning out pleasant-tasting beverages
from the stewed bark or leaves of various trees, and of these
decoctions--in which additional quantities of sugar played an important
part--my men and myself drank gallons upon gallons. Many of those drinks
had powerful astringent qualities and had severe effects upon the
bladder, but some were indeed quite good and innocuous.

During the night I observed a most perfect lunar halo, the circle, close
to the moon, displaying a curious yellowish red outer fringe.

Since leaving the Araguaya we had been bothered a good deal nightly by
the heavy dew, which absolutely soaked everything, made all our rifles
and axes and iron implements rusty, and the tents and saddles and baggage
considerably heavier for the animals to carry, owing to the moisture they
had absorbed. In the early morning we began to get thick cold mist, and
it was about that time that the minimum temperature was usually
registered--58° Fahr. that particular night, May 19th. We were at quite a
low elevation, merely 1,100 ft. When we started in the morning we found
more sand and volcanic débris over ridges some 100 ft. or so above the
level of the river. A torrent, 15 metres wide, flowing swiftly W.S.W. on
a red lava bed, was crossed, the mules slipping terribly on the polished
rock. More ashes and sand were found as we ascended to an elevation of
1,200 ft., from which height we discerned a much-terraced headland to the
east and two streams meeting and flowing south where we eventually
crossed them. One of those watercourses descended in cascades over
laminated successive flows of lava, between which thin layers of white
crystallization could be seen.

Slightly higher, at 1,250 ft., we sank again in yellow and grey ashes.

Across campos we reached another foaming torrent, flowing as usual over a
lava bed, but this time in a north-westerly instead of in a southerly
direction. That day we met with many watercourses. Having risen to 1,450
ft., we soon after found another streamlet (elev. 1,230 ft.). Again a red
lava-flow was exposed in its bed and showed heavy upper deposits of grey
ashes, with above them a thick layer of yellow-ochre sand (1,300 ft.).

The distances on the journey were measured by a watch, the speed of the
animals at the time being naturally taken into consideration. It was not
possible to use the usual bicycle wheel with a meter attached, which is
used with so much success in the Arctic regions or in countries where
travelling more or less in a straight line and on a level surface is
possible.

Another limpid stream flowing south-west (elev. 1,200 ft.) was reached,
then more deep sand and ashes. After that we came to a thick growth of
bamboos and brush on reaching the banks of a streamlet winding its way
north.

Travelling up and down, all day and day after day, over those undulations
became tedious work--red sand, whitish sand, grey ashes, all the time.

[Illustration: Typical Brazilian Plateau, showing Work of Erosion.]

[Illustration: On the Plateau of Matto Grosso.

(Alcides in foreground.)]

On the west side, on descending the last prominence we at last came to a
slight variation in the geological composition of the country. After more
white sand and ashes had been passed, we came upon great stretches of
greenish grey granite exposed in huge domes and much striated, with
parallel grooves on its surface so deep that they almost looked as if
they had been incised by a sharp tool. These grooves were,
nevertheless, naturally caused by the sharp friction of sand and water, I
think, and also by sand blown over those rocks with terrific force by
winds of inconceivable vigour. All the way down our descent we travelled
over that striated rock. It had become exposed to the air, but must have
once been buried under sand and ashes like all the rest of that region.
Curious vertical cracks were to be noticed in several places, with
ramifications from a common centre--evidently caused by the concussion of
some huge weight which had fallen from above, perhaps a huge boulder shot
out by volcanic action, which had then rolled farther down the incline.

The terminal side of the curious range we had on our right appeared not
unlike a fortress with its vertical walls standing upon a slanting
bastion.

At the bottom (elev. 1,200 ft.) of the great dome of granite we had
travelled upon we crossed a stream flowing south-west, the water of which
was quite warm. The high temperature was due, I think, to the heat
absorbed by the rock exposed to the sun and communicated to the water
flowing over it, rather than to a thermal origin.

Continuing our journey, we had to the south a great hollow basin in the
south-western end of the range, with two hillocks between the range
itself and the flat boundary plateau to the south.

The highest point of the hill on which we travelled was 1,450 ft. above
the sea level. Every metre we travelled westward became more strangely
interesting. We were now upon a conglomerate of bespattered lava-drops
encased in a coating of solidified ashes. When we reached the stream we
had to go through a dark tunnel of dense vegetation, great ferns, giant
palms, creepers with their abundant foliage, and tall trees festooned
with liane. Having crossed this dark vegetable passage, we emerged once
more into lovely open campos.

Great lumpy globular woolly clouds faced us in the sky to the west.
Horizontal intermittent white layers were close to the horizon to the
east, then three parallel lines of feathery mist to the north-west. In
quantity of clouds the sky that day would meteorologically be described
as C 4--which means that four-tenths of the sky vault was covered.

One could not help being struck in Central Brazil by the almost absolute
immobility of the clouds. One seldom experienced a strong wind; contrary
to what must have taken place there in ages gone by, when that country
must have been the very home of terrific air-currents and disturbances on
a scale beyond all conception. It was only occasionally that a light
breeze--merely in gusts of a few seconds--would refresh one's ears and
eyes as one marched on. What was more remarkable still was the sudden
change of direction of those spasmodic gusts of wind when they did come.

From a river (elev. 1,250 ft.) we proceeded over undulations to 1,550 ft.
There we were treated to an extensive and beautiful view to the west,
south-west and north-west. The elevated sky-line formed by the plateau
and mountains was quite straight, barring three much eroded mountains
standing quite isolated and at a great distance from one another.

One of these solitary elevations was to the south-west, another--the
castle-like mountain of great height we had already observed--stood due
west. Then came the long flat line of the plateau but for a gentle
convexity at each end. The plateau, dressed in thick forest, stood in the
middle distance to the west-south-west. Campos of great beauty were
prominent on its slopes and in the two hollows in the immediate vicinity.

As we wound our way forward we found masses of ferruginous black rock,
black débris, and beautiful crystals.

The silence of that wonderful landscape was impressive. The tinkling of
my mules' neck-bells was the only cheering sound breaking that monotonous
solitude--except perhaps the occasional harsh voices of my men urging on
the animals with some unrepeatable oath or other.

Filippe, the negro--to be distinguished from the other Filippi in my
employ, a mulatto--was mounted on one of my best mules. He carried a
regular armoury on his back and round his waist, for not only did he
carry his own rifle but also mine, besides a pistol and two large knives.
He rode along, slashing with a long whip now at one mule then at another.
Occasionally he treated us to some of his improvised melodies--not at all
bad and quite harmonious, although one got rather tired of the incessant
repetitions. Filippe was a pure negro, born in Brazil from ex-slaves. He
had never been in Africa. His songs interested me, for although much
influenced naturally by modern Brazilian and foreign airs he had heard at
Araguary, still, when he forgot himself and his surroundings, he would
relapse unconsciously into the ululations and plaintive notes and rhythm
typical of his ancestral land in Central Africa--that of the Banda tribe,
which I happened to have visited some years before. I identified him
easily by his features, as well as by his music and other
characteristics.

Filippe did not remember his father and mother, nor had he known any
other relatives. He had no idea to what tribe he had belonged, he did not
know any African language, and he had never to his remembrance knowingly
heard African music. It was remarkable under those circumstances that the
Central African characteristics should recur unconsciously in Filippe's
music. It showed me that one is born with or without certain racial
musical proclivities, dictated by the heart and brain. They cannot be
eradicated for many generations, no matter what the place of birth may be
or the different surroundings in which the individual may find himself,
or the influences which may affect him even early in life.

Brazil was certainly a great country for tablelands. As we came out again
into the open, another great plateau, ending with a spur not unlike the
ram of a battleship, loomed in the foreground to the south. Yet another
plateau of a beautiful pure cobalt, also with another gigantic ram,
appeared behind the first, in continuation of the two separated plateaux
we have already examined. It was separated from these by a deep cut--a
regular cañon--several miles wide, and with sides so sharply defined that
it looked like the artificial work of an immense canal.

Great campos lay before us in the near foreground, from our high point of
vantage (elev. 1,550 ft.). We were still travelling on a surface of
volcanic débris, yellow ashes and sand--forming a mere cap over all those
hills, the foundation of which was simply a succession of giant domes of
lava.

North-west we still had the almost flat sky-line of a plateau rising
slightly in two well-defined steps or terraces to a greater height in its
northern part. What most attracted me that day was the delightful view of
the Barreiros valley spreading before us--a view of truly extraordinary
grandeur.

We rapidly descended, leaving to our left the Indian colony of Aracy.
Great granitic and lava slabs, much striated, were seen on our way down
to the river (elev. 1,200 ft.). The stream was 50 metres wide, and flowed
south where we crossed it. There was a handsome white sand beach on the
left bank of the river. On the western, or right bank, stood great
volcanic cliffs of boiled and broiled rock, interesting for the violent
contortions they had undergone during the processes of ebullition, which
showed plainly in their present solidified form.

The river bed itself was one of the usual lava-flows with huge globular
lumps and knots--but all in a solid, uninterrupted mass.

We waded chest-deep across the stream, conveyed our baggage and mules to
the opposite side, and then we all enjoyed a lovely bath with plenty of
lathering soap in the deliciously refreshing waters of the Rio Barreiros.

The river Barreiros, which had its birth in the Serra Furnas Corros, to
the south-west, entered the Rio das Garças--there 100 metres wide--a
short distance from where we crossed it. The latter river, by far the
larger of the two and of a very circuitous course, flowed in a
south-easterly direction into the Araguaya. The Rio das Garças, which
also had its origin in the Furnas Corros Mountains, had almost a parallel
course with the upper Barreiros from south-west to north-east, but on
meeting the Barreiros suddenly swung round at a sharp angle towards the
south-east, which direction it more or less followed until it entered the
Araguaya.

We made our camp on the right bank of the Barreiros River. My men were in
a great state of mind when I told them that perhaps on this river we
might find some Indians. The cautious way in which they remained as quiet
as lambs in camp amused me. I noticed the care with which they cleaned
their rifles and replenished their magazines with cartridges. I assured
them that there was no danger--in fact, that quite close to this place we
should find one of the Salesian colonies.



CHAPTER XIV

     The Bororo Indians


WHILE I was reassuring my men an Indian appeared, bow and arrows in hand.
He stood motionless, looking at us. My men, who had not noticed his
coming, were terrified when they turned round and saw him.

The Indian was a strikingly picturesque figure, with straight, sinewy
arms and legs of wonderfully perfect anatomical modelling, well-shaped
feet--but not small--and hands. He was not burdened with clothing; in
fact, he wore nothing at all, barring a small belt round his waist and a
fibre amulet on each arm.

The Indian deposited his bow and arrows against a tree when some other
Indians arrived. He stood there as straight and as still as a bronze
statue, his head slightly inclined forward in order to screen his
searching eagle eyes from the light by the shade of his protruding brow.
He folded his arms in a peculiar manner. His left hand was inserted flat
under the right arm, the right hand fully spread flat upon his abdomen.

The first thing I did was to take a snapshot of him before he moved. Then
I proceeded to the interesting study of his features. They were indeed a
great revelation to me. One single glance at him and his comrades
persuaded me that a theory I had long cherished about the aboriginal
population of the South American continent was correct, although in
contradiction to theories held by other people on the subject. I had
always believed--for reasons which I shall fully explain later--that
South America must be peopled by tribes of an Australoid or Papuan
type--people who had got there directly from the west or south-west, not
by people who had gradually drifted there from the north.

Some scientists--with no experience of travel--have been greatly misled
by the fact that the North American Indians are decidedly a Mongolian
race. Therefore they assumed--basing their assumption on incorrect
data--that the unknown Indians of South America must also be Mongolian.
This was a mistake, although undoubtedly migrations on a comparatively
small scale of Indians from North to South America must have taken place,
chiefly along the western American coast. Those tribes, however,
unaccustomed to high mountains, never crossed the Andes. Whatever types
of Indians with Mongolian characteristics were found settled in South
America were to be found to the west of the Andes and not to the east.
This does not of course mean that in recent years, when roads and
railways and steamships have been established, and communication made
comparatively easy, individuals or families may not have been conveyed
from one coast to the other of the South American continent. But I wish
my reader to keep in mind for a moment a clear distinction between the
Indians of the western coast and the Indians of the interior.

[Illustration: A Fine Bororo Type on a Visit to Author's Camp.]

To return to our man: I was greatly impressed by the strongly Australoid
or Papuan nose he possessed--in other words, broad, with the lower part
forming a flattened, depressed, somewhat enlarged hook with heavy
nostrils. In profile his face was markedly convex, not concave as in
Mongolian faces. Then the glabella or central boss in the supra-orbital
region, the nose, the chin, were prominent, the latter broad and
well-rounded. The cheek-bones with him and other types of his tribe were
prominent forwards, but not unduly broad laterally, so that the face in
front view was, roughly speaking, of a long oval, but inclined to be more
angular--almost shield-shaped. The lips were medium-sized and firmly
closed, such as in more civilized people would denote great
determination. His ears were covered up by long jet-black hair, perfectly
straight and somewhat coarse in texture, healthy-looking and uniformly
scattered upon the scalp. The hair was cut straight horizontally high
upon the forehead, which thus showed a considerable slant backward from
the brow to the base of the hair. A small pigtail hung behind the head.
The hair at the sides was left to grow down so as fully to cover the
lobes of the ears, where again it was cut horizontally at the sides and
back of the head. The top of the head was of great height, quite unlike a
Mongolian cranium.

The eyes--close to the nose, and of a shiny dark brown--had their long
axis nearly in one horizontal plane. They were set rather far back, were
well cut, with thick upper eyelids, and placed somewhat high up against
the brow ridges so as to leave little room for exposure of the upper lid
when open.

None of the other Indians, who had gradually assembled, wore a particle
of clothing, barring a tight conical collar of orange-coloured fibre
encircling their genital organs--so tight that it almost cut into the
skin. Without this solitary article of clothing no Indian man will allow
himself to be seen by another, less still by a stranger. But with so
modest an attire he feels as well-dressed as anybody. I think that this
elegant article of fashion must have originated as a sanitary precaution,
in order to prevent insects of all kinds, and particularly _carrapatos_,
penetrating within--or else I was really at a loss to understand of what
other use it could be. They themselves would not say, and only replied
that all Bororo Indian men wore it. The Indians who had assembled all
belonged to the Bororo tribe.

On that, as well as on later occasions, I noticed two distinct types
among the Bororos: one purely Papuan or Polynesian; the other strongly
Malay. The characteristics of those two different types showed themselves
markedly in every instance. The majority were perhaps of the Malay type.
I was intensely interested at the astounding resemblance of these people
to the piratical tribes of the Sulu Archipelago in the Celebes Sea,
where, too, one met a considerable amount of mixture of those two types
as well as specimens of pure types of the two races.

Among the Bororos many were the individuals--of the Malay type--who had
the typical Malay eye _à fleur de tête_, prominent, almond-shaped, and
slightly slanting at the outer angle. The nose--unlike that of Papuan
types--was flattened in its upper region between the eyes, and somewhat
button-like and turned up at the lower part--just the reverse of the
Papuan types, who had prominent aquiline noses with a high bridge and
globular point turned down instead of up.

The lips were in no case unduly prominent, nor thick. They were almost
invariably kept tightly closed.

The form of the palate was highly curious from an anthropological point
of view. It was almost rectangular, the angles of the front part being
slightly wider than a right angle.

The front teeth were of great beauty, and were not set, as in most jaws,
on a more or less marked curve, but were almost on a straight line--the
incisors being almost absolutely vertical and meeting the side teeth at
an angle of about 60°. The upper teeth overlapped the lower ones.

The chin was well developed--square and flattened in the Papuan types,
but receding, flat and small in the Malay types.

Both types were absolutely hairless on the face and body, which was
partly natural and partly due to the tribal custom of pulling out
carefully, one by one, each hair they possessed on the upper lip and upon
the body--a most painful process. The women--as we shall see--in sign of
deep mourning, also plucked out each hair of the scalp.

A striking characteristic of the head--in Papuan types--was the great
breadth of the maximum transverse of the head, and the undue prominence
of the supra-orbital ridges. Also, the great height of the forehead and
its great width in its upper part were typical of the race. The maximum
antero-posterior diameter of the skull was equal, in many cases, to the
vertical length of the head, taken from the angle of the jaw to the apex
of the skull.

The ears nearly invariably showed mean, under-developed lobes, but,
strangely enough, were otherwise well shaped, with gracefully defined and
chiselled curves. They were not unduly large, with a wonderfully
well-formed concha, which fact explained why the acoustic properties of
their oral organs were perfect. They made full use of this in
long-distance signalling by means of acute whistles, of which the Bororos
had a regular code.

The favourite form of earring adopted by the Bororos was a brass ring
with a metal or shell crescent, not unlike the Turkish moon, but I do not
think that this ornament was of Bororo origin. Very likely it was
suggested by the cheap jewellery imported into Brazil by Turkish and
Syrian traders.

They displayed powerful chests, with ribs well covered with flesh and
muscle. With their dark yellow skins they were not unlike beautiful
bronze torsi. The abdominal region was never unduly enlarged, perhaps
owing to the fact that their digestion was good, and also because they
took a considerable amount of daily exercise. In standing they kept their
shoulders well back, the abdominal region being slightly in front of the
chest. The head was usually slightly inclined downwards.

The feet of the Bororos of the Malay type were generally stumpy, but this
was not so with the higher Papuan types, who, on the contrary, had
abnormally long toes and elongated feet, rather flattened. The Bororos
used their toes almost as much as their fingers, and showed great
dexterity in picking up things, or in spinning twine, when their toes did
quite as much work as their fingers.

The colour of the iris of the Bororo eye was brown, with considerable
discoloration around its outer periphery, and especially in the upper
part, where it was covered by the lid. The eyes were generally kept half
closed.

The anatomical detail of the body was perfectly balanced. The arms were
powerful, but with fine, well-formed wrists--exquisitely chiselled, as
were all the attachments of their limbs. They had quite graceful hands,
long-fingered--in more ways than one--and wonderfully well-shaped,
elongated, convex-faced nails, which would arouse the envy of many a lady
of Western countries. The webbing between the fingers was infinitesimal,
as with most Malay races. Great refinement of race was also to be noticed
in the shape of their legs--marvellously modelled, without an ounce of
extra flesh, and with small ankles.

The Bororos divided themselves into two separate families--the Bororo
Cerados and the Bororo Tugaregghi. The first descended from Baccoron; the
second claimed descent from Ittibori. Baccoron lived where the sun set,
in the west; Ittibari dwelt in the east.

I heard a strange legend in connection with their origin, in which they
seemed proud of their descent from the jaguar--which to them represented
the type of virility. A male jaguar, they said, had married a Bororo
woman.

A sensible custom existed among the Bororos, as among the Tuaregs of the
Sahara desert in Africa. The children took the name of the mother and not
of the father. The Bororos, like the Tuaregs, rightly claimed that there
could be no mistake as to who the mother of a child was, but that
certainty did not always apply to the father. This was decidedly a
sensible law among the Bororos, who were most inconstant in their
affections. They were seldom faithful to their wives--at least, for any
length of time.

The Bororos were not prolific. They frequently indulged in criminal
practices in order to dispose of their young--either by strangulation at
birth or soon after, or by drugging their women before the birth of the
child. The young, when allowed to live, took milk from their mothers
until the ages of five or six years. The parents were extremely kind to
their children; indeed, they were extraordinarily good-natured and
considerate. Eight days after birth they perforated the lower lip of male
children and inserted a pendant, taking that opportunity to give a name
to the child. The lobes of the ears were only perforated at the age of
ten or twelve.

It was only at the age of about twenty that men were allowed to marry.

I found among the Bororos an interesting custom which I had seen but once
before--in Central Asia, on the slopes of the Himalaya Mountains, among
the Shoka tribesmen. I am referring to the "clubs"--called by the Bororos
_Wai manna ghetgiao_. There the young men and girls went not only with
the object of selecting a wife or husband, but also to get thoroughly
acquainted and see if the mate selected were suitable or not. The men sat
on one side of the club-house--a mere hut--the women on the other. In a
way, these clubs prevented hasty marriages, for the men were given plenty
of time to study their prospective brides and the girls their future
husbands. Curiously enough, in the Bororo country it was generally the
woman who proposed to the man. When the official engagement was made the
man proceeded to the hut of his sweetheart and brought a gift of food for
her and her mother. If the gifts were accepted there was no other
formality to be gone through, and the matrimonial ceremony was indeed of
the simplest kind. The man took away the girl to his hut and they were
man and wife.

The _cuisine_ of the Bororos was not attractive to European palate, ears
or eyes. One of the favourite dishes of the Bororos, served on grand
occasions, was the _mingao_, or Indian corn chewed up into a paste inside
their mouths by women and then displayed before the guests in earthen
pots filled with fresh water, in which it was then cooked.

The Bororos maintained that the sun, _Cervado_, and the moon, _Ittary_,
were two brothers, both being males.

They believed in a superior Being--the essence of goodness and
kindness--a Being who will never give pain or hurt anybody; therefore the
Bororo, who was really at heart a great philosopher, never offered
prayers to that superior Being. Why pray and worry one who will never
injure us? they argued.

Then they believed in a wicked and revengeful devil, the _Boppé_, to whom
constant attention was paid because by him was caused all the trouble
that humans can have. Malady, accidents, disaster in love, in hunting or
fishing expeditions--for all these the devil _Boppé_ was responsible.

Then they had also another evil spirit--the _Aroe Taurari_--who, they
said, often assumed the appearance of their ancestors in order to come
and watch the games of the Bororos, such as wrestling and archery.
Wrestling--in the catch-as-catch-can style--was one of their favourite
games. They were very agile at it. Their favourite trick was to seize
each other across the shoulders, each endeavouring to trip his opponent
by a twisted leg round his knee. Children in the _aldejas_ were playing
at this game all the time. In the Bororo wrestling-matches it was
sufficient to be thrown down to be the loser, and it was not essential to
touch the ground with both shoulder-blades.

The only other game I saw among the Bororos was the test of strength. It
was carried out with a most striking article--a great wheel made of
sections, each one foot long, of the trunk of the _burity_ palm tied
together by double strings of fibre. The ribbon thus formed by them was
rolled so as to make a solid wheel of heavy wood 6 ft. in diameter. The
whole was retained in a circular form by a strong belt of vegetable
fibre. This great wheel was used by the Bororos in their sports, at
festivals, for testing the strength of the most powerful men. It was so
heavy that few men could lift it at all, the great test being actually to
place it on one's head and keep it there for a length of time.

[Illustration: Bororo Men, showing Lip Ornament.]

[Illustration: Bororo Men.]

The Indians of South America, like the Indians of North America, revelled
in decorating themselves with the feathers of brightly-coloured birds.
The red, yellow and blue giant macaws, fairly common in that region, paid
dearly for this fashion of the Indians. Many of those poor birds were
kept in captivity and plucked yearly of all their feathers in order to
make hair ornaments of beautiful blue and green plumage for the
leading musician, who rattled the _bacco_ (a gourd full of pebbles which
can make a terrible noise), or else armlets, earrings or necklaces. Some
of the designs woven with the tiniest feathers of those birds were quite
clever, and required delicate handling in their manufacture. Ducks, too,
supplied many of the feathers for the ornaments of the Bororos.

Their cooking utensils were simple enough--merely a few large earthen
bowls, badly baked and unglazed, the largest of which was seldom more
than 2 ft. in diameter. They broke easily, being made extremely thin.

The Bororos made basket-work by plaiting dried palm-leaves, but their
most interesting work of all consisted in the really beautifully made
fishing nets. Nearly all the Indians of South America showed remarkable
talent and patience at this work. The strings were twisted of a vegetable
fibre, extremely resisting, and eminently suitable by its softness and
regularity of diameter.

Whether owing to excitement, indigestion or other causes, the Bororos had
visions, which they attributed to the _Aroe Taurari_. In a certain way
they were believers in the transmigration of the soul--not generally, but
in specific cases.

There were certain Bororos who, by magic songs, professed to fascinate
animals in the forest and were able to catch them. The _barih_ or
medicine-man generally, assisted in those incantations.

The Bororos were remarkable walkers. They were extremely light on their
feet and had a springy gait, most graceful to watch. A striking
characteristic of these people was that, when standing--unlike nearly
every other tribe of savages I have seen--they spread their toes outward
instead of keeping both feet parallel. To a lesser extent the feet were
held in that position also when walking. The suppleness of their bodies
gave them a great advantage in penetrating with ease anywhere in the
forest without having to cut their way through.

Both men and women were passionately fond of dancing, although their
dancing had not reached any degree of perfection. With a strip of
_burity_ palm upon their shoulders they hopped around, monotonously
chanting, with a rhythmic occasional jump, the women following the men.

The women possessed considerable endurance. They could carry heavy
weights for long distances by means of a fibre headband resting on the
forehead. Under those circumstances the body was kept slightly inclined
forward. Children were also carried in a similar fashion in a sling,
only--less practically than among many Asiatic and African tribes--the
Bororo children were left to dangle their legs, thereby increasing the
difficulty of carrying them, instead of sitting with legs astride across
the mother's haunches. I was amazed to see until what age Bororo mothers
and sisters would carry the young upon their shoulders--certainly
children of five or six years of age were being carried about in this
fashion, while such hard duties as pounding Indian corn, thrashing beans,
and hut-building, were attended to.

Neither in women nor in men was the power of resistance in any way to be
compared with that of the tribes of Central Africa or Asia. The Indian
tribes of Brazil impressed one as being strong, because one compared them
with their neighbours and masters, the Brazilians, who were physically
one of the weakest, least-resisting races I have ever seen. When you
compared them with some of the healthy savage races elsewhere, the
Indians did not approach them in endurance and quickness of intellect. Do
not forget that endurance is greatly due to brain power and self-control.
The Indian races I saw in Brazil seemed to me almost exhausted
physically, owing perhaps to constant intermarriage among themselves. The
eyesight of the Bororos, for instance, was extremely bad. There were many
in every _aldeja_ who were almost or absolutely blind. The others were
nearly all short-sighted.

The Bororos removed--pulled out, in fact--their eyelashes one by one, as
they believed it improved their sight, especially for seeing at long
distances. They all suffered more or less from complaints of the eyes.
Indeed, I have seldom found races whose members had eyes in such poor
condition. Conjunctivitis was the most prevalent form of eye disease.
Ophthalmia was frequently met with. They seemed to have no efficacious
method of curing those complaints, and the result was that one found an
appalling number of blind or half-blind persons among them--quite out of
proportion to the small population. The Bororos did not, of course, know
of spectacles or any other way of protecting the eyes. Even when their
eyes were in a normal condition, they nearly all had some defect of
vision. Squinting was frequently to be noticed among them, and nearly
invariably unevenness of the eyes. Cataract was common at a comparatively
early age, and they knew no remedy for it. An abnormally marked
discoloration of the upper part of the iris was constantly to be noticed
even in young people. Among the healthiest I never saw one man or woman
with extraordinary powers of vision such as are most common among savage
tribes of Asia and Africa. The diseased condition of their blood was also
perhaps to a certain extent responsible for this.

Their hearing was good, but not much more acute than with the average
European--and infinitely inferior to that of the natives of Asia and
Africa. They suffered considerably from the most terrible of blood
complaints, general among them, also from leprosy and various skin
troubles.

The Bororos made considerable use of the _urucu_ plant (_Bixa orellana_
L.) which they called _nonoku_, from the fruit of which they obtained a
brilliant red colouring matter for tinting their bows and arrows. The
shell of the fruit contained a number of shiny seeds, which, when
squashed, exuded a vivid red juice. It adhered easily to the skin of the
forehead and cheeks, for which purpose the Indians also extensively used
it.

The black paint which the Indians used for smearing themselves across the
forehead, cheeks, and upon the shoulders, from side to side, was made to
stick to the skin and shine by mixing it with a resin.

The Bororos of the Rio Barreiros district carried five arrows each with
them, but each family of Bororos used a special colour and also a
different number of arrows, so that no particular rule could be laid
down for the entire tribe. The red-tinted arm-band which most men wore
was called the _aguasso_.

Before starting on a hunting expedition of importance the Bororos usually
indulged in a feast.

I took a great number of thumb-marks among them, some of which were
remarkable for the precision of the spiral lines from the central point,
all over the thumb point. Others in the longer thumbs showed a peculiar
deviation in the curve at the end, near the point of the thumb. Where the
lines began to deviate, the triangle formed was filled in by other lines
joining those of the spiral at sharp angles.

The experiments with the dynamometer in order to measure their strength,
the anthropometric measurements with a calliper, and the printing of the
thumb-marks, caused the Bororos first of all great anxiety, then
boisterous amusement. They looked upon it all as utter nonsense--in a way
I did not blame them--and repeatedly asked why I did it. I told them that
I did it to find out where they came from.

"We are not monkeys," said they; "we do not walk on our hands. If that is
your object you should look at our foot-marks on the ground, not at the
marks of our hands!"

With these words, from a tracker's point of view, the local wit set the
entire company in shrieks of laughter at his quick repartee.

"Oh, yes!" said I; "but with the thumb-marks I may perhaps trace, not
only where you come from, but also where your great-grandfather, who is
now dead, came from."

That was too much for them. All had been anxious to make a smudge with
smoke-black upon my note-book. Now they all refused to do any more
thumb-marking, and walked away; but I had fortunately already finished
the work I needed from them.

The Bororos--in fact, most Indian tribes of Central Brazil--knew nothing
whatever of navigation. This was chiefly due to the fact that all the
woods of Central Brazil had so high a specific gravity that not one of
them would float. Hence the impossibility of making rafts, and the
greatly increased difficulty in making boats. As for making dug-outs, the
Indians had neither the patience nor the skill nor the tools to cut them
out of solid trees. Moreover, there was really no reason why the Indians
should take up navigation at all when they could do very well without it.
They could easily get across the smaller streams without boats, and they
were too timid to go and attack inimical tribes on the opposite banks of
unfordable rivers. Besides, the Indians were so few and the territory at
their entire disposal so great, that there was no temptation for them to
take up exploring, particularly by water.

They were all good swimmers. When the river was too deep to ford they
merely swam across; or else, if the river were too broad and swift, they
improvised a kind of temporary raft with fascines or bundles of dried
_burity_ leaves, to which they clung, and which they propelled with their
feet. These fascines were quite sufficient to keep them afloat for a
short time, enabling them also to convey a certain amount of goods across
the water.

In other countries, such as in Central Africa among the Shilucks and the
Nuers of the Sobat River (Sudan), and the natives on Lake Tchad, I have
seen a similar method adopted in a far more perfected fashion. The
Shilucks, for instance, cleverly built big boats of fascines--large
enough to carry a great number of warriors. Such was not the case with
the bundles of _burity_ of the Indians--which merely served for one or at
the most two people at a time, and then only until the bundle became
soaked, when it went to the bottom.



CHAPTER XV

     Bororo Superstitions--The Bororo Language--Bororo Music


[Illustration: Bororo Indians.]

THE Bororos were superstitious to a degree. They believed in evil
spirits. Some of these, they said, inhabited the earth; others were
invisible and lived "all over the air," to use their expression. The
aerial ones were not so bad as those on earth. It was to the latter that
their invocations were made--not directly, but through a special
individual called the _barih_, a kind of medicine man, who, shouting at
the top of his voice while gazing skyward, offered gifts of food, meat,
fish and grain to the _boppé_ or spirits invoked. There were two kinds of
_barih_: a superior one with abnormal powers, and an inferior one. The
_barih_ eventually pretended that the spirit had entered his body. He
then began to devour the food himself, in order to appease the hunger of
his internal guest and become on friendly terms with him. The wife of the
_barih_, who on those occasions stood by his side, was generally asked to
partake of the meal, but only after the _barih_ had half chewed the
various viands, when he gracefully took them with his fingers from his
own mouth and placed them between the expectant lips of his better half.
She sometimes accepted them--sometimes not. All according to her
appetite, I suppose, and perhaps to the temporary terms on which she
was that day with her husband.

The Bororos, curiously enough, spoke constantly of the
hippopotamus--_ajie_, as they called it--and even imitated to perfection
the sounds made by that amphibious animal. This was indeed strange,
because the hippopotamus did not exist in South America, nor has it ever
been known to exist there. The women of the Bororos were in perfect
terror of the _ajie_, which was supposed to appear sometimes breaking
through the earth. Personally, I believed that the _ajie_ was a clever
ruse of the Bororo men, in order to keep their women at home when they
went on hunting expeditions. Boys were trained to whirl round from the
end of a long pole a rectangular, flat piece of wood attached to a long
fibre or a string. Its violent rotation round the pole, with the
revolutions of the tablet around itself at different speeds, reproduced
to perfection the sounds of blowing and snorting of the hippopotamus. The
whizzing of this device could be heard at astonishing distances. The
credulous women were rendered absolutely miserable when they heard the
unwelcome sounds of the _ajie_, and, truly believing in its approach,
retired quickly to their huts, where, shivering with fright, they cried
and implored to have their lives spared.

The boy who whirled the magic tablet was, of course, bound to keep the
secret of the _ajie_ from the women. Let me tell you that one of the
chief virtues of the Bororo men, old and young, was the fidelity with
which they could keep secrets. The youngest children were amazing at
keeping secrets even from their own mothers. There were things that
Bororo women were not allowed to know. Boys attended the tribal meetings
of men, and had never been known to reveal the secrets there discussed
either to their sisters or mothers.

When I said it was a virtue, I should have added that that virtue was a
mere development of an inborn racial instinct. Young and old among the
Bororo were extremely timid and secretive by nature. They feared
everybody--they were afraid of each other. It was sufficient to watch
their eyes--ever roaming, ever quickly attracted and pointing sharply at
anything moving anywhere around--to be satisfied of the intense
suspiciousness of these people.

The Bororos were restless nomads and could never settle anywhere. They
were always on the move--hunting, fishing, and formerly on warlike
expeditions with other tribes. They showed great skill with their arrows,
which they threw with wonderful accuracy even under conditions of unusual
difficulty. When fishing, for instance, they showed remarkable
calculating powers when the line of vision became deviated by the surface
of the water and made it difficult to judge the exact position of the
fish at different depths, quite removed from where the eye saw it. Their
long arrows had a double-barbed bone head, which was poisoned when
fighting men.

The Bororos were not quarrelsome by nature; on the contrary, they were
dignified and gentle. They always avoided fighting. It was only when
driven to it, or when hunted down and attacked, that they naturally
endeavoured to defend themselves. This has brought upon them the
reputation of being barbarous and cruel savages. Even among themselves
they seldom quarrelled; they never offended one another with words. They
had great respect for their elders.

At night the men collected in the village. One of them spoke aloud to the
crowd, delivering a regular lecture on the events of the day, their
hunting or fishing adventures, or tribal affairs. The greatest attention
was paid to the orator, and only after his speech was over a warm but
orderly discussion followed.

When a Bororo man was angry with another he would not descend to vulgar
language, but he generally armed himself with a bony spike of that deadly
fish, the _raja_ (_Rhinobates batis_) or _mehro_, as it was called in the
Bororo language, which he fastened to a wristlet. With it he proceeded in
search of his enemy, and on finding him, inflicted a deep scratch upon
his arm. This was considered by the Bororos the greatest insult a man
could offer.

Women, as in most other countries, quarrelled more than men. Not unlike
their Western sisters, they always--under such circumstances--yelled at
the top of their voices, and then resorted to the effective and universal
scratching process with their long sharp nails.

It will be judged from this that it will not quite do to put down the
Bororos as being as tame as lambs. Indeed, it was sufficient to look at
their faces to be at once struck by the cruel expression upon them. They
prided themselves greatly on having killed members of rival tribes, and
more still upon doing away with Brazilians. In the latter case it was
pardonable, because until quite recently the Brazilians have slaughtered
the poor Indians of the near interior regions in a merciless way. Now, on
the contrary, the Brazilian Government goes perhaps too far the other way
in its endeavour to protect the few Indians who still remain within the
Republic.

The more accessible tribes, such as the insignificant ones on the
Araguaya, were having a good time--valuable presents of clothes they did
not want, phonographs, sewing machines, fashionable hats, patent leather
shoes, automatic pistols and rifles being showered upon them by expensive
expeditions specially sent out to them. It no doubt pleased an
enthusiastic section of the Brazilian public to see a photograph of
cannibal Indians before they met the expedition, without a stitch of
clothing upon their backs--or fronts to be accurate--and by its side
another photograph taken half an hour later and labelled "Indians
civilized and honoured citizens of the Republic," in which you saw the
same Indians, five or six, all dressed up and, it may be added, looking
perfectly miserable, in clothes of the latest fashion. It would have been
interesting to have taken a third photograph an hour after the second
picture had been taken, in order to show how soon civilization--if
donning a pair of trousers and shoes and a collar and tie can be called
being civilized--can be discarded.

[Illustration: Bororo Men.

(The aprons are not actually worn.)]

The news had spread by word of mouth down the Araguaya many months ahead
that a Brazilian expedition would be sent out with gifts, in order to
befriend the Indians--supposed to be innumerable: only a few dozens, all
counted, in reality. Seeing no expedition arrive, the Indians--five or
six--proceeded to travel some hundreds of miles to go and find it. The
expedition for lack of money had remained stuck in a certain town. It was
in that town that the valuable photographs were taken. No sooner had they
said good-bye to their generous donors than the Indians left the city,
quickly removed their clothes, which they exchanged for a few drinks of
_aguardente_ (fire-water), and, as naked as before, returned to the
shores of their beloved river.

Nevertheless the movement of the Brazilian Government was extremely
praiseworthy and did it great credit. Like all movements of that kind it
was bound to go to excesses in the beginning, especially in Brazil, where
people were very generous when they were generous at all. So that so far
the fault has been on the right side. It will undoubtedly prevent in the
future much severe, even cruel treatment which has been bestowed on the
Indians.

It was only a great pity--a very great pity--that this movement for the
protection of the Indians had been started when there were few pure
Indians--almost none--left to protect. According to Brazilian statements,
the wild Indians of Central Brazil amounted to some fifteen or twenty
millions or thereabouts! A few--very few--thousands, perhaps only
hundreds, would be nearer the truth. There were no great tribes left in
their absolutely wild state anywhere in Brazil. There were a few small
tribes or families scattered here and there, but it was seldom that these
tribes numbered more than twenty or thirty members. If the tribe numbered
fifty individuals it was already a large tribe. Most of them contained
merely six or eight members. So that really, in the population of
Brazil, these tribes, instead of being the chief factor, were in fact a
negligible quantity. It would be rash to make a statement as to the exact
number of wild Indians in Brazil, for in a country so big--larger, as I
have already stated, than the United States of America, Germany,
Portugal, and a few other states taken together--and most of which was
little known or absolutely unknown--it was not easy to produce an exact
census.

During my journey, which crossed that immense country in a zigzag from
one end to the other in its broader width, and covered all the most
important regions of the Republic, I became assured that few indeed were
the pure Indians to be found in Central Brazil. One went hundreds and
hundreds of miles without meeting signs of them; and that in localities
where they were supposed to be swarming. The Bororos--a few dozens of
them, all counted, in two or three different subdivisions--were perhaps
the strongest wild tribe in all the immense State of Matto Grosso.

As I have said, I was greatly impressed, from my first contact with the
Bororos, by the strongly Polynesian appearance of some of them. The more
specimens I saw of them the more I became convinced that they were of the
same race. In fact, more: I began to speculate whether the people of
Australia and Polynesia had migrated here or whether it was just the
other way--which theory might also be plausibly upheld--viz. that the
people of Central South America had migrated to the west, into Polynesia
and Australia. Many theories have been expounded of how races always
follow certain rules in their migrations, but in my own experience I do
not invariably find that those theories are always correct. Again, it
does not do to rely too much on the resemblance of words in establishing
a relationship between two or more races. Nor, indeed, can one trust
absolutely to the resemblance in the rudimentary ornamentation of
articles of use. If you happen to be a student of languages, and have
studied dozens of them, you will soon discover how far words will travel
across entire continents. They can often be traced back to their origin
by the knowledge of intermediate languages through which, with
distortions, those words have passed. In Central Africa I actually heard
words of Mongolian origin, and not only that, but even traced Mongolian
characteristics in the type of the ruling classes of natives, as well as
in the construction of their language.

It is easy to be occasionally misled. I remember on my journey across
Africa how amazed I was at first at hearing some Tonkinese expressions
used by the native cannibals. I really could not get over my amazement
until I learnt that some years previously a number of Tonkinese convicts
had been sent up the Congo and Ubanghi rivers by the French. Several of
them had lived in that particular village of cannibals for some years.
Hence the adoption of certain words which had remained in frequent use,
whereas the Tonkinese individuals had disappeared.

I took special care in Brazil, when making a vocabulary of the Bororo and
other Indian languages, to select words which I ascertained were purely
Indian and had not been contaminated either by imported Portuguese words
or words from any other language. I was much struck by the extraordinary
resemblance of many words in the language of the Indians of Central
Brazil to the Malay language and to languages of Malay origin which I had
learnt in the Philippine Islands and the Sulu Archipelago.

For instance: the Sun, which is called in Malay _mata-ari_, usually
abbreviated into _'ari_, was in the Bororo language _metiri_, and in the
language of the Apiacar Indians of the Arinos-Juruena river, _ahra_,
which indeed closely resembles the Malay word. Moreover, the word _ahri_
in the Bororo language indicated the _moon_--a most remarkable
coincidence. It became slightly distorted into _zahir_ in the Apiacar
language.

Water, which is _poba_ in Bororo and _üha_ in Apiacar, was curiously
enough _ühaig_ in the Bagobo language (Mindanao Island), _po-heh_ or
_bo-heh_ in the Bajao language (Mindanao Island), _ayer_ in Malay, and
_uhayeg_ in Tiruray (west coast of Mindanao Island, Philippine
Archipelago).

Father was _bapa_ in Malay, and _pao_ in Bororo. Many were the words
which bore a slight resemblance, as if they had been derived from the
same root. _Langan_, arm, in Malay, was _ankan-na_ or _akkan-na_. Ear, in
the Ilocano language (Philippine Archipelago) was _cabayag_; _aviyag_ in
Bororo. Hair in Ilocano, _b[)o][)o]k_, in Manguianes _bohoc_, and in Sulu
(Sulu Archipelago) _buhuc_; in Bororo it was _akkao_, which might easily
be a corruption of the two former words.

[Illustration: Bororo Warriors.]

[Illustration: Bororo Warriors.]

I was greatly interested, even surprised, to find that although those
Indians lived thousands of miles on every side from the sea, and had
never seen it, yet they talked of the _pobbo mae re u_--the immense
water; (_pobbo_, water; _mae_, great; _re_, the; _u_, an expression of
magnification such as our _oh_).

It was also interesting to note that they had specific words for water of
streams--words which we do not possess in the English language, complete
as our language is--such as down-stream, and up- or against-stream--like
the French _en aval_ and _en amont_. The Bororo used _tche begki_,
down-stream, and _tcheo bugkii_, up-stream.

The Bororo language was rudimentary in a way, yet most
complete--extremely laconic, with innumerable contractions. The
construction of sentences and the position of the verb were not unlike
those of Latin languages.

The chief wealth of the Bororo language consisted in its nouns. Like all
savage languages, it was wonderfully rich in botanical and zoological
terms. The gender was formed by a suffix, the masculine differing from
the feminine.

There were in the Bororo language three genders, masculine, feminine and
neuter. The masculine was formed by adding the words _chireu_, _curi_, or
_curireu_, to the noun; the feminine by the suffixes _chireuda_ and
_curireuda_. There were many words which were used unaltered for either
gender. In the case of animals, the additional words _medo_, male, or
_aredo_, female, clearly defined the sex in specific cases where the
names would otherwise be ambiguous. Inanimate objects had no sex, and
were therefore neuter.

Most nouns had a plural as well as a singular, but there were exceptions
to this rule, such as names of certain plants and animals, the sky, the
wind, etc.; not to count things which were generally taken collectively,
such as flies--_ruque_; macaw or macaws, _nabure_, etc.

The plural was made by the suffixes _doghe_ or _maghe_--the _maghe_ being
used principally in possessive cases, such as _tori-doghe_, stones;
_padje-maghe_, our mothers. Exceptions to this rule were the words ending
in _bo_, _co_, _go_, or _mo_, to which the suffix _e_ was sufficient to
form the plural; whereas in those terminating in _do_ or _no_, _ro_, or
other consonants, the _o_ was suppressed and an _e_ placed in its stead.
Example: _jomo_, otter, _jomoe_, otters; _cuno_, parrot, _cune_, parrots;
_apodo_, or tucan (a bird), _apode_, tucans, etc.

There were a number of irregular exceptions, such as _aredo_, wife;
_areme_, wives; _medo_, man, _ime_, men. Perhaps the most curious of
plurals was _ore_, sons, the singular of which was _anareghedo_ (son).

The words ending in _go_ generally formed the plural with an
interchangeable _ghe_.

The pronouns were:

_imi_               = I
_aki_               = thou
_ema_               = he or she
_sheghi_ or _paghi_ = we
_taghi_             = you
_emaghi_            = they

When immediately before a verb these were abbreviated into _I_ or _it_,
_a_ or _ac_, _e_ or _ei_, _pa_ or _pag_, ta or _tag_, _e_ or _et_--I,
thou, he or she, we, you, they, according to their preceding a vowel or a
consonant. With words beginning with a consonant only the first syllable
of the pronoun was used.

The verb itself did not vary in the various persons, but it did vary in
its tenses by suffixes, sometimes after the pronoun, sometimes after the
verb. In the present tense the Bororos generally used for the purpose the
word _nure_, usually between the pronoun and the verb, with the pronoun
occasionally repeated after the _nure_; but in general conversation,
which was laconic, the pronoun was frequently suppressed
altogether--similarly to the frequent omission of the pronoun in the
English telegraphic language.

There were various other forms of pronouns, but I could not quite define
their absolute use--such as the _tched_ or _tcheghi_, which seemed to
include everybody, corresponding to the English _we_ in orations which
includes the entire audience, or the whole nation, or even the entire
human race.

The Bororo language was complete enough, the conjugation of verbs being
clearly defined into past, present, imperative and future.

The past was formed by interpolating between the pronoun and verb the
words _re gurai_, generally abbreviated into _re_. The imperative was
made chiefly by the accentuation of the words, and was susceptible of
inflexion in the second person singular and plural. The future was formed
by adding, sometimes after the pronoun, sometimes after the verb, the
words _modde_, _uo_, or _ua_.

At the end of the second volume, in the Appendix, will be found a
vocabulary of useful words needed in daily conversation which I collected
during my visit to the Bororos. I had made a much more complete
dictionary of their language, in a book which I kept for the purpose, but
unfortunately the book was lost with a great many other things in an
accident I had some months later on the Arinos River.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was not possible to say that the Bororos shone in intelligence. It was
seldom one found an individual who could count beyond two. Everything in
the Bororo country was reckoned in couples--with the aid of fingers,
thumbs, and toes. The learned could thus reach up to twenty, or ten
pair--but beyond twenty no Bororo dared venture in his calculations. They
had no written language, no sculptures or paintings, no carved idols.
Their artistic talent seemed limited to occasionally incising rudimentary
representations of horns, footprints, and line figures on rocks.

They showed great skill in the manufacture of their arrows, which were
indeed constructed on most scientific lines, and were turned out with
wonderful workmanship. The arrows were from 4 to 5 ft. long, and were
chiefly remarkable for the intelligent and highly scientific disposition
of the two balancing parrot feathers, gently bent into a well-studied
spiral curve, so as to produce a rotary movement, united with perfect
balance, in the travelling weapon. The arrows were manufactured out of
hard, beautifully polished black or white wood, and were provided with a
point of bamboo one-third the length of the entire arrow. That bamboo
point was tightly fastened to the rod by means of a careful and very
precisely made contrivance of split cane fibre.

[Illustration: Bororo Children.

(The horrors of photography.)]

The Bororos used various-shaped arrow-heads, some triangular, others
flattened on one side with a raised rib on the opposite side, others
triangular in section with hollowed longitudinal grooves in each face
of the triangle in the pyramid, making the wound inflicted a deadly one.
Others, more uncommon, possessed a quadruple barbed point of bone.

The favourite style of arrows, however, seldom had a point broader in
diameter than the stick of the arrow.

The music of the Bororos--purely vocal--had three different rhythms: one
not unlike a slow waltz, most plaintive and melancholy; the second was
rather of a loud warlike character, vivacious, with ululations and
modulations. The third and most common was a sad melody, not too quick
nor too slow, with temporary accelerations to suit words of a more
slippery character in their pronunciation, or when sung in a _pianissimo_
tone.

The songs of the Bororos could be divided into: hunting songs, war songs,
love songs, and descriptive songs and recitatives.

They were fond of music in itself, and possessed fairly musical ears.
They were able to retain and repeat melodies quite foreign to them. Their
hearing was acute enough to discern, with a little practice, even small
intervals, and they could fairly accurately hit a note which was sung to
them. They had flexible voices, quite soft and musical, even in
conversation.

In males, as far as I was able to judge, baritone voices were the most
prevalent; in female voices, soprano. Their typical songs were chiefly
performed in a chorus by men only, although once or twice I heard
solos--which, nevertheless, always had a refrain for the chorus. The
Bororos sang in fair harmony more than in unison, keeping regular time,
and with occasional bass notes and noises by way of accompaniment. They
possessed no musical instruments of any importance--a most primitive
flute, and one or several gourds filled with seeds or pebbles, being, as
far as I could trace, the only two musical instruments among them.

Their songs contained progressions in chromatic intervals. Those
progressions were not only frequently repeated in the same melody, but
some of the favourite ones recurred in several of their melodies. They
frequently broke from one key into another, not gradually or with
modulations, but very abruptly. There were constant and sudden changes in
the _tempo_ of their melodies, accelerations being frequently caused by
excitement in the performers, by incidents occurring, by anger or other
passions being aroused. They had no set rules--nor, of course, any
written music. The melodies were sung according to the temporary feelings
of the performers, who occasionally adorned their performances with
variations. Practically they improvised, if led by a musical talent, as
they went along. Still, mind you, even when they improvised, the
character of the songs was the same, although they may have added so many
variations and embellishments to the theme as to make it impossible to
identify them. Furthermore, no two choruses ever sang the same songs
alike, nor did the same chorus sing the same song twice alike. There were
in their melodies great changes in the degree of loudness. Those changes
were generally gradual, although often extremely rapid.

[Illustration: Bororo Chief.

Rattling gourds filled with pebbles, in order to call members
of his tribe.]

The Bororos seemed to be greatly carried away by music, which had upon
them quite an intoxicating effect. There were certain high notes and
chords in a minor key which had a great attraction for them, and which
constantly recurred in their melodies and their lengthy ululations. Some
of the notes had undoubtedly been suggested by the song of local birds
and by sounds of wild animals. The Bororos were good imitators of sounds,
which they could often reproduce to perfection. They were observant with
their ears--much more so than with their eyes. Even in conversation the
Bororos would often repeat, accurately enough, noises they heard around
them, such as the crashing of falling trees, of rushing water, of distant
thunder, or foreign words which caught their fancy. I was amazed at their
excellent memory in that direction.

There were no professional musicians in the Bororo country in the strict
sense of the word, the _barih_ being the only person who might, at a
stretch, be put down as one. Nor was anybody taught music. They were one
and all musicians without knowing it--or at least thought they were--a
belief not monopolized by the Bororos only. They all sang. They learned
to sing gradually by hearing and imitating their elders.

I think that with the Bororos the steps of their dances had been
suggested by the rhythm of the music, and not the other way round. They
preferred music to dancing, for which latter exercise they showed little
aptitude. Although their melodies would appear appallingly melancholy to
European ears, it did not follow that they were so to them. On the
contrary, some which had a most depressing effect on me--and I felt like
throwing at them anything handy but heavy to interrupt the
melody--seemed to send the performers into a state of absolute beatitude.
They kept up those melodies interminably, repeating constantly the same
short theme dozens of times--hundreds, in fact, if nothing happened to
stop them. When once they had started on one of those songs it was
difficult to switch them on to another. They loved to hear it again and
again.

The time of their music was "common" time, slightly modified according to
the wording of the song. It generally altered into a triple time when the
words were of a liquid kind in their pronunciation, and a dual time when
sung low and slowly.

When singing, especially during ululations, the Bororos swung their
bodies forward and backward--not unlike the howling dervishes of
Egypt--uttering occasional high and strident notes. This was generally
done before starting _en masse_ on a hunt, when a feast also took place.

The women never joined in the songs, but the boys did. Even if their
voices were not powerful enough to produce lengthy ululations, they
spiritedly took part in the violent undulations of the body.

The Bororos were great lovers of minute detail. So it was that, in their
music, strange, weird effects were attempted, wonderfully complicated in
detail.

Bororo singing occasionally took the form of a recitative, with the
chorus joining in the refrain--this principally when chanting the merits
of a deceased person, or during some calamity in the _aldeja_, or
village.

[Illustration: Bororo Child showing strong Malay Characteristics.]

The only musical instruments I was able to find in the various
settlements of Bororos I visited consisted chiefly of single, double,
or treble gourds, the latter with perforations at the two ends, used as
wind instruments and producing deep bass notes. The single gourd had a
cane attachment intended to emit shrill high notes. Then there were other
dried gourds filled with pebbles which rattled as they were shaken at the
end of a long handle to which the gourds were fastened.

The cane flutes were slightly more elaborate, with ornaments of rings of
black feathers. There was only one rectangular slit in the centre of the
flute, so that only one note could be produced--as was the case with most
of their rudimentary musical instruments.



CHAPTER XVI

     Bororo Legends--The Religion of the Bororos--Funeral Rites


THE Bororos believed in spirits of the mountains and the forest, which
haunted special places in order to do harm to living beings. Those
spirits came out at night. They stole, ill-treated, and killed. In rocks,
said the Bororos, dwelt their ancestors in the shape of parrots. The
Bororos were greatly affected by dreams and nightmares, which they
regarded as events that had actually happened and which generally brought
bad luck. They were often the communications of evil spirits, or of the
souls of ancestors. The Bororos had many superstitions regarding animals,
which they individualized in their legends, giving them human
intelligence--especially the _colibri_ (humming-bird), the macaw, the
monkey, the deer, and the leopard.

The stars, according to these savages, were all Bororo boys. Let me give
you a strange legend concerning them.

"The women of the _aldeia_ had gone to pick Indian corn. The men were out
hunting. Only the old women had remained in the _aldeia_ with the
children. With an old woman was her nephew, playing with a bow and arrow.
The arrows had perforated sticks, which the boy filled with Indian corn.
When the boy had arrived home he had asked his grandmother to make a
kind of _polenta_ with Indian corn. He had invited all the other boys of
the _aldeia_ to come and eat. While grandmother was cooking the children
played, and among them decided to go to heaven. In the _aldeia_ there
lived an old woman and a red macaw. Both could speak. The boys, having
eaten the _polenta_, cut off the woman's arms, cut out her tongue and
eyes, and tore out the tongue of the speaking bird. Having done this,
they went into the forest, where they found a liana twisted into
innumerable steps (in the Bororo language, _ippare_, young; _kugure_,
multitude; _groiya_, step). They could not speak for fear of drawing
attention, nor ask any one for help. They had taken the precaution of
setting free all the captive birds in the _aldeia_, and they had flown
away, except the _pio duddu_ (the _colibri_), which they took with them
into the forest. The boys gave a long liana, like a rope, to the
_colibri_, requesting him to fasten it to the top of the highest tree,
and another long liana which he must tie to the sky where they all wished
to ascend. The _colibri_ tied the vegetable ropes as requested, and all
the boys climbed up.

"The mothers, missing their children, went to the old woman and the
speaking macaw.

"'Where are our children?' said they in a chorus.

"No answer. They were horrified when they perceived the mutilated woman
and bird. They rushed out of the hut and saw the children--up--up--high,
like tiny spots, climbing up the liana to heaven. The women went to the
forest, to the spot where the boys had proceeded on their aerial trip,
and showing the breasts that had milked them, entreated them to come down
again. The appeal was in vain. The mothers, in despair, then proceeded
to follow their children skyward up the liana.

"The youthful chieftain of the plot had gone up last. When he perceived
the mothers gaining on them, he cut the liana. With a sonorous bump, the
mothers dropped in a heap to the ground. That was why the Bororo women
were resigned to see their sons in heaven, forming the stars, while
they--the women themselves--remained the transmigrated souls of their
mothers upon earth."

The Bororos also said that the stars were the houses of deceased
children.

The Bororos believed that the sky vault, or heaven, formed part of the
earth, and was inhabited. They proved this by saying that the vulture
could be seen flying higher and higher until it disappeared. It went to
perch and rest upon trees in heaven. The Milky Way in the sky--the
_kuyedje è 'redduddo_ (literally translated "stars they
cinders")--consisted for them merely of the flying cinders from the
burning stars.

The sun, they stated, was made up entirely of dead _barih_, or
medicine-men, who rose daily with red-hot irons before their faces. The
_barihs_ prowled about the earth at night, and went to the east in the
morning on their return to the sun. The hot irons held by the _barihs_
were merely held in order to warm the people on earth. At sunset the orb
of day "came down to the water" beyond the horizon, and from there
marched back to the east. The Bororos maintained that the heavy and
regular footsteps of the sun walking across the earth at night could be
heard plainly.

[Illustration: Bororo Girls.]

[Illustration: Bororo Girls (side view).]

The moon, which was masculine to the Bororos, was the brother of the
sun, and was similarly the home of _barihs_ of minor importance.

The legends of the Bororos were generally long and somewhat confused.
They were the outcome of extremely imaginative and extraordinarily
retentive minds. Their imagination frequently ran away with them, so that
it was not always easy to transcribe the legends so as to render them
intelligible to the average reader, unaccustomed to the peculiar way of
thinking and reasoning of savages. Yet there was generally a certain
amount of humorous _vraisemblance_ in their most impossible stories.
Their morals, it should be remembered, were not quite the same as ours.
There were frequently interminable descriptive details which one could on
no account reproduce in print, and without them much of the point of the
legends would be lost. So that, with the confusion and disorder of ideas
of the Bororos, their peculiar ways of expression, and the mutilation
necessary so as not to shock the public, the legends were hardly worth
reproducing. Still, I shall give here one or two of the more interesting
legends, which can be reproduced almost in their entirety.

"The sun and moon (two brothers, according to the Bororos) while hunting
together began to play with arrows with blunt heads, such as those used
by Bororos for catching birds alive. They hit each other in fun, but at
last the sun shot one arrow with too much force and the moon died from
the effects of the wound. The sun, unconcerned, left his dying brother
and continued hunting; but afterwards returned with medicinal leaves
which he placed on the wound of the moon. According to Bororo fashion,
he even covered the dying brother entirely with leaves, when he saw his
approaching end. When he discovered that the moon was dead he became
frightened and left. That is why the moon, which when alive was once as
bright as the sun, is now of less splendour. It is because it is dead,
and the sun is still alive."

The Bororos firmly believed that formerly the world was peopled by
monkeys. This was rather an interesting legend, as it would point out
that the Bororos, in any case, were aware that the world was once
inhabited by a hairy race, which they called monkeys. It is quite
remarkable that a similar legend was found among many of the tribes of
the Philippine Islands and Sulu Archipelago, and along the coast of the
Eastern Asiatic continent. The Bororos stated that they learnt from
monkeys how to make a fire. Monkeys were their ancestors. The whole world
was peopled by monkeys in those days. Monkeys made canoes, too.

"One day a monkey and a hare went fishing together in a canoe in which
they had taken a good supply of Indian corn. While the monkey was
paddling the hare was eating up all the corn. When the corn had been
entirely disposed of, in its irresistible desire to use its incisors, the
hare began to gnaw the sides of the canoe. The monkey reprimanded the
hare, and warned it that the canoe would sink, and as the hare was not a
good swimmer it would probably get drowned, or be eaten by fish which
swarmed in the stream. The hare would not listen to the advice, and
continued in its work of destruction. A hole was bored in the side of the
canoe, which promptly sank. The hare being a slow swimmer--according to
Bororo notions--was immediately surrounded by swarms of _doviado_ (gold
fish) and speedily devoured. The monkey--an excellent swimmer--not only
was able to save its life, but, seizing a big fish, dragged it on shore.

"A jaguar came along and, licking its paws, asked whether the monkey had
killed the fish for its (the jaguar's) dinner.

"'Yes,' said the monkey.

"'Where is the fire for cooking it?' replied the jaguar.

"The sun was just setting. The monkey suggested that the jaguar should go
and collect some dried wood in order to make the fire. The sun was
peeping through the branches and foliage of the forest. The jaguar went,
and returned with nothing; but in the meantime the monkey, with two
pieces of soft wood, had lighted a fire and eaten the fish, leaving a
heap of bones. When the jaguar arrived the monkey leapt in a few jumps to
the top of a tree.

"'Come down!' said the jaguar.

"'Certainly not!' said the monkey. Upon which the jaguar requested its
friend the Wind to shake the tree with all its fury. The Wind did, and
the monkey dropped into the jaguar's mouth, from which it immediately
passed into the digestive organs. The monkey little by little moved its
arms in the close quarters in which it found itself, and was able to
seize the knife which it carried--in the most approved Bororo
fashion--slung across its back. Armed with it, it split the jaguar's
belly and resumed its daily occupation of jumping from tree to tree."

I was able to record yet another strange legend on the preservation of
fire.

"An otter," said the legend, "in days long gone by, had with great
difficulty lighted a fire on the bank of a river. The sun first came to
warm itself by the fire, and while the otter had gone on one of its
aquatic expeditions, the moon arrived too. The sun and moon together,
feeling in a mischievous mood, put out the fire with water not extra
clean. Then they ran for all they were worth. The otter, feeling cold,
came out of the water and, to its amazement, found the fire had been
extinguished.

"'Who did it?' cried the furious otter, wishing to kill whoever had put
the fire out. While its anger was at its highest the otter perceived a
toad, which was accused of extinguishing the fire because its legs were
as red as fire.

"'Do not kill me!' appealed the toad. 'Put your feet on my belly.' The
request was at once granted. The toad opened its mouth wide, and with the
pressure of the otter's paws upon its body a burning coal was ejected
from its interior anatomy. The otter spared the toad's life in
recognition of its services in preserving the fire. That is why the otter
and the toad have been friends ever since."

It was not easy to collect legends from the Bororos, as only few of them
were inclined to speak. The same legend I found had many variations,
according to the more or less imaginative mind of the narrator.

Here is an extraordinary explanation of the origin of lightning.

[Illustration: Bororo Women, showing Method of carrying Children.]

[Illustration: Bororos showing Formation of Hands.]

"A boy had violated his own mother. His father, discovering the
misdeed and wishing to punish him severely--in fact, get rid of the boy
altogether--sent him to several dangerous places to collect various
things for him, such as wild fruit, etc. The son, fearing disaster, went
to his grandmother for advice. She in turn called first one bird and then
another for their advice. The father had sent his son to fetch some small
gourds (_bappo rogo_), which grew floating on or suspended above the
water of a lagoon. But the lagoon was filled with the souls of deceased
Bororos and evil spirits. In the first instance the grandmother begged
for the help of the _pio duddo_ (or _colibri_). This obliging bird
accompanied the boy to the lagoon and, flying over the water, with its
beak cut the twigs of the small gourds, and one by one brought them to
the boy, who had wisely remained on dry land in order not to be seized by
the evil spirits which lay concealed in the water. When the bird was
about to bring the dried gourds back, the seeds which were inside rattled
and aroused the evil spirits of the lagoon. Up they all sprang--but the
_colibri_ was too swift for them, and the gourds were safely delivered to
the boy. The boy brought them to his father, who, amazed at seeing his
son still alive, sent him next to fetch some large gourds--such as those
used by the _barih_ at funerals and in high ceremonies.

"The boy went once more to his grandmother, and she this time recommended
him to a dove (_metugo_). When the dove and the boy arrived at the lake
the dove cut some large gourds, but, unfortunately, in so doing made a
noise. The souls and evil spirits of the lake leapt out and dispatched
numerous arrows to kill the dove, but, as luck would have it, dove and
_bappo_ (gourds) escaped unhurt. The boy handed the large gourds to his
astounded father, who could not imagine how the boy had escaped death a
second time.

"The Bororos used in their dances the nails of wild pigs, which they
attached to their feet in order to produce a noise something like
castanets. That ornament was called a _buttori_.

"The father next ordered his son to go and bring back a complete set to
form a _buttori_. For some reason or other--according to the legend--the
_buttori_ was also found suspended over the lagoon swarming with souls
and evil spirits. The grandmother on this occasion advised the son to
accept the services of a large, beautifully coloured locust--called by
the Bororos _mannori_. The _mannori_, however, made so much noise while
on its errand that it became riddled with arrows from the angry spirits
of the lake. To this day, say the Bororos, you can see a lot of white
spots all over the body of the _mannori_. Each marks the spot of a former
wound. But the _mannori_, too, faithfully delivered the foot ornaments to
the youth. The youth brought them to his father, who, in amazement and
vicious anger, ordered his son to go with him on the mountain to seize
the nest of the _cibae_ (vulture). According to the notions of the
Bororos, the souls of their dead trans-migrate into the bodies of birds
and other animals.

"The young fellow again paid a visit to his wise grandmother, who was
this time greatly upset. She handed him a stick and requested him to
insert it at once into the vulture's nest, when they had arrived in the
hollow in the rock where the nest was. The boy departed with his father
up the precipitous mountain side. When they had nearly reached the nest
the father placed a long stick across a precipice and ordered his son to
climb on it and seize the nest. The son duly climbed--carrying with him
his grandmother's stick. When he had reached the top the father did all
he could to shake the son down into the chasm, and even removed the long
stick on which he had climbed. But the lucky boy had already inserted his
grandmother's stick into the crevasse and remained suspended, while the
father--really believing that he had at last succeeded in disposing of
his son--gaily returned to the _aldeia_ (village). The son, taking
advantage of a liana festooned along the rock, was able to climb to the
very summit of the mountain. There, tired and hungry, he improvised a bow
and arrow with what materials he could find, and killed some lizards. He
ate many, and hung the others to his belt. He went fast asleep. With the
heat, the fast decomposing lizards began to smell. The odour attracted
several vultures, which began to peck at him, especially in the softer
parts behind (for he was sleeping lying on his chest and face, as Bororos
generally do). The boy was too tired and worn to be awakened. The
vultures then seized him by his belt and arms, and, taking to flight,
soared down and deposited him at the foot of the mountain. There the boy
woke up, famished. His supply of lizards had been eaten by the vultures.
He searched for fruit and ate some, but he could not retain his food
owing to injuries caused him by the vultures. (Here a good portion of the
legend has to be suppressed.)

"As best he could, the boy went to look for the _aldeia_, but it had
vanished. He walked for several days, unable to find traces of his tribe.
At last he found the footmarks which they had left upon their passage. He
followed them, and came to a fire freshly made, left by the Indians. He
went on until he identified the footmarks showing where his grandmother
had gone. He made sure they were hers by the extra mark of her stick on
the ground. With the assistance of a lizard, then of a big bird, then of
a rat, then of a butterfly, he discovered the whereabouts of the old
lady. He was by then an old man. Upon perceiving his grandmother he again
became a boy, and hurried on--making a noise so that she might know him
again. She asked another nephew--'Look and see who is behind!'--The
nephew turned round and recognized his eldest brother--who was also his
father. The grandmother embraced him tenderly.

"The eldest fellow persuaded his grandmother and brother not to return to
the _aldeia_ where he had suffered so much from the hands of his father.

"'They have made me suffer,' he said, 'and I shall take my revenge. Come
with me, and we shall all be happy together.'

"They went to a beautiful spot. He climbed a mountain, and from there
proceeded to produce lightning, thunder and wind, which exterminated the
rest of the tribe in the _aldeia_. That is why, when the Bororos see
lightning, they say that it is someone's vengeance coming upon them."

[Illustration: Bororo Women.]

[Illustration: Bororo Women.]

In the Bororo language, lightning was called _boeru goddo_ or "angry
people"; thunder was _bai_ _gabe_ when near, and _boya ruru_--or deaf
sound--when distant.

The Bororos related an interesting legend of a great flood or deluge.

"One night a Bororo went with his bow and arrows to the river in order to
fish, at a spot where a cane snare or trap had been made in the stream.
He killed a sacred fish. No sooner had he done this than the water
immediately began to rise. He was scarcely able to get out of the water
and run up the mountain side, lighting his way with the torch of resinous
wood he had used in order to attract the fish while fishing. The water
kept almost overtaking him, it rose so rapidly. He called out to the
Bororos of his tribe to make their escape, as the water would soon drown
them, but they did not believe him and consequently all except himself
perished. When he reached the summit of the mountain he managed to light
a big fire just before the rising water was wetting the soles of his
feet. He was still shouting in vain to all the Bororos to run for their
lives. The water was touching his feet, when he thought of a novel
expedient. He began to remove the red-hot stones which had lain under the
fire and threw them right and left into the water. By rapid evaporation
at the contact of the hot missiles, it is to be presumed, as the legend
does not say, the water ceased to rise. In fact, the water gradually
retired, and the Bororo eventually returned to the spot where he had left
the tribesmen. All were dead. He went one day into the forest and he
found a doe--which had in some mysterious way escaped death--and he took
her for his wife. From this strange union were born children who were
hornless and quite human, except that they were very hairy. After a few
generations the hair entirely disappeared. That was how the Bororo race
was preserved."

That extraordinary legend was, to my mind, a very interesting one--not in
itself, but from several facts which in its ignorant language it
contained. First of all, the knowledge of the Bororos concerning a former
hairy race--a hairy race referred to in legends found all over the
Eastern Asiatic coast and on many of the islands in the Pacific from the
Kuriles as far as Borneo. Then it would clearly suggest a great deluge
and flood which most certainly took place in South America in days long
gone by, and was indeed quelled by burning stones--not, of course, thrown
by the hands of a Bororo, from the summit of a mountain, but by a great
volcanic eruption spitting fire and molten rocks.

As I have stated elsewhere, there was every possible indication in
Central Brazil that torrential rains on an inconceivable scale--naturally
followed by unparalleled floods--had taken place, in the company of or
followed by volcanic activity on a scale beyond all imagination. One had
only to turn one's head round and gaze at the scenery almost anywhere in
Central Brazil, but in Matto Grosso particularly, to notice to what
extent erosion and volcanic activity had done their work.

Another curious belief of the Bororos was worth remembering. They claimed
that men and women did not come from monkeys, but that once upon a time
monkeys were human and could speak. They lived in huts and slept in
hammocks.

The Bororos possessed no geographical knowledge. Beyond their immediate
neighbourhood they knew of no other place, and did not in any way realize
the shape or size of the earth.

They called themselves _Orari nogu doghe_--or people who lived where the
_pintado_ fish (_orari_ in Bororo) was to be found. The Bororos spoke of
only three other tribes: the _Kaiamo doghe_ (the Chavantes Indians),
their bitter enemies; the _Ra rai doghe_--the long-legged people--ancient
cave-dwellers, once the neighbours of the Bororos, but now extinct; and
the _Baru gi raguddu doghe_--a name better left untranslated--applied to
a tribe living in grottoes.

In the way of religion the Bororos admitted of five different heavens, in
the last of which dwelt a Superior Being--a deity called the _Marebba_.
Marebba's origin was unknown to the Bororos. All they knew was that he
had a mother and a powerful son. Marebba only looked after the men--but
he was so occupied that when the _barihs_--through whose mediation it was
possible to communicate with him--wished to be heard, they had to shout
at the top of their voices in order to attract his attention. Only the
higher _barihs_ could communicate with him, the lower _barihs_ being
merely permitted to communicate with his son.

They also believed in the existence of a bad god--an evil spirit called
_Boppe_. Boppe inhabited the mountains, the tree-tops and the "red
heaven." There were many _boppe_, male and female, and to them were due
all the misfortunes which had afflicted the Bororos. Some of the _barihs_
maintained that they had actually seen both Marebba and some of the
_boppes_. They gave wonderful descriptions of them, comparing them in
their appearance to human beings. The Bororos believed that in any food
it was possible to find a _boppe_--there established in order to do evil.
Therefore, before partaking of meals, especially at festivals, they first
presented the _barih_ with fruit, grain, meat and fish in order to
appease the anger of the evil spirits.

The Bororos believed in the transmigration of the soul into animals. They
never ate deer, nor jaguar, nor vultures, because they thought that those
animals contained the souls of their ancestors. The jaguar, as a rule,
contained the soul of women. When a widower wished to marry a second time
he must first kill a jaguar in order to free the soul of his first wife
from suffering.

They also seemed to have an idea that the _arué_, or souls of the dead,
might reappear in the world and could be seen by relatives. Men and women
all became of one sex on leaving this world--all souls being feminine,
according to the Bororos.

[Illustration: Bororos Thrashing Indian Corn.]

[Illustration: A Bororo Blind Woman.]

The apparition of the souls before their relatives was, of course, merely
a clumsily arranged trick of the _barihs_. This is how it was done. They
made a circle of branches of trees--in order to keep the audience at a
distance--and then erected a large wooden gate, so arranged that when the
souls appeared it fell down in order to give them free passage. The
souls--generally not more than two together--upon being called by the
_barih_, entered the ring with their faces covered and hopping with a
special step of their own. They did not respond to prayers or tears, and
kept on twirling about within the ring. The body was that of a woman,
wearing from the waist down a gown of palm leaves. The face was
covered by a mask of vegetable fibre which allowed its owner to see and
not be seen. Upon the head was worn a cap of wax in which were stuck a
great number of arrows, so that it looked just like the back of a
disturbed porcupine.

Naturally those "souls" were merely special girls dressed up for the
occasion. But credulous Bororo women believed they were actually seeing
the souls of their dead relatives. They worked themselves into a great
state of excitement.

The same implement which was employed by the Bororos to reproduce the
sound of the _aigi_ or _ajie_ (hippopotamus)--a board some ten inches
long and three inches wide attached to a string and revolved from a long
pole--was also used by them to announce the departure of souls from this
world to the next. The women were ordered to cover their faces or hide
altogether inside their huts when these noises were produced. Should one
be curious enough to inquire into their origin and look, she was
generally condemned to death--frequently by starvation. The Bacururu--or
the Coroado Indians--believed that, after such an indiscretion, nothing
could save the life of a woman.

Before starting on a hunting or fishing expedition prayers were offered
to the souls of the departed, so that they might not interfere with the
success of the expedition, and if possible help instead.

The funeral rites of the Bororos were singular. On the death of a man, a
chorus of moans began and tears were shed in profusion, while some one
sang for several days the praises of the defunct in a melancholy
monotone. The body was covered for two entire days, during which all
articles that belonged to the deceased, such as bow and arrows, pots, and
musical instruments, were smashed or destroyed. The débris was stored
behind a screen in the hut, where subsequently was also kept the hearse
in which the body was conveyed to the burial spot. The body, wrapped in a
palm-leaf mat, was then interred in a shallow oval grave just outside his
hut. A wooden beam was placed directly over the body, and then the hollow
was covered over with some six or eight inches of earth. A few branches
of trees and some thorns were thrown over it to indicate the spot.

For twenty days in the evening and night moans resounded through the air.
More tears were shed by the relatives and by the _barih_, who frequently
proceeded to the grave to pour water on it. On the twentieth day, while
some one set at play the awe-inspiring revolving board, others proceeded
to exhume the body--by then in a state of absolute decomposition. The
remains were taken to the stream and the bones cleaned with great care.
The skull was placed within two inverted hemispherical baskets, whereas
all the other bones of the body were heaped into a third concave basket
of a larger size.

It was on their return--with moans and chanting--to the _bayto_, or
meeting-place in the _aldeia_, that the most touching scene ensued. The
skull was decorated with a design of coloured feathers, while those
present inflicted wounds upon their own bodies, shedding blood upon the
basket of remains. The women, moreover, tore one by one each hair from
their heads and bodies in sign of mourning.

After this the skull and bones were placed within another basket, and
were either cremated or thrown to the bottom of a river. The property of
the deceased was then set ablaze.

I noticed in a hut a skirt made of long palm leaves. It was donned at
funerals. There were also several long rudimentary flutes, formed by a
cane cylinder with a rounded mouthpiece inserted into another. These
flutes, too, were used only on such mournful occasions.

The _barih_ received a present from relatives at the death of individuals
in the tribe. The family remained in mourning from five to six months.
The widow, at the death of her husband, was expected to tear each hair
off her scalp, one by one, until her head remained as bald as a
billiard-ball. She generally did it.

The corpses of women were treated slightly differently. When a woman died
she was buried _pro tem._ A feast was given to the tribe. The process of
denudation having been given ample time to leave her skeleton clean, her
bones were collected, and placed in a special basket and then cremated.
The ashes were scattered to the winds, and so were all her clothes,
ornaments, chattels, smashed to atoms, and articles of food. Even fowls,
if she possessed any, were destroyed. Usually they were eaten by her
friends.

The Bororos did not possess a sense of honour resembling ours. Theft was
not considered dishonourable, and was not looked down upon nor condemned
by them. If a Bororo liked anything belonging to any one else, they could
see no reason why he should not appropriate it. That was their simple way
of reasoning, and as no police existed among them such theories were
easily followed.

Taking something belonging to a stranger was, in fact, rather encouraged,
and in our experience we had to keep a sharp watch when Indians came to
our camp, as things disappeared quickly. They seldom took the trouble to
ask for anything; they just took it and ran away.

The measurements of Bororo heads in the table on page 261, taken, as an
average, from several of the most characteristic types, will be found of
interest, especially when compared with some from Papuan and Malay tribes
of the Philippine and Sulu Archipelagoes with whom they have many points
in common.

Due allowance must be made for the artificial deformation of the cranium
in the case of the Bororos.

I had no end of trouble in obtaining these measurements, as the Bororos
would not hear of being measured. They were frightened of the
nickel-plated calliper I used for the purpose. It was quite beyond them
to understand why any one should want to know the length of their noses.
In fact, although many, after a lot of coaxing, submitted to have other
measurements taken, few of them would let me measure the nose. None at
all would permit me to measure the length of their eyes, as they feared I
should intentionally blind them.

[Illustration: Bororo Children.]

[Illustration: Bororo Women.]

I met other tribes of Bororos as I went along, and I was able to add to
the curious information already collected and given in previous chapters.
It appeared that at the birth of a child the head, while the skull was
still soft, was intentionally compressed and bandaged, especially at
the forehead and back, so as to flatten it and produce an abnormal shape
of the skull. In many cases only the back of the head was flattened by
the application of artificial pressure. The elongation was both upwards
and sideways. This deformation was particularly confined to male
children.

                            |Bororos.
                            |        |Bilan, Island of Mindanao Philippine Archipelago.
                            |        |       |Manobo.
                            |        |       |       |Mahommedans West coast of Mindanao I.
                            |        |       |       |       |Guiangas.
                            |        |       |       |       |       |Samal.
                            |        |       |       |       |       |       |Bagobos.
                            |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |Ilocanos.
                            |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |Mandayas (Gandia).
                            |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |Tirurays.
                            |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |Mansakas (of Panter).
                            |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |Yacanes.
----------------------------+--------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------
                            | Metre. |Metre. |Metre. |Metre. |Metre. |Metre. |Metre. |Metre. |Metre. |Metre. |Metre. |Metre.
----------------------------+--------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------
Vertical maximum length     |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 of head                    | 0.264  | 0.215 | 0.222 | 0.212 | 0.236 | 0.222 | 0.234 | 0.229 | 0.233 | 0.240 | 0.221 | 0.220
Bizygomatic breadth         | 0.1415 | 0.130 | 0.131 | 0.137 | 0.138 | 0.130 | 0.132 | 0.125 | 0.129 | 0.130 | 0.123 | 0.131
Maximum breadth of          |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 forehead                   | 0.145  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
Minimum breadth of forehead |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 at lower part of           |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 temples                    | 0.130  | 0.133 | 0.124 | 0.131 | 0.126 | 0.126 | 0.136 | 0.131 | 0.127 | 0.128 | 0.130 | 0.131
Maximum length of cranium   |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 (from forehead to          |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 back of head)              | 0.199  | 0.215 | 0.193 | 0.181 | 0.183 | 0.173 | 0.183 |   --  | 0.199 | 0.192 | 0.184 | 0.185
Breadth of skull one inch   |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 above ear                  | 0.1945 |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
Maximum breadth of          |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 lower jaw                  | 0.132  | 0.132 | 0.123 |   --  | 0.117 | 0.121 | 0.124 | 0.116 | 0.109 | 0.117 | 0.110 | 0.125
Length of nose              | 0.064  | 0.060 | 0.050 | 0.052 | 0.058 | 0.052 | 0.055 | 0.057 | 0.062 | 0.053 | 0.056 | 0.060
Breadth of nose at nostrils | 0.0375 | 0.043 | 0.037 | 0.041 | 0.035 | 0.045 | 0.037 | 0.037 | 0.037 | 0.043 | 0.037 | 0.039
Distance between eyes       | 0.033  | 0.032 | 0.034 | 0.030 | 0.031 | 0.033 | 0.032 | 0.034 | 0.028 | 0.033 | 0.035 | 0.031
Length of ear               | 0.066  | 0.055 | 0.052 | 0.056 | 0.074 | 0.063 | 0.072 | 0.060 | 0.065 | 0.062 | 0.060 | 0.063
Length of mouth             | 0.057  | 0.065 | 0.050 | 0.050 | 0.056 | 0.055 | 0.050 |   --  | 0.052 | 0.057 |   --  | 0.055
Length of lower jaw from    |        |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
 ear to centre of chin      | 0.1365 |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
Breadth of upper lip        | 0.025  | 0.023 | 0.021 | 0.017 | 0.023 | 0.020 | 0.027 | 0.024 | 0.022 | 0.024 | 0.021 | 0.020
Breadth of lower lip        | 0.020  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
----------------------------+--------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------

N.B.--For further particulars see "The Gems of the East," by A. H. Savage
Landor.

When twins were born one was killed or else left to die in the sun, as
they believed that the other could not live if both were left alive.
Murder for them, in that instance, was a question of humanity.

The Bororos had a perfect horror of natural death. They were terrified at
the sight of a person dying. Therefore when one of their people was about
to expire they covered him up and placed him out of sight. If he or she
under those circumstances delayed in departing this life, the departure
was hastened by suffocation or strangulation. The Bororos were too
restless, and could not wait too long for anything.

They were easily suggestionized. Many of them would make excellent
subjects for hypnotic experiments. The women particularly were
extraordinarily sensitive to animal magnetism. They were much given to
hysterical displays. One of the reasons which was given me for hastening
the death of moribund Bororos was a curious superstition that the sight
of a dying person would cause the death of women, particularly if the
dying person happened to look in the direction of one woman present. The
women believed this so firmly that occasionally--the Bororos
asserted--women actually became ill and died when they saw a dead person.
This, no doubt, may have occurred merely by suggestion. Women were never
allowed, under ordinary circumstances, to see dead people.

When dancing the Bororos sprang on one foot and then on the other, always
hopping about in a circle.

Abnormalities and deformities were frequently noticeable among them, such
as hare-lip, supernumerary toes and fingers, and hypertrophy of the
limbs. Abnormalities of the genitals were general owing to tribal
customs.

One of the evil spirits most feared by the Bororos was called _aroi
koddo_--or "soul that falls." It was a spirit that came to earth solely
for the purpose of punishing the Bororos. They said that this spirit was
an extremely noisy one and its approach was announced by terrifying
sounds.

The Bororos were frightened of comets and had about them superstitions
similar to those of Europeans--that is to say, that their appearance
caused illness, misfortune and death. Solar and lunar eclipses, the
Bororos stated, were merely the result of anger on the part of evil
spirits. "The sun or moon were making faces because they were angry," was
their highly astronomical explanation of the phenomenon.

The Bororos had a firm belief that some of their ancestors lived in the
sun, others in the moon; and they said the ancestors caused the sun to
make faces when angry. In the sun also lived the head of all the
_barihs_, or medicine-men, the intermediary between humans and spirits;
whereas in the moon dwelt only those who could invoke the souls of the
ancestors. The _barih_ was only capable of communicating with a _barih's_
ancestors.



CHAPTER XVII

     The River Das Garças--Majestic Scenery


I WENT to call on the Salesian Fathers. Between my camp and the river Das
Garças, on the right bank of which the colony stood, there was a great
dome of red volcanic rock with many loose boulders such as we had seen
for the last three days of our journey. The river was swift and deep. The
colony was on the opposite side of the water. We shouted until an Indian
appeared and took us across in a rickety canoe belonging to the friars,
which he paddled with the stalk of a palm-leaf.

The Salesians were remarkable people, and should be an example to many
other missionaries. Wherever they went they did not trouble much about
making converts. They taught the natives instead how to work the soil and
how to make all kinds of articles which might or might not be useful to
them as they became more civilized. The chief effort of the monks was to
teach the natives agriculture, from which--charity always begins at
home--the friars themselves were naturally the first to reap the benefit.
At the same time the natives learned, and earned, and were made happy.
They improved their mode of living and were, with great softness and
patience, not only drawn nearer to Catholicism but towards white people
altogether. The Salesians had established on the Rio das Garças--an
enchanting spot--a beautiful farm on which they grew quantities of Indian
corn, sugar-cane, wheat, and all kinds of vegetables.

Although I am not a Roman Catholic, the Salesians received me very
politely and took the greatest delight in showing me all over the
Mission. It was interesting to note that everybody was working hard. The
Father Superior himself was busy shaping a big table from a huge plank of
hard wood, and nothing could induce him to leave his sweating work--not
even to go and have his meals. Father Colli Agostino was detailed to go
round and explain everything to me.

The Salesians had no trouble with the Indians, whom they found quite
gentle and docile. But they could never be relied upon. One day the
entire tribe would come and help to work the soil with great vigour; the
next day they would all disappear from the neighbourhood and no one knew
where they had gone--sometimes for weeks. They invariably came back,
sooner or later, and, what was more, they were always welcomed back.

Converting them to Christianity was a different matter. The Salesians had
made little headway in that direction.

"We are patient people," said Father Colli; "it will come in time.
Already the Bororos are beginning to join us in the church, where many
enjoy singing with us. They are intelligent and soon learn to sing."

I purchased, at almost prohibitive prices, many things from the
Salesians, principally food for my animals and men. Of course, in buying
one had to realize where we were, which made all the difference in the
price. I was glad to pay them the money and obtain the commodities.

The Salesians told me that while digging to make the foundations for one
of their buildings they had found--only 3 ft. under ground--in the sandy
soil several earthen pots of great antiquity, in excellent preservation,
as well as a fireplace with ashes and charcoal. The sand had evidently
accumulated in the valley below there owing to wind and not to water. The
frail pottery, imperfectly baked, would have crumbled away quickly in
moisture.

On May 20th (min. 58° Fahr., max. 85°) we were again off toward the west,
travelling over great domes of red lava, the higher portions of which
were covered by layers of ashes and red sand. We were at an elevation of
1,480 ft. in the deep basin of the Rio Barreiros and Rio das Garças, but
we soon went over three consecutive ridges, 1,550 ft. above the sea
level, with delicious campos and a _bosquet_ of trees here and there. In
the arc of a circle extending from north-west to south-west we had in
front of us a beautiful view. Previous to reaching the third ridge, that
day, we also had behind us a wonderful panorama of the great plateau
described in a previous chapter.

On travelling over a fourth elevation we found ourselves upon another
immense dome of red volcanic rock, blackened on the surface, as if by
fire, and with the peculiar striations we had noticed once or twice
before. In this case there were cross striations as well, the direction
of one set of parallel marks being from north-west to south-east, of the
other set north-east to south-west, thus forming lozenges, each about 60
cm. across. All those lozenges were so regularly cut that the _ensemble_
gave the appearance of a well-made pavement. Then I noticed some peculiar
great cavities in the rock, like those formed by glacial action. In fact,
on a superficial examination, it seemed almost as if that region had
first gone through a period of great revolution while in a state of
semi-liquefaction owing to intense heat from fire, after which a sudden
and intense cooling had taken place and covered the country perhaps even
with ice. Whether the immense deposits of ashes and sand had been formed
before or after the glacial period--if any such period ever existed in
that particular region--could be merely a matter of speculation. In many
places the sand, ashes, and red earth had almost consolidated into easily
friable rock.

Where the actual rock was not exposed we had campos, campos, campos,
stretching as far as the eye could see. Far from being monotonous, one
had--or at least I had--a delightful sensation in riding across those
interminable prairies of beautiful green. One could breathe the pure air
with fully expanded lungs, and in that silent, reposeful solitude one
felt almost as if the whole world belonged to one. We were not much
worried by insects on those great open places; it was only on getting
near patches of vegetation and near streams that we suffered from the
attacks of those pests.

We saw few trees--all stunted and weak--as the padding of earth over the
rocky under-strata did not permit their roots to go deep down, and
therefore they grew up with difficulty and anæmic.

Twelve kilometres from the Rio Barreiros we came to a stream (elev. 1,400
ft.). On our left, rising above the inclined campos, was a triple
undulation much higher than its neighbours. To the west stood two twin,
well-rounded mounds, that my men named at once "the woman's breasts,"
which they much resembled.

We were still marching on deep deposits of ashes, and, higher, upon
semi-hardened sandstone. On the northern side the twin hills had a
different shape. They ended in a sharply pointed spur.

After going over an ochre-coloured sandy region (elev. 1,530 ft. above
the sea level) we were again on magnificent undulating campos, dotted
here and there with dark green shrubs and _bosquets_ to the north,
north-west, and north-east.

Beyond, to the north-east, loomed again in the far distance our
mysterious plateau, of a pure cobalt blue where in shadow. As one ran
one's eye along its sky-line it was almost flat for more than half its
length, then came a slight dip, followed by a terraced dome. Then again a
straight line followed by a slightly higher and more undulating sky-line
with three steps in it, and a conical end at its eastern terminus. The
most easterly point of all--the highest--resembled a castle with vertical
sides. But of this we have already spoken, at the terminal point of the
great divided range we had passed some days previously. The vertical
cliffs of the plateau, where lighted by the sun, were of a brilliant red
colour.

[Illustration: Isolated Conical Hills with Tower-like Rocky
Formation on Summit.]

[Illustration: The Endless Campos of Matto Grosso.]

As we approached the twin hills they appeared to be the remains of an
ancient crater. They formed, in fact, a crescent with a broken rocky
lower section--completing the circle of the crater. I had no time to go
and examine carefully, as it would have meant a deviation from my route,
but that is how it appeared to me. There were, in fact, extra deep
deposits of volcanic ashes at the foot of the descent before we arrived
at the river Agua Emeindada, where we made our camp that night, 15 kil.
from the Rio Barreiros.

My men went after game that night. Alcides killed a _veado_ (deer), and
we all enjoyed the fresh meat for dinner.

The clouds (cirro-stratus) were, during the entire day, in horizontal
lines and slight globular accumulations, the latter in a row and, taken
_en masse_, giving also the impression of lines just above the horizon to
the west. At sunset we once more saw the glorious effect of the radiation
from the west, only instead of being straight lines there were, that
time, feathery filaments which rose in graceful curves overhead, like so
many immense ostrich feathers. They joined again in a common centre to
the east.

My men were complaining all the time of the intense cold at night, and
made me feel almost as if I had been responsible for it. They grumbled
perpetually. During the early hours of the morning their moans were
incessant. They never ceased crying, as hysterical young girls might do,
but as one would not expect of men. Some of them had toothache--and no
wonder, when one looked at their terrible teeth and the way they ate.
They devoured pounds of sugar every day--our supply, which should have
lasted a year or more, having already almost been exhausted. It was
impossible for me alone, with all the astronomical, geological,
botanical, geographical, meteorological, photographic, anthropometric,
and artistic work--not to mention the writing-up of my copious daily
notes--also to keep a constant watch on the supplies. I had handed over
that responsibility to Alcides. Unfortunately, he was the greediest of
the lot. Every time I warned him not to be so wasteful, as we should find
ourselves dying of starvation, he and the others made me feel that I was
meanness itself, and that I was only doing it to save money.

I never objected to their eating as much as they could--as I have always
made it a point on all my expeditions to feed my men on the best food
procurable, and give them as much as they could possibly devour. But it
pained me to see quantities of good food thrown away daily, as I knew
what it would mean to us later on.

"We are Brazilians," said they, "and like plenty to eat. When there is no
more we will go without food. You do not know Brazilians, but Brazilians
can go thirty or forty days without anything to eat!"

"All right," said I--"we shall see."

Forty minutes--and perhaps not so long--had been, so far, the longest
time I had seen them cease munching something or other. Not satisfied
with the lavish food they were supplied with--heaps of it were always
thrown to the dogs, after they had positively gorged themselves--yet they
would pick up anything on the way: a wild fruit, a scented leaf of a
tree, a nut of some kind or other, a _palmito_, a chunk of tobacco--all
was inserted in the mouth. It was fortunate that we took enough exercise,
or surely they would have all perished of indigestion. In my entire
experience I have never seen men eat larger quantities of food and more
recklessly than my Brazilian followers did. In the morning they were
almost paralyzed with rheumatism and internal pains all over the body.
Frequently those pains inside were accentuated by the experiments they
made in eating all kinds of fruit, some of which was poisonous. Many a
time on our march did we have to halt because one man or another was
suddenly taken violently ill. My remedy on those occasions was to shove
down their throats the end of a leather strap, which caused immediate
vomiting; then when we were in camp I gave them a powerful dose of castor
oil. After a few hours they recovered enough to go on.

On May 21st the minimum temperature of the atmosphere was 55° Fahr., the
maximum 79°, the elevation 1,250 ft. at the stream Agua Emeindata. My men
declared again they were half-frozen during the night and would not go on
with me, as it was getting colder all the time and they would certainly
die. When I told them that it was not cold at all--on the contrary, I
considered that temperature quite high--they would not believe me.

With the temperature in the sun during the day at 98°, most of the aches
of the men disappeared, and I had little trouble with them until after
sunset, when there was generally a considerable drop in the temperature.

We went on. We had a volcanic mountain to the left of us--half the crater
of a volcano formed of red lava and friable red-baked rock. In the
northern and central part of the mountain were masses of lava which had
been shot out of the mouth of the volcano and had solidified into all
kinds of fantastic forms, some sharply pointed, some red, others black.
On the east side of the crater was a dome covered with earth with an
underlying flow of lava. Then could be observed a circular group of huge
rocks, pear-shaped, with sharp points upward. While the volcano was
active these rocks had evidently stood on the rim of the then cylindrical
crater. The mountain behind those rocks was formed by high accumulations
of red volcanic sand, which in time had gradually, by the action of rain
and sun, consolidated into soft rock.

The plateau extending northward, which was disclosed in all its entirety
before me from the elevation of 1,600 ft. which we had reached, also
seemed to possess an extinct crater shaped like a crescent with steep
slopes and two rounded promontories on its side.

The sky that day was partly covered by transparent feathery clouds and by
dense mist near the horizon line to the east, but was quite clear to the
west. As usual, that evening we were again treated to fairly handsome
radiating white lines from the sun reaching half way up the sky vault,
but this time they were flimsy and not to be compared to the magnificent
displays we had observed before.

Our animals still sank in ochre-coloured sand, or stumbled on
conglomerate rocks of spattered lava pellets embedded in sandstone.
Capping the higher undulations we again found deposits of ashes.

[Illustration: Geometrical Pattern on the Surface of a flow of Lava.

(Caused by sudden contraction in cooling.)]

We travelled for long distances on a ridge at an elevation of 1,650 ft.
over a thick layer of sand and ashes mixed. Then campos spread before us,
and upon them here and there grew stunted vegetation, the trees seldom
reaching a greater height than 15 ft.

From our last high point of vantage the crater with fantastic rocks and
its continuation we had observed appeared to form a great basin. A
subsidiary vent was also noticeable. Farther on our march we found other
immense deposits of grey ashes and sand alternately--one great stretch
particularly, at an elevation of 1,600 ft. Water at that spot filtered
through from underneath and rendered the slope a grassy meadow of the
most refreshing green. We were rising all the time, first going
north-west, then due north. At noon we had reached the highest point.

From the high point on which we were (1,920 ft.) we obtained a strange
view to the west. Above the straight line of the plateau before us rose
in the distance a pyramidal, steep-sided, sharply-pointed peak, standing
in solitary grandeur upon that elevated plain. Why did it stand there
alone? was the question one asked oneself--a question one had to ask
oneself frequently as we proceeded farther and farther on our journey. We
often came upon mountains standing alone, either on the top of
table-lands or in the middle of extensive plains. Their presence seemed
at first unaccountable.

Again as we journeyed onward the mules' hoofs were injured by treading
over large expanses of lava pellets and sharp-edged, cutting, baked
fragments of black rock, myriads of which also lay embedded in reddish
half-formed rock or buried in layers of yellowish-red earth.

To the north was a majestic panorama of the most delicate tones of blue
and green, with almost over-powering sweeping lines hardly interrupted
by a slight indentation or a prominence rising above the sky-line. Only
to the north-west in the middle distance was there the gentle undulating
line of magnificent campos--most regular in its curves, which spread in a
crescent toward the west. The line was interrupted somewhat abruptly by a
higher and irregular three-terraced mass, but soon resumed its sweeping
and regularly curved undulations beyond. This great crescent almost
described a semicircle around the smaller undulations over which we were
travelling.

We descended to 1,750 ft. On facing west we had curious scenery on our
left (south). A huge basin had sunk in--evidently by a sudden subsidence
which had left on its northern side high vertical cliffs supporting the
hill-range that remained standing. The undulating centre and sides of the
immense depression formed beautiful campos with an occasional _bosquet_
of forest on the top of hills, and also on the lowest points of the
undulations. Those _bosquets_ were few and far apart, only to be found
where moisture was plentiful. The remains of a high, flat plateau, which
had escaped while the rest of the country had subsided, loomed alone in
the distance.

One of the central hills was crowned by great black volcanic boulders of
the same rock which was visible at the southern edge of this great basin,
bounded by vertical cliffs--all of the same composition.

Directly south-west the evenness of the sky-line was again interrupted by
two mountains--flat-topped, one not unlike the gabled roof of a house,
the other like a cylindrical tower on the top of a high conical hill. We
again rose to an elevation of 1,950 ft., still travelling on the summit
of the plateau bordering the deep depression. We were compelled to
describe a curve in our route, and had reached a height of 2,000 ft. We
perceived to the north-east and east a long, uninterrupted--almost
flat--sky-line. We had described a sweeping curve right round the
irregular edge of the undulating plateau. We could now look back upon the
southern aspect of the vertical black and brown rocky cliff, on the
summit of which we had been travelling. The rocky cliffs were
particularly precipitous and picturesque in the western portion.
Interminable campos were still before us.

I occasionally picked up interesting plants and flowers for my botanical
collection. Innumerable in this region were the plants with medicinal
properties. The _sentori_ (_centaurea_) for instance--plentiful there,
with its sweetly pretty mauve flower--when boiled in water gave a bitter
decoction good for fever.

We came upon a patch of _landir_ or _landirana_ trees, with luxuriant
dark green foliage. They grew near the water, and were by far the tallest
and handsomest, cleanest-looking trees I had so far seen in Matto Grosso.
They attained a great height, with extraordinarily dense foliage,
especially at the summit, but also lower down at the sides. Then _burity_
palms were fairly abundant wherever one met _landir_ trees in groups or
tufts. We were now travelling at an elevation of 2,050 ft., then soon
after at 2,100 ft. above the sea level. There was merely stunted
vegetation growing upon the red earth and sand.

On descending from that high point we came upon extraordinary scenery.
To our right (north) was another concave depression with a further
subsidence in its central part. Due west and north-west, from the spot
where we first observed the scene, appeared four curious hemispherical
domes forming a quadrangle with three less important ones beyond. In the
south-easterly portion of the depression was a great rocky mass, while
due north another, and higher, conical mount, much higher than all the
others, could be observed.

In the eastern part of the depression a wide circle of big volcanic
boulders--undoubtedly an extinct crater--was to be seen, with huge masses
of spattered yellow lava in large blocks as well as ferruginous rock.
That great depression--taken in its entirety--was subdivided into three
distinct terraces, counting as third the summit of the plateau. A mighty,
deep, impressive chasm, smothered in vegetation, could be observed within
the central crater--in the north-east side of the circle.

The summit of the plateau, varying in elevation from 2,000 ft. to 2,100
ft., on which we were travelling was entirely covered by sand and grey
ashes.

The valley in the depression extended in lovely campos from south-west to
north-east--in fact, as far as the giant table-land which stood majestic
in the distance.

The scene, as we stood on the edge of the plateau, was impressive in its
grandeur, in its silence. In the morning the sky was almost entirely
covered with transparent clouds in scales like a fish. In the afternoon
the sky above changed into horizontal layers of globular clouds, which
stood as still as death. Leaden black globular accumulations covered
one-third of the sky vault, great unshapen masses overhead rendering the
air heavy.

We marched all that day on a deep layer of ashes. On descending from the
plateau we had on our left great clean campos and plentiful _burity_
palms in a slight depression where moisture filtered through. As the
caravan was moving along gaily, a _veado_ (deer) gracefully leapt in
front and, turning its head back two or three times to look at us, ran
before us. Filippe, the negro, in his excitement, gave wild yells which
set the mules stampeding, while green parrots in couples, scared at the
sudden disturbance, flew overhead, adding piercing shrieks to the rapid
tinkling of the mules' bells, the rattling of the baggage on the
pack-saddles, and the shouts of the men trying to stop the excited mules.
All those sudden noises mingled together were quite a change for us,
accustomed to a constant deathly silence.

Before us on the W.N.W.--as we still sank in grey ashes--were two conical
hillocks. In the distance, to the west, two small flat-topped plateaux
rose above the sky-line, and also two hills shaped not unlike the backs
of two whales. On our left we had an immense crack or fissure extending
from north-east to south-west between the hill-range on which we
travelled and another on the south--both showing huge domes of eruptive
rock, apparently extensive flows of red lava subsequently blackened on
the surface by weathering. On the opposite side to ours the rock was
exposed all along the fissure for a great height, except the surface
padding on the summit, where beautiful fresh green grass was in contrast
to the deep tones of the rock. On our side we were still struggling in
ashes and sand, with striated and much indented boulders of lava showing
through.

We found many _sicupira_ nuts, of a small, flat and fat oval shape, and a
yellow-ochre colour. The shell contained many tiny cells or
chambers--just like the section of a beehive. Each chamber was full of a
bitter oil, said to cure almost any complaint known.

On May 22nd I took observations with the hypsometrical apparatus in order
to obtain the correct elevation, and also as a check to the several
aneroids I was using for differential altitudes. Water boiled at a
temperature of 210° with a temperature of the atmosphere of 70° Fahr.
This would make the elevation at that spot 1,490 ft. above the sea level.
The aneroids registered 1,480 ft.

We came upon two strange rocks, one resembling the head and neck of a
much-eroded Sphinx--of natural formation--blackened, knobby, and with
deep grooves; the other not unlike a giant mushroom. The sphinx-like rock
stood upon a pedestal also of rock in several strata. The head was
resting on a stratum 1 ft. thick, of a brilliant red, and at a slight
dip. Under it was a white stratum much cracked, after which came a
stratum of white and red blending into each other. This stratum, 2 ft.
thick, showed the white more diffused in the upper part than the lower.
The lowest stratum of all exposed was of a deep red.

Near this stood erect another columnar rock of a similar shape, the head
and base entirely of red rock. It was eroded on the north-west side to
such an extent that it was almost concave in the lower part. This rock,
too, showed great cracks and a slight dip north-west in the strata.
Vertical fissures were noticeable, and seemed caused by concussion.

A third rock--flat, with a convex bottom--stood as if on a pivot on the
angular point of a pyramidal larger rock, this larger rock in its turn
resting over a huge base. There was no mistake as to how those two rocks
had got there. They had fallen from above, one on the top of the other. A
proof of this lay in the fact that they had arrived with such force that
the base had split at the point of contact. As there was no hill above or
near those rocks, there was little doubt that they had been flung there
by volcanic action.

We were in a region of extraordinary interest and surprises. In the plain
which extended before us there stood two conical hills in the far
north-west, and three other hills, dome-like, each isolated, but in a
most perfect alignment with the others, towards the east. Close to us
were giant domes of rock, the surface of which formed marvellous
geometrical designs of such regularity that had they been on a smaller
scale one might have suspected them of being the work of human beings;
but they were not, as we shall see presently.



CHAPTER XVIII

     The Salesian Fathers--A Volcanic Zone


WE arrived at the chief colony of the Salesians, Sagrado Coração de Jesus
(Tachos). There, thanks to the great kindness and hospitality of the
Fathers, and also owing to the amount of interesting matter I found from
a geological and anthropological point of view, I decided to halt for a
day or two.

The Salesians had come to that spot, not by the way I had gone, but by an
easier way via Buenos Aires and the Paraguay River, navigable as far as
Cuyabá, the capital of Matto Grosso. The friars had done wonderful work
in many parts of the State of Matto Grosso. In fact, what little good in
the way of civilization had been done in that State had been done almost
entirely by those monks. They had established an excellent college in
Cuyabá, where all kinds of trades and professions were taught. In the
port of Corumbá a similar school was established, and then there were the
several colonies among the Indians, such as the Sagrado Coração de Jesus
on the Rio Barreiro, the Immaculada Conceição on the Rio das Garças, the
Sangradouro Colony, and the Palmeiras.

[Illustration: The Observatory at the Salesian Colony.

(Padre Colbacchini in the Foreground.)]

[Illustration: Bororo Women and Children.]

As in this work I have limited myself to write on things which have come
directly under my observation, I shall not have an opportunity of
speaking of the work of the Salesians at Cuyabá or Corumbá--two cities
I did not visit--but I feel it my duty to say a few words on the work of
sacrifice, love and devotion performed by the friars in those remote
regions.

In the colony at Tachos, situated on a height, there were several neat
buildings for the friars and a village for the Indians. What interested
me most was to see how much of the land around had been converted with
success to agricultural purposes. I inspected the buildings where useful
trades were taught to the Indians of both sexes. Weaving-looms and
spinning-wheels had been imported at great expense and endless trouble,
as well as blacksmiths' and carpenters' tools of all kinds. A
delightfully neat garden with European flowers was indeed a great joy to
one's eyes, now unaccustomed to so gay and tidy a sight. What pleased me
most of all was to notice how devoted to the Salesians the Indians were,
and how happy and well cared for they seemed to be. They had the most
humble reverence for the Fathers.

Padre Antonio Colbacchini, the Father Superior, an Italian, was an
extremely intelligent and practical man, one of the hardest workers I
have ever met. With a great love for science he had established a small
observatory on a high hill at a considerable distance from the mission
buildings. The abnegation with which Father Clemente Dorozeski, in charge
of the instruments, would get up in the middle of the night and in all
weathers go and watch for the minimum temperature--their instruments were
primitive, and they did not possess self-registering thermometers--was
indeed more than praiseworthy.

My readers can easily imagine my surprise when one day Padre Colbacchini
treated me, after dinner, to an orchestral concert of such operas as _Il
Trovatore_, _Aïda_, and the _Barbiere di Seviglia_, played on brass and
stringed instruments by Indian boys. The Bororos showed great fondness
for music, and readily learned to play any tune without knowing a single
note of music. Naturally great patience was required on the part of the
teacher in order to obtain a collective melody which would not seriously
impair the drum of one's ear. The result was truly marvellous. Brass
instruments were preferred by the Indians. The trombone was the most
loved of all. As the Indians all possessed powerful lungs, they were well
suited for wind instruments.

The colony was situated in one of the most picturesque spots of Matto
Grosso. When out for a walk I came upon a great natural wall of rock with
immense spurs of lava, the surface of which was cut up into regular
geometrical patterns, squares and lozenges. I think that in that
particular case the peculiarity was due to the lava having flowed over
curved surfaces. In coming in contact with the atmosphere it had cooled
more rapidly on the upper face than the under, and in contracting quickly
had split at regular intervals, thus forming the geometrical pattern.

It was undoubted that we were there in the former centre of inconceivable
volcanic activity. In other parts of a great dome of rock I came upon
strange holes in the rock--extremely common all over that region--which
might at first glance be mistaken for depressions formed by glacial
action, but which were not. They were merely moulds of highly ferruginous
rock, granular on its surface and not smoothed, as one would expect in
the walls of cavities made by the friction of revolving ice and rock. Nor
did I ever find at the bottom of any of those pits, worn-down, smooth
spherical or spheroid rocks, such as are usually found in pits of glacial
formation. Those pits had been formed by lava and molten iron flowing
around easily crumbled blocks of rock, or perhaps by large balls of
erupted mud which had dropped on molten lava, that had then solidified
round them, while the mud or soft rock had subsequently been dissolved by
rain, leaving the mould intact. The latter theory would seem to me the
more plausible, as many of those pits showed much indented, raised edges,
as if splashing had taken place when the rock now forming the mould was
in semi-liquid form. Only once or twice did I notice hollows with a
suggestion of spiral grooves in their walls; but I think that those had
been caused at a more recent date by water flowing in and describing a
spiral as it travelled downward in the interior of the vessels.

On the hill where the observatory was situated two circular volcanic
vents were to be seen. The hill, which had a slope on one side, had
evidently been split, as on reaching the top I found that an almost
vertical precipice was on the other side. Quantities of quartz and
crystals were to be found on that hill. All over that region
quaintly-shaped rocks were also to be found, some like small cubic or
rectangular boxes, others not unlike inkstands, others in hollowed
cylinders or spheres. Many--and those were the quaintest of all--were of
a rectangular shape, which when split disclosed a rectangular hollow
inside. These natural boxes were mostly of iron rock, laminated, which
had evidently collected when in a liquid state round some soft matter,
that had subsequently evaporated or disappeared with the intense heat,
leaving empty spaces inside. The laminations were about one-eighth of an
inch thick.

Padre Colbacchini told me that some distance off a curious pool of water
existed which he called the "electric spring." When you placed your hand
in it you received a slight electric shock, while a similar impression to
that of an electric current continued to be felt as long as you kept your
hand in the water.

The mission buildings at Tachos were at an elevation of 1,600 ft., the
observatory, 100 ft. higher. The temperature on May 23rd was max. 81°,
min. 68·4 Fahr. From the observatory hill an uncommon sight was before
us. Seven large and small isolated conical and domed hills stood in
perfect alignment from N.N.E. to S.S.W. in two different sets.

In that region the prevalent wind was from the E.S.E. during the months
of May, June, July and August. In September the wind veered gradually to
the north and north-east; whereas during the rainy season winds from the
north, north-west and south-east were the most prevalent, especially the
north-westerly wind. When the wind came from the north it was generally
accompanied by heavy rain. The rainy season in that particular zone of
the immense Matto Grosso state extended from October to the end of April.

The Rio Barreiros flowed in a northerly direction (elev. 1,500 ft.) over
a bed of red lava, ashes, red earth, and sand. After leaving this river
we quickly rose again to an altitude of 1,700 ft. upon a first hill,
then to 1,800 ft. on a second, and 1,850 ft. on a third elevation over a
great spur of red lava, extending in a graceful curve well into the
valley below.

Exquisite was the view of the great plain below us, with its magnificent
campos stretching as far as the eye could see, far away to the horizon
line. In the far distance, scattered here and there, rose the peculiar
flat-topped isolated mountains before described. Again all that day we
marched over ashes, red sand, and volcanic débris. The highest point we
reached was 1,950 ft. A snake dashed across our way among the hoofs of my
mule, but no harm was done.

Near Camp Bugueirão (elev. 1,800 ft.), where we halted, there was a
delightful, clear, tiny spring emerging from white volcanic crystallized
rock. Then more campos over lovely undulations in the country. Close by
was what the Brazilians call a _furnas_ (from the Latin _fornus_)--a
somewhat misapplied term by which they named any deep hollow or chasm,
whether vertical like a precipice or horizontal such as a cave.

It was getting slightly less cold during the nights. On May 24th the
Fahrenheit thermometer registered a minimum of 60° and a maximum
temperature of 75°.

Owing to the usual trouble of recovering the mules in the morning we only
left camp at 10.30 a.m., rising over great masses of ferruginous rock,
which showed through the deposits of ashes and sand at an elevation of
1,950 ft. The immense view of the campos in great undulations was really
exquisite to the west and south-west.

My mules were then travelling over a strange narrow strip of rock at a
height of 2,050 ft.--in some places only a few yards across--on the top
of vertical walls dividing two deep valleys, one to the south, very
extensive, with great lava-flows; another to the north. In the latter
valley an immense extinct crater was visible, in three well-defined
internal terraces and a deep central depression.

Upon climbing on the summit of a high conical hill I further discovered
that the crater had an elongated shape, the longest diameter being from
north to south, the southern and lower part being overlapped by a
voluminous flow of lava which also covered a great part of the mountain
slope. Strange monoliths were numerous, among the many fantastically
shaped rocks, and also boulders lying about at all angles. One like a
huge table rested on the top of another, upon which it had fallen with
great force, as could be seen by the vertical splitting of the rock
underneath. The rock above appeared simply broiled--and so were the huge
masses of débris, especially of ferruginous rock, which had evidently
been ejected by that crater. The entire summit of the crater cone (2,100
ft. above the sea level) was of hard black baked rock.

Close by, to the north, was another peculiar oval depression, the highest
part of which to the north-west was in four distinct terraces in the
interior. The eastern part was more flattened, not unlike a huge soup
plate. In the centre was another deep depression--possibly an extinct
crater too. This second crater was to the north of the high-domed crater
described above.

In the near west we had mere undulations over which we gradually
travelled, but the country was getting much more disturbed than it had
appeared since leaving the Araguaya River. Due west farther away stood
before us a weird-looking plateau with a vertical high wall to the north.
To the south it showed three terraces, the two lower ones supported on
perpendicular cliffs, whereas a convex slope was between the second and
third, or top terrace. To the south-west in the far distance another high
plateau could be perceived, also with vertical cliffs to the north, but
slanting at its southern end--a shape characteristic of nearly all the
isolated mountains of that zone.

Looking south we perceived great tongues of lava extending from east to
west--the eastern point being higher than the western, showing that the
lava had flowed there from east to west. Then there was also a great
sloping grassy slant, possibly over another extensive lava-flow, from the
crater we had examined. Extending toward the south-west was another
tongue of lava of great width when measured from north-west to
south-east, the latter (south-east) being its lowest point. On its
north-east side this great flow had a high vertical face. Between these
enormous tongues of lava, east to west and south-east to north-west, was
a depression or channel extending as far as a distant high dome in three
terraces to the south-west. On our course we came upon more curious
flattened eruptive rocks, which had split on falling with great force to
earth after having been ejected from a volcano.

Other parallel ranges could be clearly perceived. To bearings magnetic
160° were again to be seen our old friends the two strange gabled-roof
and tower mountains.

I climbed up on the Paredãozinho volcano (2,100 ft. above the sea level)
to examine its extinct crater, subdivided into two distinct large
craters and a subsidiary one.

One of these craters extended from east to west, and had in one section
on its rim a giant dome split into quadrangular and lozenge-shaped
sections, not unlike magnified mosaic work. Next to it was a great hill
with a vertical natural wall overlooking the crater itself. The
horizontal strata of this natural wall, each about a foot thick, looked
exactly like a wonderful masonry work, so perfectly straight were the
strata, and the square and rectangular rocks laid in lines with such
extraordinary regularity. This wall stood upon solid masses of rock of
immense size--hundreds of feet in height.

The lip of the crater on the south side was just like the well-laid
pavement of a city, so regularly had the lava cracked in contracting,
thus leaving four- and five-sided geometrical figures, all well fitting
in with their neighbours. Again, in this case, the lava, flowing over a
convex surface, had contracted on the surface and caused the wonderful
network of grooves. In one section the crater had the appearance of an
ancient Roman or Etruscan amphitheatre with seats in many tiers or steps,
separated by vertical cracks--as if cut out into separate blocks of
stone.

[Illustration: Strange Formation of Volcanic Rock.]

[Illustration: Volcanic Cavities (Matto Grosso).]

On the east side of the greatest portion of one crater--which would seem
to have been the most active of all--I found again immense boulders with
stratified rock above them resembling masonry work, just the same as and
at the same elevation as the layers I had examined in the larger
elongated horseshoe crater. In the centre of the smaller crater there
flowed a rivulet of crystal-like water most delicious to drink.
Undoubtedly those eastern rocks were the lip of the crater, for I
discovered there two flows of lava in corrugations and network designs
such as we had observed on the summit of the greater section. I had great
difficulty in climbing up the steep internal walls of the crater, and on
the steep slopes with dried grass, which was slippery to a degree. On the
top of the crater were great masses of carbonated rock; also patches of
lapilli, and red and white sand, plentiful everywhere in that zone.

The smaller crater--it seemed to me--must have been a mere safety valve
for the larger one. Its elevation, it will be noticed, was the same as
that of the latter. From the summit of the one on which I was standing I
could perceive the other to the E.N.E., forming the eastern boundary of
this immense volcanic hollow. The southern part of this great double
crater was subdivided into several sections, all in great rocky
terraces--quite vertical except in their lower portion, which was sloping
and had evidently been filled to a great extent by an accumulation of
ashes and erupted refuse. On the side on which I stood, however, the
crater had not the diabolical, quite awe-inspiring, appearance of the
larger section of the huge volcanic mouth--quite unscaleable by humans in
its central section. In the deep cracks in the rock were several small
grottoes. I experienced some difficulty and much fatigue in climbing to
the top (elev. 1,750 ft.) of the extinct volcano, and especially in
reaching the lip of the crater, owing to the thick and much entangled
scrub with innumerable thorns.

Our camp was at 1,500 ft., in a delightful spot at the junction of two
streams, one from the south descending from the volcano, the other from
the north. The two rivers united flowed north--I think eventually into
the Rio das Mortes.

When we moved out of camp on May 25th (temperature, minimum 62°, maximum
80° Fahr.) I noticed that, after passing the wall-like section of the
crater in the northern aspect, there were strata with a dip south in the
inner part of the crater. The northern face of this vertical wall showed
thick strata cracked into squares and rectangles with a dip in two
different directions at an angle. There a draining channel had formed.
Two rows of circular holes--like port-holes--were to be seen, one
directly under the summit, the other one-third down the cliff side. A
giant rectangular tower of solid rock stood erect parallel to the great
wall. Skirting this vertical wall we travelled north-west-by-west, rising
gradually to 1,800 ft. on a deep layer of red volcanic sand and grey
ashes.

Looking back to the east we had a complete view of the two-tiered
plateaux with their vertical northern walls, showing a dip south in their
stratification. A crowning mound could also be observed surpassing their
height, when we rose still higher to 1,900 ft. on the summit of a ledge
of cracked lava with a slant west-wards. On the eastern side, where it
had crumbled owing to a subsidence, it showed a rounded moulding, whereas
on the other side were great waves of lava. The lava had flowed from east
to west.

After leaving this curious spot we went over undulating red and
ochre-coloured sand and more grey ashes. We rose twice to an elevation
of 2,000 ft. We crossed a streamlet of delicious water flowing north over
a red lava bed. Then more and more ashes were found all along. A second
stream--also flowing north--was then negotiated, also over a red lava bed
(elev. 1,800 ft.), after which we climbed to 2,000 ft., descending soon
after to 1,900 ft. on the banks of another river flowing north-east.

At this spot were two more enormous lava-flows--one on each side of the
stream, and extending in a tortuous course from south-west to north-east.
The lava had flowed north-east.

On rising slowly in deep red sand to an elevation of 2,100 ft. we saw two
prominent elevations of brilliant red colouring to the south--they, too,
with vertical cliffs to the north. To the west loomed two huge twin
plateaux separated by an immense crack, also with vertical walls to the
north and a slight dip south in the strata forming the various terraces.



CHAPTER XIX

     The Paredão Grande--A Cañon--A Weird Phenomenon--Troublesome
     Insects


WE had reached a spot of most amazing scenery--the Paredão Grande--a
giant hill mass displaying a great crater in its north side. Two high
cones stood above the immense red-baked wall at its eastern end, where it
was in huge blocks stratified in thicknesses varying from 15 to 20 ft.
each. In that eastern section the strata were perfectly horizontal. On
the western side of the crater was a colossal quadrangular mountain of
red-baked rock--a solid mass of granite with a narrow band, slightly
discoloured, all along its summit. There--above--we also perceived a
slight grassy slope, and above it again a great natural wall in layers 6
ft. thick. From the bottom of the mountain this upper natural wall
resembled the defences of a great castle built on the summit of the giant
rock. In approaching this strange sight we had gone over extensive
deposits of ashes and yellow lava pellets and balls.

[Illustration: A Vertical Mass of Solid Rock of a Brilliant Red Colour.]

The elevation at the foot of this immense block was 1,970 ft., the summit
of the rock 660 ft. higher--so that the reader can easily imagine how
impressive this quadrangular block of bright red rock was, several
hundred yards in length on each side and 201 metres high.

As we reached camp rather early I went to examine the block from all
sides. On the southern side Alcides and I climbed up to within 30 ft. of
the summit, and from that high point obtained a stupendous panoramic view
of the great expanse of undulating country to the south and south-east,
while it was almost absolutely flat to the west as far as the horizon
line.

To the south-west were distinguishable some extraordinary-looking
cylindrical table-lands--like immense sections of columns--rising well
above the horizon line. To the south in the distance a peculiar formation
of mountains could be seen--first a separate prismatic mountain like a
gabled roof with a well-defined vertical high wall standing all along its
longitudinal apex line. Parallel to this and to one another were three
sets of mountains, with such steep sides that they seemed like gigantic
walls standing up on the flat country. Behind them was a flat-topped
plateau with a small cone rising above it. The sides of the latter
plateau formed a steep escarpment. To the south-east was a domed plateau,
red in its lower section, green on the top. Between this plateau and the
last wall-like mountain, several hundred feet in height, stood a conical
peak with a natural tower of rock upon it.

Beyond, to the south-east, could just be perceived two pyramidal
mountains, but they were very distant and scarcely visible. The valley
itself was greatly furrowed in deep, long channels. Due south were
dome-like mounds--each of these, mind you, standing out individually upon
an almost flat plain.

In the north-western corners of the great quadrangular Paredão rock I saw
a spot where it would have been quite easy to climb up to the summit, as
portions of the rock had crumbled down and had left an incline. But I had
no object in making the ascent on that side, especially as I had already
obtained the view I required from the south side. Also because I was
heavily laden, carrying cameras, aneroids, a large prismatic compass, and
three heavy bags of money slung to the belt round my waist, and did not
feel up to the extra and useless exertion. Great arches with a span of
over 80 metres were to be seen in the lower part of the western wall. To
the south there was a huge spur of lava with the geometrical pattern upon
its surface we had already observed elsewhere. In this particular case,
too, it appeared to me that the peculiar net of surface channels had been
formed in coming in contact with the air, and not underground in the
boiling cauldron of the volcano when the ebullition of the rock ceased.
They were only found at a lower elevation because they had gone down with
a great subsidence which had taken place, and in which neither the
quadrangular Paredão Grande, nor the peculiar isolated mountains we had
observed from its height, had been affected. They had remained standing
when all the rest sank for some six hundred feet and, in places, more.
That might perhaps account for the extraordinary shapes of all those
mountains, which could not otherwise be explained.

[Illustration: The Paredão Grande (Matto-Grosso).]

At the foot of the vertical giant block on the west many domes of lava,
channelled in a quadrangular network pattern, and ridges and cones, were
found, all with a slope to the west. I had a great struggle in my
research work that day, owing to the thick scrub with vicious thorns
that tore one's clothes and skin mercilessly.

We came upon an immense deep crack in the earth surface--a regular
cañon--which extended all along the centre of the great valley. On the
opposite side of it were again big domes of lava in corrugated designs,
also a gigantic circular crater. Many natural crucibles of iron rock,
some cylindrical in shape, others oval, others formed not unlike Pompeian
lamps--while others still were square or rectangular or
lozenge-shaped--were to be seen in many spots on the moraine-like tails
that extended southward, like the tentacles of an octopus, and in the
heaps of much carbonized rock and solidified froth produced by what was
once boiling rock. The mounds of froth were usually collected in
depressions.

The west side of the Paredão was decidedly the most interesting of all.
Its great arches showed that it must have once formed the sides of a
great cauldron--the top of which had subsequently collapsed or been blown
off. This seemed quite apparent from the discoloration in the rocky cliff
some 50 ft. above the arches, which followed the exact line of what must
have been the thickness of the vault. The rock in that discoloured
section was perfectly smooth, whereas above that it became much cracked
vertically in layers, and gave the appearance of a masonry wall.

Toward the south-western corner there was a prismatic tower. Where the
peculiar isolated rocks near the tower formed a spur, a dip was
noticeable in the flow of the once molten rock, following what must have
been at that time the surface soil over the cauldron's roof.

A huge triangular crater could be seen, from which started an enormous
crack of great length in the lava-flow of the valley to the west.

The southern face of that stupendous rocky quadrangle was not quite so
vertical as the west and north sides, and was more in tiers or steps of
lava--but very steep indeed. It had in its lower part a great spur
extending southward.

As I have said, Alcides and I arrived within 30 ft. of the summit of the
great Paredão, at an elevation of 2,550 ft., the summit being 2,580 ft.;
but owing to the last 30 ft. being absolutely vertical and the top rock
of a crumbling nature, and as my object in wishing to obtain a full view
of the country to the south had been attained, I did not think it worth
while to court an accident for nothing. It was well after sunset when we
were up there, and it would take a long time to return to camp. So we
hastened on our return journey.

The sunset that night--which we watched from that high point of
vantage--was really too stupendous for words, and not unlike an aurora
borealis--red, gold and violet lines radiating from the sun like a
gorgeous fan and expanding as they approached the summit of the sky
vault. The descent was more difficult than the ascent, owing to the
slippery nature of the rock.

At night, while back in camp, we saw to the W.N.W., quite low on the
horizon, a brilliant planet--possibly Venus. The stars and planets
appeared always wonderfully bright and extraordinarily large on fine
nights. Whether it was an optical illusion or not I do not know, but the
phenomenon, which lasted some hours, was seen by all my men, and appeared
also when the planet was seen through a powerful hand telescope. It
seemed to discharge powerful intermittent flashes, red and greenish, only
toward the earth. Those flashes were similar to and more luminous than
the tail of a small comet, and of course much shorter--perhaps four to
five times the diameter of the planet in their entire length.

Whether this phenomenon was due to an actual astral disturbance, or to
light-signalling to the earth or other planet, it would be difficult--in
fact, impossible--to ascertain with the means I had at my command.
Perhaps it was only an optical illusion caused by refraction and
deflected rays of vision, owing to the effect upon the atmosphere of the
heated rocky mass by our side and under us--such as is the case in
effects of mirage. I am not prepared to express an opinion, and only
state what my men and I saw, merely suggesting what seem to me the most
plausible explanations.

At moments the planet seemed perfectly spherical, with a marvellously
definite outline, and then the flashes were shot out especially to the
right as one looked at the planet, and downward slightly at an angle, not
quite perpendicularly.

That night, May 25th-26th, was cold: min. 58° Fahr. But during the day at
9 a.m. the thermometer already registered 85° Fahr.

The sky, half covered by flimsy transparent mist to the east, and by
globular thin clouds, large overhead and of smaller dimensions to the
west, developed later in the day into a charming mackerel sky, with two
great arches of mist to the south, and delicate horizontal layers of mist
near the earth.

It was only when we were some distance off that we obtained a full and
glorious view of the western side of the Paredão. The upper stratum
showed a slight dip north, then there was a ledge on which grass seemed
to flourish, and below it two parallel strata in a wavy line from north
to south. Those two strata could be traced again--after a dip--in the
range with two cones, separated as we have seen by a deep gap from the
great wall-cliffs of the Paredão. The indication of what must have been
once an enormous dome over a huge cavity or cauldron could be noticed in
the western cliff, and also numerous chambers, large and small--at least,
judging by the arches in great numbers noticeable in the wall. In other
words, you had there the same effect as the one often seen in cities when
houses are pulled down and the remains of the various rooms are visible
on the remaining side walls.

Looking north as we left the disturbed region of the Paredão Grande, we
came upon a great valley, with a depression in its centre. We were still
travelling on volcanic ochre-coloured sand in deep layers, especially as
we rose to an altitude of 2,350 ft., overlooking a huge basin. We had
then a good general view of the southern aspect of the Paredão Grande. In
its side a huge gap with vertical walls--a vent perhaps--could be
noticed, reaching as far as the summit of the mountain. It was
interesting to note that all the great cracks in the earth's crust found
in that region almost invariably had a direction from north to south, so
that the ranges which remained bordering them must have split in a
lateral movement east and west.

Six kilometres from camp through the forest we came upon some singularly
delicious green, smooth grassy slopes. In other places were perfectly
circular or oval concave basins of volcanic ashes, in the centre of which
stood charming groups of _burity_ palms and trees with most luxuriant
foliage. These _bosquets_ existed in the hollow of all the basins where
profuse infiltrations of moisture caused the luxuriant vegetation.

We were at an elevation of 2,350 ft. On going down to a stream (elev.
2,130 ft.) we encountered great flows of lava. It had flowed in a
westerly direction. We were proceeding through enchanting vegetation when
we came to a second and a third _cuvette_ or basin adorned with plentiful
healthy palms in its central point.

As I was admiring the curious sight of these clusters of high vegetation
absolutely surrounded by a wide band of lawn--such as one would see in a
well-kept English park--a heavy and sudden storm arrived, which in a few
seconds drenched us to the marrow of our bones. I have seldom seen or
felt drops of water of such weight and size as when the rain began,
followed within a few seconds by a downpour in bucketfuls.

Animals, baggage, and men, dripping all over, went along, rising to 2,400
ft. above the sea level, by the side of a conical hill. A huge block of
volcanic rock--shot and deposited there evidently from elsewhere--was to
be seen near by.

Eighteen kilometres from our last camp we descended to a streamlet,
dividing a grassy basin like the preceding ones. Again I noticed here
that all divisions between ranges--caused by volcanic or other violent
action, and not by erosion--were in a direction from north to south. We
had this in the Paredão Grande, and in the triple division of the
top-dyked mountains on the south, and also in the gabled and tower
mountains we had observed for some days to the south-west.

Again during the night I saw to the west the phenomenon of the previous
evening repeated--the strange flashes directly under and occasionally to
the left of the brilliant planet--that is to say to the right of the
person observing it.

This was from Camp Areal, where we suffered terribly during the day from
our friends the _pium_, which filled our eyes and ears and stung us all
over; and at sunset from the _polvora_ or _polvorinha_ (or powder), so
called because of their infinitesimal size--most persistent mosquitoes,
so greedy that they preferred to be squashed rather than escape when they
were sucking our blood on our hands and faces. Fortunately, during the
night--with the cold (min. Fahr. 56°)--we had a little respite, and these
brutes disappeared, only to return to their attack at sunrise with the
warmth of the sun. At 9 a.m. the thermometer already registered a
temperature of 95° Fahr. in the sun--a jump of 39°, which,
notwithstanding mosquitoes and _pium_, my men greatly enjoyed.

[Illustration: The Paredão Grande, showing Vertical Rocks with
Great Arches.]

I have never seen men suffer more from the cold than my followers. They
were simply paralyzed and frozen at that comparatively high temperature.
They moaned and groaned and wept all night, although they slept in their
clothes and were tightly wrapped up in heavy blankets. Moreover, they had
spread a heavy waterproof double tent over the lot of them, as they lay
closely packed to one another, covering heads and all, and had
arranged a blazing fire enough to roast an ox quite close to them.

Personally, I was quite happy under a mere shelter tent--open for
precaution on all sides, owing to preceding experiences, so that I could
see what was going on all around without getting up from my camp bed. I
only had a mere thin camel-hair blanket over me. I never slept in my
clothes, preferring the comfort of ample silk pyjamas. In the morning I
always indulged in my cold shower bath, two large buckets of water being
poured by Alcides upon my head and back, amid the shivering yells of my
trembling companions, who, at a distance, watched the operation, wrapped
up to such an extent that merely their eyes were exposed.

"He is mad!" I often heard them murmur with chattering teeth.

Beneath heavy horizontal clouds low in the sky and ball-like cloudlets
above, we started off once more from an elevation of 2,100 ft. at the
camp to proceed over a plateau 2,300 ft. high and some 6 kil. broad from
east to west. Then we descended into another charming _cuvette_ (elev.
2,100 ft.), and farther on to a streamlet flowing north, the Rio Coriseo.

We were then travelling over reddish and ochre-coloured volcanic sand,
going through stunted and fairly open _matto_ (forest), higher up at
2,250 ft. in successive undulations crossing our route at right angles.
In one of the depressions (elev. 2,150 ft.) was a river--the Rio
Torresino--flowing north. Quantities of yellow globular lava pellets and
lumpy blocks--evidently ejected by a volcano--were seen.

The stream Cabeça de Boi--forming after the Rio Macacos (or River of
Monkeys) a tributary of the Rio das Mortes, into which flowed all the
rivulets we had lately met--was next crossed (elev. 2,130 ft.). Over more
and deep beds of ashes we journeyed at 2,270 ft. on the southern edge of
a great grassy basin extending from east to west. Again a delightful
group of palms and healthy trees was in the typical depression. Ant-hills
were innumerable on all sides. One could not help admiring their
architectural lines, which formed all kinds of miniature fortresses and
castles. We were worried to death by the _pium_ or _lambe-olhos_
(eye-lickers), as the Brazilians call them, which followed us all day in
swarms around our heads and hands, entering our mouths, noses, eyes and
ears. Only for a few moments, when there blew a gust of wind, were we
freed from this pest, but they soon returned to their attack with renewed
vigour.

We rose again to an altitude of 2,380 ft. on another great dome of red
lava, which had flowed northwards, as could be plainly seen as we
ascended on its rounded back. Upon it were quantities of crystals and
yellow lava pellets and pebbles and carbonated rock, resting on whitish
and grey ashes. On the summit, where fully exposed, numerous
perforations, cracks and striations were visible in the flow, we were
able to observe plainly how the lava in a liquid state had flowed and
quickly cooled while other strata of liquid lava flowed over it, one
overlapping another like the scales of a fish, and forming so many oval
or ovoid bosses with channels between.

From that high point we had a perfectly level sky-line all around us,
except for the Paredão Grande and the Paredãozinho, then to the E.N.E. of
us.

At an elevation of 2,520 ft. we perceived that day to the E.S.E. a
double-towered massive rocky mountain of a brilliant red colour,
reminding one of the shape of an Egyptian temple, and a lower hill range
in undulations behind it to the south, projecting at its sides.

We were marching on the northern edge of deep and extensive depressions
to the south and south-east of us. Domed undulations in progressive steps
from north to south were noticeable in the southern portion of the
landscape, and from south to north in the northern and much-wooded zone.

When we were at an elevation of 2,550 ft. we had still red and yellow
sand and ashes with stunted and sparse vegetation. Upon descending we
skirted the southern side of another peculiar oval basin--this time one
which possessed a thin strip or row of tall vegetation in perfect
alignment in the central line of depression. A deep deposit of grey ashes
and sand encircled this _cuvette_. The general longitudinal direction of
the oval was from the south, the highest point, to the north, the lowest
of the rim.

Having travelled 28 kil. from Areal we made camp on a streamlet flowing
north.

The company of my men was a great trial to me--a penance I had to bear in
silence. What was more, I could not let it appear in the slightest degree
that it was a penance to me, if I did not wish to make matters worse.
Pusillanimity and fear are two qualities which I cannot quite understand
nor admit in men. Hence, it is well to be imagined what I suffered in
being with followers who, with the exception of Alcides and Filippe the
negro, were afraid of everything.

One of the men had a toothache. His last tooth in the lower jaw was so
badly decayed that merely the outside shell remained. No doubt it gave
him great pain. I offered to remove it for him--without a guarantee of
painless extraction. The fear of greater pain than he endured--even for a
few minutes--was too much for him. He would not hear of parting with what
remained of the tooth. Result: for twelve consecutive days and nights
that fellow cried and moaned incessantly--holding his jaw with both hands
while riding a quiet mule, and sobbing _hai, hai, hai, hai!_ all day long
at each step of the animal--with variations of _hoi, hoi, hoi, hoi_, when
the mule went a little quicker, and significant loud shrieks of _uppeppé,
uppeppé, uppeppé_ when the animal began to trot, giving the rider an
extra pang. That intense pain invariably stopped at meal-times, and it
did not seem to have an appreciable effect on the man's ravenous
appetite. My men never let a chance go by to let their companions share
to the fullest extent in their sufferings. They had no consideration
whatever for other people's feelings. In all the months they were with me
they never once showed the slightest trace of thoughtfulness towards me,
or indeed even towards any of their comrades.

Mean to an incredible degree in their nature--and I am certain no one
could have been more generous than I was to them in every possible
way--they believed that no matter what I did was due to wishing to save
money. If I would not allow them to blaze away dozens of cartridges at a
rock or a lizard--cartridges were a most expensive luxury in Central
Brazil, and, what was more, could not be replaced--it was because I
wished to economize. If one day I ate a smaller tin of sardines because I
was not so hungry, remarks flew freely about that I was a miser; if I did
not pitch a tent because I preferred, for many reasons, sleeping out in
the open on fine nights, it was, according to them, because I wished to
spare the tent to sell it again at a higher price when I returned home!
They discussed these things in a high voice and in a most offensive way,
making my hands itch on many occasions and my blood boil. But I had made
up my mind that I would never lose my temper with them, nor my calm; and
I never did, trying as it was to keep my promise.

With all this meanness of which they were accusing me, these poltroons
were clothed in garments such as they had never before possessed in their
lives; they were gorging themselves with food such as they had never
dreamt of having in their homes, where they had lived like pariah
dogs--and huge heaps were thrown daily to the dogs--and they were paid a
salary five times higher than they could have possibly earned under
Brazilian employers.

What annoyed me a great deal with these men was the really criminal way
in which they--notwithstanding my instructions--always tried to smash my
cameras and scientific instruments and to injure anything I possessed.
Those men were vandals by nature. The more valuable an object was, the
greater the pleasure they seemed to take in damaging it.

Thus another and unnecessary burden was placed upon me in order to save
my instruments from destruction, not only from natural accidents but
through the infamy of my followers. Those fellows seemed to take no pride
in anything. Even the beautiful and expensive repeating rifles and
automatic pistols I had given each man had been reduced to scrap-iron.
Yet they were so scared of Indians that the first time we met some, they
handed over to them anything that took their fancy--and which belonged to
me, of course--for fear of incurring their ill-favour. During my absence
from camp they even gave away to the Indians a handsome dog I had, which
I never was able to trace again.

Like all people with a dastardly nature, they could on no account speak
the truth--even when it would have been to their advantage. They could
never look you straight in the face. Hence, full of distrust for
everybody, all the responsibility of every kind of work in connection
with the expedition fell upon me. I not only had to do my own scientific
work, but had to supervise in its minutest detail all the work done by
them, and all the time. It was indeed like travelling with a band of
mischievous demented people. The mental strain was considerable for me.

On that day's march we had passed two crosses erected, the Salesians had
told me, on the spot where two men had been murdered by passing
Brazilians--not by Indians. Their usual way of procedure was to shoot
people in the back--never in front--or else when you were asleep. Nearly
all carried a razor on their person--not to shave with, but in order to
cut people's throats as a vengeance, or even under less provocation. This
was usually done in a quick way by severing the artery at the neck while
the person to be killed was asleep.

The Brazilians of the interior were almost altogether the descendants of
criminal Portuguese, who had been exiled to the country, and intermarried
with the lowest possible class of African slaves. They seemed to feel
strongly their inferiority when facing a European, and imagined--in which
they were not far wrong--the contempt with which, although it was covered
by the greatest politeness, one looked down upon them. That was perhaps
the only excuse one could offer for their vile behaviour, which,
according to their low mental qualities, they liked to display in order
to prove their independence and superiority.

We made our camp in a heavenly spot--barring the devilish _borrachudo_
(mosquitoes)--on the bank of a crystal-like streamlet flowing north
(elev. 2,200 ft.). We were really fortunate to have excellent and
plentiful water all the time. The thermometer went down during the night
to a minimum of 54° Fahr. There were more shivers and moans from my men.
Only Alcides and Filippe behaved in a manly way. The others were in
terror of attacks from the _onça pintada_ (_felis onça_) or spotted
jaguar of Brazil, and of the _terrivel tamanduas bandeira_, a toothless
pachyderm, with a long and hairy tail, long nails, and powerful arms, the
embrace of which is said to be sufficient to kill a man, or even a
jaguar, so foolish as to endeavour wrestling with it. It had a long
protruding nose or proboscis, which it inserted into ant-heaps. A tongue
of abnormal length was further pushed out, and then quickly withdrawn
when crammed with attacking ants. Ants were its favourite food. Although
my men talked all the time of the terrible _bandeiras_, we never had the
good fortune to receive the fond embraces of one.

We had a beautiful sky--perfectly clear--on May 28th, except perhaps a
faint curtain of mist near the horizon to the west. Two of my horses had
unfortunately strayed; and as the men searched the _matto_ with trembling
knees in fear of meeting a _bandeira_ instead of the missing horses, they
were not recovered until late in the afternoon, so that we did not depart
until 4 p.m.

We went up to the top of an undulation (elev. 2,400 ft.), on grey ashes
as usual in the lower part of the hill, and red volcanic sand on the
summit. That afternoon's journey was not unlike tobogganing up and down
all the time--at elevations varying from 2,500 to 2,350 ft.--over domes
of sand, ashes, and eruptive rock, and dykes with depressions, some 100
ft. deep or so, and all extending from north to south.

We saw some gorgeous red _araras_ or macaws of giant size. They were a
beautiful sight as they flew, with their hoarse shrieks, above our heads.

At sunset we were travelling along the north edge of a great grassy
depression wooded in its central pit--the line of depression and of the
central vegetation being from north to south.

[Illustration: Mushroom-shaped Rocks of Volcanic Formation.]

[Illustration: A Great Earthquake Fissure in the Terrestrial Crust
(Matto Grosso).]

We were treated to a glorious sunset. The entire sky had become of a deep
violet colour and Indian red, relieved here and there by golden tints,
with blue cloudlets of wonderful regularity in a line. Curiously enough,
the most brilliant colouring was to the east and not to the west, as
would have been expected. Eventually the entire sky became of a
glorious yellow, like a golden cupola--blending into a lovely emerald
green in its highest point overhead.

Again we found ourselves on another large dome of eruptive rock, in some
places reduced into fine tobacco-coloured powder, getting somewhat darker
in colour where the under stratum was of sand and soft conglomerate
easily crumbled under pressure, and containing pellets of black
ferruginous rock and grains of iron. Large blocks of iron rock were
exposed to the air in many places.

We arrived at the third Salesian colony of St. José or Sangrador, near
which was a small settlement of Brazilians--a bad lot indeed. One of my
best horses was stolen here, and I was never able to recover it. I
remained in that unpleasant place for three days, endeavouring to recover
the animal, but it was of no avail.

The Salesians had a handsome property, the agricultural resources of
which they were fast developing. Sugar-cane, mandioca, rice, beans, and
Indian corn were raised with success. Father Antonio Malan,
Inspector-General of the Salesians, arrived from the west, via Cuyabá. He
was an extremely intelligent and enterprising man--who should be
congratulated on selecting such excellent sites for the various colonies,
as well as for the sensible, businesslike fashion in which the colonies
were conducted. They were indeed the only few bright spots where the
light of civilization shone in those sadly abandoned regions.

Here are the meagre entries in my diary for the two following days:--

May 29th. Remained at Sangrador in search of missing horse. Temperature:
min. 54°; max. 83° Fahr. Perfectly clear sky.

May 30th. Obliged to remain one more day at Sangrador. Horse missing
still. All men have gone searching the forest for it. Temperature: min.
56½° Fahr; max. 75° Fahr. Elevation 2,050 ft.

It was indeed a great treat to be able to converse with so intelligent a
gentleman as Father Malan after the company I had been in since leaving
Goyaz.

Father Malan was a man with a heart of gold and great courage. Under him
the Salesians will some day continue their good work and spread happiness
and culture among the few Indians who now remain in Matto Grosso. What
had already been done by the Salesians was amazing. No doubt, with their
great enterprise, they would certainly continue their good work of
civilization and science combined.

Although the Salesians tried hard to induce men to accompany my
expedition, their efforts were rewarded with no success; so that I had to
be content with the handful of men I had with me. I foresaw disaster from
that moment, for thirty was the least number of men I needed to carry out
my work properly--and thirty good men at that. Instead, I only had six
men, two of them extraordinarily plucky but quite uncontrollable; the
others absolutely worthless.

Had I been a wise man I should have turned back. But I am not a wise man,
and I never turn back; so that there only remained one thing to do--go on
as best I could, come what might.



CHAPTER XX

     Wild Animals--An Immense Chasm--Interesting Cloud Effects


ON May 31st (thermometer min. 56°, max. 74° Fahr.) I decided to abandon
the missing horse and proceed on my journey. I suspected, with reason,
that the animal had been stolen. It was no use wasting any more time
searching for it. We thus bade good-bye for good to the Salesians, and
left the great basin of the Sangrador River (elev. 2,050 ft.).

We travelled over sparsely wooded country to 2,350 ft. Tobacco-coloured
soil was still under our feet, yellow spattered lava, then again reddish
soil, wonderfully rich and fertile, if only it could be cultivated. The
country was here peculiar for its many undulations until we arrived on
the rim of a large basin, extending from north-west to south-east, of
great campos, with stunted vegetation at first, but later with a truly
luxuriant growth of vigorous-looking _Jtauba preta_ (_Oreodaphne
Hookeriana_ Meissn.), with thick deep green foliage.

We crossed two streamlets flowing north. On going uphill we travelled on
masses of volcanic pellets (elev. 2,500 ft.). To the south we could see a
number of hills, the sides of which showed the great effects of erosion
by wind and water. Nearly all those hill ranges extended from east to
west. A long depression could be observed cutting them from north to
south.

That was a fine day for cloud effects, especially along the horizon,
where they displayed horizontal lines, while they had great ball-like
tops. Higher up, to the north-west, was feathery mist turning the sky to
a delicate pale blue. A heavy, immense stratum of cloud in four perfectly
parallel terraces extended on the arc from west to north.

We descended into a _cuvette_ with the usual cluster of vegetation in the
centre and campos around. To the south-west of that _cuvette_ was an
elongated but well-rounded mountain, extending from east to west, and
beyond, to the S.S.W., in the far distance, an almost identical replica
of it. We travelled on deep volcanic sand on the west slope of the
_cuvette_ and in deep ashes at the bottom until we arrived at the
Sangradorzinho River, flowing north.

June 1st (thermometer min. 55½° Fahr.; max. 74°; elev. 2,150 ft.). Heavy
mist and rain-clouds, heavy and sultry atmosphere. Sky almost entirely
covered by clouds.

Owing to trouble among my followers and waiting for one of my men, who
had remained behind in a last effort to find the missing horse, we were
unable to leave camp until nearly noon. We rose to an elevation of 2,400
ft., leaving behind the great _cuvette_, and marching over parallel domes
extending from north to south. Between those domes in the depressions
were sandy _cuvettes_ of verdant grass and the usual central _bosquets_.

Cinders and sand were still plentiful, with stunted, thin trees growing
upon them. Several times that day we reached an elevation of 2,550 ft.
After passing a streamlet flowing north, we kept at that elevation for a
considerable distance, after which, having descended 100 ft. (2,450 ft.),
we found ourselves in a most enchanting, oval-shaped _cuvette_ of cinders
well covered with fresh verdure, and in its centre from north to south a
row of _burity_ palms.

That was indeed a day of great surprises in the way of scenery. No sooner
had we left that beautiful _cuvette_ than we came to a magnificent flat
open valley extending from E.S.E. to W.N.W. In its northern part, where a
pool of stagnant water was to be found, were innumerable _burity_ palms.
It was evident that during the rainy season that plain (elev. 2,350 ft.)
must be entirely under water. In many places it was swampy, even at the
time of my visit. It was most refreshing to the eyes to see such expanses
of lovely green healthy grass. The mules and horses enjoyed it more than
we did, neighing to their hearts' content when we emerged into the great
verdant meadow. They tore away with their teeth at the delicious grass as
they cantered along gaily.

Some of the enjoyment of the delightful scenery was taken away from
me--not only that day, but every day during almost an entire year--owing
to the stupid obstinacy of my men. They carried their magazine rifles
fully loaded--eight cartridges in each--and while marching insisted on
keeping the rifles cocked; they would not hear of keeping them at
safety--so that any extra jerk or a twig of a tree catching the trigger
might cause the weapons to go off at any moment. This would have mattered
little if they had slung their rifles in the usual way, pointing skyward
or else towards the earth. But no-one could never induce a Brazilian to
do things in a sensible way. No, indeed; they must carry their rifles
horizontally upon the shoulder, the muzzles of the nearest weapons always
pointing at me. It was no use remonstrating, as they might perhaps have
misunderstood it as fear. So all I could do was to trust in Providence. I
could not have done better, for Providence indeed watched over me and
protected me on that expedition in a most merciful way--for which I am
truly grateful. On several occasions--as was to be expected from the
careless way in which the weapons were carried--now one rifle then
another went off unexpectedly, and I came mighty near being shot. On
other occasions the mules had narrow escapes. Once a bullet went right
through the hat of one of my men, just missing his head.

In any case, I beg the reader to realize how pleasant it was to have the
muzzle of a loaded rifle, ready to be fired, pointing at you in front for
an average of eight to twelve hours a day for several months. I generally
rode last in the caravan in order to prevent straggling, and also to see
that any baggage which fell off the pack-saddles was recovered. This was
unpleasant in more ways than one. First the clouds of dust raised by the
animals as we marched over the sand and cinders, which filled my eyes,
mouth and nose; then the constant attention to watch for lost
baggage--besides the work of writing my notes as we rode along. The sound
of the dangling bells of the mules was monotonous to a degree, and so was
the aspect of the animals' tails swinging and slashing from one side to
the other in order to drive away tormenting flies. Occasionally, when
stung fiercely by a horse-fly, one or two animals would dash away wildly,
tearing off in their career low branches of trees and even altogether
knocking down good-sized trees, four or five inches in diameter.

This would seem impossible in any other country, but not in Brazil, where
the majority of the trees were nearly entirely eaten up inside by ants.
The roots, owing to the substratum of lava spread horizontally near the
surface, offered little resistance to side pressure upon the tree itself,
so that frequently even the weight of a man leaning against a tree was
sufficient to knock it down. I never shall forget how impressed I was the
first time I saw my men cut the way through the forest, slashing down
right and left good-sized trees with one swing each of their
_falcon_--heavy-bladed knives some 2 ft. long.

What terrific strength! I thought, until I happened to lean against a
tree, and down went the tree and myself too. Upon examination I found
that merely the bark remained, with a few filaments inside--the rest of
the interior having been entirely devoured by ants. Yet some of the top
branches seemed still alive, and had leaves. Again, even when quite
sound, those trees were extremely anæmic and soft, quite watery inside,
and could be cut almost as easily as celery.

This does not mean that all the trees of Brazil were worthless. No,
indeed. These remarks apply merely to that particular portion of Brazil
in which I was then travelling--where, barring the _burity_ palms in the
moist lands and marshes, the trees were mostly rickety and dwarfed, with
mouldy barks, malformed limbs, and scanty leaves. That is why, when we
came to the healthy mass of _burity_ palms and the lovely young grass,
one felt just the same as when, after having been through a hospital, one
emerges into the fresh air among healthy people.

That night we encamped on the heavenly meadow. We felt we had reached
Paradise. For the first time great flocks of parrots and
gorgeously-coloured macaws played about and enlivened the air with their
shrill whistles and shrieks, and flew over the palms, gently swung to and
fro by the wind. Then innumerable _colibris_--the tiny humming-birds, of
marvellous iridescent metallic tints--sucked now from one then from
another flower while still flying. Indeed, that spot seemed the
rendez-vous of all the animals of that region. There you found _onças_
(jaguar), _anta_ (a large pachyderm), the _Tapirus Americanus_, the
_tamandua bandeira_, with its worm-like tongue, (or _Myrmecophaga
jubata_), and plenty of _veado_ (_Cervus elaphus_). The footmarks of all
those animals were innumerable near the water.

The man I had left behind in order to make a further attempt at
recovering the lost horse arrived that evening, his search having been
unsuccessful. Undoubtedly the horse had been stolen.

[Illustration: Strange Geometrical Pattern of Lava over Giant
Volcanic Dome.]

Although the place where we had made camp was a regular paradise to look
at--in the day-time--it might have been compared to warmer regions at
night. Mosquitoes of all sizes and of all degrees of viciousness rose in
swarms from the swamp at sunset, and made our life absolutely miserable.
To counterbalance the torture we had a wonderful sunset to look at. First
the sky, of a golden colour, was intersected by graceful curves
dividing it into sections like a melon; then it gradually became
overladen with horizontal black and crimson lines to the west, black to
the east and overhead.

June the 2nd was my birthday. I am superstitious by nature, and I would
have given anything to celebrate it with some lucky event, although I was
at a loss to think of anything lucky that could have happened to me
there. Indeed, I began my new year badly--much worse even than I
expected. That was an ill-omen to me. First of all there was a terrible
row among my men in camp. They had taken to their rifles. They wanted to
shoot the cook. The man deserved punishment, perhaps, but not quite so
severe a one. After a great deal of arguing I quieted them and got them
to lay down their weapons. The cook's life was spared--worse luck for me.
I was sorry for it when I had my breakfast, for cooking more diabolical
than his could not be imagined. During breakfast the news came that
another horse of my caravan had been lost. So there was the prospect of
another day wasted to recover it. My men were unable to trace it, so I
resigned myself to the monetary loss and also to the inconvenience its
absence would cause us.

My men felt the cold intensely during the night, the thermometer being as
low as 51° Fahr. (minimum). During the day the maximum temperature was
85° Fahr. and 96° in the sun.

My only consolation that day was watching the innumerable birds and
gazing at the magnificent sunset. The latter consisted that evening of
three lines forming arches--two black to the west and the third
white--stretching across the sky from north to south. From the higher
black line radiations spread, subdividing the sky into rectangular
designs--of almost equal size. To the east were great globular masses of
mist somewhat confused in shape.

The water at this camp was bad, the marsh being over a bed of decayed
vegetable matter, which rendered the water of a brownish black colour,
like strong tea. Its taste was foul. By digging a well a few yards from
the lagoon I succeeded, however, in obtaining clean and good water, which
filtered through the ashes and sand.

Our camp was at an elevation of 2,300 ft. During the night, June 2nd-3rd,
the thermometer was higher than usual (min. 58° Fahr.), but my men felt
the cold more than the previous night because of the heavy mist which set
in after sunset, followed by a drizzling rain which damped everything. My
men were all attacked by fever, which rendered them more irritable and
ill-tempered than ever--if possible.

We did not leave camp until 11.30 a.m., rising again to the summit of the
plateau some 50 ft. higher. There we had to describe a wide arc of a
circle, as through the trees we perceived on our left an immense chasm,
beyond which was a much disturbed landscape of striking ruggedness. We
could see a huge circular crater with eroded lips, rising like the
chipped edges of a gigantic cup, in the centre of the great volcanic
basin. That depression with high vertical walls all round displayed a
large gap to the W.N.W. and another to the south-west.

Twelve kilometres from our last camp--and still marching along the edge
of the circle on the summit of the plateau--we came to a grassy
_cuvette_, and then to another hollow with a few _burity_ palms. The
wall overlooking the great circular depression was perpendicular, of red
igneous rock, with projecting spurs ending in conical, much-corrugated
hills. The curious opening to the south-west was much broken up in two
places with gaps. In the distance beyond were three ranges of hills, the
colour of which appeared a pure cobalt blue.

The central crater was formed by rugged red walls with spurs on the east
and south-east sides. In the bottom was water with trees all round its
edge. There were four square holes from which boiling water gurgled like
feeble geysers, and three more holes of a more irregular shape.

The hill range on which we stood projected well into the centre of the
great circular basin. It had on the west side perfectly vertical walls of
black igneous rock. Its summit was chiefly formed of ferruginous erupted
rock thrown up while in a state of ebullition, which had cooled into a
conglomerate of minute globular masses, in shape like the bubbles of
boiling water. The great circle around us, as we stood on the outermost
point of the projecting spur, was most impressive, with its brilliantly
coloured red walls.

My men killed a _coatí_--a peculiar, long-nosed carnivorous animal, which
had characteristics in common with dogs, monkeys, and pigs. There were
two kinds of _coatí_ or _guatí_, viz. the _coatí de mundeo_ (_Nasua
solitaria_), and the _coatí de bando_ (_Nasua socialis_). Ours was a
_Nasua solitaria_. It was a beautiful little animal, about the size of a
small cat, with a wonderfully soft brown coat on its back, a yellowish
red belly and bright yellow chest and throat. The chin was as white as
snow. The long tail, 1½ ft. long--was in black and yellow rings. It
possessed powerful fangs on both the upper and lower jaws, a long, black,
gritty or granular tongue, short ears, powerful short fore-paws with long
nails--quite dog-like; long thighs extremely strong, short hips and hind
legs, with callosity up to the knee--evidently to allow that part of the
leg to rest flat upon the ground. The _coatí_ had velvety black eyes of
great beauty, well set in its small well-shaped head. It was a wild
little fellow, extremely agile, and could kill a dog much larger than
itself with comparative ease.

We circled the eastern and northern part of the great cauldron, always
remaining on the summit of the plateau at elevations varying from 2,250
to 2,300 ft. We came upon patches of violet-coloured and then
tobacco-coloured sand, and also upon quantities of dark brown sand,
generally consolidated into easily friable rock. There were the usual
deposits of grey ashes over the underlying volcanic rock which peeped
through here and there.

On June 4th we were at the Cabeçeira Koiteh (temperature, min. 53° Fahr.;
max. 80° Fahr.; elev. 2,100 ft.). Close to this camp, from an
outstretching spur, I obtained another magnificent view. To the E.S.E.
stretched from north-east to south-west a flat plateau, and to the east a
flat mountainous block with an eroded passage. Headlands branched off
from the northern side of the ridges in a north-easterly direction.
Between them were basins thickly wooded in their lower depressions. The
north-eastern portion of the flat range was almost vertical, with many
angular and sharply pointed spurs projecting from it.

In the centre of the greater basin, of which the others were details, a
low convex ridge bulged out, with three conical peaks--two of them at the
highest point of the curve. Between the first and second cone two twin
sub-craters were visible--evidently the two twin circles had formed part
of the same crater--in the mountain side of the distant range. A third
crater was some distance off to the south-west.

To the south-west in the background was a lovely view of flat highlands
with huge tower-like rocks standing upright upon them. Then to the S.S.W.
a regular vertical dyke of rock stood on the top of an elongated conical
base.

The elevation on the summit of the spur from which we obtained this
lovely panorama was 2,200 ft.--or no more than 100 ft. higher than our
camp.

We travelled again that same day on the northern edge of the great
depression, and met three more _cuvettes_ of grey ashes with an abundant
central growth of _buritys_. These were at a general elevation of 2,300
ft., the bottom of the depression being 50 ft. lower. On descending from
the table-land, through a gap we discerned far away to the south a long
flat-topped plateau extending from south-west to north-east and having a
precipitous wall-face.

We got down to the Caxoeirinha stream, where we found an abandoned hut in
the eroded hollow of the stream. The water flowed there over a bed of red
lava and extremely hard conglomerate rock made up of lava pebbles and
solidified ashes. Above this at the sides of the stream was a stratum
some 10 ft. thick of grey ashes, and above it a stratum 2 ft. thick of
red volcanic dust and sand.

As we got higher again and I stood on a projecting promontory, another
wonderful view spread itself before me. The sun, nearly setting, in
glorious white radiations, cast deep blue and violet-coloured shadows
upon the great abyss to my right (N.W.) which was a kilometre or more in
diameter and more than 300 ft. deep--surely another great crater. It
seemed as if a natural wall of rock must have once existed, joining the
promontory on which I stood to the great mass of prismatic red volcanic
rock to the west of us, and ending in a flat triangle with a wide base.
The surface soil on the height of the peninsula was of spattered lava and
black broiled rock and pellets.

The bottom of the abyss formed two sweeping undulations--the second from
the centre much higher than the first--seemingly a great wave of lava
vomited by the crater, by which probably the destruction of the wall
joining the peninsula had been caused.

To the S.S.E. in the distance stood a high mountain range--or rather a
great flat-topped plateau of delicious cobalt blue shades, almost losing
itself in the sky. To the east, completing the circle, were two other
great spurs of red-baked rock, with precipitous, almost vertical, sides
and with much-striated buttresses that ended in conical mounds--eroded
into that shape by the action of water and wind.

To the south, beyond, a sloping table-land with a pronounced dip eastward
extended from east to west. It towered over everything, and was shaped
like a trapezium. In front of this sloping table-land was another long
flat-topped range, stretching from E.S.E. to W.N.W. Again in front of
this, could be seen an interesting series of prismatic mounds--like
parallel barriers. To the S.S.W. rose a large mountainous mass--another
plateau. Then came a second range, cut into clear pyramids with
rectangular bases, and, beyond, a great expanse of lovely green with some
large mounds of a similar shape to those already described. Two more
pyramids were also to be observed far, far in the distance, while others
of a slightly less angular shape were noticeable upon the great flat
stretch due west.

Right under us, at the bottom of the precipice, was thick forest
covering, zigzag fashion, the two depressions, roughly in a general
direction of south-east to north-west. Those two depressions drained that
immense basin. It was there that the streamlet Caxoeirinha had its birth.
The Caxoeirinha flowed north-west and fell into the Ponte de Pedra River,
which flowed south. Those two streams, with a number of others, formed
the head-waters of the great S. Lourenço River, a formidable tributary of
the Rio Paraguay or Paraná.

An extraordinary effect of clouds could be seen that day, and a similar
occurrence I saw on many other occasions upon the table-lands of Matto
Grosso. The clouds reproduced--upside-down--the configuration of the
country directly underneath them. That was due, no doubt, to the air
currents diverted by the obstacles on the earth's surface, which caused
the masses of mist above to assume similar forms--but of course, as I
have said, upside-down.

We were still at an elevation of 2,150 ft. The temperature during the
night went down to 52° Fahr. My men, as usual, suffered intensely from
the cold--at least, judging by the noise they made, the moans and groans
and chattering of teeth. They nearly all had violent toothache. Alcides,
too, apparently went through agony, but he showed a little more manliness
than the rest and did not make quite such a pitiful exhibition of
himself.

It was curious how certain racial characteristics were difficult to
suppress in individuals. Alcides had some German blood in him--rather far
removed. He could not speak German, nor did he know anything about
Germany. Yet German characteristics came out in him constantly. For
instance, the uncontrollable desire to write his own name and that of his
lady-love on trees and rocks all along our passage. Alcides was really
very good at calligraphy, and some of his inscriptions and ornamentations
were real works of art. Many half-hours did we have to waste at the
different camps, waiting for Alcides to finish up the record of his
passage in that country, and many blades of penknives--I had a good
supply of them to give as presents to natives--did he render useless in
incising the lettering on the trees and stones.

[Illustration: Author's Troop of Animals wading across a Shallow Stream.]

Filippe the negro--who was the best-natured of the lot--had become quite
swelled-headed with the big salary he received. Arithmetic was not his
forte. As he could hardly write, he was trying to work out, with a number
of sticks--each representing one day's salary--how much money he had
already earned, and how much more he was likely to earn. It evidently
seemed to him a large fortune--indeed it was--and his plans of what he
would do with all that money in the future were amusing. First of all,
the _idée fixe_ in his mind was the purchase of a _mallettinha_, a small
trunk with a strong lock, in which to keep his money and his clothes. I
took advantage of this to tell Filippe--they were all just like spoiled
children--that the best place for _mallettinhas_ was Manaos, our chief
objective on the River Amazon, some 1,800 kil. away from that point as
the crow flew, and about four times, at least, that distance by the way
we should travel. Many times a day I had to repeat to Filippe glowing
descriptions of the wonders of the _mallettinhas_, and I got him so
enamoured of the _mallettinhas_ to be got at Manaos that I made certain
that Filippe at least would come along and not leave me. I was sure of
one thing--that nowhere in the intervening country would he be able to
procure himself a little trunk--nor, indeed, could one procure oneself
anything else.

I supplied my men with ample tobacco. Filippe was all day and a great
part of the night smoking a pipe. Owing to constant quarrels among my
men, I had turned him into a cook. When in camp he had to sit hour after
hour watching the boiling of the _feijão_. Enveloped in clouds of smoke,
Filippe with his pipe sat in a reverie, dreaming about the _mallettinha_.
He was quite a good fellow, and at any rate he did work when ordered.

All my men had been given small pocket mirrors--without which no
Brazilian will travel anywhere. It was amusing to watch them, a hundred
times a day, gazing at the reflection of their faces in the glasses. It
was nevertheless somewhat trying to one's temper when one ordered a man
to do something and then had to watch him for an endless time admiring
his own features in the little mirror, and one had to repeat the order
half a dozen times before the glass was duly cleaned with his elbow or
upon his trousers and set at rest, and the order carelessly obeyed. Even
Alcides--who was far superior to the others in education--could not be
kept away from his mirror. While riding he would all the time be gazing
at his features instead of looking at the beautiful scenery around us.

On leaving camp we again reached the summit of the plateau (elev. 2,300
ft.), with its patches of red volcanic earth, violet-coloured sand, and
snuff-coloured dust--extremely fine in quality. After crossing a
streamlet flowing south, we again continued our journey on the flat
plateau, slightly higher at that point, or 2,400 ft.

We were in the great plain crossed by the Ponte de Pedra rivulet, flowing
southward. Once more we obtained a gorgeous view looking south. Four
parallel ranges stretching roughly from south-east to north-west stood in
all their grandeur before us. They were of brilliant red volcanic rock.
On the second range, from us, rose a curious square block of rock of
gigantic size, resembling a castle with its door and all. In the
distance, to the south-west, erosion seemed to have taken place on a
great scale in the side of the table-land.

The highest point we had so far reached on the plateau on which we were
travelling since leaving the Araguaya was 2,400 ft. There again we found
another of the extensive grassy _cuvettes_--the flat bottom of which was
only 30 ft. lower than the highest point of the plateau. A luxuriant
growth of _burity_ palms and _birero_ trees adorned the centre, the
latter very tall and handsome, with smooth white bark and only a dense
tuft of dark green foliage at their tops. In the _cuvettes_ I saw, the
growth of the tall vegetation invariably ran the long way of the oval.

The sky that evening showed great streaks of transparent lines of mist
from west to east, the central radiation of these being formed of lines
so precisely parallel that they seemed to have been drawn with rule and
dividers. Directly overhead those lines gradually blended into a more
indefinite mass. The radiations did not begin from the vanishing sun on
the horizon, nor at the point diametrically opposite on the east, but
began to appear only one-tenth up the entire circle of the sky, both west
and east.

Almost globular cloudlets, with the lower section cut off in a horizontal
plane--quite typical, as we have seen, of the cloud formation on that
Central Brazilian plateau--crowded the sky, quite low to the north, and
also a great many small ball-like clouds which showed with some
brilliancy against the blue sky.

The sunsets in Central Brazil were to me always a source of intense joy,
interest, and admiration. With certain characteristics which repeated
themselves frequently, they always displayed wonderful effects of light
and a most peculiar formation of clouds.

Before reaching camp we passed another oval _cuvette_ with a longitudinal
row of trees--so green and tidy as to be just like a portion of a
well-kept English park (elev. 2,350 ft.). Another bit of wonderful
scenery, with immense prismatic rocky mountains--really more like
dykes--appeared in the distance; and also a vertical walled mountain in
the foreground.



CHAPTER XXI

     A Beautiful Lagoon--Strange Lunar Display--Waves of Lava--Curious
     Grottoes--Rock Carvings--A Beautiful Waterfall


WE camped at the Lagoa Formosa--or "Beautiful Lagoon"--a large, verdant,
oval-shaped lagoon, entirely covered with grass, only 140 ft. lower than
the top of the plateau (elev. 2,290 ft.). Barring a slight undulation in
the land to the north-east of the marsh, the country was there absolutely
flat.

At night I witnessed a marvellous lunar effect. The half-moon was high up
in the sky. Soon after sunset two immense concentric arches of mist, with
their centres on the horizon to the east, shone like silver rings, their
upper edges being lighted by the bluish light of the moon. With the
reflection of this in the still waters of the lagoon, the effect was
enchanting and intensely picturesque.

My men suffered a great deal from the damp--they were always suffering
from everything: from the heat of the sun, the rain, the cold, the long
marches.

That night we had a minimum temperature of 51° Fahr., the elevation of
our camp being 2,150 ft.

Naturally, over the expanse of water the sunrise was wonderful. The sky
was well covered by feathery radiations from the north-east, which were
intersected by striations shooting skyward from east to west and forming
a charming design. The radiations from the north-east reached right
across the sky as far as the horizon to the south-west. What astonished
me most in Matto Grosso was the characteristic immobility of the clouds.
In the day-time they remained sometimes for hours with hardly any changes
or movement. As soon as the sun appeared, rendering the lower sky of a
golden yellow and of vivid Indian red above, the northern part of the
lagoon was enveloped in mist, which rose in angular blocks, vertical on
the south side, slanting at a sharp angle on the north. These pointed
peaks of mist remained immobile--as if they had been solid--until the sun
was well up in the sky.

I went once more to gaze at the glorious panorama. In the morning light
new and important details were revealed, such as a strange series of
dykes of a prismatic shape, of which I could count as many as seven.
Great transverse depressions or grooves--from S.S.E. to N.N.W., with a
dip S.S.E.--could in that light be now plainly detected, and this time
two great square castles of rock--instead of one--were disclosed upon the
third range of undulations.

The high ridge to the south-west displayed a subsidence on a large scale
in its central portion, where bare vertical red walls had been left
standing on each side.

Then there were other curious concave depressions or gateways formed in
the great table-land--which had for its marked characteristic concave
curves on all its slopes.

On leaving camp--nearly at noon, after a serious quarrel and fight among
my men, which left me worried to death by the petty nonsense and
incessant grumbling of my followers--we journeyed at an elevation of
2,300 ft., finding shortly after an almost circular _cuvette_ of deep
grey cinders, 100 ft. deep (elevation at the bottom 2,200 ft.).

Twelve kilometres farther on we came upon another great depression
extending from east to west, with an enormous belt of grassy land. There
was the usual cluster of trees and palms in the centre, but larger than
usual. To the south were campos--lovely prairies--with sparse and stunted
trees--chiefly _Goma arabica_ or acacias.

The elevation of the upper edge of the _cuvette_ was 2,500 ft., that of
the bottom 2,450 ft. We continued our journey on the top of the plateau,
with slight undulations varying in height from 50 to 70 ft.
Snuff-coloured soil and red sand were invariably noticeable on the higher
points, and grey ashes in the lower points, where erosion had caused
depressions.

Then, farther on, the plateau, with an elevation of 2,450 ft., was
absolutely flat for several kilometres, and showed sparse vegetation and
miserable-looking anæmic trees--the thin soil over solid rock affording
them inadequate nourishment.

Eighteen kilometres from our last camp we came upon another oval basin
(elev. 2,400 ft. above the sea level), extending longitudinally from
N.N.E. to S.S.W. On its huge deposits of cinders grew deliciously green,
fresh-looking, healthy grass, and a thick clump of _burity_ palms, and
_birero_ trees of immense height and thick foliage. Those beautiful trees
were called by the people of Goyaz "_cutibá_" and "_pintahyba_." They
were marvellous in their wonderful alignment among the surrounding circle
of gorgeous palms. The latter were in their turn screened in their lower
part by a belt of low scrub--so that upon looking at that oasis one could
hardly realize that it had not been geometrically laid out by the hands
of a skilful gardener.

On the outer rim of the _cuvette_--away from the moisture--hundreds, in
fact, thousands of cones, cylinders and domes, from 4 to 6 ft. high, the
work of ants, could be seen, all constructed of bluish grey ashes.

We had here a wonderful example, quite sufficient to persuade the most
sceptical, of the influence of agglomerations of trees in the formation
of clouds. The sky was perfectly clear everywhere except directly above
the extensive cluster of trees in the large _cuvette_. Quite low
down--only a hundred feet or so above the top of the trees--there hung a
heavy white cloud. It was a windless day. The cloud ended on all sides
exactly where the trees ended, as sharply as if it had been cut with a
knife. It looked exactly like a rectangular canopy over the luxuriant
vegetation. This appearance was intensified by undulations in the lower
part of the cloud, like festoons.

In proceeding across the immense circular _cuvette_ I found that the
central line of thick vegetation formed an angle. A streamlet of
delicious crystal-like water emerged from among the trees. On its bank
lay the skeletons of three mules, suggesting a tragedy.

On leaving the great _cuvette_ we rose again to the top of the plateau,
2,550 ft. above sea level. On descending from a large dome to the west
over red volcanic sand and red earth, half consolidated into rock easily
friable under slight pressure, we were once more travelling across
immense campos in a depression of fine cinders and earth, extending from
north to south, at an elevation of 2,400 ft. We further traversed two
other less important depressions, the deepest being at an elevation of
2,350 ft.

The jutting headlands of the plateau on which we had travelled were all
most precipitous--nearly vertical--and of solid dark red volcanic rock.

A magnificent view next confronted us to the south. A huge black square
block with a crater was before us, and there appeared what seemed to me
to be the remaining sections of a huge volcanic vent and several smaller
funnels. The lower lip of the crater formed a terrace. Then another wider
crater could be perceived in a circular hollow of the spur of the plateau
on which we had travelled, and which stretched out into the underlying
plain. That spur extended from north-east to south-west, and in it two
circular hollows of great size could be noticed, the sides of which were
deeply fluted.

During the entire march that day we had seen quantities of
violet-coloured deposits made up of tiny crystals, carbonized and
pulverized rock and ferruginous dust.

[Illustration: Central Cluster of Trees and Palms in a Cuvette
(Matto Grosso).]

[Illustration: A Giant Wave of Lava.]

On descending from the summit of the plateau, by a very steep slope, we
saw many shrubs of _sapatinho_, a medicinal plant of the genus
_euphorbiaceæ_ (Euphorbia), growing in the interstices of red igneous
rock, and among quantities of débris of marble, crystals, and eruptive
pebbles.

During the night we had a magnificent lunar display. There was a good
deal of moisture in the air, and mist. First of all a gorgeous lunar halo
was observed, which later vanished to leave room for a most extraordinary
geometrical design upon the partly moon-illuminated clouds and masses of
mist. A most perfect luminous equilateral triangle appeared, with its
apex downwards to the west and the half-moon in the central point of the
base-line of the triangle above. On either side of the apex of the
triangle faint concentric circles blended away into the sky near the
horizon. Later in the night that curious effect disappeared and a
multiple lunar rainbow of amazing beauty and perfection was to be
admired.

In ecstasy at the beautiful sight, and in a moment of forgetfulness, I
drew the attention of my men to the wonderful spectacle.

"That's the moon!" they answered, with a snarl. Talking among themselves,
they contemptuously added: "_He_ has never seen the moon before!" and
they went on with the never-changing, blood-curdling tales of murders
which filled them nightly with delight.

The streamlet flowing south, on the bank of which we camped, took its
name of Sapatinho from the many _sapatinho_ trees which were in the
neighbourhood. It was a curious watercourse, which disappeared into a
tunnel in the rock, to reappear only farther off out of a hole in a red
lava-flow.

We had marched until late into the night, and it was not until we arrived
and made camp that I noticed that Filippe the negro was missing. Several
hours elapsed, and as he had not turned up I feared that something had
happened to him. Had he been one of the other men I should have thought
it a case of desertion; but Filippe was a good fellow, and I had from the
beginning felt that he and Alcides would be the two faithful men on that
expedition. I went back alone a mile or two in the moonlight to try and
find him, but with no success.

At sunrise I ordered two men to go in search of him. The fellows--who had
no mercy whatever even for one another--were loth to go back to look for
their companion and his mount. When they eventually started they took a
pick each to dig his grave in case they found him dead. Fortunately they
had only been gone from camp a few minutes when I perceived Filippe
riding down the steep incline.

The minimum temperature was only 55° Fahr. during the night, but it was
so damp that my men felt the cold intensely, especially as there were
gusts of a sharp breeze from the north-east. Moreover, in the deep hollow
with thick grass in which we camped (elev. 2,200 ft. above the sea level)
we suffered absolute torture from the swarms of _carrapatos_ of all
sizes, mosquitoes, and flies. The air and earth were thick with them. The
water was dirty and almost undrinkable, as it passed through a lot of
decomposing vegetation.

I was glad when Filippe reappeared and we were able to leave that
terrible spot. Great undulations were now met with, 300 ft. and more in
height.

Only 1½ kil. farther on we came to the Presidente stream, flowing south
(elev. 2,100 ft.) over a bed of ashes, while its banks were formed of
thick deposits of finely powdered yellow volcanic sand and dust.

We went over a huge dome covered with a stratum of brown sand, exposing
on its western side a large wall of igneous rock with much-fissured
strata dipping to the north-west. Immense isolated rocks showed vertical
strata, demonstrating plainly that they had been considerably disturbed
at some epoch or other.

We were on the bank of another stream (elev. 1,950 ft.) flowing
south--the Capim Branco. We were then in another great and deep basin
extending from north-west to south-east, in the north-western part of
which could be seen on the summit of the rounded hill-tops and spurs an
overlapping of rock, evidently produced when in a molten condition. In
the south-western part of the slope encircling this great valley there
stood another great barrier, formed also by a flow of molten rock curling
over itself, as it were, and above this stood angular and pointed shoots
of molten stuff of a subsequent origin. Large slabs of the latter could
be separated easily from the underlying flow.

From the summit of that rocky prominence was obtained a lovely panorama
of a great plateau, a portion of which had been eroded into a wall
(E.N.E.) with three buttresses: another portion was gradually assuming a
similar shape. The plateau had a great spur projecting westward. A crater
had formed with a broken-up side to the west, leaving the conical-shaped
remains of its fragmentary mouth. The plateau ended after describing a
sweeping curve--almost a semicircle.

In the centre of the immense basin before us were successions of high
undulations--like great waves--extending southward in parallel lines
(east to west). From the point of vantage on which I stood I could count
as many as eight of those huge lines of waves. Evidently at some remote
period--it would be difficult to say how many thousands of years
ago--that was a gigantic mass of molten stuff in commotion. In many
places it was apparent that the great waves of molten rock had flowed
over and partly overlapped the lower ones. In its higher north-easterly
point the basin was wooded.

The great basin extended southward. In that direction all the lower
ridges with their arched backs showed a depression or dip. On the S.S.W.
two more great domes of wonderfully perfect curves were to be observed,
and on the south-west stood an isolated gigantic quadrangular mountain of
solid rock, with the usual buttresses in the lower portion typical of
that region.

To the south-east a lovely square-shaped plateau of marvellously graceful
lines stood prominent in the centre of the basin. In the same direction,
only a few hundred yards off, was a most peculiar angular rock, which
looked exactly like the magnified crest of an immense wave. That was just
what it had been formerly--the wave, of course, of a gigantic molten mass
of rock, set in violent motion by an immeasurable force. It was the
terminal point of the great succession of rocky waves which we had
skirted to the north in order to arrive at that point, and which extended
from the great semicircle we had passed the previous day.

[Illustration: Strange Rock-Carvings of Matto Grosso.]

At the terminal point of those rocky waves--or wherever the rock was
exposed--it was evident that all those undulations had received a similar
movement and had formed the great backbone range of rock, fully
exposed in the last undulation. I had observed the continuation of this
great rock crest the previous day in the basin previous to reaching the
Capim Branco valley. There it crossed the spur on which I
was--"Observation Spur," I shall call it for purposes of
identification--almost at right angles. It seemed as if two forces had
been acting simultaneously but in different directions, and at various
points had come into conflict and eventually had overrun each other.

The last great rocky crest at Capim Branco, when seen in profile, looked
like a huge monolith with a slight inclination to the south-east. The
formation of the rock itself showed a frothy appearance, such as is
common with any liquefied matter while in a state of ebullition.

It is quite possible, too, that the great wave of molten matter
travelling from north-east to south-west, upon encountering some
obstacle, had its run interrupted and had cooled down, while the upper
portion of it, from the impetus received, curled over the summit of the
arrested solidified rock below.

In fact, there was plenty of evidence to show that while the lower
stratum cooled down other sheets of lava flowed above it, forming many
successive layers. In the eastern part, where they were at an angle of
40°, these had cracked considerably in cooling. The central part of the
great wave was entirely made up of vertically fissured strata. The lower
half of the mass of rock showed markedly that it was an anterior wave to
the upper.

There was a wide gap formed by the volcanic crack between this and the
continuation of the undulations to the south-west, which got lower and
lower. Perhaps before the crack occurred that hill was like the others on
the east and west of it, padded with red earth. It must have become
barren by the great shock which caused the surface of the earth to
divide, and which no doubt shook the surface deposits down. In examining
its north-eastern neighbour it could be seen that it actually tumbled
over when the subsidence occurred, leaving a gap a few hundred metres
wide.

A short distance beyond, on the S.S.E., was an interesting table-land
sloping to the north-east, on the north side of which could be observed
yet one more beautiful semicircular extinct crater. The rim, or lip of
lava of this crater, had fissured in such a peculiar way as to give the
appearance of a row of rectangular windows. The sections of the crater
which remained standing showed two conical buttresses above massive
cylindrical bases. From the crater started a huge, deep crack, 30 to 50
ft. deep and 20 to 100 ft. wide, which farther down became the actual bed
of the stream. On both sides of this crack was a deep deposit of red
earth and sand, the stratum below this being a solid mass of lava. The
crater on the north-east side of the mountain had an inclination to the
north, but was quite vertical on the south side.

Beautiful crystals were to be found in abundance on this mound, as well
as great quantities of marble chips and crystallized rock in various
forms.

On the side of this strange mound of rock I found some curious shallow
caves, formed by great fissures in the rock. The vertical outer walls of
these caves were painted white with lime dissolved in water. There were
some puzzling carvings, which interested me greatly. I could not quite
make up my mind at first whether those carvings had been made by Indians
or whether they were the work of escaped negro slaves who had found
shelter in those distant caves. In character they appeared to me Indian.
Negroes, as a rule, are not much given to rock-carving in order to record
thoughts or events. Moreover, those primitive carvings showed strong
characteristics of hunting people, such as the Indians were. There were
conventional attempts at designing human figures--both male and
female--by mere lines such as a child would draw: one round dot for the
head and one line each for the body, arms, and legs. Curiously
enough--and this persuaded me that the drawings had been done by
Indians--none of the figures possessed more than three fingers or toes to
any extremity. As we have seen, the Indians cannot count beyond
three--unlike members of most African tribes, who can all count at least
up to five. This, nevertheless, did not apply to representations of
footmarks, both human and animal--which were reproduced with admirable
fidelity, I think because the actual footprints on the rock itself had
been used as a guide before the carving had been made. I saw the
representation of a human footmark, the left, with five toes, and the
shape of the foot correctly drawn. Evidently the artist or a friend had
stood on his right foot while applying the left to the side of the rock.
When they attempted to draw a human foot on a scale smaller than nature,
they limited themselves to carving two lines at a wide angle, to form the
heel, and five dots to represent the toes.

The most wonderful of those rock carvings were the footprints of the
jaguar (_onça_), reproduced with such perfection that it seemed almost as
if they had been left there by the animal itself. Not so happy were the
representations of human heads--one evidently of an Indian chief, with an
aureole of feathers, showing a painfully distorted vision on the part of
the artist. The eyes were formed by two circles in poor alignment, the
nose by a vertical line, and the mouth, not under but by the side of the
nose, represented by two concentric curves.

A figure in a sitting posture was interesting enough--like a T upside
down, with a globe for a head and a cross-bar for arms. The hands had
three fingers each, but there were only two toes to each foot.

It was interesting to note how the sculptors of those images caught, in a
rudimentary way, the character of the subjects represented. This was
chiefly remarkable in the footprints of birds and other animals, such as
deer. They seemed particularly fond of representing deer-horns--sometimes
with double lines at an angle. That was possibly to commemorate hunting
expeditions. A frequent subject of decoration was a crude representation
of the female organ; and one a magnified resemblance, angularly drawn, of
an Indian male organ garbed in its typical decoration.

[Illustration: Weird Lunar Effect witnessed by Author.]

The face of the rock was absolutely covered with drawings, many being
mere reproductions of the same design. Some were so rudimentary that they
were absolutely impossible to identify. One fact was certain, that those
carvings had been made by men who were trackers by nature and who
observed chiefly what they noticed on the ground, instead of around
and above them. Thus, there were no representations whatever of foliage
or trees, no attempts at reproducing birds, or the sun, the moon, the
stars.

The most interesting of all, from an ethnological point of view, were the
geometrical designs. They closely resembled the incised lines and
punch-marks of the Australian aborigines, and the patterns common in
Polynesia. Concentric circles--of more or less perfection--were common,
some with a central cross of three and four parallel lines. Coils seemed
beyond the drawing powers of Indian artists. Ovals, triangles, squares,
the Egyptian cross (T-shaped), series of detached circles (these
generally enclosed within a triangle, quadrangle or lozenge) were
frequent. Even more frequent were the parallel incised lines, generally
used as subsidiary filling or shading of other patterns, such as
concentric circles, or sections of triangles or squares.

It may be noted that a certain intelligence was displayed by the artist
in dividing circles fairly accurately into four and eight sections, the
diameters intersecting pretty well in the centre of the circles. One
pattern which seemed to take their fancy was that of an oval or a circle
with a number of dots inside.

In examining the cave closely, inside and outside, I also found upon the
wall, which was simply covered with those images, some curious marks
resembling the letters H P, A P, and W [Symbol: pyramid sign; 2
concentric triangles], which seemed of a more recent date--perhaps left
there by some missionary Father or native explorer, or by some escaped
slave.

Just below the point where the stream Capim Branco entered the S.
Lourenço River (elev. 1,800 ft. above the sea level), there was a most
beautiful waterfall--the Salto Floriano Peixoto. Two minor falls, some 30
ft. high (Salto Benjamin) were also to be seen under arches of luxuriant
vegetation, just above the point of junction of the two streams.

The roaring and foaming volume of water of the greater fall rolled over a
vertical volcanic rock, about 60 ft. high and 60 ft. wide, with a small
terrace half way up its face. The bed of the river--below the fall--was,
like all the torrents of that region, of strangely shaped lava blocks.
With the dense foliage, the innumerable _caité_, a medicinal plant with
huge leaves, the festooned liane and creepers--all most verdant in the
sombre green light filtering through the foliage and the moisture of the
abundant spray from the fall--it was indeed a magnificent sight. In order
to see it, however, one had to suffer a great deal, because in forcing
one's way through the dense vegetation one got literally covered with
_carrapatos_ and _carrapatinhos_.

Above the falls, for some hundreds of yards, there were terrific rapids
in the river, which flowed over a steep bed of yellow lava in terraces,
over steps and over a fourth minor fall some distance off.


DISTANCES FROM THE ARAGUAYA TO CAPIM BRANCO

                                  Kil.  Metres.
Araguaya to Ponte Alto             26     400
Ponte Alto to Fogaça               19     800
Fogaça to Prata                    20
Prata to Ponte Queimada            23     700
Ponte Queimada to Bella Vista      19     800
Bella Vista to Agua Quente         26     500
Agua Quente to Barreiros           10
Barreiros to Agua Emeindada        16     500
Agua Emeindada to Tachos           29     700
Tachos to Bugueirão                20
Bugueirão to Paredãozinho          20
Paredãozinho to Paredão Grande     20
Paredão Grande to Cabeça de Boi    33     100
Cabeça de Boi to Sangrador         33     100
Sangrador to Sangradorzinho        20
Sangradorzinho to Varzen Grande    20
Varzen Grande to Lagõa Secca       23
Lagõa Secca to Caxoerinha          26     500
Caxoerinha to Ponte de Pedra       10
Ponte de Pedra to Lagõa Formosa    20
Lagõa Formosa to Xico Nunes        20
Xico Nunes to Sapaturo             16     500
Sapaturo to Presidente             17
Presidente to Capim Branco         14     850
                                  -----------
                       Total      509     450
                                  ===========



CHAPTER XXII

     In Search of the Highest Point of the Brazilian
     Plateau--Mutiny--Great Domes--Travelling by Compass--A Gigantic
     Fissure in the Earth's Crust


I MADE up my mind that I would continue my journey westward no farther,
and would now proceed due north in order to explore the most important
part of the Central Plateau--the very heart of Brazil--precisely where
the great Rivers Xingu and Tapajoz had their birth. I believed that we
should there find the highest point of the Central Brazilian Plateau. I
expected to find in that region the most interesting portion of my
journey--from the geographical, anthropological, and geological points of
view. I was greatly disappointed from the anthropological aspect, since I
met no one at all; but from the geological and geographical I was
certainly well repaid for my trouble, great as the trouble was. We had
already ridden to a distance of 1,400 kil. from the nearest railway.

[Illustration: A Giant Quadrangular Block of Rock.]

[Illustration: Rock-Carvings in Matto Grosso.]

My men mutinied on hearing of my plan, which I had kept concealed from
them. They acted in a most abject manner. They tried to compel me to
return the way we had come instead of going forward. As I flatly refused,
they claimed their pay and wished to leave me there and then. Without an
instant's hesitation they were handed their pay up to date and told
they could go. The men had not quite realized that they would have to
walk back some 858 kil. to Goyaz, without food and without animals.
Alcides and Filippe the negro had remained faithful, and on that occasion
stood by my side. Unfortunately, Alcides, who had a most violent temper,
quarrelled with Filippe over some paltry matter and drove him over to the
inimical camp.

So that there I was--with only one man left. I am not much given to
losing heart over anything. Alcides showed a strong heart on that
occasion. He and I proceeded for three days to rearrange the baggage and
mend the saddles, etc., in order that we two alone might take along the
entire caravan of animals. I did not at all look forward to the extra
work of packing all the animals twice a day, and twice a day unpacking
them. The loads weighed about fifty pounds each, and there were some
thirty of them. Then we should have to hunt for the animals in the
morning--a job which meant that one had to ride sometimes for miles to
track them and bring them all back to camp. This prospect, on top of the
work I had already in hand of writing, taking astronomical and
meteorological observations, photography, developing negatives, drawing,
collecting and classifying botanical and geological specimens, which
occupied all day and the greater part of the night, was a little too much
for me. But such was my joy at having got rid of my unpleasant companions
that I would have put up with any additional discomfort and inconvenience
in order to get on. Alcides behaved splendidly on that occasion.

June 8th and 9th were absolutely wasted. The relief from the mental
strain of constantly looking after--and being on my guard against--my
companions was great. They were days of great happiness to me.

On June 10th Alcides and I were making ready to depart, with all the
animals and baggage, when the four mutinous followers and Filippe the
negro--most penitent--begged to be re-employed. Under ordinary
circumstances I should certainly never have taken them back; but when one
was hundreds of miles from everywhere, and had no possible way of finding
a man, one had to be patient and make the best of what one could get. I
gave them another chance--principally in order to save what I could of my
baggage, most of which I was certain I should have had to abandon had I
proceeded alone with Alcides.

The Capim Branco river was situated between two undulating ridges of
lava.

I steered a course of 300° bearings magnetic (N.W.), beginning a steep
climb at once through the thin forest of the plateau to the north. In
many places the mules slid and rolled down the precipitous slope of
igneous rock and marble débris, scattering the packs in every direction.
It was a wonder they were not killed. We urged the animals on, we pushed
and pulled them, we held them with all our might by the bridles when they
began to slide. After many narrow escapes we reached the summit--an
immense flat stretch of campos with stunted trees and delicious crisp
air--quite delightful after the stifling atmosphere of the Capim Branco
basin. The elevation above the sea level was 2,300 ft. On the summit of
the plateau was a deep stratum of red soil. Having marched across the
entire width of the plateau, we found, on descending on the opposite
side, another series of dome-like mounds of crimson volcanic rock, with
hardly any vegetation on them--joined together, and forming many
headlands, as it were. Beyond an empty space--an opening in the
landscape--a great barrier crossed the range of domes almost at right
angles.

We descended through thick undergrowth, under big _jatoba do matto_
(_Hymencæa Courbaril_ L.) trees. The _jatoba_ or _jatahy_ wood has a high
specific gravity, and is considered one of the woods with the highest
resistance to disintegration in Brazil--as high as 1 kg. 315 gr. per
square centimetre.

At 2,050 ft. we found a streamlet flowing southward. We were then in a
grassy basin--another _cuvette_ with two central tufts of thickly packed
trees. We were lucky enough to see some _coco babento_ palms, from which
we shook down dates which were excellent, although somewhat troublesome
to eat, owing to the innumerable filaments protecting the central large
stone. These filaments stuck between one's teeth, and were most difficult
to remove. The dates were the size and shape of an ordinary English
walnut and extremely oily.

It was a real joy to see fine healthy trees again, after the miserable
specimens we had seen of late. Even there, too, the powerful trees which
emerged from the lower entangled scrub and dense foliage were greatly
contorted, as if they had gone through a terrific effort in order to push
their way through to reach the light and air. Liane innumerable and of
all sizes hung straight or festooned from the highest trees or coiled in
a deadly embrace round their branches like snakes. Nor were they the only
enemies of trees. Large swellings could be noticed around most of the
trees, caused by the terrible _cupim_ (_termes album_) or white ants,
carrying out their destructive work just under the bark. Many indeed were
the trees absolutely killed by those industrious little devils.

As we marched through the _matto_, using the large knives freely to open
our way, we had to make great deviations in our course--now because of a
giant _jatoba_ lying dead upon the ground, then to give a wide berth to a
group of graceful _akuri_ palms, with their huge spiky leaves. Those
palms had great bunches of fruit. We were beginning now to find trees
with fan-like extensions at the roots and base, such as I had frequently
met with in the forests of Mindanao Island (Philippine Archipelago),
where they were called _caripapa_ and _nonoko_ trees. The _vines_ or
_liane_ were getting interesting, some being of great length and of
colossal size, twisted round like a ship's cable.

We rose again to an elevation of 2,600 ft. On emerging from the cool dark
forest and its refreshing green light, we found ourselves on another
plateau with a slightly arched summit, of beautiful campos. From that
height we looked over the immense undulating plain to the south. To the
south-east we gazed upon a lower flat-topped plateau bounding the valley
which, in great sweeping undulations from south-east to north-west,
resembled an ocean with waves of colossal magnitude. We travelled across
the slightly domed grassy plateau, and found on it a _cuvette_--only
slightly depressed this time, but with the usual central line of tall
trees with luxuriant foliage, _burity_ palms and _pintahyba_ trees.
There, too, we had a surface stratum of red earth and fine brown dust,
with an under stratum of grey ashes. Soon after we came to a second
_cuvette_, and farther north a third could be perceived. In fact, the
summit of that particular table-land was made up of subsidiary domes
dividing _cuvette_ from _cuvette_ in succession.

In going down to 2,550 ft. we found a streamlet flowing northwest into
the Rio das Mortes--or "River of Death." We were there on the great
divide between the waters flowing south into the S. Lourenço and
eventually into the Paraná, and those flowing north--after thousands of
kilometres--into the Amazon. This little rivulet was therefore
interesting to me, for it was the first one I had met flowing north since
leaving the Araguaya--although not the first whose waters eventually
flowed in a circuitous way into the Amazon.

That was a day of great domes--all of them with perfect curves. On them
the grazing was magnificent. To the north a wonderful green dome, larger
than the others (elev. 2,650 ft.), would have been splendid for cattle
raising. Not a sign of life could be seen anywhere. Seldom have I seen
nature so still and devoid of animal life. What immensity of rich land
wasted! It made one's heart bleed to see it. There was everything there
to make the fortunes of a hundred thousand farmers--yet there was not a
soul! There was good grazing, plenty of water. There were no roads, no
trails, it is true, but with a little enterprise it would be easy to make
them. With a railway passing through, that now wasted land should become
the richest on earth.

In a depression (elev. 2,450 ft.) we came to a streamlet also flowing
north, which had made the soil extremely swampy. We had endless trouble
in getting across, the animals sinking and sticking in the black mud up
to their necks. One of the mules--more reckless than the others--actually
disappeared, baggage and all, while madly struggling to extricate itself
from the sucking slush and mud. It took all our efforts combined to save
that animal. By the time we had all got across, men, animals, and baggage
were a sight worth looking at--all filthy, absolutely smothered in black
mud.

We rose upon yet another dome, and then descended to the Rio Manso or Rio
das Mortes, the head-waters of which were not far from there, to the
south-west, in the Serra da Chapada. The river was there only 15 metres
wide, but too deep and rapid for the animals to ford, so we had to follow
its bank in order to find a suitable spot. The River das Mortes flowed,
roughly, first in an easterly then in a north-easterly direction, and
soon, swollen by innumerable streams, became the most powerful tributary
of the Araguaya River, which it met almost opposite the centre of the
great island of Bananal. In fact, one might almost consider the
head-waters of the Rio das Mortes as the secondary sources of the great
Araguaya. The Rio das Mortes flowed, at the particular spot where we met
it, due north, along the edge of the great dome. The elevation of the top
edge was 2,470 ft.

We camped that night on the Riberão do Boi, a swift torrent tributary of
the Rio das Mortes (elev. 2,250 ft.), having marched 30 kil. that day.
The cold was relatively severe during the night--the thermometer
registering a minimum of 48° Fahr.

We were travelling entirely by prismatic compass. My men--who had no
faith whatever in what they called the _agulha_ (compass)--swore that we
were going to sure perdition.

"How can that _agulha_," said they, "possibly tell you where we can find
beans (_feijão_), lard (_toucinho_), and sugar bricks (_rapadura_)?" "It
is the invention of some madman!" said one. "It will bring us to our
death," sadly reflected another. "If I had only known that we should be
entrusting our lives all the time to that _agulha_," murmured a third,
pointing contemptuously to the compass, "I should have never come. Oh, my
poor mother and wife! And my dear little daughter six months old! Oh,
shall I ever see them again ... shall I ever see them again?" Here
followed a stream of bitter tears, wiped with the ragged sleeve of his
shirt.

I thought that a cold bath would do them all good. I ordered them to take
all the animals and baggage across the stream. It was a job of some
difficulty, owing to the very swift current. A rough bridge had to be
constructed over the most dangerous part. The water was freezingly cold.

On leaving the river we at once rose again over another great dome (elev.
2,350 ft.), from which we obtained a most glorious view of other grassy
domes, smooth-looking and well-rounded, with a fringe of forest in the
depressions between. Down below we could see the Rio das Mortes we had
left behind. It came at that spot from the south-east, and after
describing an angle turned to the north-east. From the north-west, at an
elevation of 2,300 ft., descended the Taperinho, a small tributary which
entered the Rio das Mortes.

We went over another domed mount, where I found a spring of most
delicious water emerging in a gurgle from the very summit of the dome, at
an elevation of 2,400 ft. On all sides we had beautiful domed prominences
with wonderful grazing land.

Alcides--careless, like all the others, with his rifle--was nearly killed
that day. His rifle went off accidentally, and the bullet went right
through the brim of his hat, just grazing his forehead. But we were
accustomed to this sort of thing--it had happened so often--and I began
to wonder when bullets would really wound or kill somebody. Indeed, we
had a guardian angel over us.

[Illustration: A Picturesque Waterfall on the S. Lourenço River.]

We had descended into the belt of forest in the depression (elev. 2,270
ft.), where a streamlet flowed to the north-east into the Rio das Mortes.
We were travelling in a north-easterly direction, owing to the formation
of the country; but finding that it would take me too much away from my
intended course I again altered our direction to a course due north. At
an elevation of 2,480 ft. we went over an extraordinary natural bridge of
solidified ashes and earth--a regular tunnel--under which passed a
streamlet of delicious water--the Puladó Stream. The river emerged some
distance off from under the tunnel. Curiously enough, while the
vegetation was quite dense both above and below the natural bridge, there
was no vegetation at all along the hundred metres forming the width of
the bridge. Perhaps that was due to the lack of evaporation in that
section, which supplied the trees elsewhere with moisture.

We rode over many domes of an elevation of 2,550 ft., and then over some
that were smaller in diameter but of greater height. In the depressions
between we invariably found rows of _burity_ palms amidst other
vegetation, and the characteristic heavily foliaged trees.

We encamped near a delicious spring of water on the very summit of a
dome. The water emerged from a circular hole and was warm--so much so
that the next morning, when my Fahrenheit thermometer registered an
atmospheric temperature of 50°, steam rose from the water of the spring.
Around the spring a curious conical mound of white finely powdered matter
resembling kaolin had formed. This appeared to me to have formerly been a
small geyser. The cone was broken on one side and the water did not come
out with great force. A few yards down the slope of the dome another
similar white cone was to be seen, with a great mass of granular
ash-pellets and tufa, such as are commonly found near geysers or thermal
springs. We called that camp Cayambola.

On the night of June 12th the minimum temperature was 50° Fahr., the
elevation 2,430 ft. The sky was somewhat clouded, the clouds occupying
four-tenths of the heavens. At sunrise we observed radiations in the
sky--this time, curiously enough, from north-east to south-west, instead
of from east to west. The longest and highest semicircle above us was in
double filaments, and resembled an immense fish-bone.

We were supposed to be then in a country infested by cannibal
Indians--swarms of them. My men were quite amusing in their fears. Four
of them were troublesome and insisted on the whole expedition turning
back in order to see them safely out of danger. I remembered on those
occasions an old Italian proverb which said that to "women, lunatics, and
children" the wisest thing is always to say "Yes."

So when they threatened all kinds of things if we did not return I
generally answered that we would continue a little farther, then we would
see; and from day to day this went on, making forced marches forward all
the time--generally of from 30 to 42 kil. daily. The dissatisfaction
among my men grew, nevertheless, considerable, and a constant watch had
to be kept over them. Alcides and Filippe the negro showed great courage,
and, whatever other failings they may have had, they invariably displayed
extraordinary bravery from beginning to end.

Alcides' principal faults were his great wastefulness and violent temper
and pride, which made it most difficult to deal with him. He had been
entrusted with the commissariat, as with all my other occupations I could
not be bothered to sort out and weigh the food for each man at each meal.
Alcides would not understand that it was unwise, in a country where
absolutely nothing was procurable, to throw away daily little mountains
of rice and beans and preserved meat, after the men and our dogs had
gorged themselves; and that perhaps it would lead some day to our dying
of starvation. In confidence I had told him that we might be several
months--perhaps a year--before we should be able to get fresh supplies. A
little economy would perhaps save us all from disaster. I wanted
everybody to have ample food, but I did not see the use of throwing away
daily a larger quantity than the men actually ate. It was true that we
still had ample provisions of all kinds for some eight months, but we
must be prepared for all emergencies.

Alcides, who was extremely obstinate, would not hear of this. My remarks
only made things worse. The waste from that day doubled, and looking
ahead into the future it really broke my heart, as I well saw that we
should have hard times in front of us--all because of the lack of
common-sense on the part of my followers.

On leaving camp we climbed to the summit of another gigantic dome of
green pasture land (elev. 2,500 ft.). We filled our lungs with the
delicious air, slightly stirred by a fresh northerly breeze.
Geographically, we were at a most important site, for it was from that
point that the division of waters took place between those flowing
eastward into the Araguaya and those flowing westward into the Cuyabá
River. So that within a distance of a few kilometres we had visited the
region--the very heart of Brazil--from which the waters parted to flow
toward three different points of the compass.

From that point we rose still higher to the summit of a great table-land,
absolutely flat and waterless for over 30 kil. The soil was red in
colour, with slippery dried grass upon it and sparse, stunted vegetation.
The trees seldom reached a height of 5 ft. They were mostly _gomarabia_
or _goma arabica_--a sickly-looking acacia; _passanto_ with its huge
leaves, _piqui_ or _pequia_ (_Aspidosperma sessiliflorum_ and _eburneum_
Fr. All.), the fibrous _piteira_ or _poteira_ (_Fourcroya gigantea_
Vent.), and short _tocun_ or _tucum_ palms (_Astrocaryum tucuma_ M.).
Occasionally one saw a _passanto_ tree slightly taller--perhaps some 10
to 12 ft. high--most anæmic-looking.

After having travelled some 24 kil. from our last camp we came to a great
expanse of _taquary_, a kind of shrub 3 ft. high with spiky leaves of a
wonderful green colour.

We gazed upon the superb view of an enormous plateau to the west with
deep indentations in its vertical sides. Huge spurs or rams of rock
stretched out across the deep depression, separating the plateau to the
west from the one on which we were standing. Both plateaux were of equal
height, and had evidently at one time formed one immense flat surface. On
our side the plateau showed a huge slip of red volcanic earth, with a
lower stratum parallel to it of baked brown rock. Under it were white
lime and ashes, in sections or drifts. In the centre of the valley formed
by the separation of the two sections there remained a formidable
crater--extinct, of course--with an arc-shaped wall standing erect in its
centre, and other lower walls forming an elongated quadrangular channel
from south-east to north-west in the bottom of the crater. Two
conspicuous monoliths stood up behind the huge lip of the crater to the
south-west at the bottom of the valley, and also other remnants of the
great convulsion of nature which had once taken place there.

[Illustration: A Cañon of Matto Grosso.]

Notwithstanding the constant annoyance of my followers, I really enjoyed
my journey over the central plateau. The air was fresh and deliciously
crisp and clear. One could see for miles and miles and distinguish the
smallest detail in the far-away mountain sides, so pure was the
atmosphere. This scene was unlike any in other countries. One could
describe an entire circle around oneself, and nowhere did the eye meet a
column of smoke rising above ground to indicate the presence of man. Not
a bird was to be seen or heard, not a footprint upon the ground of any
beast or creature of any kind. The silence of that land was most
impressive. Our voices--as we spoke--sounded astonishingly and abnormally
sonorous, in that region which for thousands of years had not been
contaminated by sound. It seemed as if the sound-waves, undisturbed by
the myriads of sounds which--as is well known--remain floating in the
atmosphere in inhabited countries, were heard there in all their full and
absolute purity. So much were we all impressed by this fact--my men
unconsciously--that all the men began to sing, so pleased they seemed
with the powerful vibration of their own voices.

To the north-west another lovely sight was before us--another huge
plateau in dim greyish blue--barring the horizon. In front of it was one
more table-land, more broken up, and sloping on the south side.

When we reached the north-east edge of the plateau we were travelling
upon, we were treated to a fresh marvellous scene. Straight in front of
us, on the opposite side of a deep depression--at 30° bearings
magnetic--there stood one of the characteristic two-tiered table-lands
stretching from east to west. Below us in the depression was an
undulating line from north to south of great bosses or domes of
exquisite grassy land, resting upon a kind of spur or peninsula jutting
out from our plateau--but at a lower elevation--of which it formed part.

A formidable crack in the earth's surface extended from north to south on
the east of the chain of domes, whereas to the east again of the giant
crack was another row of domed hills, forming--when taken as a mass--an
undulating terrace; then a vertical wall, above which rested the sloping
side of the plateau on which we stood. It may be observed that the strata
in the split vertical wall on our side was absolutely horizontal. On the
summit of this rocky stratum lay a deposit, 30 ft. thick, composed of red
earth and sand over yellow sandstone and ashes, and, lower, grey ashes
compressed and consolidated. The lowest stratum visible on the face of
the wall was of bright red-baked rock.

The great depression, taken in its entirety, extended from south-east to
north-west. The huge crater was to the south-east. To the south-west
there was an immense basin.



CHAPTER XXIII

     The Jangada River--Demented Descendants of Slaves--Appalling
     Degeneration--Giant Monoliths--The River Roncador--Gigantic
     Natural Gateways--The Discovery of Fossils


WE had reached the end of the comparatively flat plateau, which varied in
elevation on its summit from 2,530 ft. to 2,570 ft. above the sea level.
We were next faced by a most precipitous descent in order to go down to
the Jangada River--which eventually flowed into the distant Rio Cuyaba.
There was, of course, no trail of any kind, and the course of the descent
before us was not unlike trying to take our animals down the almost
vertical wall of a fortress. With picks and spades we cut a narrow path
for a short distance in order to start the reluctant beasts down. I
recommended the greatest care to my men, but instead of following my
instructions they drove the rebellious quadrupeds with their whips in a
heap along the path--only a few inches wide--which we had cut. Result:
Collisions among the animals and against the wall, and, next, five mules
and baggage rolled down the mountain-side at a vertiginous speed until
they had reached the bottom, some hundreds of feet below. Antonio, the
strong man of the party, who tried to go to the rescue of one of the
animals, was also dragged down, and came within an ace of losing his
life. He was able to embrace a shrub with all his might just before
rolling over the precipice, and we rescued him. We had to waste a great
deal of time cutting an improvised way in the mountain side. Then we had
to unload all the animals and convey the loads down on men's heads. Each
animal was then with great difficulty and danger led by hand down to the
stream.

Great quantities of beautiful marble and crystals were met with, and
masses of lava pellets and ferruginous rock. In the Jangada valley we
found two hot springs emerging from the side of the plateau from which we
had descended. I discovered there two miserable tiny sheds belonging to a
family of escaped negro slaves. They had lived seventeen years in that
secluded spot. They grew enough Indian corn to support them. All the
members of the family were pitifully deformed and demented. Seldom have I
seen such miserable-looking specimens of humanity. One was demented to
such an extent that it was impossible to get out of him more than a few
disconnected groans. He spent most of his time crouched like an animal,
and hardly seemed conscious of what took place round him. Another was a
deaf and dumb _crétin_; a third possessed a monstrous hare-lip and a
deformed jaw; while two women, dried up and skinny, and a child were
badly affected by goïtre. For a single family that seemed a melancholy
spectacle.

[Illustration: How Author's Animals rolled down Trailless Ravines.]

It was really pitiable--everywhere in the interior of Brazil--wherever
you came across a family, to find that all its members were _crétins_,
and deformed to such an extent as to make them absolutely repulsive.
Frequently I had noticed among the common abnormalities supernumerary
fingers and toes. One child at this place, in fact, had six toes to each
foot, besides being an idiot, deaf and dumb, and affected by goïtre. The
only one of the family who was able to realize what took place was
terrified at our approach, and never got over his terror as long as we
remained. He suffered from the illusion that everybody wished to murder
him. For some reason or other he believed that I had come specially, all
the way from my own country, in order to search for him and kill him. All
the most considerate words on my part, the showering of presents, had no
effect upon him. He sat some way off, watching me attentively all the
time, and whenever I moved my hands in any direction he dashed away
shrieking, thinking that I should attempt to strangle him--for his mania
was death by strangulation. After a while he returned, and in his broken,
almost unintelligible language--his tongue was nearly paralyzed and he
had difficulty in articulating properly--begged to be spared.

Those people lived worse than animals--in an appallingly filthy
condition, in two miserable, tumble-down sheds, open on all sides, and
not more than 8 ft. high. They were reduced to that condition by
intermarriage among themselves; brothers with sisters--a most frequent
occurrence among the "civilized" of Central Brazil--and even fathers with
daughters and sons with their mothers: a disgusting state of affairs
which could not very well be helped in a race and in a climate where the
animal qualities were extraordinarily developed while the mental were
almost entirely deficient. Worse still, I had several cases under
observation in which the animal passions had not been limited to closely
related human beings, but extended also to animals, principally dogs. The
degeneration of those people was indeed beyond all conception. It was
caused, first of all, by the effects of the most terrible corruption of
their blood, their subsequent impoverishment of blood through
intermarriage, the miserable isolated existence which they led on scarce
and bad food, the exposure to all kinds of weather, and the absolute lack
of thought--almost paralyzing the brain power. It was heart-rending to
think that human beings could possibly degenerate to so low a level,
and--what was worse--that beings of that kind were extraordinarily
prolific; so that, instead of being exterminated--which would be a mercy
for the country--they were in a small way on the increase.

I camped near the sheds of that "happy family," having gone 42 kil. from
the Rio das Mortes. I felt sad the whole night, watching them
unperceived. It upset me so that I was ill for several days.

The Rio Jangada, at an altitude of 1,550 ft., was 1,000 ft. lower than
the top of the plateau. The river flowed west into the Cuyabá River. We
crossed the stream, a rapid and foaming torrent. We soon began to climb
again on the opposite side over sweeping undulations. We waded through
two more streamlets flowing west--the second at an elevation of 1,650 ft.
We were travelling partly among campos on the summit of cones and domes,
partly through brush or scrub in the depressions. We struggled on, urging
the tired animals, rising gradually to 2,150 ft., then to 2,200 ft., over
soil strewn with volcanic pebbles and scoriæ. During the night the
minimum temperature had been 53° Fahr., but during the day the sun was
extremely hot and powerful, and animals and men were sweating freely. We
marched northward, then slightly to the north-west, leaving behind, to
the south-west of us, two quadrangular table-lands, rising above the
undulating line of a depression.

Shortly after, to the E.N.E., we perceived the section of an extinct
crater--the easterly point of its summit being in itself a semicircular
subsidiary crater. On one side of the greater crater was a conical
depression, at the bottom of which (elev. 2,400 ft.) was an extensive bed
of lava blocks of great size--hundreds of monolithic rocks standing up
like pillars. In fact, they stood all along the side of the crater as
well as inside it. Surrounding a pyramidal hill a group of those huge
pillars looked--to a casual observer--just like the ruins of a
tumble-down abbey.

Three hours' journey from our camp we reached the summit of a dome (elev.
2,500 ft.). Beyond it was a _cuvette_ with its typical central line of
_burity_ palms.

To the west we perceived a marvellous view of three immense dykes of red
rock--like walls--stretching from south-west to north-east; then two more
great perpendicular dykes of granite were disclosed close by.

Going over domes 2,550 ft. and 2,450 ft. above the sea level, we obtained
a vast and immense view of the _serradão_--wild country--before us, a
regular ocean of deep green undulations rising quite high to the south;
whereas to the north there extended a long plateau with a deep ravine on
its southern aspect.

We descended through scrub (elev. 2,400 ft.)--what the Brazilians call
_serradão_--and through a growth of stunted trees (elev. 2,450 ft.) to so
low an altitude as 2,300 ft. Going along a rocky cliff, we passed a
strange volcanic vent-hole with a pyramid of granite of large proportions
on each side of its aperture.

We arrived at the Roncador, a picturesque torrent flowing over a bed of
lava moulded in the strangest possible shapes, hollows, terraces and
grottoes. Most peculiar were the great concave hollows, circular, oval,
and of irregular form, which were innumerable and of all sizes along that
extensive flow of lava.

[Illustration: Hideous Types characteristic of Central Brazil.

Two women (left) and two men (right).]

We had travelled 30 kil. that day. That was such a picturesque spot that
I made camp on the right bank of the torrent. We were all amazed to find
an immense block of rock--resembling in size and form the Sphinx of
Egypt--balanced to a nicety over the edge of a conical rocky hill. It
was, of course, the work of nature. Why that rock remained there at all
and did not tumble down, was more than we could understand. There was
also a giant monolith and other strange-looking rocks of great size
standing up at all angles close by. On climbing the hill where the
Sphinx-like rock stood, I discovered a circular crater of great beauty,
300 metres in diameter. The western wall of the crater had been knocked
down, but on the eastern inner side, in the central part 150 ft. high,
there was a precipitous fall, then a huge smooth inclined plane of lava
at an angle of 15° overlapping the top, where it had subsequently been
subjected either to violent earthquake shocks or other disturbing
influences, as it was badly seamed and fissured. Many segments had
crumbled down, leaving the remaining portion of a most extraordinary
shape. In the centre of the crater there stood a huge mass of rock 150
ft. high, which looked like an inclined table--a giant slab cleanly cut
at its angles, which protruded at great length outside the base formed by
broken-up blocks. On looking west from the summit of the extinct volcano
one obtained a marvellous view of the vertical cliffs between which the
Roncador River flowed.

Then there was a great table-land extending from north to south, composed
of red volcanic rock and white limestone. A separate red quadrangular
castle-like structure of immense proportions rose in the middle
foreground in the north-west upon a conical green grassy base.

Add to this wonderful work of Nature a magnificent sky of gold and
brilliant vermilion, as limpid as limpid could be, and you will perhaps
imagine why I could not move from the rock on which I sat gazing at that
magnificent, almost awe-inspiring, spectacle. Night came on swiftly, as
it always does in those latitudes, and I scrambled down the hill, among
the sharp, cutting, slippery, shiny rocks, arriving in camp minus a good
many patches of skin upon my shins and knuckles.

At the point where I crossed the Roncador River there were three handsome
waterfalls in succession, the central one in two terraces, some 90 ft.
high. At the foot of the two-tiered waterfall was a great circular basin
which had all the appearance of having been formerly a volcanic vent. The
flowing water, which tumbled down with terrific force, had further washed
its periphery smooth. The centre of the basin was of immense depth.
Directly under the fall a spacious grotto was to be seen under a huge
projecting rock.

The elevation of the stream above the falls was 2,150 ft., below the
falls 2,060 ft. The temperature of the atmosphere was 72° Fahr., and the
minimum temperature during the night 58° Fahr.

The Roncador flowed from north-east to south-west as far as the foot of
the great plateau we had observed during our march. There, on meeting the
great vertical wall, its course was diverted in a northerly direction and
then again to the north-west, where the stream eventually fell into the
Cuyabá River. The Rio Jangada, on which we had camped the previous day,
was a tributary of the Roncador, and so was the streamlet called Pedra
Grande, which entered the Roncador on its right side. The Pedra Grande
took its name from an immense monolith, worn quite smooth, near its bank.

From the Roncador we continued on our northerly course. The western view
of the "balanced Sphinx boulder" was indeed remarkable. It seemed to
stand up on a small pivot despite all the laws of gravitation, the
heaviest side of the upper rock projecting far out on one side with
nothing to balance it on the other.

Cutting our way easily in the scrub, we rose to 2,300 ft. over a flow of
red lava (it had flowed in an easterly direction) in several successive
strata. The upper stratum was grooved into geometrical patterns, such as
we had met before, wherever it showed through the thin layer of red
volcanic sand which covered most of it. We were there in a zone of
immense natural pillars of rock, some of such great height that they
were visible miles off along the range--which extended from south to
north, parallel, in fact, to the course we were following.

Still proceeding due north, we arrived on the summit of a great dome,
2,500 ft., from which point we had to alter our course to the north-west,
owing to an isolated impassable barrier which we left on our right
(north). It had steep slopes but well-rounded terminal points. It
extended from N.N.E. to S.S.W., and had a height of some 150 ft. above
the flat _serradão_, on which my skeleton-like mules wended their way
among the stunted trees, the bells dangling from their necks monotonously
tinkling--not the gay, brisk tinkling of animals full of life, as when we
had left Goyaz, but the weak, mournful sound--ding ... ding ... ding--of
tired, worn-out beasts, stumbling along anyhow. Occasionally one heard
the crashing of broken branches or of trees collapsing at the collision
with the packs, or the violent braying of the animals when stung in
sensitive parts by an extra-violent fly; otherwise there was silence, the
silence of death, all round us.

The poor brutes tore mouthfuls of grass, now on one side then on the
other, as they went along; but the grazing was poor in the _serradão_,
and the animals found only enough to subsist upon. Two of them were
absolutely disabled, owing to accidents we had had; and, with the animals
I had lost, this involved loading extra heavily those still able to
carry. The constant collisions against the stunted trees in that
trail-less region injured the animals considerably and caused nasty sores
and swellings all over their bodies. I saw well that the poor beasts
would not last much longer. It was impossible to halt a sufficient time
to let them recover in that particular region, with food so scarce--it
would have taken them months. In the meantime our provisions were being
fast consumed--or rather wasted--and we had thousands of kilometres to go
yet. My men never suspected this, or they would have never come on; but I
knew only too well.

They still insisted on marching with their loaded rifles, fully cocked,
resting horizontally upon their shoulders; and as we marched naturally in
single file, and as we used cordite cartridges with bullets of high
penetration, there was still a prospect of a bullet going through one or
more of us. Once or twice again a rifle went off unexpectedly by
accident. It would have been terrible for any one of a nervous
temperament to be travelling with such companions. On previous
expeditions I had generally trusted in myself, but on this particular one
I was so disgusted that I had made up my mind to trust in Providence
alone. I did well, for had I done otherwise I might have fared much worse
than I did.

We went over a pass (elev. 2,400 ft.) between two small domes, quite
barren but for a scanty growth of short dried grass. We were marching
over masses of lava and conglomerate with innumerable marble pellets. We
found ourselves within a regular circle of low hills enclosing a shallow
depression. Subsequently we came to a second and then to a third similar
depression.

[Illustration: Author's Caravan marching across Trailless Country.]

[Illustration: The Roncador River.]

Continuing in a north-westerly direction we again obtained a gorgeous
view of the treble _portal_--by which word the Brazilians describe a
monumental entrance of any kind. That is just what those three immense
gaps in the plateau looked like: an immense wall of rock forming a
high barrier, with three gigantic natural gateways.

After finding a stream of good water on the west side of the plateau we
rose again higher, obtaining a splendid bird's-eye view of the
picturesque depression we had just crossed. The effects of erosion
following those of volcanic activity were evident enough upon the entire
landscape. On the west side we had a horseshoe-shaped vertical
wall--seemingly containing an extinct crater--and yet another on the
north side of the western end of the elongated ellipse which was there
formed.

With some difficulty we managed to get the animals up to the summit of
the plateau (elev. 2,580 ft.). From there we obtained a sumptuous view
beyond. An immense dyke of brilliant red rock, flat-topped, lay
majestically to the west. At its foot the Rio Pedra Grande had its birth,
and then flowed westward into the Rio Roncador. Four gigantic flat
table-lands stood impressively in a line. Three more, equally impressive,
loomed in the south-west. Other minor ones, quite wall-like--rectangular
in vertical section--appeared in the blue distance, while the horizon was
barred by a long flat plateau.

Looking north as we descended from the table-land, we found on our left
another extinct crater--semicircular in shape, with several superimposed
strata of lava, each about one foot thick, capping its lip, which was
broken up into three sections. The valley below that crater formed a
_cuvette_, the bottom of which (elev. 2,200 ft.) showed deep erosion by
water in one or two places. Sand covered the lava-flow which had
travelled northward. Quantities of heavy, spherical, bullet-like blocks
of hard-baked rock were scattered all about--evidently shot out of the
crater when active.

We had travelled 80 kil. from Cayambola in three days, and we had reached
a spot of slight, well-rounded undulations where grazing was fair. I
decided to halt early in the afternoon--more particularly as this spot
appeared to me to have been at one time or other submerged--probably it
had been a lake bottom. I had, since the beginning of my journey, been
searching everywhere for fossils--but in vain. I had not seen the
vestiges of a single one. Personally, I was persuaded that Central Brazil
could well be geologically classified in the archaic group--the most
ancient of the terrestrial crust, and consisting (in Brazil) chiefly of
gneiss, mica schists and granite, solidified into their present form by
intense eruptive phenomena and dissolved--not by immersion in ocean
waters, as some suppose, but by deluges of such potentiality as the human
mind can hardly conceive.

It was quite enough to visit the central plateau of Brazil to be
persuaded that that continent had never been submerged under a sea; on
the contrary, it must have been the oven of the world. The volcanic
activity which must have taken place in that part of the world--it was
not a separate continent in those days--was quite, as I have said, beyond
human conception. This does not mean that at later periods there may not
have been temporary lakes--as, for instance, in the spot where we
encamped that night--or portions of country which had become flooded,
upon the cooling of the earth, and subsequently became drained and dry
again.

A wonderful surprise awaited me that day. To the north of my camp was a
peculiar round mound. I climbed it, and what was my astonishment in the
short ascent to find near the summit, among a lot of lava pellets, marble
fragments, crystals, and great lumps of iron ore, a number of vertebræ
from the tail and spine of a giant reptile! The vertebræ had been
disjointed and scattered somewhat about by wind and water--but there they
were; the smaller ones on the side of the hill, the larger on the
summit--which led me to believe that the animal had crouched on the top
of the hill when dying. Some of the fossil vertebræ were so large and
heavy that I hardly had the strength to lift them up. The
bones--petrified--were of a beautiful white. Many of them had,
unfortunately, become so fractured as to make identification difficult.
On following the line of the dorsal vertebræ--somewhat scattered about--I
came upon some vertebræ which appeared to me to be cervical vertebræ; and
then, behold my joy! in searching around the summit of the mound I
perceived the skull. The skull was so big and heavy that I could not
carry it away, but I took several photographs and careful drawings of it
from all sides.

It was curiously shaped--quite unlike any other fossil skull I have seen.
The cranial region proper was extremely short, with smallish round orbits
rather low down on the side of the head. The skull had an elongated
shape: 35 cm. was its total length; 10 cm. its maximum transverse
breadth, and 5 cm. at the central and widest part of palate. The skull
itself, with an elongated nasal bone, had a flattened point almost like a
beak, or more probably like the base of a proboscis. The front part of
the nose had unfortunately become fractured and ended with a flattened
segment. A marked arch or hump stood prominent upon the nasal bone. The
temporal arcades were quite developed, with prominent supra-orbital
bosses. The orbital hollows were 5½ cm. in diameter, whereas the external
nares were 9½ cm., the protrusion in front of the nostrils being 10 cm.
long. The palate, of great length, had a peculiar complex shape, like a
much-elongated U with another smaller U attached to it in the centre of
its curve, [Symbol].

The skull had been worn down by age and weathering. Moreover, one side of
the upper part of the cranium had been entirely destroyed--seemingly by
having rested on red-hot lava. Many of the vertebræ were equally injured.
By even a superficial examination it was easy to reconstruct the tragedy
which had taken place on that hillock thousands upon thousands of years
ago.

Searching about, I came upon another skull of a huge reptile, and a
number of smaller vertebræ than those belonging to the animal above
described. The second skull was much flattened, of an elongated shape,
very broad, the orbital cavity being high up on the skull--in fact, not
unlike the skull of a great serpent. It possessed a long occipital spur,
extraordinarily prominent, and fairly well-defined zygomatic arches--but
not quite so prominent as in the skull previously discovered. Seen from
underneath, there seemed to be a circular cavity on the left front, as
if it had contained a large fang. This skull, too, was also much damaged
on one side, where it had rested on some burning matter--evidently lava
or lapilli. The skull measured longitudinally 48 cm. and was 23 cm.
broad. Seen from underneath it resembled a much elongated lozenge.

Although I searched a great deal I could not find the lower mandibles of
these two skulls, nor loose teeth--but many indeed were the fossilized
fragments of bones of other animals strewn all over the hill-top. I found
up there quite a sufficient quantity to make the summit of that hill look
of a whitish colour. That was why I had been attracted to it at first
sight, and had climbed it in order to discover why it was so white. One
immense bone--fractured--was the pelvis of the larger animal. Nearly all
those fossils were in terrible preservation, much damaged by fire and
water. Some were so eroded as to be quite unidentifiable.

Most interesting of all to me were two smaller skulls--one of a mammal
not unlike a leopard or jaguar, the other of an ape or perhaps a
primitive human being. The latter cranium, like all the others, had one
side completely destroyed by hot lava, which in this instance had also
filled up a considerable portion of the brain-case. The human skull was
small and under-developed, no sutures showing; the forehead extremely low
and slanting, almost flattened, with the superciliary region and glabella
very prominent. One of the orbits (the right) was badly damaged. The
left, in perfect preservation, was oval, very deep. The form of the
palate was of a broad U-shape--abnormally broad for the size of the
head. The upper jaw was fairly high and prominent, whereas the zygomatic
arch on the left (the right was destroyed) was not unduly prominent--in
fact, rather small and less projecting than the supra-orbital region. Of
the nasal bone only just a fragment remained. The brain-case was small
but well-rounded at the back, where it had comparatively a fairly good
breadth behind the auditory meatus.

In my anxiety and enthusiasm, I used up, in photographing the first skull
I found, the only two photographic plates which remained that day in the
camera I had brought with me up there. In order to obtain a fuller view
of the skull on the negatives I placed it on a rudimentary stand I
constructed with broken branches of a tree. The sun had already set when
I discovered the two smaller skulls, and in any case I should not have
been able to photograph them that day. Well recognizing their immense
value, I enveloped them in my coat, which I turned into a kind of sack by
tying the sleeves together, and, with a number of vertebræ and a
knee-joint I had collected, proceeded to carry the entire load, weighing
some sixty pounds, back to camp, a mile away.

On my arrival there I met with a good deal of derision from my ignorant
men. I was faced with a problem. Had I told the men the immense value of
those fossils, I feared they might be tempted to steal them and sell them
whenever we first reached a civilized spot--which, true enough, might not
be for many months; a fact my men did not know and never for one moment
realized. If I did not tell them, I should have to stand their silly
derision as long as the journey should last--for they openly and loudly
argued among themselves the view that I had gone mad, and what better
proof could they have than my carrying a heavy load of "ugly stones" as
my personal baggage?

Of the two I came to the conclusion that derision was better than being
robbed. So I took no one into my confidence. I merely stored the fossils
carefully away in a large leather case, meaning to take them out some day
to photograph them as a precaution in case of loss. Unfortunately the
opportunity never offered itself, for we made forced marches every day,
from early morning until dark, and unpacking and repacking were very
inconvenient--each package having loops of rope fastened round, in order
to be readily attached to the saddles, which took much time and trouble
to undo. Then the ridicule of my men each time the "ugly stones" were
referred to also kept me at first from unduly attracting their attention
to them. With the many things I had to occupy my time day and night I
ended by forgetting to take the photographs--greatly owing to being
almost certain that I should bring the skulls themselves safely back to
Europe. But the unexpected always happens. We shall see later on
how--after having carried those fossils safely for several months--they
were, unknown to me, wilfully flung, together with a quantity of
provisions, into a deep part of the Arinos River by my companions, and
they were beyond recovery.

Greatly to my regret, we left that interesting spot the next morning. A
drenching rain prevented my paying a second visit to the two hillocks
where the fossil fragments were to be found, but I took the exact
position of them, so that any further expedition could locate the spot
with great ease.

It was interesting to note that a Brazilian expedition had discovered
some fossil bones of a gigantic animal some 200 kil. south-west of that
place, and other remains of a giant animal had been found by another
Brazilian expedition on the banks of the Paranatinga River, some 400 or
500 kil. north-east of our position.

We were encamped on the bank of the Rio Pedra Grande--the stream of that
name which we had passed that day being merely a tributary. During the
night we had observed a double-ringed lunar halo. The moon was almost
full. From the horizon directly under the moon were innumerable
radiations, not converging toward the moon but, curiously enough, the
first two at a tangent to the larger halo, the others at equal intervals
on each side.

At sunrise, before the rain-storm began, we were treated to wonderful
cloud and light effects. The lower portion of the sky, of brilliant
yellow and vivid green, was surmounted by golden and red streaks of
wonderful vividness. Later, over the great natural gateways, the sky
formed itself into concentric arches of blazing yellow and red, rendered
intensely luminous by contrast with the heavy black clouds which were
fast collecting overhead. No sooner was the sun well above the horizon
than we came in for a heavy downpour.

[Illustration: Fossil Skull of a Giant Animal discovered by Author.

(Side view.)]

[Illustration: Fossil Skull of Giant Animal.

(Seen from underneath.)]

The temperature had been higher (minimum 60° Fahr.) than usual during the
night, and heavy. The elevation of our camp was 2,030 ft. above the sea
level.



CHAPTER XXIV

     A Swampy Valley--Impressive Scenery--"Church Rock"--Escaping
     before a Forest Fire--The Rio Manso--Difficulties of marching
     across Virgin Country--Beautiful Rapids


ON leaving camp (June 15th) I noticed that the hills on which I had found
the fossils formed a semicircle to the west. Rising quickly to an
elevation of 2,070 ft., we were in sight of two great table-lands which
stood to the west. In crossing the river I found a number of other
fossils, among which was one that appeared to be the petrified foot of an
animal of enormous proportions.

We soon crossed the little stream Lazinha, which flowed into the Pedra
Grande. As we travelled over two ridges (altitude 2,100 ft. and 2,130
ft.) separating deep basins, and the weather cleared a little, the view
before us of the entire line of natural gateways, with two additional
pyramidal and prismatic peaks to the south, became more and more
beautiful. There was a strong breeze blowing from the north-east. At an
elevation of 2,150 ft. we found quantities of marble chips and blocks and
great masses of ferruginous, froth-like rock.

As we went along we obtained an imposing view to the north of an immense
plateau in three terraces, the lower one appearing like the sea--it was
so blue--with the brilliant red upper portion rising out of it like a
great island. The foreground of dark green, in great undulations, stood
out in contrast to the light green of the slopes of the plateau on the
top of which we were marching.

Central Brazil was certainly a country of flat sky-lines--so flat that
often when the distance became of a pure cobalt blue one had the
impression of overlooking an immense ocean, to which the green
undulations in sweeping lines in the nearer foreground added the
impression of great waves.

It was indeed difficult to realize the stupendous magnitude of the scenes
we constantly had before us. That day, for instance, the plateau to the
north of us stretched across towards the east for 70° of the compass from
bearings magnetic 320° (N.N.W.) to 30° (N.N.E.). Above the plateau was a
strange effect of clouds--a succession of arrow-shaped, nebulous masses.

We still came upon basins of grey ashes--_cuvettes_--but in that region
these were deeper than those we had observed so far, had luxuriant grass,
and in the moist centre the invariable line of _burity_ palm and heavily
foliaged trees.

Travelling on a northerly course, and then to the north-west, we
descended, after having marched 20 kil., into a basin (elev. 1,950 ft.)
where a thick and wide deposit of fine white sand and minute crystals
covered the deeper part of the depression. Then, farther on, the sand was
replaced by the usual deposits of grey ashes which filled the remainder
of the basin. A streamlet which had its birth in the centre of the basin
flowed north into the Rio Manso, along one of the many cracks which were
to be seen in that region and in the depressions we had previously
crossed. We came upon a mighty flow of red and black lava with a somewhat
frothy surface. It was in superposed layers from one to six inches deep,
with an inclination to the east of 15°. The flow itself had a direction
from west to east.

As we were marching by compass, with no trail whatever, we found
ourselves entangled in a swampy valley with tall reeds, from which we had
some difficulty in extricating ourselves. We eventually had to retrace
our steps for six kilometres in order to find an easier way for our
animals. After an examination of the country with my telescope from a
high spot, I decided to go westward across a flat swampy plain of ashes,
sand and water--most troublesome for the mules and horses. They sank deep
into the soft ground and frequently rolled over, damaging saddles and
baggage. One or two of my men had involuntary baths when the animals'
knees gave way under them.

As soon as we had emerged from that wearisome marsh the animals and men
were so tired--although we had only gone 22 kil. from our last camp,
without counting the deviation (28 kil. with deviation)--that I had to
encamp on the bank of the streamlet Fasciná, coming from the west. There
we had the laborious task of spreading to dry all the articles that had
got wet--including my bedding, tent, and a quantity of my clothing, which
was not packed like all the rest in air- and water-tight cases.

The stream Fasciná flowed into the Rio Furnas and eventually into the Rio
Manso to the north--the latter a tributary of the Cuyabá River. That
region had been rich in Mangabeira (the _Hancornia speciosa_ M.)--a wild
lactiferous plant of much value, producing a fruit called the _mangaba_.

June 16th. Minimum temperature 54° Fahr.; elevation 1,940 ft. On leaving
camp, after a good deal of trouble in recovering our animals in the
morning, as they had strayed in all directions, we found ourselves
travelling along the edge of a large grassy basin (elev. 2,000 ft.)
extending from south-east to north-west, with a wonderful growth of
_burity_ palms; then upon a second basin (elev. 2,100 ft.) with deep
deposits of ashes. We climbed higher, to 2,150 ft., where we found a
third oval _cuvette_ with a surface layer of ashes--merely a continuation
of the preceding _cuvette_. We here resumed our northerly course, going
through what the Brazilians call _chapada_, or high land scantily wooded.

To the south-west we had a high plateau with round natural towers of red
rock, resembling the walls of a fortress. Those red cylindrical towers
stood all along the summit of the range--with immense square blocks of
grey rock above them in horizontal strata. In the centre of that long
range could be perceived a double-tiered crater and several grottoes. In
its northern section the range was vertical, with red and yellow rocky
walls over 300 ft. high. On the summit of that rocky stratum were other
strata with a dip to the south. Half way up could be observed a red ledge
about 10 ft. thick (also with a dip to the south) all along the entire
length of the range. Colossal blocks and flows of lava were to be seen
300 yards east of this range. In one place was an immense natural
arch--like the work of a skilful mason. At the northern end of the range
stood a castle--the work of nature--with three square towers, and between
them numerous monoliths or pillars standing on walls of columnar
formation.

Evidently there was a crater in that northern part, the castle-like
structure being merely formed by many superposed layers of yellow lava.
Near the throat of the crater the lava was hard baked and of a bluish red
colour. In the lower section the strata were each 6 ft. thick, under a
smooth band, absolutely horizontal, 100 ft. in thickness. There were then
two top layers, each 20 ft. thick, and four more layers each 4 ft. thick,
and slightly wavy. The last ones were somewhat shattered, and displayed
large blocks moved out of position--apparently by a volcanic explosion.

In going round the northern corner of the range more similar buttresses,
like towers, were disclosed--I could count as many as eight--projecting
out of the immense vertical block of rock. Those buttresses were of brown
and bright yellow rock. The range had a general direction from south-east
to north-west.

Great deposits of white sand and ashes were noticeable on the surface. In
cuts and in the bed of a streamlet were strata of consolidated ashes in
distinct layers one inch thick. The foot of the gigantic rocky mass was
at an elevation of 1,700 ft. We were on a slanting plane forming a
conical basin in continuation of the crater. To the north, where the
basin opened, was a great stretch of cobalt blue in the distance, which
looked just like a glimpse of the ocean. But it was not; it was the
far-away plateau we had seen for some days.

We were now entering a region of the most impressive and weird scenery I
had ever seen, except, indeed, in the Himalaya Mountains. Directly in
front of us towered the Morro Plumão, a most striking giant block of rock
several hundred feet high, standing quite alone, and resembling a church
surmounting a mediæval castle--not unlike St. Michael's Mount, only with
land around instead of water. Even quite close to it the illusion was
perfect. This wonderful natural structure of dark red rock was in
perfectly horizontal strata, each 10 ft. thick, separated and clearly
defined by whitish lines, which aided to give the illusion of a wonderful
work of masonry.

"Church-rock," as I called it--or "Spray-rock" (_Plumão_), as my men
named it--stood majestically in solitary grandeur in the middle of a
great subsidence of the soil. That great subsidence was in turn bordered
by immense vertical cliffs of the same rock of which "Church-rock" was
formed. Indeed, it was clear that the soil had given way, leaving only
that great rock standing. Even my men--for the first time since they had
been with me--were deeply impressed by that wonderful spectacle; so much
so that they all took off their hats, as Brazilians always do in passing
churches.

We traversed the great depression, which gave us irrefutable evidence of
what had taken place in that zone. The great rocky, plateau-like mountain
to our left had split and fallen over on the north side, describing an
arc of a circle of 90°. In fact, as we went along, in places where the
rock under foot was exposed, we were treading over laminated rock, the
stratification of which was vertical, and corresponded exactly to that of
the upstanding wall where the stratification was horizontal.

Behind "Church-rock" to the north-west was a massive plateau, beyond
which stretched an immense undulating depression with two outstretching
spurs from south-west to north-east upon it. "Church-rock" was 26 kil.
from our last camp.

On the north side of "Church-rock," close to the conical hill upon which
the giant quadrangle of rock rested, was a hump formed by huge blocks,
the top one--a colossal one--just balanced, as if it might tumble over at
any moment. Then on the side could be seen a lava-flow and huge masses of
lava which had been shot up with great force and curled over, retaining
the frothy appearance of its former state of ebullition.

Strangely enough, even when seen from the side and from behind (N.N.W.
view), "Church-rock" retained all the semblance of a castle and church
perched up on that high pinnacle. From the N.N.W., besides the
castellated towers which surmounted all, there appeared a perfect
representation of a gabled roof over the body of the church, as well as
the flying buttresses of the walls. Behind was a great cylindrical annexe
with a semi-spherical superstructure, such as is often to be seen behind
Roman Catholic churches. The illusion was really wonderful.

Owing to the pools of water not far from "Church-rock" we called that
spot _Caponga de la Lagõa_.

A few hundred yards beyond "Church-rock" we came upon another
extraordinary sight: a quadrangular rocky castle--a perfect cube of
rock--which stood at a considerable elevation upon a conical base, some
distance off the wall-like sides of the plateau. Strangely enough, a thin
wall of rock, only a few feet thick, quite vertical, of great height and
of great length, joined this quadrangular castle to the plateau. That
wall had evidently remained standing when the plateau had subsided. The
larger plateau along the foot of which we travelled ended in two great
domes, one at each angle of its eastern terminus wall. The eastern part
of that plateau was flat-topped, whereas the central portion rose into a
double pyramid and looked not unlike a giant tent with a porch
attachment. It was of a bright yellow colour--apparently sandstone and
ashes. The work of erosion had been greater on the eastern face--owing, I
think, to the prevalent wind on that side.

On looking back upon the great range of rock which ended abruptly near
"Church-rock" (which, as we have seen, once formed part of it), a great
semicircular cavity was disclosed on its western face. The summit of the
wall around the cavity rested on an inclined plane, which in its turn
rested above a vertical concave wall. The latter wall of rock had conical
buttresses at the terminal points.

West-north-west of the great wall was an immense depression. Only a
conical hill rose above its last undulations. The upper edge of that
depression was at an altitude of 1,550 ft. above the sea level, whereas
the top of "Church-rock" was fully a thousand feet higher--viz. 2,550 ft.

[Illustration: A Grand Rock.

"Church rock."]

[Illustration: Church Rock.

(Side view.)]

At the terminus of the first section of the cliff range, interrupted
by a great fissure from the second section, another structure in course
of formation not unlike "Church-rock" could be observed. It had a
quadrangular tower surmounting it. There was in the second section of the
range a regular quadrangle of rock, with a high tower upon a conical
hill, and another castle-like structure surmounting a conical base. The
two were most impressive as they stood in their sombre red against the
brilliantly blue sky.

Next to the second section of the range, to the north, was a high
mountain of two twin-pointed peaks, shaped like a badly-pitched tent.
Then came another plateau, much eroded on its south side. Beyond was an
immense black plateau on three successive tiers--and this one, unlike the
others of which it was merely a continuation, had sloping instead of
vertical sides.

We had a nasty experience that day, which for the moment made us forget
the beauty of that wonderful scenery. We were going through high scrub
and stunted trees and tall grass, much dried by the intense heat--quite
suffocating in the basin with the refraction from the huge rocks. A
strong breeze sprang up, and we were delighted--when we saw, fast
approaching, a dense black and white cloud rolling, as it were, along the
ground. As it got nearer there were such loud crackling and explosions
that it seemed like the volleys of musketry in a battle. My horses and
mules pricked up their ears, lifting their heads high--sniffing,
neighing, and braying. They became restless. Before we had time to
realize what was the matter, we saw tongues of flames shoot out from the
earth. Within a few seconds, with the wind which was blowing high, we
found ourselves with a barrier of fire close upon us behind and fast
gaining upon us. The trees seemed to flare up in a moment like matches or
fireworks. A wave of terrific heat took our breath away. We were almost
suffocated. There was only one way of escape--in front of us. For to the
left we had the impassable barrier of rock; to the right the flames had
already gained on us in a semicircle like a claw of fire. We stirred on
our animals, lashing them. My men, with their heads wrapped to prevent
suffocation from the stifling smoke, were in a great state of excitement.
They were about to abandon the animals in order to save their own lives;
but Alcides, Filippe, and I kept the rear, endeavouring to save men,
baggage, and animals. The flames gained on us very quickly. They
occasionally almost licked our animals. The mules and horses, now fully
enveloped in dense, choking smoke, began to stampede, and soon all the
animals were galloping away, sniffing, neighing and braying frantically.
In their disorderly flight they crashed against trees and tore off
branches; stumbled over rocks and rolled over themselves; struggling up
on their feet only to resume their mad race for life.

For some little time it was all we could do to keep a few yards in front
of the flames, the heat of which was roasting our backs and necks. At
last, in a desperate effort, we managed to get slightly ahead, and when
we descended--some of the animals rolled down--into a deep depression, we
found ourselves clear of the smoke. The wind was unfortunately blowing
the way we were travelling, but in that depression we were sheltered, and
the fire would not travel so fast. Our eyes were smarting terribly and
we were coughing violently, our parched throats and lungs, filled with
the pungent smoke, giving us a feeling of nausea. When we had reached a
point of comparative safety we had to readjust all the loads on the
pack-saddles, which had almost come undone. It was a wonder to me that in
the precipitous flight we had lost nothing.

We had unavoidably deviated several kilometres from our course, as the
animals were beyond guiding under those circumstances. Eventually, after
a considerable detour in order to avoid the flames, we went over several
undulations--especially a peninsula-like spine of rock rising over a
great depression, then between two twin mountains. We emerged on the bank
of the Rio Manso, flowing northward on a pebbly bed. We crossed it where
it was one hundred metres wide, but only 2 to 3 ft. deep. There was a
thick growth of vegetation--a belt some hundred yards wide--on both banks
of the river. The Rio Manso was there at an altitude above the sea level
of 1,150 ft.

I took observations for longitude, and latitude by double altitudes at
that place. (Lat. 13° 53' S; Long. 55° 13' W.) I had to halt there one
day in order to give the animals a rest, after the long and reckless
march of the previous day--a distance of 42 kil.

The source of the Rio Manso was to the E.S.E. some 120 kil. from the
place where we crossed it. Where we encamped it received a small
streamlet, flowing over a bed of laminated igneous rock and several
successive strata of slate, which in some places were in a vertical
position, in others at an angle of 40°. I noticed this vertical foliation
and these laminated strata all over the great depression we had crossed
in order to reach the Rio Manso.

The Rio Manso, which flowed into the Cuyaba River, was not to be
confounded with the Rio Manso forming the head-waters of the Rio das
Mortes, which eventually threw itself into the River Araguaya.

Owing to one of my animals having strayed away and the difficulty of
finding it again in the tall grass and high vegetation, we were not able
to leave camp until the afternoon of June 18th. Soon after starting on
the march we went through a marvellous arch of thick foliage, creepers,
bamboos, and _akurí_ palms, previous to crossing a streamlet 9 metres
wide and 1 ft. deep--flowing towards the west. We had no end of trouble
near these streamlets, as they flowed between precipitous banks 50 to 70
ft. high. There was no trail. The animals frequently lost their footing
over the slippery, steep slope, and rolled down, baggage and all, until
they reached the bottom; or else they would sometimes stick half way down
against trees and liane, and we had the greatest difficulty in
extricating them again.

[Illustration: Quadrangular Rocky Mountain connected by Natural
Wall of Rock with the Vertical-sided Range in Background.]

There was a low range extending from north to south along the left bank
of the Rio Manso. From a hill 1,470 ft. high above the sea level on the
right bank of the river we saw a plateau in four terraces--the third of
the line of plateaux we had seen on our preceding march. Upon getting
higher we perceived to the south, beyond the four-terraced plateau,
another plateau with vertical walls, and to the south-west a high
double-humped dome--resembling Mount Vesuvius in Italy. Evidently one
more of the innumerable extinct volcanoes to be seen in that region.
The mountainous mass extended in a more confused form farther to the
south-west. On our side of the Rio Manso the country was gently
undulating--in fact, it formed many parallel ridges of low, well-rounded
hills with occasional deep hollows or basins between. One could not help
being particularly struck by the wonderful regularity and strong
similarity of the curves on the parallel hill ranges, as if all had been
turned out of the same mould. The hill-range we were on was 1,500 ft.
above the sea level. The others--excepting one or two--were lower.

There was an absolutely flat horizon line to the north, with no mountain
range in sight. The country opening up before us was from that point
almost entirely made up of campos, with _chapada_ or growths of trees
principally near streams in the valleys. We crossed a watercourse 30
metres wide and 1 ft. deep at an elevation of 1,350 ft. We called it the
Palmeira, owing to the many palms upon its banks. Here grew many great
_caja_ or _cajazeiro_ trees (of the genus Anacardiaceæ), the largest and
tallest trees I had yet seen in Brazil, and _Garappa_ or _Garabu_ (of the
genus Terebinthaceæ) trees--very interesting on account of their peculiar
winged roots. They resembled the _nonoko_, which were characteristic of
the Polynesian Islands and Philippine Archipelago, only the Brazilian
ones never attained proportions so large.

With endless trouble we had gone 20 kil. We had come to streams, where
again, owing to the precipitous descents on the slippery high banks,
several mules fell over and rolled down into the stream. One mule,
particularly, had become very nervous on approaching those places.
Foreseeing the punishment which would be meted out, its knees invariably
began to tremble and give way, and it let itself roll down purposely,
every time we came to those difficult passages. Once down at the bottom,
with baggage often immersed deep in water, we had the greatest difficulty
in making the wretched animal get up again, and we frequently had to drag
it bodily up the opposite slope by means of ropes. I have never seen an
animal stand more beating than that brute did. Although I am most kind to
animals, I must say for my men that this particular mule often drove us
all to absolute despair. Dragging the dead weight of an animal up a steep
slope, 40, 50, or even 70 ft. high--we were only seven men--was no joke
at all. When you had to repeat the operation several times a day, it was
somewhat trying. Once the brute had been dragged up to the top it would
quickly get up on its legs, and marched well while on fairly good ground.
But in moments of danger it was one of the most pusillanimous animals I
have ever possessed.

I had given strict orders that in places of that kind the more timid
animals were to be unloaded, and the loads conveyed across on men's
backs. My orders were always disobeyed. The result generally was that not
only did the men have to carry the loads eventually, but we had to carry
the animals as well. Endless time and energy were thus wasted. That is
what happens to people who try to save themselves trouble.

At sundown, after having witnessed a glorious view of the valley to the
north, we descended rapidly amidst luxuriant vegetation of tall bamboos,
_akurí_ palms, and festooned liane, until we reached the Palmeira River,
flowing from north to south. Having crossed it, we continued for 3½ kil.
through dense vegetation, and then recrossed it at a spot where it passed
within enormous fissures in colossal masses of highly polished yellow
lava. After solidification these masses of lava had been subjected to
violent commotion, as their stratification was nearly in a vertical
position.

Wherever possible I took observations for latitude and longitude, in
order to ascertain my exact position; an 8-in. sextant, mercurial
artificial horizon and chronometers being used for the purpose. It is not
easy to describe the torture I had to go through when taking those
tedious astronomical observations. The glass roof of the artificial
horizon had unfortunately got broken. I had to use a great deal of
ingenuity in order to screen the mercury from the wind so as to obtain a
well-defined reflection. No sooner was I getting a perfect contact of the
sun's image and its reflection than some huge fly or other insect would
begin to promenade on the mercury, disturbing its surface. Butterflies
were even more troublesome, as they left upon the mercury--by the
luminosity of which they were greatly attracted--sediments of
multi-coloured powder and down from their wings and bodies. The mercury
had to be carefully re-filtered before work could proceed. Then, what was
worse, when both your hands were occupied--one holding the sextant, the
other gently screwing the vernier--hundreds of mosquitoes, taking
advantage of your helpless condition, buzzed round and settled on your
nose, ears, neck, eyelids and forehead, stinging you for all they were
worth. Swarms of bees--a dwarf kind, with body in yellow and black
stripes; fortunately these did not sting--also placidly roamed upon every
available patch of skin with a provoking tickling. A great number of them
settled along the edges of the eyelids, attracted by the sheen of the
retina of the eye, into which they gazed with great interest. Others,
more inquisitive, would explore the inside of your ears; while
millions--actually millions--of _pium_, the tiny gnats--more impertinent
than all the others taken together--dashed with great force up your nose,
into your eyes, into your mouth, and far into your ears, and were most
troublesome to remove. Your ankles and knees and wherever the skin was
soft were itching terribly with _carrapatinhos_, and before you got
through with your work you were also swarming all over with ants of all
sizes--careering all over your body and inflicting painful bites whenever
you placed your hand upon your clothes to arrest their progress. When you
had endured the torture long enough, and had managed to take a
satisfactory solar observation, you generally had to remove all your
clothes in order to get rid of the unpleasant parasites--and you then had
a good hour's hard work cut out for you.

[Illustration: Quadrangular Rocky Mountain showing Rocky Wall
connecting it with the Neighbouring Range.]

[Illustration: Author's Caravan in the Heart of Matto Grosso.]

We continued our march northward, the temperature in the sun being 105°
Fahr. The minimum temperature had been 60° Fahr. during the night of June
17th, and 64° on June 18th. We crossed the Piraputanga River, flowing
into the Rio Manso, and then passed over a magnificent flow of yellow,
red and black lava, the Cambayuvah River, a tributary of the Palmeira.

The Cambayuvah flowed through a great volcanic crack 75 ft. high, the
sides of the crack showing much-fissured strata in a vertical position. A
smaller streamlet entered the Cambayuvah where we crossed it. Wonderfully
beautiful, indeed, were the rapids among brilliantly coloured red and
yellow rocks, the water winding its way among high upstanding pillars and
sharp blades of laminated rock.

A beautiful waterfall tumbled over with a great noise into a pool,
scooped out of an immense block of such hardened rock that even the force
of that violent stream seemed to have had but little erosive effect upon
it. The edges of it were as sharp as possible, instead of being worn
smooth and rounded by the constant rapid flow of water. The rock had been
hard baked, and was of a shiny black colour, almost as shiny as crystal.
At the bottom of those picturesque rapids was a circular volcanic vent,
the periphery of which had been blackened by the action of fire. The
Cambayuvah followed a general course of south-east to north-west.

We camped near that enchanting spot--most picturesque, but terrible for
my animals, as the grazing was poor. My mules, when let free at the end
of the march, stood helpless around the camp, looking reproachfully at
us, and making no effort to go far afield in order to get something to
eat. The poor things were quite exhausted. I saw well that they could not
last much longer. My men were constantly worrying me, and saying that we
were going to sure perdition. They had become painfully home-sick, and
had they not been dead-tired too--more so, perhaps, than the mules and
horses--I should have expected great trouble from them. As it was, to
lead on those men with persuasion and kindness was an exhausting mental
effort for me. Once or twice the suggestion was made that if I did not
agree to go back the way we had come I might perhaps get killed and they
would return alone. When I enquired whether any of them could find their
way back alone, they said "no"; so I suggested that perhaps it would be
to their advantage to let me live. I might eventually see them out of
that difficulty.

In all my travels I have seldom come across men more helpless at finding
their way about, or realizing in which direction they had travelled.
Barring Alcides, none of them had any more idea whether we had travelled
south, north, east, or west of Goyaz, than the man in the moon. Naturally
I did not exert myself to enlighten them unduly, for there lay my great
and only hold over them. I had fully realized that I was travelling with
an itinerant lunatic asylum, and I treated my men accordingly. No matter
what they did or said, I always managed to have things my own way. Never
by violence, or by a persuasive flow of language--the means used by the
average mortal. No, indeed; but by mere gentleness and kindness; very
often by absolute silence. Few people realize the force of silence on
momentous occasions; but of course few people know how to remain silently
silent--if I may so express it--in moments when their life is seriously
at stake. Silence is indeed the greatest force a man can use, if he knows
how to use it. It is certainly invaluable in exploring, when naturally
one is not always thrown into contact with the best of people.

The animals strayed away during the night, and it took all the best part
of four hours to recover them in the morning. Instinct is a wonderful
thing. They had all travelled to a place where, over undulating country,
fairly open campos, slightly wooded with stunted trees, were to be found,
and where they could obtain something to eat. When we crossed those
campos after our departure from camp, foliated rock showed through the
surface soil in many spots, in strata either displaced and left
vertical--in many cases at an angle of 38°--or in its original horizontal
plane. Elsewhere dips in all kinds of directions showed that there must
have been a good deal of commotion in that region when that part of the
country subsided and formed the basin we were then crossing. The typical
feature of all those undulations was their arched backs.

We were at a low elevation--only 1,300 ft. above the sea level. We were
travelling over immense quantities of marble pebbles and volcanic débris.
We there made the acquaintance of the _gramadin_, a plant with curved
spikes, which seldom attained a height of more than one inch above the
ground. It was terribly poisonous if touched.

We went over three successive ridges (elev. 1,300 ft.). On the summit of
each ridge we found a profusion of marble débris and even large blocks
immaculately white or else yellow--probably rendered of the latter colour
by contact with iron, plentiful in that region.

On the summit of the sixth ridge (elev. 1,330 ft.), that day, we came
upon large sheets of foliated rock--again almost absolutely vertical in
its stratification--and great masses of thin slate plates or foliations
extending from east to west.

Farther on, from a high point, 1,450 ft. above the sea level, we could
gaze once more upon a gorgeous panoramic view of the marvellous scenery
we had left behind--the great plateaux of rock as red as fire, and
"Church-rock" looming high against the sky. We kept on rising upon
various undulations--that day's march was one of continuous ascents and
descents. At 1,600 ft. we found more masses of vertically foliated slate,
ashes consolidated into easily-friable sheets, and large quantities of
beautiful marble.

To the north and north-east we had delightful scenery, the _pao d'arco_
trees in full bloom, of a reddish-purple colour, adding greatly to the
vivid colour-scheme of that view, with its cobalt blue of the distant
mountains and the Veronese green of the campos in the foreground. Nearly
all the ridges we had crossed which extended from north-east to
south-west were well rounded--fairly well padded with sediments of earth,
sand and ashes.

[Illustration: A Giant Dome of Lava.]

[Illustration: Campos and Chapada of Matto Grosso.]

We descended to 1,300 ft. (above the sea level) through thin forest, in a
valley where bamboo was abundant as well as _gamelleira_ trees with their
winged roots of great size. The _gamelleira_ was somewhat larger than the
_garappa_ or _garabu_. We found in that valley a beautiful grove of
_akurí_ palms, the palms being 10 to 15 ft. high. In going
through--cutting our way with _falcons_--long heavy-bladed knives
specially made for cutting through forests--we were much worried by
spiders' webs of great size, from which we had trouble in extricating our
heads and hands as we went along. There were thousands of those webs
at the entrance of the forest, and we dragged them all along on our
passage. With their viscous properties they clung to us, and we could
only shake them off with difficulty.

Most interesting of all was the _cepa d'agua_--a powerful liana, four
inches in diameter, festooned from the highest branches of trees, and
which when cut ejected most delicious cool water. Then there was a tree
called by the Brazilians "_mulher pobre_," or "poor woman's tree"--do you
know why?--because from its juice it was possible to make soap, which
saved the expense of buying it. There was a roundabout way of reasoning
for you.

Eighteen kilometres from our last camp we came to a rapid streamlet of
the most limpid water, the Rio Mazagan (elev. 1,300 ft. above the sea
level), four metres wide and four inches deep. When we drank it it nearly
made us ill, so foul was its taste of sulphur and lead. The treacherous
stream flowed into the Cuyabá River.

There were many _tamburi_ trees of great proportions, handsome trees with
clean, healthy white bark and minute leaves--at the summit of the tree
only. In the forest, although the taller trees were generally far apart,
none of them had branches or leaves lower than 30 to 40 ft. from the
ground. The _angico_ or _angicu_ (_Piptadenia rigida_ Benth.), which was
quite plentiful, was also a good-looking tree of appreciable height and
circumference.

Upon emerging from the beautiful forest, quite clear underneath with only
a few ferns, we crossed great campos--"_campina grande_," as my
Brazilians called them. Skirting the forest in a northerly direction, we
went over a low hill range with delightful clear campos and patches of
forest. We crossed another streamlet of foul-tasting water--with a strong
flavour apparently of lead.

In the great undulating valley we left behind--as we now altered our
course slightly to the north-west--was prominent a double-humped hill
which rose higher than any other except in the north-west portion of the
landscape. There a high chain of hills could be seen.

When we crossed over the second ridge (elev. 1,400 ft.), strewn with
yellow lava pellets, at the end of extensive campos we obtained an
imposing view to the north. An elevated flat-topped table-land of great
magnitude rose in front of us--a perfectly straight line against the sky,
but terminating abruptly with three gigantic steps, with a subsidiary one
upon the second step, at its western end. This plateau stood out, a
brilliant mass of cobalt blue with great projecting spurs, like a
half-section of a cone surmounted by a semi-cylindrical tower along the
southern wall of the plateau. Then a strange hill mass of four distinct
composite domed heights with minor peaks stood between the plateau and
us--and extended, like most of the other ranges, from south-east to
north-west.



CHAPTER XXV

     The Blue Mountains--The Cuyabá River--Inaccurate Maps--A
     Rebellion in Camp--Infamy of Author's Followers--The Lagõa dos
     Veados and the Seven Lakes--Falling back on Diamantino--Another
     Mutiny--Slavery--Descending from the Tableland


WE had gone 96 kil. in four days' marching since leaving the Rio Manso.
We were only a few kilometres from the Serra Azul, or Blue
Mountains--truly mountains of the most vivid and purest cobalt blue I had
ever seen--quite a wonderful spectacle.

We made our camp in a prairie with good grazing for our animals. Although
we were at a comparatively low elevation--1,150 ft. above the sea
level--the minimum temperature of the atmosphere was 56° Fahr. during the
night.

On leaving camp--still proceeding north--we descended to 1,100 ft. into a
lovely stretch of magnificent grass with a lagoon. The level of the water
was low, as we were then at the end of the dry season. On the flat grassy
land were curious semi-spherical mounds, 4 to 6 metres in diameter and
from 2 to 6 ft. high. On each of these mounds were a few stunted trees.
No trees whatever existed except upon these small mounds, the explanation
being, I think, that the mounds had formed around the trees while these
were growing, and not that the trees had grown upon the mounds.

As we were getting nearer, the Serra Azul to the north was most
impressive. I think that it was partly due to the bluish foliage of the
vegetation upon it that the range, even close by, appeared of so vivid a
blue, and also to the deep blue shadows cast by the spurs which
projected, some to the south-east, others due south--that is, it will be
understood, on the southern face of the range.

Thick deposits of cinders lay in the valley. On approaching an
intermediate and lower range we cut our way through scrub--chiefly of
_sciadera_ trees, seldom growing to a greater height than 7 ft. The domed
hills showed through the grass great blocks of volcanic rock, while at
the foot of the hills could be noticed huge boulders of consolidated
ashes with veins of crystals and marble. There, too, the stratification
was vertical. There was lamination in some of the rock, but not in the
granite blocks nor in the blocks of marble, which appeared to have been
subjected to enormous heat. Some of the rock had been in a state of
absolute ebullition.

[Illustration: Marvellous Scenery of the Central Brazilian Plateau.]

[Illustration: "Church rock" standing in the centre.]

At the spot where we crossed the range--starting our ascent from an
elevation of 1,100 ft.--were immense holes, vents and cracks in the
earth's crust. As we rose slightly higher among many chains of low hills,
we were upon a horizontal stratum of laminated granite. Higher still we
passed a semicircular hill composed of immense blocks of granite. In the
centre of the semicircle was a great round hole, 30 ft. in diameter--an
extinct crater. Farther on, ascending upon an inclined plane, we came to
another similar semicircle--not of rock that time, but of red earth and
cinders. When we reached the highest point (elev. 1,270 ft.) of the
divide we had to our left huge pinnacles and pillars of rock of the most
fantastic shapes, monoliths from 10 to 15 ft. high, and rocks hollowed by
the action of fire. Big boulders, which had become perfectly rounded by
having been shot through the air and revolved at a great speed while in a
half-solid condition, were to be seen scattered all over the inclined
planes of the saddle of the divide. Giant cacti grew in abundance in the
interstices between rocks. Although most of the rocks were blackened
outside, by chipping off the outer surface one found that they contained
inside beautiful white marble or else greyish granite. The latter was
striated with thin layers--not more than a quarter or half an inch
thick--of crystallized matter, forming veins in the blocks or dividing
two strata.

Everywhere could be noticed remarkable perforations of all sizes in the
rocks, great spherical or ovoid hollows, or cylindrical tubular channels.
In the ground were many volcanic vents with lips baked by fire.

On our right, a kilometre or so farther on, after having gone through an
extensive stretch of red sand and lapilli, we came across three hills,
the central one of which had the appearance of a cylindrical tower of
masonry with windows and doors. It was a wonderful freak of nature. Under
this huge tower were several caves and grottoes.

Descending upon the opposite side of the range, at an elevation of 1,200
ft. we found the dry bed of a streamlet, which flowed in a northerly
direction when it did flow at all. On emerging from the wide hill
mass--about 18 kil. across--we found ourselves among a lot of _burity_
palms on the western spur of the Serra Azul. When we were actually upon
them, the Blue Mountains lost their blue appearance and were more of a
greyish green, owing to the vegetation which covered most of their
slopes. The range was formed of three distinct terraces, the lower one
being of greater height than the two upper ones. A number of low hill
ranges starting from the main range branched off like spurs towards the
south. The uppermost terrace of the main range was supported on a high
vertical wall of red rock.

On meeting the Rio Coralzinho we skirted it for some distance through the
forest, then marched among a great many domes, small and large; after
which we crossed a wonderful field of huge monoliths, superposed
boulders, and rocks of all kinds of fantastic shapes.

We had marched 30 kil. that day. We encamped on the River Piraputangas--a
tributary on the left side of the Cuyabá Grande River--the Cuyabá Grande
being in its turn a tributary on the right of the Cuyabá River.

The Cuyabá River described almost an arc of a circle--in fact, quite a
semicircle--its birth taking place in the Serra Azul. Where we crossed it
we were only a short distance to the west from its point of origin.

Where we had made our camp we were in a large grassy plain about six
kilometres long and nearly two kilometres wide. The rainy season was fast
approaching. We came in for a regular downpour during the night,
accompanied by high wind, which knocked down all our tents, as the pegs
would not hold in the soft, moist ground. We had a busy time endeavouring
to protect the baggage. We all were absolutely soaked. The minimum
temperature was 52° Fahr. In the morning, after the wind had abated and
the rain had stopped, we were enveloped in thick fog.

We had descended to so low an altitude as 750 ft. above the sea level on
the north side of the Serra Azul--the lowest elevation we had been at for
some considerable time. We had descended altogether from the highest part
of the great Central Brazilian plateau. From that point all the waters
would be flowing to the north-east or north. We were, in fact, within a
stone's throw--to be more accurate, within the radius of a few
kilometres--of the birthplace of the Rio Novo, the head-waters of the
River Arinos, of the Rio Verde (Green River), and of the several sources
of the Rio S. Manoel or das Tres Barras, or Paranatinga; and not distant
from the sources of the great Xingu River.

The Serra Azul, extending from west to east, was interesting
geographically, not only because it marked the northern terminus of the
highest terrace of the great central plateau, but also because from it or
near it rose two of the greatest rivers of Central Brazil--the Xingu and
the Arinos (Tapajoz), the latter the most central and important river of
Brazil, crossing the entire Republic from south to north, as far as the
Amazon.

On June 21st we crossed the Piraputangas (elev. 750 ft. above the sea
level), where, owing to the steep banks, we had much difficulty in taking
mules and baggage to the opposite side. We then proceeded across another
large plain, skirting the spurs of the Serra Azul. Nine kilometres from
camp we came to a stream 80 metres wide, which flowed from north-east to
south-west. It had an average depth of 1½ ft. It was, I think, the Cuyabá
Grande.

It was not easy to identify those rivers, as the existing maps of that
country were absolutely worthless, most of them being filled in with
fancy mountains and rivers, which either did not exist at all or were
sometimes hundreds of kilometres out of their position. There were
frequently mistakes of two, three, and more degrees in the latitudes and
longitudes even of important places. As for the tributary rivers, of
which merely the mouths were known and named, they had supplied good
material for the imagination of more or less artistic cartographers in
order to fill in the rest of their course. Even the German map and the
American maps of the International Bureau of American Republics, which
were the two best, were extremely inaccurate in their representation of
that region. For instance, the latter map--and nearly all the other
maps--placed the Serra Azul some 180 or 200 kil. south of its actual
position. The German map was some 70 kil. out. The Serra Azul could be
seen from a great distance, and had been marked approximately and not by
actual observations on the spot. Nor, of course, had the tributaries of
the Cuyabá been explored or even seen except at their mouths; hence their
imaginary courses.

[Illustration: A Street of Diamantino.]

[Illustration: The Dogs of the Expedition.]

Considering how the maps of those regions had been got together, it was
really wonderful that, with all their blunders, they gave as much
information as they did. Unhappy, nevertheless, would be the poor
traveller who relied on those maps in making a journey across the
country. For instance, if you expected to come upon a certain river in
one day and did not get there until after ten or fifteen days' hard
marching; if you expected to find a mountain range--nearly as high as the
Himalayas or at least as high as the Andes, according to the deep shading
on the maps--and found instead an interminable flat plain; and if you saw
on your map rivers marked navigable, and found rapids instead, in
comparison with which the terrible ones of Niagara are mere child's play,
you would certainly become rather sceptical of prettily-drawn maps.

On most of the maps of Brazil one saw marked to the east of the Araguaya,
in the Goyaz Province, an immense range with no less a name than
Cordilheira Geral la Serra do Estrondo--or "General Range of the
Mountains of Noise." They were marked as the most prominent range in
Brazil--quite as high as the Andes of Peru, Bolivia, and Chili; whereas,
as a matter of fact, I was told on good authority that they were mere low
hills, where there were any hills at all.

To come to great geographical mistakes which came under my direct
observation, I found a very palpable one in the head-waters of the Cuyabá
River, which had their source to the north of the Serra Azul and not to
the south, as marked on many maps, including the Brazilian official maps.

We had to our left the Serra das Pedra--"Range of Rocks"--an
extraordinarily rocky range, which was crossed almost at right angles by
the Chapadão das Porcas. We marched through a wonderful growth of
palmeiras, some of the palms being as much as 30 ft. high. _Buritys_ were
innumerable along a small stream--the Rio Estivado--flowing south-west
into the Cubayá River. There were great quantities of _mangabeira_ trees.
We proceeded northward along a _chapada_--a capital Brazilian name which
denotes a locality that is neither a forest nor a prairie. The _chapada_
had scanty trees and scrub, but not enough to make it into a forest.

We were marching over low hills with surface deposits of sand and
cinders. We gradually reached an elevation of 1,050 ft. some 18 kil. from
camp, and shortly after--and only 50 ft. lower--entered a refreshing
grove of giant _palmeiras_ and _buritys_ along the Rio das Porcas,
flowing westward. There, north of the stream, we went across more clean
campos, 1,700 metres wide, bounded to the north by the thickly-wooded
hill-range Keboh, extending before us from east to west.

We crossed this range in the centre, during a strong gale from the
south-west. The wind cleared the sky, that had been overcast and had made
the atmosphere heavy. Again that afternoon, when the wind ceased, I
noticed the peculiar striations in the sky--not in straight lines that
time, but in great and most regular curves converging to the west.

The valley got narrower as we went along. Two twin conical hills ended
the northern extremity of the range (south-east to north-west) which we
had on our left--a great mass of granite blocks in the centre of the
plain rising higher and higher into regular domes. The plain itself, on
an incline, showed two swellings of great magnitude, the one to our right
about 120 ft. higher than the plain, the elevation of which was 1,000 ft.
On the west side of those two swellings was a confused mass of huge
blocks of granite--of all sizes and shapes--which to all appearances had
been shot up from underneath by some internal force. They were outwardly
much blackened by the action of fire, but internally were of a grey tint.
A little farther we were encircled by basaltic columns of great height,
many of them fractured, forming a fantastic sky-line. Some resembled the
spires of a cathedral; groups of others had the appearance of the ruins
of an ancient fortress; others stood up like giant obelisks; while
accumulations of others formed more or less regular pyramids.

After leaving that strange basin, we were once more travelling across
patches of clean _chapada_ and dirty _chapada_--according to the soil and
quantity of moisture; then over arid campos spreading for 15 kil. without
one single drop of water.

At sundown, after having gone over several undulations varying from 850
to 900 ft. above the sea level, we went over a hill slightly higher--950
ft.--with a summit of ashes, red earth, and yellow lava pellets, as well
as great sheets of foliated lava.

Under a most wonderful effect of light to the west--three superposed
horizontal bands of luminous yellow, violet and brilliant vermilion, over
the deep cobalt mountain range in the distance--we arrived, my men being
thirsty and tired, at a little rivulet. We had marched 42 kil. that day.

My men felt the cold intensely during the night--the minimum temperature
was 48° Fahr., with a high, cutting wind. Yet we were at a low elevation,
merely 750 ft. above the sea level. There were, as usual, moans and
groans all night, more toothache and rheumatic pains and bones aching in
the morning. The discontent among my men had reached a trying point. They
worried me continuously to such an extent--indeed, as never in my life I
had been worried before--that I was within an ace of breaking my vow of
never losing my patience and calm. In my long experience of exploring I
have always had to deal with the most troublesome types of men
imaginable, but never with any quite so unpleasant as those I had in
Brazil.

When, the next morning, I ordered them to pack the animals in order to
proceed on our journey, there was an unpleasant scene approaching mutiny.
They knocked things about and refused to go on. Then they sat, rifles in
hand, a little way off, grumbling and grunting, with vicious expressions
upon their faces. They were going to do wonderful things--they were
indeed! I overheard them. One man came forward--the spokesman. The men
claimed their money up to date since the last payment made to them--only
a fortnight before. They all wished to go.

"Certainly," was my immediate reply. Without a moment's hesitation they
were each handed over their full pay, and without giving the slightest
attention to them, Alcides, who had remained faithful, and I--poor
Filippe had been dragged against himself into the plot--collected all the
animals and packed them. Without one look or word--as if they had not
existed--I started off the troop of animals and got on my saddle to
depart last. With the corner of my eye I kept a watch on them--as with
men of that kind the chief danger was when you had your back turned.

I had gone only a few yards when I heard some one sobbing behind my mule.
As I turned round, the two outstretched hands of Filippe were handing me
back the sum of money I had paid a few moments before. He was begging me
to keep it safely for him. Then two more hands urged me to take back for
safe keeping the wages they had just received. The faces of the owners of
those hands were too comic for words: the cheeks shining with abundant
tears that streamed down, the eyes red and swollen, the mouths stretched
in nervous strain from ear to ear. Behind came two more men, looking as
mournful as if they were being led to execution.

They all begged to be re-employed. I let them follow--on foot--for
several kilometres without saying a word--struggling through the heavy
marching painfully and wading across chest-deep in the streams. We
crossed the Riberão Chabo or Guebo, 25 metres wide and 3 ft. deep, at an
elevation of 730 ft., then shortly after we waded through another stream
flowing south, with a zone of wonderful _palmeiras_ along its banks. We
then emerged into a magnificent plain with a barrier of low hills to the
north-west. Six kilometres farther we waded across the Planchão stream, 5
metres wide and 6 in. deep. Marching on horseback was delightful, the
maximum temperature being only 74° Fahr. in the shade. Another stream,
flowing from north to south, the Planchãonzinho, whose foul water was
quite disgusting to drink, although beautifully limpid, was then
negotiated.

I was delighted at meeting with so many streams, for there was nothing my
men hated more than to get into the water. They felt very sorry for
themselves, to be struggling along as best they could, following the
animals like humble sheep instead of being comfortably mounted on
quadrupeds. We travelled a considerable distance through campos, but
owing to some baggage which had been lost we eventually had to retrace
our steps as far as the Planchãonzinho River, on the banks of which we
encamped. This was unfortunate, as the water had a sickening flavour and
made even our coffee and tea taste like poison.

Misfortunes never come alone. In overhauling my baggage I discovered, to
my dismay, that my men--in order to force me to go back the way we had
come--had gradually thrown away most of the provisions, which should have
lasted us some six to seven months longer. We had only sufficient food to
last us a few days. The men confessed their misdeed. The country provided
absolutely nothing to eat, and I had to face the problem of either dying
of starvation or falling back on some place where we could purchase fresh
provisions. It was out of the question--unless one wished to commit
suicide and a quintuple murder--to endeavour to push on towards my goal,
Manaos on the Amazon, some 1,600 kil. distant as the crow flies, or at
least 4,000 to 5,000 kil. travelling, with possible deviations, without
some of which it was not possible to travel. We could certainly not fall
back on our point of departure, the terminus of the railway at Araguary,
1,596 kil. distant; nor on Goyaz, the last city we had seen, 1,116 kil.
away--so that the only way to escape death was to fall back on the
ancient settlement of Diamantino, the farthest village in Central Brazil,
a place once established by the first Portuguese settlers of Brazil
while in search of diamonds.

Diamantino was practically in the very centre of the thicker part of
South America, without counting Patagonia. It was almost
equidistant--roughly speaking, some 2,560 kil. as the crow flies--from
Pernambuco on the Atlantic Coast to the east, Callao (Lima) in Peru on
the Pacific Coast to the west, Georgetown in British Guyana to the north,
and Buenos Ayres in the Argentine Republic. Although so far in the
interior and almost inaccessible from the north, east, and west,
Diamantino could be reached comparatively easily from the south,
travelling by river up the Parana, Paraguay, and the Cuyabá Rivers, as
far as Rosario--thence by trail to Diamantino. I had heard that the place
was once flourishing, but had since become almost totally abandoned. I
thought that perhaps I might be able to purchase sufficient provisions to
get along; and--hope being one of my everlasting good qualities--I also
dreamt that perhaps I might there get fresh men.

It was indeed with a bleeding heart--when I had reached a point some 200
kil. north of the Serra Azul--that I had to alter my course, which had
been practically due north, into a south-westerly direction, and
endeavour to find Diamantino. My men were delighted at the prospect of
seeing human beings again. We had met no one for some weeks. We made
terrific marches daily in order to reach that village before the food
gave out altogether.

The nights were cold--47° Fahr. being the minimum at our camp on June
23rd.

We crossed a small range of hills over a pass 930 ft. above the sea
level, and found ourselves in a spacious _cuvette_ with the usual central
line of _buritys_ and thick vegetation (elev. 900 ft.). Soaring over our
heads were a number of _gavião caboclo_ (_Hetorospidias meridionalis_), a
kind of falcon, rending the air with their unmusical shrieks.

[Illustration: Matto-Grosso Girl, a Mixture of Portuguese, Indian
and Negro Blood.]

[Illustration: Brazilian Child, a Mixture of Portuguese and Negro.]

After leaving the _cuvette_ we began to ascend the Estivado Range, very
steep and rocky. Near the summit we struggled through a field of great
igneous boulders, chiefly upright pillars of granite and white marble.
Upon the pass (elev. 1,400 ft.) was a circular depression some 300 metres
in diameter, perfectly flat-bottomed and grassy. It was surrounded by
cones from 80 to 100 ft. high. On the south-east side of the range--very
steep--was abundant rock, whereas to the north-west side was a padding of
brown earth on a gentle incline divided into terraces. Here and there
pointed noses of volcanic blocks, similar to those we had found on the
opposite side of the range, showed through. We went across a depression
where water dripping down the mountain-side had remained stagnant,
rendering that spot almost impassable. The animals sank chest-deep into
slush, crashing through the thick and much-entangled growth of live and
fallen bamboos.

More campos, fairly wide, were found beyond this, and great stretches of
foliated slate and sandstone in strata turned over into a vertical
position, and quantities of débris. Then again we cut our way through a
cool growth of bamboos, handsome _palmeiras_ and _akuri_ palms; after
which we emerged into campos once more, rising gradually to an elevation
of 1,550 ft. upon an undulating terrace of the second section of the
Estivado range.

Pulling and pushing the mules and horses over a lot of boulders and up a
steep incline, we reached the highest point of the range on our
route--1,800 ft. above the sea level. Again the stratification of red and
grey rock in layers from 6 ins. to 1 ft. thick, standing vertically,
showed what a geological commotion there must have been in those regions.
The summit of the range, extending from north to south, appeared like the
teeth of a saw, so broken up was it into repeated undulations. On the
west side of the range we found a gentle slope of clear campos with
merely a few stunted trees upon them.

Before us to the west stood high the level sky-line of a table-land,
showing perfectly straight parallel strata of rock extending all along
its face, but slightly undulated near the summit of the range. Otherwise
its grassy slopes were quite undisturbed in their virgin smoothness.

In the distance to the north of our course was a great lagoon--the Lagõa
dos Veados, "Lagoon of the Deer"--a most important point in South
America, for it was there that the great Arinos (Tapajoz) River rose. The
lagoon--3 kil. long and less than 1 kil. wide--had no visible outlet, but
some hundreds of metres away a spring came out of the earth, forming the
Rio Preto (Black River). The Rio Preto, soon joined by the Rio Novo which
we had seen descending from the Serra Azul, formed the Arinos River and
could certainly be considered the head-waters of that immense tributary
of the Amazon.

A short distance south of Diamantino were the Sete Lagoas, or Seven
Lakes--as a matter of fact, they numbered more than seven--circular pools
only a few yards in diameter but extraordinarily deep, evidently of
volcanic origin, and filled with water at a later time. Around their
edges a remarkably luxuriant growth of _buritys_ could be admired. A
great valley extending south with a central ridge could be distinguished.
On it was the meeting-place of the Rio Diamantino and the Rio do Ouro
(River of Gold), which, with the Sete Lagoas, formed another most
important point of South America, for it was there that the Great
Paraguay or Parana River rose.

It was thus interesting to note that within almost a stone's throw rose
two of the most powerful rivers of South America--one flowing due north
into the Amazon, the other almost due south as far as Buenos Ayres and
Montevideo, where it entered the Atlantic Ocean.

A great confusion is made on most maps between those lagoons and the
actual birth-places of those important streams. The ancient Jesuits and
friars had a fair idea of geography. I have in my possession a remarkable
work in Italian published in Rome in 1698 by Father John Joseph of S.
Teresa--a barefooted Carmelite. It is entitled _The History of the Wars
in the Kingdom of Brazil between the Crown of Portugal and the Republic
of Holland_. The book contains a number of extraordinary maps of Brazil.
Those of the principal harbours give a splendid idea of the places
represented. The coastline of the continent is indicated with fair
accuracy. It is curious to note that the author of that book and the
cartographer place the sources of the Amazon and of the River Plate in
the same spot, as descending on opposite sides of a range extending from
east to west--a range which does not exist, unless it was intended to
represent the Central Brazilian plateau. "The River S. Francisco," Father
John Joseph goes on to state, "has also its birth in the spot where the
Amazon is born, but this is not sure." The cartographer, in fact, places
the head-waters of that river close to the head-waters of the Amazon, and
makes them flow through a large lagoon in the heart of Brazil--evidently
the Great "Lagõa dos Veados" or else the "Sete Lagoas" to which reference
has previously been made in this chapter. "The Rio Grande (Rio Parana,
Paraguay), one of the most celebrated in Brazil," proceeds the Carmelite
Father, "is born already swollen by plentiful waters (_sic_) in the
interior of terra firma! Near its sources it forms a lagoon 20 leagues in
circumference." All this is, of course, geographically wrong. The Rio S.
Francisco has its birth far to the south-east in Minas Geraes, some
hundreds of kilometres distant from that lagoon and several thousand from
the real source of the Amazon.

Also the friar must have mistaken--evidently from information
received--the sources of the Arinos for the sources of the Amazon, which
are really located some 15° of longitude west. It is nevertheless curious
that so far back as 1698 the existence of the lagoon should be known at
all--perhaps they had heard of it from the adventurous Paulista
Bandeirantes--and that they should have placed it nearly in its proper
latitude and longitude on their maps. Apparently Father John Joseph was
not aware of the existence of the Great Araguaya and Xingu Rivers. Having
compiled his map from information, he confused those rivers into the S.
Francisco River.

Upon descending from the Serra into the valley we soon came to a large
forest with a luxuriant edge of _peroba_ (a word originating, I believe,
from the words _ipe_ and _roba_ in the _Tupi_ language), which was known
in four different varieties: viz. the _peroba amarella_ (yellow), _parda_
(brown), _revessa_ (knotty), and _rosa_ (rose-coloured), technically
named: _Aspidosperma polyneuron_ M. Arg., _Aspidosperma leucomelum_
Warmg, _Aspidosperma sp._, _Aspidosperma dasycarpon_ A.

Then there were also plentiful _garabu_ and other tall trees. Before
getting to the edge of the forest I noticed among the rocks some
beautiful specimens of the _apita_ cactus, 10 ft. and more in height, in
appearance not unlike giant artichokes.

Near its beginning, where it was 3 metres wide and 6 in. deep, we crossed
the Estivado River, which with a group of other streamlets may share the
honour of being one of the sources of the Arinos. It flowed in a
north-westerly direction.

We were pushing on for all we were worth, for we had come to the end of
our food. Up and down we went over a troublesome series of great
elongated ridges--like parallel dunes--the highest elevation on them
being 2,050 ft., the depressions 1,950 ft. We came to a sweetly pretty
streamlet, the Mollah, flowing north into the Paraguay River, and shortly
afterwards to the Caitté and the Corisho (elev. 1,500 ft.). They were the
three real and true sources of the Paraguay, within a short distance of
the Seven Lakes.

We had marched 50 kil. that day over rough country. My animals were quite
exhausted. Yet early next morning we pushed on once more over transverse
undulations and across grassy _cuvettes_, slightly conical, with
circular pools of water in the centre and a florid growth of bamboos in
the lowest point of the _cuvettes_. We ascended over more dyke-like
obstructions on our way (elev. 1,700 ft.) and descended once more into a
vast basin of campos with stunted trees. At its lowest point there was
from north-east to south-west a line of magnificent tall trees. The
forest was so dense there that when we entered it we were quite in the
dark, as if going through a tunnel. There were fine specimens of various
kinds of the _jua_ or _juaz_ or _jurubeba_ (solanum), a medicinal plant 5
to 6 ft. high with enormous dentate leaves--shaped not unlike a vine
leaf--possessing upright spikes on their dorsal or mid-rib and on the
veins of the leaf.

Then there was plentiful "_cepa de pappo_," a common liana like a huge
boa-constrictor winding its way in a spiral up the tallest trees. I saw
some of those liane 3 in. in diameter, with a smooth whitish bark.

The soil at the bottom of the valley (1,500 ft. above sea level) was
mostly composed of cinders, but up the slopes white sand was predominant,
mixed with ashes. We travelled over a lava flow which formed the bed of
the River Macucu, flowing eastward. Guided by the noise, we found a most
beautiful waterfall, 100 ft. high, over an extinct circular crater with
vertical walls. We kept on rising over a gentle incline, and having
reached an elevation of 1,750 ft. we found ourselves suddenly on the
upper edge of a great crescent-shaped depression extending in a
semicircle from north-east to south-west. Its walls were one-tiered to
the west, with a flat table-land on their summit, but were divided into
two terraces in the northern part where ranges of hills rose on the
plateau.

We had a rapid, steep descent among great rectangular blocks of
conglomerate (white marble pebbles embedded in iron rock), great sheets
of lava, and sediments of red earth, solidified in places into
half-formed rock. I noticed extensive lava flows which had run towards
the west; then we came upon extraordinary quantities of loose white
marble pebbles and chips. We made our way down upon a kind of spur of red
lava, frightfully slippery for my animals. The poor beasts were quite
worn out with fatigue.

From the round dome of the headland we perceived to the south a second
great circle of flat-topped heights. The immense flow of red lava on
which we were radiated terrific heat which it had absorbed from the sun's
rays. My dogs, being nearer the ground than we were, had great difficulty
in breathing. Their heads and tails hung low, and their tongues dangled
fully out of their mouths. They stumbled along panting pitifully. Even we
on our mounts felt nearly suffocated by the stifling heat from the sun
above and the lava below. The dogs were amusing enough, curling down
quickly to rest wherever a mangy shrub gave the slightest suspicion of a
shade. The men, more stupid always than beasts, were sweating and
swearing freely, and thumped mercilessly on the rumps of the tired
animals with the butts and muzzles of their rifles in order to urge them
along.

The very sound of the mules' neck-bells seemed tired and worn; its brisk
tinkling of our days of vigour had given room to a monotonous and feeble,
almost dead, ding ... dong, at long intervals--well suggesting the
exhaustion of the poor animals, which were just able to drag along. The
slightest obstacle--a loose stone, a step in the lava, and now one
animal, then another, would collapse and roll down, and we had to
dismount and help them up on their feet again--quite a hard job, I can
tell you, when the animals were nearly dead and would not get up again.

As we went along more and more headlands of the great plateau appeared
before us to the west. We still went on descending on the top of the long
spur of lava. When not too busy with our animals--and quite out of breath
with the heat and stifling air from the heated rock--I sometimes glanced
at the glorious panorama on both sides of us. When we had proceeded
farther I ascertained that there were really two crescents contained side
by side within a larger crescent. Under us to the south a vast undulating
plain stretched as far as the eye could see towards the south-west and
west. On describing a revolution upon your heels your eye met the other
end of the larger crescent plateau to the north-west. The Serra do
Tombador extended in a south-westerly direction from north of Diamantino
to S. Luiz de Caceres, to the west of the Paraguay River. The height of
the spur on which we were was 1,350 ft. above the sea level.

We had come in a great circle on the upper edge. A trail could be seen
crossing the great undulating valley below us. It passed at the western
terminus of the spur we were on. Evidently that was the trail connecting
Diamantino with Cuyabá (the capital of Matto Grosso) via Rosario. The
sight of a trail was most exhilarating to my men. Suddenly and quite
unexpectedly we came upon a few wretched, tumble-down houses--if one may
call them so--smothered in vegetation which grew everywhere. My animals
themselves seemed astonished at the unusual sight. The horses neighed and
the mules brayed loudly. Masonry work perhaps suggested to them more
substantial meals. Down a precipitous ravine, over large boulders and
stumbling into big holes, into which the mules disappeared for a few
seconds at a time ... there was the main street of Diamantino.

The village--the local people called it "a city"--was the very picture of
misery, yet to us it seemed as if we had dropped into the middle of
London or Paris. There were a few resident traders, two or three
Brazilians, two Italians, and a Turk. All were most hospitable and kind.
The chief industry of the place was rubber, which found its way to the
coast via the Paraguay River.

Formerly Diamantino was a flourishing place because diamonds were found
in abundance. Even now they can be found along the river, but the
difficulty of access, even by the easiest way, and the great expense of
living there have gradually depopulated the place, which was quite in an
abandoned state when I was there.

Here are some of the minimum prices which the rubber collectors had to
pay for articles of necessity: Beans, 1_s._ 6_d._ to 2_s._ per litre,[1]
or about 4_s._ a pound; rice, 2_s._ per litre; flour, 1_s._ 4_d._ per
litre, about 4_s._ a pound; sugar, 5_s._ per kilo (2 pounds), rapadura,
or sugar block, 4_s._ per small cake; tobacco, 5_s._ per metre of twist;
salt, 2_s._ 8_d._ to 3_s._ per litre; coffee, 6_s._ 6_d._ per kilo; lard,
6_s._ 6_d._ per kilo; purified lard in tins, 16_s._ to 20_s._ per 2
kilos. Bars of the commonest laundry soap, 4_s._ each bar; chickens
10_s._ to 15_s._ each; eggs, 10_s._ to 12_s._ a dozen; small tins or
sardines (containing five sardines) of the most inferior kind, 10_s._ to
15_s._ a tin; a one-pound tin of the commonest French salt butter, 15_s._

A genial banquet was offered me on my arrival. The school-mistress was
set to prepare an excellent and plentiful meal. The mayor and all the
notabilities of the place in their Sunday clothing came to fetch me at
the house of the firm of Orlando Bros., where I had been most hospitably
sheltered, and where I had been requested to wait for them. At the
appointed time they arrived--in frock-coats, and each carrying an
umbrella.

"Is it raining?" I inquired in my astonishment at seeing the array of
articles which I had not seen for several months--especially as a few
minutes before I had been outside and it was a lovely starlit night.

"Oh no, indeed, it is not raining; we carry the umbrellas in due honour
to you!" they replied in a chorus, accompanied by a grand bow.

This was such an extraordinary compliment that it really took me some
time before I could grasp the meaning of it. It seemed that according to
the social rules of Diamantino, Matto Grosso, no one could be considered
fully dressed unless carrying an umbrella. Rain or shine, the people of
Diamantino carried their umbrellas on grand occasions.

After that one of the gentlemen pulled out of his pocket a long slip of
paper and proceeded to read a speech of welcome. I answered in a few
humble words. Another gentleman--there were eight altogether--produced
another slip which he duly read in a sonorous voice. Again I replied as
best I could. Then, as I was getting really anxious lest some one else
should be speechifying again, the mayor of the place offered me his arm,
and followed in a most respectful manner by the others, we adjourned to
the schoolroom, where the feast was spread upon the table.

More speeches when we entered the room, more speeches before we sat down,
speeches in the middle of dinner, speeches after dinner. Unaware of what
was coming, I had exhausted all the compliments I could think of in my
first speech, and I had to tax my poor brain considerably to reply with
grace--especially as I had to speak in Portuguese--to the many charming
things which my thoughtful hosts said. The banquet went off well. It is
difficult to imagine more considerate, kindly people than those exiles in
that far-away spot.

I took careful and repeated astronomical observations for latitude and
longitude in order to establish the exact position of that settlement.
Lat. 14° 21'·7 S.; Long. 56° 56' W. I purchased all the food I could
possibly collect--enough to last us some six months, which cost me a
small fortune--as I intended to push out of the place and proceed
northward at once.

Four of my men became badly intoxicated upon our arrival. There was
another mutiny. They again claimed their pay up to date and wished to
leave me. At once they received their money. It was such a relief to me
when they went off, even for a few hours, that I was always glad to give
them the money and have a short mental rest while they kept away.
Unfortunately it was impossible to obtain a single extra man in
Diamantino. Labour was scarce, and the few labourers in existence were in
absolute slavery. Indeed, slavery existed--it exists to-day--in all
Central Brazil, just as it did before slavery was abolished. Only in the
old days of legal slavery it was limited to negroes; now the slaves are
negroes, mulattoes, white people, even some Europeans. I have seen with
my own eyes a German gentleman of refinement in that humble condition.

In the present condition of things the slave, in the first instance,
sells himself or is sold by his family. There were indeed few, if any, of
the labouring classes in Matto Grosso and Goyaz provinces who were free
men or women. All were owned by somebody, and if you wished to employ
them--especially to take them away from a village or a city--you had to
purchase them from their owners. That meant that if you intended to
employ a man--even for a few days--you had to disburse a purchase sum
equivalent to two or three hundred pounds sterling, sometimes more. In
the following way it was made impossible for the slaves to become free
again. Taking advantage of the poverty and vanity of those people, loans
of money were offered them in the first instance, and also luxuries in
the way of tinned food, clothing, revolvers and rifles. When once they
had accepted, and could not repay the sum or value of the articles
received, they became the property of the lender, who took good care to
increase the debt constantly by supplying cheap articles to them at
fifty times their actual cost. The _seringueiro_, or rubber collector,
had a _caderneta_, or booklet and the master a _livro maestro_, or
account book, in which often double the quantity of articles actually
received by the rubber collector were entered. The debt thus increased by
leaps and bounds, and in a short time a labourer owed his master, two,
three hundred pounds. The rubber collectors tried hard to repay the debt
in rubber, which they sold to their masters at a low rate; but it was
always easy for the masters to keep the men in debt.

It must be said for the masters that their slaves were not in any way
ill-treated; on the contrary--except that a man was seldom given the
slightest chance of redeeming himself--they were indeed treated as well
as circumstances permitted. Labour, it must be remembered, was so scarce
and valuable--it was almost an impossibility to obtain labour in Central
Brazil--that it was the care of the master not to lose a labourer.

Much is to be said for the honour of even the worst types of Brazilians.
Although many of them would not think twice of murdering or robbing a
stranger of all he possessed, they were seldom known to defraud their
owners by escaping. A man who ran away from his owner was looked down
upon by the entire community. Again, it must be stated that the chances
of escape, in those distant regions, were indeed very remote. An escaped
slave with no money could not go very far and he would soon die of
starvation.

I must confess that, although I tried hard to discover a way by which
labour could be obtained and retained in Brazil with the existing laws, I
could not find one practicable except that used by the Brazilians, viz.
slavery.

The people of Diamantino tried hard to induce one or two men to accompany
me--and I was willing to buy them out and eventually would have set them
free altogether at the end of the expedition--but they were all so
terrified of the Indians if they left the "city" that they preferred to
remain slaves.

Alcides had gone round to look for a barber. There was only one in
Diamantino, and he was in prison for the murder of his wife, or for some
other such trifling matter. Armed with a pair of my scissors, Alcides
went to the prison to have his hair cut. Once there he took the
opportunity to explain to the prisoner that it could be arranged to
procure his escape if he were willing to join the expedition. The
barber--who had not inquired which way we should be travelling--jumped at
the idea. This necessitated having my hair cut too--rather a trial with
scissors that did not cut--in order to arrange matters further in detail.
With a special permission from the local authorities the barber was let
out accompanied by two policemen--the only two in the place--in order
that he might reduce my hair by half its length or more.

While I underwent actual torture in having my hair clipped--as the
prisoner's hands were trembling with excitement, and my ears had various
narrow escapes--Alcides, who, when he wished, had very persuasive
manners, induced not only the prisoner, but the two policemen--all
three--to escape and join the expedition. I must say that I did not at
all look forward to the prospect of my three new companions; but we were
in terrible want of hands. I had visions that my expedition would be
entirely wrecked. There was a limit to human endurance and we could not
perform miracles. We still had thousands of kilometres to travel over
most difficult and dangerous country. Besides, I reflected, after all, I
might only be performing an act of kindness by relieving the town of the
expense and trouble of keeping its only prisoner, not to speak of the
police force.

All was satisfactorily arranged, when the prisoner inquired where we were
going. You should have seen his face when I told him.

"No, no, no!" he quickly replied. "No, no, no, no!" and he waved my
scissors in the air. "I will not come! I will remain in prison all my
life rather than be eaten up by cannibals! No, no, no, no ... no, no, no,
no...!" he went on muttering at intervals as he gave the last clipping
touches to my hair. He hastened through his job, received his pay in
silence, and asked the policemen to take him back quickly to the prison.
When the chains, which had temporarily been removed, were put again
around his wrists, he departed shaking his head and muttering again--"No,
no, no, no...!"

The wise policemen, too, said that naturally, as their prisoner would not
escape, they were obliged to remain and keep guard over him ... it was
not through lack of courage that they would not come; it was because of
their duty!

Of course, Alcides was sadly disappointed, but I was delighted, when it
all fell through.

I owe the success of my expeditions to the fact that, no matter what
happens, I never will stop anywhere. It is quite fatal, on expeditions
of that kind, to stop for any length of time. If you do, the fatigue, the
worry, and illness make it generally impossible to start again--all
things which you do not feel quite so much as long as you can keep
moving. Many a disaster in exploring expeditions could easily have been
avoided, had the people known this secret of successful travelling. Push
on at all costs--until, of course, you are actually dead.

With my reduced party of two men (Alcides and Filippe) I had to arrange
matters differently, and decided to abandon part of my baggage--all
things, in fact, which were not absolutely necessary, taking only food,
instruments for scientific observations, cameras and photographic plates.

Alcides and Filippe--who by then had become most adventurous--and I were
about to start on July 1st, and were making things ready, when two of my
deserters returned and begged me to take them along again. They had found
living at their own cost rather expensive, and had realized that it would
have been an impossibility for them to get out of that place again with
the funds at their disposal. Each meal had cost them a small fortune.
Animals were extremely expensive, and it was then the wrong season for
launches to come up the river as far as Rosario, the nearest port to the
south.

"We will come with you," said they, in a sudden outburst of devotion. "We
will come. We are brave men. You have always been good and generous to
us. We are sorry for what we have done. Order us and we will kill anybody
you like for you!"

Brazilians of that class have only one idea in their heads--killing,
killing, killing!

That was more devotion than I demanded. In order to spare Alcides and
Filippe, and myself--as the work thrown upon us would have indeed been
beyond our possible strength--I re-employed the two men on the express
condition that they should murder no one while they were with me.

At noon of July 1st, accompanied by a mounted escort of honour of the
leading citizens with the Mayor at their head, I left Diamantino (elev.
1,030 ft.), travelling north-east. We ascended to the summit of a
table-land--the first terrace of which was at an elevation of 1,250 ft.,
the higher at 1,600 ft. The last words I had heard from a venerable old
man as I rode out of Diamantino still rang in my ears.

"You are going to sure death--good-bye!..." On reaching the top of the
plateau the courteous friends who had accompanied me also bade me an
affectionate farewell. I could see by their faces and their manner that
they were saying good-bye to one they believed a doomed man.

"If by chance you come out alive," said the Mayor, in a tentative way,
"we should like to have news of you."

On dismal occasions of that kind the sky is always gloomy and black and
there is always drizzling rain. So that day, too, the weather did not
fail to add to our depressed spirits.

On leaving our friends we started to plunge once more into the unknown.
On reaching the top edge of the plateau we witnessed a wonderful sight,
rendered more poetic by the slight vagueness of a veil of mist. To the
south of Diamantino was the Serra Tombador, extending as far as S. Luiz
de Caceres, about 250 kil. as the crow flies to the south-west. Then
below us was the Lagõa dos Veados with no outlet, and close by the
head-waters of the Rio Preto (a tributary of the Arinos). The Serra do
Tombador was parallel nearly all along with the River Paraguay.

Owing to departing so late in the day from Diamantino, and the time we
had wasted on the way with social compliments, we were only able to go 12
kil. that afternoon. We halted near the shed of a _seringueiro_ (rubber
collector), at an elevation of 1,530 ft., close to the Chapesà, a
streamlet flowing into the Agua Fria (cold water), which in its turn
threw itself into the Rio Preto.

It was muggy and warm during the night--min. 65° Fahr.--with swarms of
mosquitoes. We were glad to leave the next morning, following a
north-westerly course across a wonderfully beautiful meadow with circular
groups of trees and a long belt of vegetation along the stream. It was
then that I made my first acquaintance in Brazil with the _seringueira_
(_Syphonia elastica_ or _Hevea brasiliensis_), which was fairly plentiful
in that region. As we shall see, that rubber tree, producing the best
rubber known, became more and more common as we proceeded north.

In the cuts of rivers, soft red volcanic rock was exposed, with a surface
layer of white sand and grey ashes in the flat meadow. The padding of
earth was thin. Except close to rivers and in extinct craters where the
accumulations of earth and cinders were often deeper with a good supply
of moisture from underneath, the trees were feeble and anæmic. There
again I was amazed to find how unstable and weak most trees were. One
could knock them down with a mere hard push--as the roots had no hold in
the ground, where they spread horizontally almost on the surface, owing
to the rock underneath which prevented their penetrating farther than the
thin upper layer of earth, sand, and ashes. If you happened to lean
against a tree 4 or 5 in. in diameter, it was not uncommon to see the
tree tumble down and you too. The wood also of those trees was very
brittle and watery, with no power of resistance worth mentioning.

Many were the streamlets which flowed into the Rio Preto at elevations
from 1,450 to 1,500 ft., viz. the Burity Comprido, the Bujui, the Grinko,
the Pomba, the Corgo do Campo, the Riberão Grande, and the Stiva. Many of
those streamlets had beautiful beds of white marble pebbles, which made
their cool and clear water look and taste perfectly delicious. Others,
with soft black mud bottoms--especially in _cuvettes_--were extremely
troublesome to cross.

On the banks of those streams were marvellous _pacobeira_ palms--a kind
of giant banana palm, attaining a height of 30 to 40 ft., with a stem,
ovoid in section, of great length, and from which shot out paddle-like
leaves of immense size and of a gorgeous green, 6 to 7 ft. long and 3 ft.
wide.

On July 3rd we went through thick, dirty, low scrub and forest, except
along streams, the banks of which were lined with tall anæmic trees 1
inch in diameter with a mere bunch of leaves from branches at the
summit. We again met with several _cuvettes_--very grassy, with the usual
florid growth of trees in the centre. Those depressions were 1,400 ft.
above the sea level. From many of the trees hung huge globes, like
tumours. They were nests of _cupim_, the destructive white ants (_termes
album_), of which there were swarms everywhere in that region. In one
night they ate up the bottoms of most of my wooden boxes and rendered
many of our possessions useless. They ate up our clothes, injured our
saddles by eating the stitching--anything that was not of metal, glass,
or polished leather was destroyed by those little devils.

We were beginning to descend gradually on the northern side of the
table-land. After crossing a pass 1,350 ft. above the sea level we
arrived on a lagoon to our left. Shortly after we reached the left bank
of the Arinos River, separated there from the lagoon by a narrow tongue
of high land--some 30 ft. high--between the two waters.

It was thus that on July 4th we encamped on that great tributary of the
Amazon. We were still thousands of kilometres away from its mouth. My
animals were quite exhausted and were unable to continue. Moreover, the
forest near this great river--already, so near its birthplace, over 100
metres wide--would have made their coming along quite impossible, as the
grazing was getting scarce, and would be scarcer still as we went on
north. Then as the River Arinos took me in the direction in which I
intended to travel, I had made up my mind to abandon the animals at that
spot and attempt to navigate the river--diabolical as its reputation
was.

We had now travelled on horseback some 2,000 kil. from the last railway
station, of which about 600 kil. were over absolutely unknown country.
Rough as the travelling had been, it was mere child's play compared with
the experiences we had to endure from that day on.

[Illustration: Map showing Author's Route.]

[Illustration: Map showing the Arinos and Arinos-Juruena Rivers.]

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: A litre is a cube the sides of which are 3-7/8 in.]

END OF VOL. I

_Printed by Hazell, Watson & Viney Ltd., London and Aylesbury._



[Illustration: The Mouth of the Putamayo River.]



ACROSS UNKNOWN
SOUTH AMERICA

BY

A. HENRY SAVAGE-LANDOR

WITH 2 MAPS, 8 COLOURED PLATES, AND 260 ILLUSTRATIONS
FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE AUTHOR


_IN TWO VOLUMES_


VOL. II


HODDER AND STOUGHTON

LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO

_Printed in 1913_

_Copyright in the United States of America
by A. Henry Savage-Landor_



CONTENTS

VOL. II

CHAPTER I
The River Arinos--A Rickety Canoe--Mapping the River--The
_Siphonia Elastica_--Rubber and its Collection--An Enormously Rich
Country--A German in Slavery  pp. 1-15

CHAPTER II
Hoisting the British Flag--An Escaped Slave--A Dilemma--Benedicto--The
_Lutra Brasiliensis_--The Seringueiros--A Marvellous
River--Rapids  pp. 16-32

CHAPTER III
Dangerous Navigation--Eddies--Whirlpools--An Extraordinary Creature--The
Man X--Pedro de Toledo Island--An Interesting Rodent  pp. 33-50

CHAPTER IV
_Oleo Pardo_ Trees--Beautiful Palms--The River Bottom--Swarms of
Butterflies--Millions of Bees--A Continuous Torture  pp. 51-61

CHAPTER V
Great Islands--The Trinchão Fish--A Fisherman's Paradise--Alastor
Island--Plentiful Rubber--The Civilized Man's Idea of the
Tropical Forest--The War-Cries of the Indians--Swarms of Bees and
Butterflies  pp. 62-75

CHAPTER VI
The _Tapirus Americanus_--Striking Scenery--The _Mate_ Tree--Photography
in Camp--Brazilian Way of Reasoning--A New Christopher Columbus--The
Selection of our Camps--Beautiful Fruit--A Large Tributary  pp. 76-91

CHAPTER VII
Ideal Islands--Immense _Figueira_ Trees--The "Spider Monkey"--Great
Variety of Fish in the Arinos--The Rocky Gateway into Diabolical
Waters--Shooting Dangerous Rapids--Cutting a Way through
the Forest--A Nasty Rapid--Plentiful Fish  pp. 92-111

CHAPTER VIII
Magnificent Basins--Innumerable Rapids--Narrow Escapes--The Destructive
Sauba Ants--Disobedient Followers--A Range of Mountains--Inquisitive
Monkeys--Luck in Fishing--Rocky Barriers--Venus  pp. 112-128

CHAPTER IX
Dogs--Macaws--Crocodiles--A Serious Accident: Men flung into a
Whirlpool--The Loss of Provisions and Valuable Baggage--More
Dangerous Rapids--Wonderful Scenery--Dangerous Work--On the
Edge of a Waterfall--A Risky Experience--Bravery of Author's
Brazilian Followers--A High Wind from the North-East--A Big
Lake  pp. 129-150

CHAPTER X
The Point of Junction of the Arinos and Juruena Rivers--Elfrida Landor
Island--Terrible Days of Navigation--Immense Islands--An Old
Indian Camp--A Fight between a Dog and an _Ariranha_--George
Rex Island--A Huge _Sucuriú_ Snake  pp. 151-164

CHAPTER XI
A Family of _Ariranhas_--Attacked by them--Three Nasty Rapids--Beautiful
Sand Beaches--Exciting Experiences--Going down a Thundering
Cataract--Alcides' Narrow Escape--A Night's Work in the Midst of a
Foaming Rapid in order to rescue the half-submerged Canoe--Filippe's
Courage--Visited by a Snake 20 ft. long pp. 165-181

CHAPTER XII
A Tiny Globular Cloudlet warning us--Tossed in a Merciless Manner--Saved
by Providence--Vicious Waters--A Diabolical Spot--A Highly Dangerous
Crossing--A Terrible Channel--More Bad Rapids--On the Verge of a Fatal
Drop down a Waterfall--Saved in Time--A Magnificent Sight--The August
Falls--A Mutiny--The Canoe, weighing 2,000 lb., taken across the Forest
over a Hill-range pp. 182-206

CHAPTER XIII
A Double Whirlpool--Incessant Rapids of Great Magnitude--A Dangerous
Channel--Nothing to Eat--Another Disaster  pp. 207-219

CHAPTER XIV
In the Hands of Providence--A Mutiny--Another Mutiny--Foodless--Hard
and Dangerous Work--A Near Approach to Hades--Making an
Artificial Channel among Thousands of Boulders--An Awe-inspiring
Scene--The Fall of S. Simão--A Revolt  pp. 220-234

CHAPTER XV
Mutiny and Threats--Wasted Efforts--Awful Waters--The Canoe escapes
in a Violent Rapid--Another Mutiny--The Canoe recovered--An
Appalling Vortex--The Fall of S. Simão--Cutting an Artificial
Channel in the Rocks  pp. 235-248

CHAPTER XVI
At Death's Door--Mundurucu Indians--All Author's Followers poisoned
by Wild Fruit--Anxious Moments--Seringueiros--A Dying Jewish
Trader--The Mori Brothers--A New Hat--Where the Tres Barras
meets the Arinos-Juruena--The Canoe abandoned  pp. 249-265

CHAPTER XVII
A Fiscal Agency--Former Atrocities--The Apiacar Indians--Plentiful
Rubber--Unexploited Regions--Precious Fossils thrown away by
Author's Followers--A Terrific Storm--Author's Canoe dashed to
pieces--The Mount St. Benedicto  pp. 266-277

CHAPTER XVIII
Starting across the Virgin Forest--Cutting the Way incessantly--A
Rugged, Rocky Plateau--Author's Men throw away the Supplies of
Food--Attacked by Fever--Marching by Compass--Poisoned--Author's
Men break down--Author proceeds across Forest endeavouring
to reach the Madeira River--A Dramatic Scene  pp. 278-298

CHAPTER XIX
Benedicto and Filippe show Courage--Confronted with a Mountainous
Country--Steep Ravines--No Food--Painful Marches--Starving--Ammunition
rendered useless by Moisture--The "Pros" and "Cons" of Smoking--A Faint
Hope--A Forged Tin which should have contained Anchovies--Curious Effects
of Starvation upon the Brain--Where Money is of no avail--Why there was
Nothing to eat in the Forest--The Sauba Ants--Sniffed by a
Jaguar--Filippe tries to commit Suicide pp. 299-320

CHAPTER XX
Benedicto and the Honey--Constantly collapsing from Exhaustion--A
Strange Accident--Finding a River--People's Mistaken Ideas--Sixteen
Days of Starvation--An Abandoned Hut--Repairing a Broken-down
Canoe--Canoe founders--A Raft constructed of Glass  pp. 321-338

CHAPTER XXI
The Launching of the Glass Raft--Accidents--The Raft sinking--Saved--Our
First Solid Meal--Its Consequences--The Canuma and Secundury
Rivers--Marching back across the Forest to the Relief of the Men left
behind--A Strange Mishap--A Curious Case of Telepathy pp. 339-364

CHAPTER XXII
Baggage Saved--The Journey down the Tapajoz River--Colonel
Brazil--Wrecked--From Itaituba to the Amazon--Benedicto and the Man X are
discharged pp. 365-385

CHAPTER XXIII
Santarem to Belem (Pará)--The Amazon--From Belem to Manaos--The
Madeira-Mamore Railway  pp. 386-404

CHAPTER XXIV
Attacked by Beri-beri--A Journey up the Madeira River to the Relief of
Filippe the Negro and Recovery of Valuable Baggage left with
him--Filippe paid off--A Journey up the River Solimões--Iquitos  pp. 405-418

CHAPTER XXV
From Iquitos to the Foot of the Andes up the Rivers Ucayalli, Pachitea
and Pichis--The Cashibos or "Vampire Indians"  pp. 419-438

CHAPTER XXVI
Across the Andes--The End of the Trans-continental Journey  pp. 439-457

CHAPTER XXVII
The Peruvian Corporation Railway--The Land of the Incas--Lake
Titicaca--Bolivia--Chile--The Argentine--A Last Narrow Escape--Back
in England  pp. 458-476

APPENDIX
Some of the Principal Plants of Brazil--Mammals--Birds--Fish--
Reptiles--Vocabularies  pp. 477-496

INDEX  pp. 497-504



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

VOL. II


THE MOUTH OF THE PUTAMAYO RIVER (_Coloured Plate_)   _Frontispiece_

                                                               PAGE
RUBBER TREE SHOWING INCISIONS AND THE COLLAR AND TIN
        CUP FOR THE COLLECTION OF THE LATEX                       4
COAGULATING RUBBER INTO A BALL                                    4
BALLS OF RUBBER OUTSIDE A SERINGUEIRO'S HUT                       8
METHOD OF PRESSING RUBBER INTO CAKES, THE ALUM PROCESS
        OF COAGULATION BEING USED                                 8
THE UPPER ARINOS RIVER                                           12
THE ARINOS RIVER ABOVE THE RAPIDS                                12
THE FIRST ROCKS IN THE ARINOS RIVER                              20
ENORMOUS GLOBULAR ROCKS TYPICAL OF THE ARINOS RIVER              20
A ROCKY BARRIER IN THE RIVER                                     24
A PICTURESQUE DOUBLE WATERFALL ON THE ARINOS RIVER               24
AN ISLAND OF THE ARINOS RIVER                                    28
VEGETATION ON AN ISLAND IN THE RIVER ARINOS                      28
PREPARING THE CANOE TO DESCEND A RAPID                           36
A CATARACT ON THE ARINOS RIVER                                   36
A RAPID ON THE ARINOS RIVER                                      44
TAKING THE CANOE THROUGH A NARROW CHANNEL                        44
A FORMIDABLE VORTEX                                              64
GOING DOWN A VIOLENT RAPID IN A NARROW CHANNEL                   64
THE RESULT OF HALF AN HOUR'S FISHING ON THE ARINOS-JURUENA       84
LEADING THE CANOE DOWN A RAPID BY ROPE                           92
CHARACTERISTIC ROCKY BARRIER ACROSS THE ARINOS RIVER
        (AUTHOR'S SEXTANT IN FOREGROUND)                         92
WHIRLPOOL AT END OF RAPID                                       100
IN SHALLOW WATER                                                100
FISHING ON THE ARINOS: A JAHU                                   104
FISH OF THE ARINOS RIVER                                        104
A FINE CATARACT ON THE ARINOS-JURUENA RIVER                     108
PREPARING THE CANOE PRIOR TO DESCENDING A RAPID                 112
A NASTY RAPID                                                   112
A GIANT CENTRAL WAVE EMERGING FROM A NARROW CHANNEL             116
A DANGEROUS RAPID                                               120
TAKING THE CANOE AND PART OF THE BAGGAGE DOWN A
        NARROW PASSAGE AMONG ROCKS                              120
THE CANOE BEING LED DOWN A RAPID                                124
CROCODILE ABOUT TO ATTACK ONE OF THE DOGS OF THE EXPEDITION.
        PHOTOGRAPHED BY AUTHOR AT A DISTANCE OF THREE METRES
        (RIO ARINOS-JURUENA)                                    128
TERRIFYING RAPID SHOT BY AUTHOR AND HIS MEN IN THEIR CANOE      132
AUTHOR'S MEN SHOOTING A CROCODILE                               136
A CATARACT IN THE RIVER ARINOS                                  140
AUTHOR'S CANOE AMONG GREAT VOLCANIC ROCKS                       140
PREPARING TO DESCEND A RAPID                                    144
A CATARACT IN THE ARINOS RIVER                                  144
LAKE FORMED WHERE THE ARINOS AND JURUENA RIVERS MEET            148
GOING THROUGH A RAPID                                           148
AUTHOR'S CANOE GOING DOWN A CATARACT                            152
THE IMMENSE WAVES ENCOUNTERED BY AUTHOR IN EMERGING FROM THE CHANNEL,
        IN THE RAPID OF THE INFERNO. (THE CANOE WITH ITS OCCUPANTS SHOT
        UP VERTICALLY IN THE AIR)                               156
A GIANT SUCURÍ SNAKE WITH ENTIRE DEER CONTAINED IN
        ITS DIGESTIVE ORGANS                                    160
AN EASY RAPID                                                   164
GOING THROUGH A NARROW CHANNEL                                  164
A DANGEROUS VORTEX                                              168
PREPARING THE CANOE TO GO DOWN A RAPID                          168
A NARROW PASSAGE IN THE ARINOS RIVER                            172
TREBLE VORTEX. (THE WATER REVOLVED IN THREE
        DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS IN SUCCESSION)                     172
AT THE AUGUST FALLS                                             176
AUTHOR AND HIS MEN IN WATER UP TO THEIR NECKS FOR AN ENTIRE NIGHT
        ENDEAVOURING TO SAVE THEIR CANOE, WHICH IN SHOOTING A RAPID HAD
        BECOME STUCK BETWEEN ROCKS _(Coloured Plate_)           178
THE SALTO AUGUSTO FROM ABOVE                                    192
THE UPPER TERRACE OF THE AUGUST WATERFALL                       184
INTERESTING GEOLOGICAL FORMATION BELOW THE SALTO AUGUSTO        188
THE SALTO AUGUSTO (UPPER TERRACE)                               192
FOLIATED ROCK BELOW THE AUGUST FALLS                            196
THE WOODEN RAILWAY CONSTRUCTED BY AUTHOR IN ORDER TO TAKE THE CANOE
    OVERLAND FOR TWO AND A HALF KILOMETRES AT THE AUGUST FALLS  200
FORMATION OF ROCK BELOW THE AUGUST FALLS                        200
PHOTOGRAPH SHOWING THE ROAD CUT BY AUTHOR ACROSS THE FOREST IN
        ORDER TO TAKE THE HEAVY CANOE OVERLAND                  204
CONVEYING THE CANOE ACROSS THE FOREST ON IMPROVISED
        RAILWAY AND ROLLERS                                     208
PUSHING THE CANOE UPHILL THROUGH THE FOREST. (NOTICE MEN WITH HEADS
        WRAPPED OWING TO TORTURING INSECTS)                     212
CONVEYING THE CANOE, WEIGHING 2,000 LB., OVER A HILL
        RANGE--THE DESCENT                                      216
AUTHOR'S CANOE BEING MADE TO TRAVEL ACROSS THE FOREST           220
DISTANT VIEW SHOWING BOTH FALLS AT THE SALTO AUGUSTO            224
LAUNCHING THE CANOE AFTER ITS JOURNEY OVER A HILL RANGE         224
A MOST DANGEROUS RAPID NAVIGATED BY AUTHOR AND HIS MEN          228
LETTING THE CANOE JUMP A RAPID                                  232
ARTIFICIAL CANAL MADE BY AUTHOR AND HIS MEN IN ORDER TO TAKE THEIR
        CANOE ALONG WHERE THE RIVER WAS IMPASSABLE              236
RAPID THROUGH WHICH AUTHOR TOOK HIS CANOE                       240
CONVEYING THE CANOE BY HAND DOWN A RAPID                        244
CANOE BEING TAKEN ALONG AN ARTIFICIAL CANAL MADE BY
        AUTHOR AND HIS MEN                                      248
A MOMENT OF SUSPENSE: AUTHOR AND HIS MEN IN THEIR CANOE GOING
        THROUGH A NARROW CHANNEL BETWEEN VERTICAL WALLS OF ROCK. THE
        WATER FORCED THROUGH FROM THREE LARGE ARMS OF THE RIVER
        JOINING AT THAT POINT FORMED A HIGH AND DANGEROUS CENTRAL
        WAVE (_Coloured Plate_)                                 250
CONVEYING THE CANOE THROUGH THE FOREST. (NOTICE THE SIDE OF THE
        CANOE SPLIT AND STUFFED WITH PIECES OF CLOTH)           252
LEADING THE EMPTY CANOE DOWN A DANGEROUS CHANNEL. (PHOTOGRAPHED A
        FEW SECONDS BEFORE THE ROPE SNAPPED AND CANOE ESCAPED)  256
THE S. SIMÃO WATERFALL                                          260
THE HUGE CANOE BEING TAKEN THROUGH A SMALL ARTIFICIAL CANAL MADE
        IN THE ROCKS BY THE AUTHOR AND HIS MEN                  264
MUNDURUCU INDIANS                                               268
AUTHOR TAKING ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATIONS ON A SANDY BEACH OF THE
        RIVER ARINOS-JURUENA                                    272
WHERE THE RIVERS ARINOS-JURUENA AND S. MANOEL MEET              276
JOSÉ MARACATI, CHIEF OF THE MUNDURUCUS, TAPAJOZ                 276
APIACAR BOY                                                     280
APIACAR INDIAN                                                  280
APIACAR WOMEN                                                   284
MUNDURUCU WOMEN                                                 288
APIACAR CHILDREN                                                288
RAFT CONSTRUCTED BY THE AUTHOR IN ORDER TO NAVIGATE THE CANUMA RIVER
       WITH HIS TWO COMPANIONS OF STARVATION (_Coloured Plate_) 336
CANOE MADE OF THE BARK OF THE BURITY PALM                       340
INDIANS OF THE MADEIRA RIVER                                    340
CARIPUNA INDIANS                                                348
INDIAN IDOLS OF THE PUTUMAYO DISTRICT                           348
TRADING BOATS LANDING BALLS OF RUBBER, RIVER TAPAJOZ            352
ITAITUBA                                                        356
A TRADING BOAT ON THE TAPAJOZ RIVER                             360
THE S.S. "COMMANDANTE MACEDO"                                   360
COLONEL R. P. BRAZIL AND HIS CHARMING WIFE                      364
WHERE THE MADEIRA-MAMORE RAILWAY BEGINS                         368
MADEIRA-MAMORE RAILWAY, SHOWING CUT THROUGH TROPICAL FOREST     368
BOLIVIAN RUBBER AT ABUNA STATION ON THE MADEIRA-MAMORE RAILWAY  372
THE INAUGURATION TRAIN ON THE MADEIRA-MAMORE RAILWAY            372
WRECK OF THE "MAMORIA" IN THE CALDERÃO OF THE SOLIMÕES RIVER    376
INDIANS OF THE PUTUMAYO DISTRICT. (DR. REY DE CASTRO, PERUVIAN
        CONSUL AT MANAOS IN THE CENTRE OF PHOTOGRAPH)           376
A STREET IN IQUITOS                                             380
THE LAUNCH "RIMAC" ON THE UCAYALLI RIVER                        380
A TRAIL IN THE ANDES                                            384
CAMPAS INDIAN CHILDREN                                          388
CAMPAS OLD WOMAN AND HER SON                                    392
CAMPAS INDIAN WOMAN                                             396
CAMPAS WOMAN                                                    400
CAMPAS MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD                                     400
THE UCAYALLI RIVER                                              402
THE LAUNCH ON WHICH AUTHOR TRAVELLED ALMOST TO THE
        FOOT OF THE ANDES                                       402
CAMPAS FAMILY WADING ACROSS A STREAM                            404
A FARMHOUSE ON THE ANDES                                        404
ON THE ANDES: AN ELEVATED TRAIL OVERLOOKING A FOAMING
        TORRENT. (SEE ARCH CUT IN ROCK)                         406
LA MERCEDES                                                     410
THE AVENUE OF EUCALYPTI NEAR THE TOWN OF TARMA (ANDES)          410
ON THE ANDES                                                    412
A STREET OF TARMA                                               412
THE MARKET-PLACE, TARMA                                         414
THE HIGHEST POINT WHERE AUTHOR CROSSED THE ANDES
        BEFORE REACHING THE RAILWAY AT OROYA                    416
OROYA                                                           420
OROYA, THE HIGHEST RAILWAY STATION IN THE WORLD                 420
IN THE ANDES AT 16,000 FEET ABOVE THE SEA LEVEL                 422
THE HIGHEST POINT OF THE OROYA RAILWAY: THE GALERA TUNNEL       422
THE OROYA RAILWAY (A GREAT SPRING EMERGING FROM THE
        MOUNTAIN-SIDE)                                          424
BEAUTIFUL SCENERY ON THE PERUVIAN CORPORATION RAILWAY
        TO CUZCO, PERU                                          424
A. B. LEGUIA, THE PRESIDENT OF THE PERUVIAN REPUBLIC            426
THE AMERICAN OBSERVATORY, AREQUIPA, AND MOUNT MISTI, PERU       428
ON THE PERUVIAN CORPORATION RAILWAY ON THE WAY TO CUZCO         428
A BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE OF ANCIENT SPANISH WOOD-CARVING, PERU       432
WONDERFUL EXAMPLE OF OLD SPANISH WOOD-CARVING, PERU             434
ON THE WAY TO CUZCO: RAILWAY BRIDGE PARTLY CARRIED
        AWAY BY SWOLLEN RIVER                                   436
GREAT SAND DUNES ALONG THE PERUVIAN CORPORATION
        RAILWAY TO CUZCO                                        438
INCA BATH OR FOUNTAIN                                           438
CUZCO: LLAMAS IN FOREGROUND                                     440
A FAMOUS INCA WALL, CUZCO. (THE VARIOUS ROCKS FIT SO
       PERFECTLY THAT NO MORTAR WAS USED TO KEEP THEM IN PLACE) 442
INCA THREE-WALLED FORTRESS OF SACSAYHUAMAN, CUZCO               444
THE INCA TEMPLE OF THE SUN, WITH SPANISH SUPERSTRUCTURE         446
INCA DOORWAY, CUZCO                                             446
INCA STEPS CARVED IN A DOME OF ROCK, CUZCO. (FORTRESS
        NOTICEABLE IN THE DISTANCE)                             448
THE "ROUND TABLE" OF THE INCAS                                  452
ENTRANCE TO INCA SUBTERRANEAN PASSAGES                          452
INCA PLACE OF AMUSEMENT: A TOBOGGAN SLIDE OF ROCK               454
AN INCA GRAVE, BOLIVIA                                          454
INCA REMAINS NEAR CUZCO                                         456
WHERE A STONE FIGHT TOOK PLACE IN THE INCA COUNTRY.
        (NOTICE THE INNUMERABLE ROCKS WHICH HAVE BEEN
        THROWN DOWN THE HILL FROM THE HIGH INCA STRUCTURE)      458
ENTRANCE TO INCA SUBTERRANEAN PASSAGES                          458
THE GREAT INCA RUINS OF VIRACCOCHA, IN TINTA (CUZCO)            460
INCA POTTERY, WEAPONS AND ORNAMENTS OF GOLD AND COPPER          464
INCA TOWERS OF SILLISTAYNI, PUÑO (LAKE TITICACA)                468
AN INCA STATUE, BOLIVIA                                         468
LAKE TITICACA                                                   470
GUAQUI, THE PORT FOR LA PAZ ON LAKE TITICACA                    470
ON THE ANDES                                                    474
LLAMAS IN BOLIVIA                                               476
BORAX DEPOSITS, BOLIVIA                                         476



CHAPTER I

     The River Arinos--A Rickety Canoe--Mapping the River--The
     _Siphonia Elastica_--Rubber and its Collection--An Enormously
     Rich Country--A German in Slavery


WE struck the River Arinos at a point called Porto Velho. There
were at that place the miserable sheds of three _seringueiros_
(rubber-collectors). I had made for that particular spot because I had
heard that a big canoe carved out of the trunk of a tree probably existed
there. I was told that the canoe was large enough to carry many people.
It had been constructed, it seemed, some ten years previously by a
rubber-collecting expedition which came to grief, was abandoned, and had
since been taken possession of by seringueiros. I had purchased it on
chance from its last owner for Rs. 300,000. With accessories I gave about
Rs. 450,000, or roughly, £30. It was the only canoe upon that river.

I considered myself lucky, when I arrived at Porto Velho, to find that
the canoe actually existed at all. There she was, floating more or less
gracefully upon the water. She had a total length of 42 ft., was 3½ ft.
wide, and had been roughly scooped out of a giant tree which was not
quite straight. Her lines, therefore, were not as elegant as might have
been expected. For instance, her starboard and port sides were not
absolutely straight lines, but described curves--in fact, the port side
almost an angle. That gave the canoe an original appearance, which to my
practical mind at once suggested great difficulty of steering. Her sides,
coarsely cut with an axe, were from 3 to 5 in. thick; her bottom from 6
in. to 1 ft. thick. The two extremities were solid blocks, so that her
weight--she was carved out of unusually heavy wood--was altogether over
2,000 lb.

When I went down to the water to examine my purchase I found that the
vessel was in a pitiful condition and needed sound repairing before she
could proceed on a long journey. She was sufficiently good for crossing
the stream--that was all she was used for by the seringueiros--but it
would be a different matter to go down rapids for some thousands of
kilometres. It took all the strength of my men, the seringueiros, and
myself combined to pull the canoe out of the water upon the beach and to
turn her over. We worked hard for two days with saws and hammers, knives,
tar and wadding, in order to stop up a gigantic crack which extended from
one end of the canoe to the other under her bottom. Although the crack
did not go right through, I could well imagine that a hard knock against
a rock might be quite sufficient to split the canoe in two. We scraped
her and cleaned her; we overhauled and strengthened her thoroughly; we
cut rough seats inside, and built an elevated deck upon which the baggage
might be comparatively safe from moisture.

We were proud of our work when we launched her. Wiping the dripping
perspiration from our foreheads, necks and arms, we looked just as if we
had come out of a bath, we sweated so in our efforts to push her back
into the water, the heat near the water, screened as it was from the
breeze by the high banks and trees, being suffocating! We gazed at
her--the queen of the Arinos River. She looked lovely in our eyes. On her
stern I fixed the steering gear, a huge paddle 12 ft. long; and upon a
neatly-made staff, which I had cut myself, I hoisted the British flag,
which had hitherto flown over my tent. It was, I think, the first time
the British flag had waved over that river. The canoe was baptized the
"Elfrida," after my sister's name.

It will be remembered that only four men remained with me. Not one of
them had ever been in a canoe before--except to be ferried across a
river, perhaps--not one had the slightest idea of navigation, and it
followed, of course, that not one had ever used a paddle or steered a
canoe.

As the river had never been surveyed, it was my intention to make an
accurate map of its entire course as far as its junction with the Tres
Barras, several thousand kils. away, from which point I imagined the
river must be slightly better known. Therefore, as I should be busy all
day long with the prismatic compass and watch, constantly taking notes of
the direction of the stream and the distances covered (checked almost
daily by astronomical observations) I should not be able to take an
active part in the navigation.

The canoe was undermanned. Imagine her length--42 ft.--with only two men
to paddle. A third man was stationed on her bow to punt when possible and
be on the look-out for rocks; while Alcides, whom I had promoted to the
rank of quartermaster, was in charge of the steering. I had taken the
precaution to make a number of extra paddles. We carried a large quantity
of fishing-lines with hooks of all sizes, and cartridges of dynamite.

The river was most placid and beautiful, and the water wonderfully clear.
Unlike rivers elsewhere, the Arinos did not show a branch or a twig
floating on its waters, not a leaf on its mirror-like surface. That did
not mean that branches of trees--sometimes even whole trees--did not fall
into the river, but, as I have stated already, the specific gravity of
woods in that part of Brazil was so heavy that none floated. Hence the
ever-clean surface of all the streams.

We were then in a region of truly beautiful forest, with _figueira_
(_Ficus_ of various kinds), trees of immense size, and numerous large
_cambará_. The bark of the latter--reddish in colour--when stewed in
boiling water, gave a refreshing decoction not unlike tea and quite good
to drink.

Most interesting of all the trees was, however, the seringueira
(_Siphonia elastica_), which was extraordinarily plentiful in belts or
zones along the courses of rivers in that region. As is well known, the
seringueira, which grows wild in the forest there, is one of the most
valuable lactiferous plants in the world. Its latex, properly coagulated,
forms the best quality of rubber known.

[Illustration: Rubber Tree showing Incisions and the Collar and Tin
Cup for the Collection of the Latex.]

[Illustration: Coagulating Rubber into a Ball.]

There are, of course, many latex-giving plants of the _Euphorbiæ_,
_Artocarpæ_ and _Lobeliæ_ families, but no other are perhaps such
abundant givers of latex as the Brazilian seringueira (of the
_Euphorbiæ_ family), a tree plentiful not only in Matto Grosso on all the
head-waters and courses of the rivers flowing into the Amazon, but also
abundant in the Provinces of Para and the Amazon. In less quantities the
seringueira is also to be found in Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte and
Maranhão.

The seringueira prevailed chiefly near the water, in swampy places, or in
places inundated when the river was high. Never was the tree to be found
at a distance away from water.

The height of the seringueira varies from 25 ft. to 50 ft. Its diameter
is seldom more than 35 in. Its leaf is composed of three elongated
leaflets, smooth-edged and complete in themselves. The seed is
smooth-skinned, and of a reddish tone. The fruit consists of a
well-rounded wooden capsule enclosing three cells which contain white
oily almonds not disagreeable to eat. From the almonds an oil of a light
red colour, not unlike the colour of old port wine, can be extracted.
That oil can be substituted for linseed oil, and has the further
advantage of not desiccating so quickly. Mixed with copal and turpentine
it gives a handsome varnish. It can be used advantageously in the
manufacture of printing-ink and soap. So that every part of the
seringueira can be put to some use or other.

Among the other more important trees which produce rubber may be
mentioned the _Siphonia brevifoglia_, the _Siphonia brasiliensis_,
_Siphonia rhytidocarpa_, and the _Siphonia lutea_, all found chiefly in
the State of Para. In other parts of Brazil grow the _Ficus
anthelmintica_, the _Ficus doliaria_ (or _gameilleira_), the _Ficus
elastica_, _Ficus indica_, _Ficus religiosa_, _Ficus radula_, _Ficus
elliptica_, _Ficus prinoides_, the _Plumeria phagedenica_, the _Plumeria
drastica_, the _Sorveira_ or _Collophora utilis_, and the _Mangabeira_ or
_Harncornia speciosa_.

At present we shall be chiefly interested in the seringueira (_Siphonia
elastica_).

The collection of the latex from the seringueira and the subsequent
process of coagulation were simple enough. A seringueiro, or
rubber-collector, started from his hut early every morning carrying with
him a small steel axe or pick, the head of which was 3 in. long and
shaped like a bird's beak; a tin bucket, and some _barro_--soft clay
which had been soaked in water. He walked along the _estrada_ or track
which he had cleared for himself, leading from one rubber tree to the
next. There may be twenty, thirty, fifty or more rubber trees that have
been tapped on one estrada, according to the district and the activity of
the seringueiro. In the case of a new tree a collar of the fibre of
burity palm was in the first instance nailed with pegs of hard wood round
the stem, not horizontally, but at an angle: sometimes, when necessary,
in a spiral. In other cases a similar band of clay was made to encircle
the tree. These collars served as channels, compelling the latex, as it
exuded from cuts made in the tree, to flow into a small tin cup suspended
at the lowest point of the collar. The incisions were never made lower
than 2 or 3 ft. from the ground. They must not penetrate deeper than the
entire thickness of the bark of the tree, and they must on no account
touch or wound the actual wood, or the tree would suffer greatly--even
die. In some regions the incisions were made longitudinally, in others
transversely. The operation was repeated by the seringueiro each time on
every rubber tree as he went along the estrada, the latex flowing freely
enough into the tin cup after each fresh incision had been made.

The seringueiro thus tapped each tree on his way out along the estrada,
which in some cases may be several miles long; in other cases, where
rubber trees were plentiful, only a few hundred yards in length. On his
return journey the seringueiro emptied each small tin cup--by that time
filled with latex--into the large bucket which invariably accompanied him
on his daily round. Rubber-trees possess in a way at least one
characteristic of cows. The more milk or latex one judiciously extracts
from them, the more they give, up to a certain point. But, indeed, such a
thing is known as exhausting a tree in a short time. A good seringueiro
usually gives the trees a rest from the time they are in bloom until the
fruit is mature. In some regions even a much longer respite is given to
the trees--generally during the entire rainy season. In some localities,
too, in order to let the latex flow more freely, a vertical incision is
made above and meeting a horizontal one. At intervals oblique incisions
are cut next to the vertical ones, but in Matto Grosso I never saw that
complicated system of incisions adopted--only vertical incisions parallel
to one another at a distance of 0·25 m. (9-7/8 in.) being made
there, and in rows one above another. Some of the trees had actually
hundreds of those cuts--many, of course, healed. Each cut only exudes
latex for a comparatively short time, merely an hour or so.

During the first month after a tree is tapped, the supply of latex is
generally plentiful; the second month it gives less; less still the third
month. On an average twenty trees give about one litre of latex a day.
Three litres of latex are necessary in order to obtain one litre of
rubber. At the head-waters of the Arinos River 600 trees gave from 30 to
35 arobas (450 to 525 kils.) of fine rubber in the first month, and about
20 arobas (300 kils.) of _sarnambé_ (second quality with impurities). One
aroba is 15 kils.

The latex of the seringueira in the Arinos region was of a beautiful
white, quite liquid, and with a pungent, almost sickening, odour. When a
new tree was tapped, the lower towards the ground the incisions were made
the better. If after considerable tapping the tree did not yield much, it
was advisable to incise the tree higher up. In that region the trees
exuded latex more abundantly when they began to have new leaves in
October. Late in the dry season the latex flowed less freely. When the
weather was windy all the latex seemed to contract to the summit of the
trees and hardly flowed at all from the incisions. When it rained, on the
contrary, it flowed freely, but was spoilt by being mixed with water; so
that a good seringueiro must know well not only where and how, but also
when to tap the trees, in order to get good results.

[Illustration: Balls of Rubber outside a Seringueiro's Hut.]

[Illustration: Method of Pressing Rubber into Cakes.

The alum process of coagulation being used.]

Several ways were employed in order to coagulate the latex. The simplest
was the one used in Matto Grosso. The latex was poured into a rectangular
wooden mould, 0·61 m. long (2 ft.), 0·46 m. wide (1½ ft.), and 0·15 m.
deep (about 6 in.). Upon the latex was placed a solution of alum and
warm water. Then coagulation took place. In order to compress the
coagulating latex into solid cakes, a primitive lever arrangement was
used--merely a heavy wooden bar, one end of which was inserted into the
cavity of a tree, above the wooden mould, while at the other end of the
bar heavy logs of wood were suspended. One night was sufficient for the
latex to coagulate thoroughly and be properly compressed into cakes,
weighing each about 22½ kils. The cakes were lifted out by belts of liane
which had been previously laid into the moulds.

The discoverer of the method of coagulating rubber with alum was Henry S.
Strauss. He also found that by keeping the latex in hermetically sealed
vessels it could be preserved in a liquid state. The same result could be
obtained with ammonia.

In the Amazon and Para Provinces a different process was used. The latex
was coagulated by placing it near the fire. The heat evaporated the
aqueous part and coagulated the vegetable albumen. In order to make what
was called a _garrafa_, or large ball of rubber--some weighed 20, 30, 40
kils. and more--a small ball of latex was made to coagulate round a
horizontal bar of wood. That ball was gradually increased in
circumference by smearing it over with more latex, which became gradually
coagulated and dried by the heat and smoke produced by the burning of
certain woods, and of the oily seeds of the _urucuri_ palm, technically
known as the _Attalea excelsa_. In this process the rubber did not remain
white, as with the alum process; in fact, it became dark brown, almost
black, owing, of course, to the smoke. Locally, the smoking process was
said to be the better of the two, for the coagulation with alum took away
somewhat from the elasticity of the rubber.

Interesting was the _sorveira_ (_Collophora utilis_), a tree which gave
latex that was quite delicious to drink, but could not be coagulated. The
trees, to any untrained person, closely resembled the seringueira, only
the leaves were more minute and differently shaped. It must be remembered
that nearly all the trees of the Brazilian forest had leaves only at a
very great height above the ground, and it was not always easy to see
their shape, especially when close to other trees where the foliage got
interwoven into an almost solid mass. We frequently enjoyed the sweet
milk of the _sorveira_--it tasted slightly of fresh walnuts with sugar on
them. It was unsafe to drink too much of it, as it had injurious effects
upon one's digestive organs.

There was there also the _leiteiro_ (or producer of milk), a smaller
tree, and the liana _macaco_, which both produced abundant milk, but in
neither case had a way, so far, been found to coagulate it.

The two days spent at Porto Velho were interesting. The four men who had
remained with me behaved fairly well, principally owing to the prospect,
that, in drifting down stream, they would not have to work, and would be
saved the heavy trouble of grooming, packing and unpacking the animals,
and the tedious job every morning of riding miles through the country in
order to recover those that had strayed away during the night.

"Thank heaven!" exclaimed Antonio, as he gazed at the canoe, "we shall
not have to hunt for her every morning!"

"Yes," answered Filippe, "no more pack-saddles to fix, no more leading
the animals to drink. She"--pointing to the canoe--"can drink all the
time if she likes...."

Filippe was a prophet. The canoe did "drink" all the time, much to our
concern. Little did my men suspect before we started that they would have
the hardest time of their lives--so hard, indeed, that it was amazing
humans could endure it at all.

One of the three seringueiros at Porto Velho interested me greatly. He
was a tall, gentlemanly, refined person, who seldom uttered a word. I
noticed that he avoided meeting me, and, although extremely civil, seemed
afraid to enter into conversation. The little shed he had built himself
(7 ft. by 4 ft., and 7 ft. high) was extraordinarily neat, and open on
all sides--quite unlike the sheds Brazilian rubber collectors build
themselves.

From my tent I watched him. The man got up before sunrise every day,
going at once to the river for a swim. Humming some sort of a song, he
would then go through a series of gymnastic exercises, interrupted by
sonorous slaps upon different parts of his anatomy to kill impertinent
mosquitoes, of which there were swarms on the Arinos River. That done, he
would assume a suit of working-clothes, and, returning to his shed, would
pick up his tools and noiselessly depart, so as not to disturb our sleep!
At sunset, when he returned, he immediately proceeded to the river to
have another swim and to get rid of the many insects which always
collected upon one's person in going through the forest. Then he put on a
clean suit of clothes, and, saluting us from a distance, went to his shed
to rest.

I was certain the man was not a Brazilian, but as curiosity is not one of
my chief characteristics I took no special notice of him. This brought
him round to my tent one evening. The man was a German by birth, of a
good family and excellent education. He could speak German, English,
French, Spanish and Portuguese to perfection, and was well versed in the
literature of those languages. He had evidently drifted about for many
years in many parts of South America in search of a fortune, in the
Argentine, in Uruguay, and had ended by becoming a slave in Brazil. Yes,
the poor old man was a voluntary slave. He had borrowed from his employer
and was unable to repay. He was therefore a slave in the true sense of
the word, as his employer could, according to local custom, sell him to
any one he chose.

[Illustration: The Upper Arinos River.]

[Illustration: The Arinos River above the Rapids.]

I was terribly upset to see a European in such a position, and, what was
worse, I was not in a position to help. Nor indeed was help asked for or
wanted. The old fellow bore the burden bravely, and said he had never
been happier in his life. Supposing he were made to return to his own
country--from which he had been absent so many years--he philosophically
argued, what could he be, with no money and no friends, but a most
unhappy man? All his relatives and friends must have died; the habits he
had acquired in the wilds were not suitable for European cities; he was
too old to change them. The German was an extraordinarily fine type of
a man, honest, straightforward, brave. He spoke in the kindest and
fairest way of his master. He had sold himself because of necessity. It
was now a matter of honour, and he would remain a slave until it was
possible to repay the purchase money--some four hundred pounds sterling,
if I remember rightly--which he never expected to be able to repay at
all.

The German told me some interesting things about the immediate
neighbourhood of the camp. The Indians of the Cayapo tribe, who lived
close by, did not interfere with the seringueiros. He had been there
several years in succession, and he had never seen an Indian. The
seringueiros only went to collect rubber during some three or four months
each year, after which time they returned to the distant towns south as
far as Cuyabá and Corumbá. At the beginning of the rainy season, when the
time came for them to retire, the Indians generally began to remind the
seringueiros that it was time to go, by placing obstacles on the estrada,
by removing cups or even the collars from the rubber trees. But so far in
that region, although footmarks of Indians and other signs of them had
been noticed, not one individual had been actually seen. Their voices
were frequently heard in the distance singing war songs.

"Hark!" said the German to me, "do you hear them?"

I listened attentively. Far, far down the river a faint chorus of voices
could just be heard--intermittent sounds of "huá ... huá ... huá ...
huá." In the stillness of the night the sound could be distinguished
clearly. It went on until sunrise, when it gradually died out.

There was a big lagoon to the west of Porto Velho, formed by the river at
high water. The lagoon dried up during the dry season. It was separated
from the river only by a narrow tongue of land, 80 ft. high.

I took careful and repeated observations for latitude, longitude, and
altitude, the latter by a boiling-point thermometer, from our point of
departure at the headwaters of the Arinos River. The elevation of the
river was there 1,200 ft. by aneroid, 1,271 ft. by the hypsometrical
apparatus. The latitude was 14° 2'·2 South; the longitude 56° 17' West of
Greenwich.

We were having beautiful, clear skies. Only on July 4th at sunset a
solitary streak of mist extended to the summit of the sky.

I had two plans in my mind when I decided to descend the
Arinos River. One was to abandon that river at the point where it met
the Juruena River and strike across country westward until the
Madeira-Mamore Railway was met. The other plan--even more difficult--was
to continue down the river as far as its junction with the Tres Barras,
from which place I would strike across the virgin forest as far as the
Madeira River. I had not the faintest idea how I could realize either
plan with the ridiculously meagre resources at my disposal. I had money
enough, but unfortunately that was one of the few spots on earth where
money was of little use. Again I trusted in Providence to come to our
help. Both plans involved thousands of kilometres of navigation of a
diabolical river, in an almost uncontrollable canoe, with an
insufficient and absolutely incapable crew. Then would come the crossing
of the virgin forest on foot, for some hundreds of kilometres--nobody
knew how many. The least number of men necessary in order to be able to
carry provisions sufficient to execute either plan was thirty. I only had
four. Yet I started. The second plan was successfully carried out, but
necessarily at the cost almost of all our lives, and with sufferings
unimaginable.



CHAPTER II

     Hoisting the British Flag--An Escaped Slave--A
     Dilemma--Benedicto--The _Lutra Brasiliensis_--The Seringueiros--A
     Marvellous River--Rapids


ON July 6th we packed the canoe with our baggage and dogs. The British
flag was hoisted at the stern of the canoe, and with tender embraces from
the seringueiros, whose eyes were wet with tears--they imagined that we
were going to certain death--we pulled out of Porto Velho at seven
minutes to eleven o'clock a.m.

"We will pray with all our hearts that you may reach the end of your
journey safely!... Beware of the rapids; they are terrible.... Be careful
because the canoe does not steer true.... Do not let the canoe knock too
hard against rocks, or she may split in two!... Good-bye!... good-bye!"

With those encouraging remarks from the seringueiros, who were sobbing
bitterly, we drifted with the current, Antonio and Filippe the negro
paddling in the style generally adopted for scooping soup with a spoon
out of a dish.

I had provided the canoe with a number of improvised paddles we had cut
ourselves. There were no two of equal size, shape, or weight. We had
chopped them with an axe from sections of a tree. They were originally
all intended to be the same, but what we intended to have and what we got
were two different matters, as the five of us each worked on a separate
paddle.

The seringueiros stood on the high bank, waving their arms in the air.
One of them blew plaintive sounds on one of the horns used by them for
calling their companions while in the forest. Those horns could be heard
enormous distances. Filippe the white man, who was not paddling, fired
back a salute of ten shots. There was nothing my men loved more than to
waste ammunition. Fortunately we had plenty.

The average width of the river was there from 80 to 100 metres, with a
fairly swift current. It was lucky that ours was the only boat on that
river, for indeed we needed all that breadth of water in our snake-like
navigation. I remonstrated with Alcides, who was at the helm, and advised
him to keep the nose of the canoe straight ahead, as we were coming to a
_corrideira_ or small rapid.

Alcides, who could never be told anything, became enraged at my words of
warning, and also at the derision of the other men, as we were drifting
side on and he could not straighten her course. Just as we were entering
the rapid, in his fury Alcides, in disgust, let go the steering-gear,
which he said was useless. We were seized by the current and swung round
with some violence, dashing along, scraping the bottom of the canoe on
rocks, and bumping now on one side, now on the other, until eventually we
were dashed violently over a lot of submerged trees, where the bank had
been eroded by the current and there had been a landslide. The canoe
nearly capsized, the three dogs and some top baggage being thrown out
into the water by the impact. We got stuck so hard among the branches of
the trees that we all had to remove our lower garments and get into the
water trying to get the canoe off.

My men used pretty language. That small accident was lucky for us. The
shouts of my men attracted to the bank a passing man. Half-scared, a wild
figure of a mulatto with long, unkempt hair and beard, his body covered
by what must have once been a suit of clothes, stood gazing at us,
clutching a double-barrelled gun in his hands.

"Is there a revolution in Matto Grosso?" he inquired when I caught sight
of him. "Why do you fly the red flag?"

"That is not the flag of revolution, that is the flag of peace. It is the
English flag."

"The English flag! The English flag!" he exclaimed, running down the
slope of the river bank. "You are English!... Oh, sir, take me with you!
I entreat you take me with you! I am an escaped slave.... I owe my master
much money.... I can never repay it.... I am a seringueiro. My estrada is
some miles down the river. I have been there alone suffering for months.
I had no more food, nothing. There is very little fish in the river. The
life is too terrible. I can stand it no more. If you do not take me with
you I shall kill myself."

I tried to persuade the strange figure to return to his master--the
master lived in comfort in the city of Cuyabá. "If you chose to borrow
money and sell yourself, it was only right that you should repay your
debt." That was the only way I could look at it. But the man would not
hear of it. If I did not take him he would kill himself--there, before
me, he repeated; that was all.

So difficult a dilemma to solve--at so inconvenient a moment, when we
were as busy as busy could be, trying to disentangle the canoe--was
rather tiresome. The strange man, having laid his gun upon the ground,
helped us with all his might in our work. When the canoe got off, the
strange man, gun and all, jumped clumsily into her and nearly capsized
her a second time. He implored me with tears in his eyes to take him
along. He would work day and night; he would present me with his
double-barrelled gun (an old muzzle-loader); he did not want pay--he only
wanted to get freed from his master, who, he said, robbed and ill-treated
him.

"Do you swear upon all that is most sacred that you have made up your
mind not to go back to your master?"

"Yes. If you say 'No' to me, I shall kill myself now."

Benedicto--that was his name--spoke with quiet determination.

"Very good, Benedicto. You can remain. What is more, you shall receive
from this moment the same pay as the other men. You can keep your old
gun, too."

Benedicto embraced and kissed my hands, then my feet. The poor man's joy
was so great that it was really worth living to see that such moments of
happiness could be procured in a man's lifetime.

Benedicto was a free man again, and for the first time in his life was
earning genuine money! He was handed a paddle, and he paddled away for
all he was worth, splashing with water those in front and behind him. He
was in a state of great excitement, tears flowing freely down his cheeks
and beard, and dripping on to his knees as he sat in the bottom of the
canoe. He sobbed to his heart's content, and kept on splashing us all
over with his paddle. We were all so touched by that pathetic scene that
we preferred getting wet to remonstrating.

Fortunately the river was placid enough under the _corrideira_. When
things had quieted down a little, I taught Benedicto and the others how
to paddle properly, and Alcides how to steer straight. I had then five
men. That improved matters greatly, as four could paddle while the fifth
was steering.

The Arinos River flowed from Porto Velho in a south-westerly, then in a
due westerly direction, then north, then again west, from which last
point it doubled, as it were, and proceeded east and south-east,
returning to within quite a short distance of our original point of
departure. We sounded our horn, and immediately heard in reply the horn
of the seringueiros at Porto Velho. Judging by the sound, the distance
could not have been more than a few hundred metres, although we had
travelled some six thousand metres down stream.

[Illustration: The First Rocks in the Arinos River.]

[Illustration: Enormous Globular Rocks typical of the Arinos River.]

For the first time I noticed swallows flying swiftly over the river,
close to the water. Another easy _corrideira_ was encountered. When we
had been out several hours my men were already beginning to get into
the right way of paddling, and Alcides was commencing to understand the
capricious mysteries of the steering-gear.

On account of my men's inexperience--and due credit being given to the
current--we went at the rate of 13 kils. an hour. Innumerable were the
rubber trees all along the banks. Occasionally small sand beaches were
met with. Here and there a fallen giant tree obstructed part of the
river. Families of _ariranhas_ (_Lutra brasiliensis_) played in the
water. The pretty little animals--not unlike otters--raised their heads
above water, and, hissing loudly, frequently came to attack the canoe.
They were extraordinarily brave. They were greatly attracted by the vivid
red of the British flag, which in their imagination suggested blood. They
became wildly excited when I waved the flag at them, and when I placed it
near the water they would charge the canoe--so much so that two or three
times my men were able to kill them by striking them on the head with the
heavy wooden paddles.

The river was at its lowest when I descended it, which made it all the
more difficult for us, as we were treated to innumerable small rapids
which would otherwise have been entirely covered over with water. A great
island (80 m. long) of pebbles and beautiful crystals was passed in the
centre of the stream, which there formed two channels; one entirely
blocked by fallen trees and accumulated rolling material, the other, 40
m. wide, very deep and swift.

The banks of the river were about 20 ft. high, generally of red earth,
with a stratum of white sand above. The vegetation was luxuriant and
extraordinarily tidy along the summit of the banks. The water was quite
crystal-like, it was so clear. All the time our nostrils were fully
expanded to inhale the delicious scent of the forest, which closely
resembled that of jessamine. Masses of violet-coloured convolvuli were
festooned from the trees. That was a great treat for me, after the months
I had gone through when my entire days were spent eating up dust raised
in clouds by the troop of animals marching in front of me.

When you came to survey a river it was really amazing what zigzags water
could make in cutting its way through a country. From north-west the
Arinos veered south-west, and from south-west to north-east.

By one o'clock we were in a spacious basin, 200 m. in diameter, close to
which a small tributary, 2 m. wide, entered the Arinos on the left bank.
Farther down on the right bank were neat beaches of white and red sand.
We stopped for a few moments at a seringueiro's shed. The poor fellow--a
negro--was in a pitiable condition from malarial fever.

Those martyrs of labour were much to be pitied, and also admired. There,
hundreds of miles away from everybody, they stayed, abandoned in the
forest until the agents of their masters who had dropped them there found
it convenient to come and fetch them back again. If they came back at all
and never failed, it was not, you can be sure, for the interest they took
in human life, but because of the quantity of valuable rubber which they
expected would be collected before their return. Those poor creatures had
no possible way of escape, except under extraordinary circumstances.
They were conveyed to their stations overland by means of pack animals,
which at once were sent back and did not return until the end of the
collecting season. Even then, if the seringueiro wanted to get away, he
was frequently compelled to purchase an animal from his employer at three
or four times its actual value--that is to say, perhaps sixty or eighty
pounds sterling. So that the more a man worked or earned the more he
became indebted to his master.

Like all men who have lived a great deal in exile and solitude, the
seringueiros--nearly all blacks or mulattos--were extraordinarily
generous. They always wanted to give you all they possessed--which was
next to nothing, but meant a fortune to them. They would deprive
themselves of anything if they thought they could give the slightest
pleasure.

We left the seringueiro. I feared the poor man could not live long in his
broken-down condition. He was most grateful for some medicine and
provisions I left with him. His farewell to us was in so melancholy a
voice, as he tried to lift himself out of an improvised bamboo couch,
that for days it rang in my ears, and before my eyes constantly remained
his skeleton-like, sunken features as he waved his farewell and fell back
exhausted.

Behind a narrow barrier of sand, about 10 ft. high, as we proceeded down
stream in a north-westerly direction, was a large lagoon.

The river was really too beautiful for words, the clear green water
reflecting with precision in deeper tones the view before us. Only when
its course was disturbed and diverted by a sharp rock or by the branches
of a fallen and dying tree, the successive angular ridges of the troubled
water shone like polished silver in parallel lines from the reflected
light of the sun, just like a huge luminous skeleton of a fish.

The trees were truly wonderful along the river--tall and healthy, with
dense deep green foliage. But Nature seemed absolutely asleep. Barring
the few swallows we had seen soon after our departure, and the
_ariranhas_, we went the whole day without hearing the song of a bird, or
the howling of a wild animal. We did hear a noise resembling the bark of
a dog--so much did it resemble it that my dogs barked back. But it came
not from a dog at all. The peculiar noise was made by a large bird.

[Illustration: A Rocky Barrier in the River.]

[Illustration: A Picturesque Double Waterfall on the Arinos River.]

After passing a handsome beach of white sand on our left, the river
described sharp angles, west, north-west, north-east, then north. There
were rapids, fairly strong, although not dangerous in any way. The river
was forced through a channel 50 m. wide, in which the current was very
strong. To make things worse, a giant tree had fallen and obstructed much
of the passage, compelling us to negotiate the rapid in its worst part. A
large bay, 180 m. in diameter, opened out below that point. Farther came
a perfectly straight stretch of water for 3,000 m. Halfway down that
stretch, to the right, we passed the mouth of the Agua Clara, a charming
rivulet of crystalline water, 10 m. wide. A conglomerate stratum of
alluvial formation, composed of well-rounded pebbles held together by red
earth, and crumbling easily under pressure of the fingers, showed through
in many places. The beaches of handsome, fine white sand were most
interesting.

The forest was getting thin on both sides. In fact, late in the afternoon
we had open country on the left bank--only a few trees being visible near
the water's edge, and an occasional giant _jatobá_ (_Hymencoea Courbaril_
L.), the latter chiefly on the right bank. The right bank was sparsely
wooded, and at one time we had open campos on both sides of us.

A streamlet 3 m. wide entered the Arinos on the left. We got to one point
where the river proved treacherous, although apparently almost tranquil
on the surface. The Brazilians have an excellent name for such
places--_rebojo_, or a curve formed by sudden deviation of a current. If
we had not been careful in going across such places, it would have been
easy for the canoe to have been turned over and sucked under.

Patches of thick forest were met on either bank, and in those patches
numerous indeed were the rubber trees. In the afternoon we saw chiefly
campos and _chapada_, or thin scrub.

Considering all, we did well--chiefly owing to the strong current--on our
first day of navigation. We had gone some 70 kils. when we halted at
sunset, at the junction of the very deep streamlet Quarustera with the
Arinos. The elevation of our camp, 60 ft. above the river, was 1,200 ft.

The nights were cool enough--minimum 55° Fahr. on the night of June
6th--7th. There was a thick haze over the river in the morning, and as we
did not know what we might be coming upon suddenly we did not make a
start until 7.15. After crossing a large and shallow bay the stream was
forced into a channel 50 m. wide. There was open country--campos--on the
right bank. A curious isolated volcanic boulder split in two was then
observed in the stream, while the banks were of alluvially deposited
conglomerate. From that spot luxuriant forest was on the right bank once
more, while open country was on the left. Upon examination I found that
the thick forest was merely a band or zone near the water--behind was
open country.

Farther, the river went through a neck 40 m. wide where the current was
very swift. The banks almost all along were from 10 to 20 ft. high.
Slender _tucuma_ or _tucuman_ palms were to be seen, which had stems only
3 to 4 in. in diameter, but were 30 to 40 ft. high, and had a ball-like
tuft of leaves at the top. We then came upon open country (_chapada_) on
both sides, and went over small _corrideiras_, which we got to like, as
we travelled along on them at a greater speed than in the still waters,
with a minimum of exertion. The river seemed to be getting narrower all
the time that day, and, of course, deeper. In many spots it went through
a channel not more than 30 m. wide.

We heard--but not for long--the cackling of the _jacu_ (_Penelope
cristata_), a handsome gallinaceous bird. The _jacu_ made most delicious
eating. Then that day flocks of small green parrots flew over our heads
on several occasions.

_Ariranhas_ gave us once more a good deal of amusement and sport. It was
seldom one found such cheeky and inquisitive animals. They would pop
their heads out of the water quite close to the canoe and sniff and grind
their teeth at us. They had beautiful little heads--something between a
cat and a seal--with lovely, but wicked, black eyes of wonderful
luminosity. They had a perfect craving for blood. The Brazilians have
strange tales about them--not exactly fit for publication.

The sand beaches were not so frequent as we advanced on our journey. We
noticed instead extensive beaches of gravel. Another tributary stream, 10
m. wide at its mouth, entered the Arinos from the east. There was heavy
forest there with plenty of rubber-trees on the right bank, whereas the
country was open on the left bank.

Farther down, the banks became low, so that the slightest rise in the
river would inundate the country. The forest was particularly thick, and
the rubber trees plentiful, along a stretch of 4,300 m. of river in a
perfectly straight line.

The river was getting more and more beautiful at every turn. We emerged
into a bay 300 m. in diameter. Great blocks of conglomerate were strewn
about. A great spur projected to the centre of the bay. The richness in
rubber of that region was amazing. Wonderful giant trees, heavily laden
with dark green foliage, were reflected in deeper tones in the water of
the river--there almost stagnant because held up by some obstacle lower
down. Innumerable festoons of creepers hung down from those trees. The
stream was there 80 m. wide, and beautiful that day in great stretches of
4,300 m., 1,400 m., 1,000 m., 3,000 m., 1,500 m., and 1,200 m.--in a
perfectly straight line. The forest was occasionally interrupted on one
side or the other by great expanses of _chapada_.

Immense _bacabeira_ palms, 40 to 50 ft. high, were numerous, most
graceful to look at, with their ten or eleven huge compound leaves placed
like an open fan. Yellow filaments of some length hung in a cluster where
the petiole of the leaves met.

We arrived at a _pedreria_--an accumulation of rocks--extending almost
right across the stream, and which was the cause of the placidity of the
waters above it. There were two channels--one to bearings magnetic 330°,
the other to 360°--on either side of a central island. We followed the
first and larger channel. The island, which had a most luxuriant growth
of trees upon it, was subdivided into two by a channel 10 m. wide at its
south-eastern end.

For purposes of identification I named all the islands we saw. The larger
of these two I called Esmeralda Island. In order to establish its exact
position I landed and took observations for latitude and longitude. Lat.
13° 15'·6 S.; long. 56° 46' W.

[Illustration: An Island of the Arinos River.]

[Illustration: Vegetation on an Island in the River Arinos.]

We were then at an elevation of 1,150 ft. The temperature in the shade
was 77° Fahr. and 98° in the sun. Six-tenths of the sky was covered with
thick globular clouds, which made the air heavy, although the temperature
was not excessively high. It must be remembered that we in the canoe were
in the sun all the time and suffered a good deal in the morning and
afternoon, when the sun was not high, by the refraction of the sun's rays
from the water. The refracted light was so powerful that it interfered a
good deal with the navigation. The river looked like a molten surface
of boiling silver, which absolutely blinded us at times, and made it
impossible to see what was ahead in the water.

Esmeralda Island was formerly joined at its most south-westerly point to
the western bank of the river. From that point the river described an arc
of a circle as far as bearings magnetic 20° (N.N.E.). We negotiated
successfully two small rapids with large volcanic rocks just under the
surface of the water. We just escaped going over one of them, which would
have certainly capsized the canoe. As it was we merely scraped the side
of the canoe against it.

The left bank, which had crumbled down, showed strata of conglomerate and
yellow sand, with upper alluvial deposits of a light grey colour.

We were travelling due north in a straight line of 1,800 m. when we came
upon the entrance of a lakelet on the west side of an islet. A huge
fish--some 5 ft. in length--unaccustomed to the unusual sight of human
beings, played about under our canoe for some time, much to the
excitement of my men. Birds of superb metallic blue, vivid yellow, and
iridescent plumage played about among the trees. On the left bank farther
down was a great growth of high bamboos, then again forest with plenty of
vigorous rubber trees.

Again small and fairly swift rapids were encountered in a turn of the
river from bearings magnetic 70° to 250°. A tributary stream which came
from the south entered the Arinos on its left bank. Then we came to
another island forming two channels--one (N.W.) 20 m. wide, with some
rough-looking rapids; the other channel (N.), larger and shallower,
divided in its turn in two by a mound of yellow gravel.

Alcides, who steered, had an idea that in going down rapids you should
always send the canoe over places where the water broke and foamed, which
meant rocks underneath, and not keep her in the centre of the channel
where the water was deeper. This idea was, I think, suggested by his
inability to swim, and the hope that if we got wrecked he could touch
bottom with his feet, so that his life might be in comparative safety. I
tried to argue the point with him, but it was no use. It invariably led
to such unpleasantness that once more I decided to trust in Providence,
as long as we went forward.

I had just shouted to Alcides to keep in the centre of the channel. Of
course he disobeyed. We were caught in the strong current. One moment
later there was a violent bump which knocked us all off our seats and
sent us sprawling in the bottom of the canoe. We had stuck fast between
two rocks. The canoe, being of such great length, vibrated to and fro
with the current forcing it at the side. Laden as she was with baggage,
in a few moments she became filled with water, and it was only after
working hard for the best part of an hour that we were able to extricate
ourselves from our position. We had hardly finished baling the water out
on resuming our course than, 1,500 m. farther, we came to more rapids,
then 700 m. beyond yet other rapids.

The forest was fairly thick all along on both banks, with innumerable
healthy rubber trees. Although the forest seemed impenetrable at first
sight, I always found that it was easy enough to go through it if one
knew how. Quite close to the water naturally the vegetation was somewhat
entangled. In many places were extensive patches of bamboos of
considerable height; but there is a way of disentangling the most
confused growth, if you happen to understand how those plants and liane
grow and get twisted. Any one with a keen sense of observation should
experience no difficulty whatever in going through the densest forest
anywhere in the world--even without using a knife--although, of course,
the latter is useful when you wish to keep up a certain speed in your
marching.

Eleven kilometres and a half from the last rapids--having travelled
north-west, south-west, east, and even due south, so winding was the
course of the river--we came to a tributary stream 10 m. wide, on the
left side of the Arinos. Eight kilometres farther we passed the
inlet--then dry--of a small lagoon fed by the stream. The river banks,
where eroded by the water, showed a lower layer of reddish-brown rock
with a bright red ferruginous stratum above it. The top layer, 10 ft.
thick, seemed formed of lime and alluvial deposits.

We emerged into a large basin 200 m. across, with a charming little
island in the centre forming two channels with fairly strong rapids. We
followed the channel on the right. At that point the river folded over
itself into a great elbow. A cliff, 120 ft. high, towered on one side in
brilliant red and yellow. The lower half of the strata was perfectly
horizontal; the upper half at an angle of 45° to the lower. The vivid
colouring was intensified by contrast with a beautiful beach of
immaculate white sand on the left side of the great elbow.

I observed a wonderful double lunar halo on the night of July 7-8, the
outer circle in successive tints of most delicate yellow, orange, pale
blue and white--the yellow being nearest the centre.



CHAPTER III

     Dangerous Navigation--Eddies--Whirlpools--An Extraordinary
     Creature--The Man X.--Pedro de Toledo Island--An Interesting
     Rodent


WE were rather proud of ourselves, as we had gone 69 kils. on July 7th,
paddling away--barring the interval for lunch--from 7.15 in the morning
until 7.30 at night.

The night was fairly cold--minimum 57° Fahr.; the elevation 1,100 ft.
Where I made camp at the elbow of the stream (on the left bank) there
were innumerable rubber trees. A similar wealth of _Siphonia elastica_
appeared to be on the opposite bank, where the forest was luxuriant.

On July 8th we began our journey by going down rapids. Then after some
15,300 m. of fairly smooth navigation we crossed a basin 130 m. wide,
where we encountered strong eddies--most unpleasant, as they swerved the
canoe about in a way that was alarming. Lower down a swift _corrideira_
and more eddies gave us some trouble.

A beautiful _ariranha_ peeped out of the water close to the canoe,
spitting angrily at us. It was attracted by the blood-red of the English
flag, which it evidently wanted to bite. My men fired and wounded it; but
so vicious were those little otters, and so great their craving for
blood, that it still came on to within a foot or two of the canoe, when
my men killed it.

The river was there compressed into a deep channel, 85 m. wide, with a
strong current, after which it split into two arms--one north-west, 25 m.
wide; the other north-east, 30 m. broad. The island thus formed between
the two arms was 2,500 m. long. We called it Ariranha Island.

A streamlet 3 m. wide entered the Arinos on the right bank. Where the
banks were free from vegetation an undulating stratum of red earth was
exposed, directly above which was a stratum from 1 to 2 ft. thick of a
brilliant yellow colour. Above that rested the usual grey alluvial
deposits from 6 to 8 ft. thick.

From a direction due west the stream suddenly turned north, between high
banks. A strong _corrideira_ was found before the stream divided itself
into three arms--two of those arms flowing north-east, the other
north-west. We followed the latter--a channel 20 m. wide, with a high
bank of gravel on its left side. Where those arms met again--some 500 m.
farther--a basin 200 m. in diameter was formed. A hill 150 ft. high,
covered with dense vegetation, faced us to the north. It was quite an
unusual sight in such flat country. The stream took a sharp turn at that
spot--it positively doubled. Strong eddies were encountered. The greatest
care should have been taken in going over places of that kind, but "care"
was a word I had absolutely scratched out of my vocabulary as useless in
my journey across Brazil. How and why we ever got across those places
with the crew I had on board, would indeed be beyond me to
explain--unless, as on preceding occasions, it was due to the unceasing
protection of a guardian angel.

After crossing a circular basin 200 m. in diameter, the river became
suddenly squeezed into a channel 30 m. wide, much strewn with rocks. A
somewhat troublesome rapid had to be negotiated there, rendered more
difficult by the recent fall, across the best part of the stream, of a
giant tree. The branches which stuck out of the water formed a regular
barrier and waved to and fro with the violent pressure of the water.
Before we could realize where we were, Alcides steered us straight into
the branches and foliage of the fallen tree. As we were travelling at an
accelerated speed with the strong current, all our hats were scraped off
our heads, and, what was worse, our scalps, faces, and arms had patches
of skin torn off as we crashed among the branches. It took us some time
before we were able to disentangle ourselves, resume navigation, and
recover as we went along the various headgear floating independently down
the stream.

Another little tributary, 2 m. wide, entered the Arinos on the left side.
No sooner had we freed ourselves from the rapids than we were in a circle
80 m. across, with nasty-looking eddies, which swung the undermanned
canoe now to one side, then violently to the other, in a dangerous way.
We could not have struck a worse time for navigating the river. It was
then the end of the dry season and the water at its lowest, so that every
possible obstacle that could be found in that river stood to impede our
progress. This would not have been the case at high water when navigation
in that portion of the stream would have been comparatively smooth and
easy. We were thanking our stars that we had passed the vicious eddies
safely, when we were confronted by more rapids, with treacherous
submerged rocks. Yet another basin, 150 m. wide, was crossed, with large
blocks of black rock showing through on the left bank. More rapids were
met--quite easy to negotiate. The sky was half covered with feathery
radiations from the south.

To the north another hill, 120 ft. high, eroded by water, stood on the
left bank of the stream, where red volcanic rock was also visible in a
stratum 15 ft. thick, covered by a thick layer of yellow earth. Strong
rapids came next. We had had so much luck in the descent of the
rapids--which, bad as they were, really were so far quite unimportant as
compared to what we were to find later--that my men began to be quite
adventurous. Saving trifling mishaps, we were getting on well. The
tributaries of the Arinos we had seen so far that day were small
streamlets 1 m. wide on the right; another, 2 m. wide--a limpid
stream--coming from the south-west on the left. Several springs of clear
water filtered through the left bank. In the centre of the river was an
extensive bank of gravel held up by blocks of volcanic rock.

[Illustration: Preparing the Canoe to descend a Rapid.]

[Illustration: A Cataract on the Arinos River.]

In a basin 150 m. wide rose a pretty island. Rapids were found in the
channels, of which the western was wider and more free from obstacles.
For one entire kilometre there were strong eddies and rapids in
succession; then came 3,500 m. of fairly easy travelling. The river for
23,500 m. had been flowing almost in a straight line due north, with
slight variations of a few degrees to the north-east and once to the
north-west. Plenty of _tucum_ or _tucuma_ palms adorned the right
bank; whereas on the left bank was fairly open country.

Again, after some more rapids, the river was squeezed into a neck only 25
m. wide, gradually widening to some 150 m., where whirlpools and eddies
of considerable magnitude were formed. On several occasions the canoe was
caught in them and swerved right round, describing one or more circles
upon herself. Two islets were passed, then a tributary 10 m. wide coming
from the east on the right side of us.

A great number of submerged rocks close to the surface formed a ridge 200
m. in length all along the centre of the stream. In a wonderful stretch
4,000 m. long in a perfectly straight line north, the river was from 50
to 100 m. wide. A small tributary rivulet entered it on the west. At the
end of that long stretch a wall, 100 ft. high, of brilliantly yellow rock
in its lower part, with 15 ft. of vivid red rock above, diverted the
stream almost at a right angle toward the west. Rapids and eddies were
encountered after passing an obstruction of accumulated gravel in the
centre of the river, there 50 m. wide.

Giant trees, not unlike weeping willows, bent over the river, their
streamers touching the water. A rocky barrier extended as far as the
centre of the stream, leaving only one safe passage on the left side
close to the bank. The stream was at that point 100 m. broad, and of
great beauty, in a straight line north for 7,400 m.

My men were beginning to paddle a little better, and we were travelling
at a considerable speed with the current. We had glorious weather, and
although the heat was great our travelling was perfectly delightful. In
the daytime we were not worried much by insects. The canoe now and then
stuck fast in shallow places or upon rocks, but we all jumped gaily into
the water and pushed her along until she floated again. Those baths in
the deliciously clear water were quite refreshing. We generally jumped in
clothes and all, and left it to the sun to dry the garments upon our
backs and legs. I usually wore pyjamas while travelling in the canoe, as
they were more comfortable than other clothes and dried quicker when we
came out of the water again.

Many sharp successive turns were met next in the course of the river,
which then showed stunted vegetation on the right bank and thick forest
on the left. A high natural wall, 100 ft. high, of bright cadmium yellow
for 30 ft. in its lower part, of vivid red for 50 ft. above that, and
darker red above, barred our way in front (north). On its summit were
peculiar white-barked slender trees--so white that they looked almost as
if they had been painted, but of course they had not. The entire centre
of the river, forming there an extensive basin, was blocked by a high
bank of gravel, leaving merely narrow channels close to the banks. The
high wall deflected the stream from 290° to bearings magnetic 30°. A
range of hills some 300 ft. high then appeared before us, extending from
N.N.W. to S.S.E.

We went over a stony place which obstructed almost the entire river,
except a narrow channel close to the banks. That was followed by rapids.
Some 2 kil. 300 m. farther, a hill range to the north switched the stream
sharply from north to north-west, which direction it kept with a mere
deviation of 20° for 6,500 m.

The stream was then 100 metres wide nearly all along, and of amazing
beauty. Yet another stony place disturbed the placidity of the
transparent crystal-like water. At the end of that wonderful stretch of
river came another great vertical wall, on the left side--of most
brilliant colouring, a stratum of vivid red 60 ft. deep with thin bright
horizontal yellow streaks, and an upper stratum 18 ft. thick of a similar
dazzling yellow. The northern portion of the cliff differed in colouring,
and had a brown lower stratum 30 ft. thick, followed upwards by a yellow
stratum 2 ft. thick, and a red stratum--a most brilliant vermilion--15
ft. thick. Above was a pink layer 15 ft. thick and a summit deposit of
brown earth 45 ft. deep. There again the river was shifted by that
obstacle from b.m. 290° to due north. A charming island--which I baptized
Bridget Island--700 m. long and 100 m. wide, absolutely smothered in
vegetation, was found there. It had an extensive spur of yellow sand and
gravel. The right bank was sparsely wooded with open country behind. Two
channels were found, one flowing north-west, 40 m. wide, the other
north-east, 30 m. broad. We followed the latter, where the rapids seemed
less fearsome than in the broader channel.

At the end of Bridget Island another island, 500 m. long, was found,
which we called Lucky Island. This second island was 200 m. down stream
from the first, and was situated at the junction of the River dos Patos
("river of ducks") with the River Arinos on the right side of the latter
stream.

We were amazed to see opposite the island on the right bank a fishing
tackle and some clothes. As we had already gone 89 kil. 850 m. that day,
having kept an average speed of 11 kil. 250 m. an hour, and the sun was
about to set, we decided to halt on "Lucky Island" for the night. We were
busy preparing our dinner when a strange figure appeared on the right
bank, rifle in hand. His astonishment at seeing us was no greater than
ours at seeing him.

"Who were we?" "Where did we come from?" "What did we want there?" "Where
were we going?"

All those questions having been duly answered, I sent my canoe over to
ferry the fellow across. He was one of the queerest men I have ever met.
His eyes constantly roamed about like those of a wild feline animal. He
never kept still a moment, springing up unexpectedly to his feet when he
was sitting down, and squatting himself down when he had been standing
up. All the time he was handling his rifle--a very handsome one--and with
rapid movements watched intently now one then another of our party. He
seemed in a state of great nervous strain and excitement. He appeared to
be a first or second cross of Indians and negroes--quite young, some
twenty-four years of age. He had very little clothing upon his person,
which showed limbs of extraordinary muscular strength. Seldom is it given
to one to see so cruel a face, seldom were criminal characteristics so
clearly marked on any one's countenance and in the formation of the
skull. A man with a face like that could be capable of any crime. His
conversation supplied ample further testimony that his physiognomy had
not deceived me. I had so far thought that my men were the coarsest, the
most brutal individuals I had ever met, but they were not in it at all
with the strange figure we had before us. The conversation of my men had
seemed to me disgustingly vulgar, but it now appeared the acme of
refinement when the new man opened his mouth to talk. Good gracious me!
what extraordinary oaths--what perversion of ideas--what foaming hatred
for the Creator, our Saviour, all the saints imaginable, and humanity in
general! Evidently the poor man had a screw loose somewhere within his
brain-case.

I gave him some tobacco, a quantity of which I carried for my men.
Without a word of acknowledgment he seized it, and, with paper my men
gave him, proceeded to make himself a cigarette.

"I am tired of this life," said he, as he rolled the tobacco. "I am a
slave. I owe my master 1 conto 200 milreis (£80). He sold me this rifle,
and some cartridges, and I cannot repay him. I am rotting away with
fever. I am dying of starvation, I am going mad in this place.... I have
no more food, and have been unable for three days to catch fish. Do not
let me die here. Take me with you. I will give you my rifle, this
ring"--a cheap ring which he proceeded to take from his finger--"I shall
work hard and require no pay if you will save me from death."

I told him that he had better consider his position seriously before
doing anything rash. We should not be leaving until the next morning.

The man, whom we shall call X, as I do not wish to divulge his real name,
sat up the entire night talking to my men. His excitement was great--at
least, judging by the loudness of his voice. During those long sleepless
hours--with all of them shouting at the top of their voices it was
impossible to sleep--I overheard the entire history of his life. What a
life! I prayed my stars that X would change his mind and decide to stay
where he was, for though I needed extra men badly I feared that his
company would not be a welcome addition to our party, bad as it was. Like
all men who have lived much in seclusion, he possessed marvellous
vitality and magnetism. My men were simply hypnotised by the remarkable
tales of his deeds, or rather misdeeds.

Long before we were ready to start, X went to seat himself in the canoe
to make sure we should not leave him behind. When I asked him to
reconsider once more what he was doing, which was not fair to his master,
no matter how bad he may have been, X positively refused to remain there.

"If you do not want me to come," he said with determination, "you will
have to fling me into the water and keep my head under until I am
drowned."

That was rather a trying dilemma. Much as I disapprove of slavery, I did
not like the idea of taking matters into my own hands and freeing other
people's slaves; yet it was impossible to refuse assistance to a
suffering man when he asked for it. In any case I had no wish to be
responsible for his death.

"X," I said to him, "you have quite made up your mind to go with us?"

"Yes."

"Will you promise faithfully that you will work and give no trouble?"

"May my old father and mother be struck by lightning this moment if I
shall give you trouble!" was his reply.

"Very good, X. You can keep your rifle and cartridges and your ring"--he
had just deposited them at my feet--"they are your own property. I do not
want them. You shall receive the same salary as the other men from this
day as long as you do your work satisfactorily."

X jumped out of the canoe to embrace me. On his brutal face was for a
moment an expression of gratitude ... he rested his head upon my shoulder
and sobbed for many minutes.

With a crew of six men, things were a little better for us. Four could
paddle while one steered, and the sixth stood on the prow with a long
pole punting, or on the look-out for dangerous obstacles.

X paddled with such vigour that Alcides at the helm had the greatest
difficulty in keeping the canoe straight. It had a good effect on the
other men, who also paddled away with all their might, and we were
speeding along with the strong current almost as fast as a steam launch.

The minimum temperature during the night (July 8th-9th) had been 57°
Fahr. The elevation above the sea level of Lucky Island was 1,100 ft.

The River dos Patos came from the S.S.E., then bent to the east where its
sources were.

Lucky Island was 250 m. in length. The river had an average width of 80
m. As we went along my men sang gaily, particularly X, who seemed like a
bird let out of its cage, so happy did he feel at being a free man again.
His répertoire was not of the choicest kind, but what was lacking in
quality was made up in quantity. For some hours we were treated to a
vocal concert, X's solos sending my men into fits of merriment. His
wit--of the crudest kind--was sometimes funny.

This great gaiety seemed most weird in that region where silence reigned
supreme always. The voices seemed to travel immense distances, echoed
from one side to the other of the river. Words were reproduced with great
clearness by the echo two or three times over. Especially when we had
forest on both sides of the stream was the echo particularly perfect.

Quantities of rubber trees--absolutely going to waste--were to be seen
now on one side, then on the other, of the river where the banks were
wooded.

[Illustration: A Rapid on the Arinos River.]

[Illustration: Taking the Canoe through a Narrow Channel.]

Another most beautiful island, 800 m. long and 80 m. wide--Pedro de
Toledo Island--was passed. It had a channel 10 m. wide in a
north-westerly direction, another, which we followed, 50 m. broad,
north-east. On emerging from this channel at the end of the island we
were in a basin 140 m. in diameter. Some 3 kils. farther, another great
basin was crossed--very shallow, only 2 ft. deep--with a gravel bottom.
The current was swift. Then, 2 kils. beyond, yet another basin, 100
metres wide, 1½ ft. deep, with strong eddies, was crossed. The river,
which had so far kept more or less in a northerly direction, at that
point actually swung round in two consecutive angles from 350° north
to due south, in which direction it flowed for 1,000 m. An immaculately
white beach was on the right of us, on which we duly stranded. It was
quite enough for Alcides to see an obstacle of any kind in the river for
him to send the canoe right over it. I seized that opportunity to land
and commence a most interesting collection of the innumerable minute sand
plants which were to be found on those beaches.

Where the river turned north once more there stood a hill 100 ft. high,
the lower half of which was of red volcanic rock, the upper half of
yellow earth. Along the water's edge a thick and florid growth of bamboo
could be seen in many places, while on the edge of the forest hung
myriads of purple convolvuli. For hundreds of kilometres the Arinos was
indeed one of the most ideally beautiful rivers I have ever seen. Its
banks of alluvial formation, 25 to 30 ft. high, had _chapada_ on their
tops. Farther on the _chapada_ gave way once more to dense forest with
plentiful rubber trees. Another basin, 150 m. in diameter, was met with,
after which we entered a channel from 40 to 50 m. wide, through which the
stream was compressed.

A pretty little islet of gravel, 100 m. long, 20 m. wide, and rising 6
ft. above the water, had a tuft of trees growing on it, and a spur, also
of gravel, extending westward for more than another 100 m. The river in
that section flowed in a W.N.W. direction for 1,400 m.

We soon after came to a shallow basin (1 ft. deep) 100 m. wide, in which
eddies were strong and troublesome. There were many pointed rocks
scattered about in its bed of gravel, as well as three parallel rocky
barriers right across the basin.

A rivulet 2 m. wide at the mouth entered the Arinos on the right side,
while on the left side we had an island 800 m. long, leaving two
channels, one 10 m. wide, the other 40 m. A tiny streamlet flowed into
the main stream on the left. Banks, regular dunes of gravel, were formed
where the river broadened into basins. We came to a basin 400 m. wide and
extremely shallow. Three channels--W.N.W., N.W., and N.N.E.--were formed
in the river by two islands, each 400 m. long--the Two Sisters
Islands--which were in the centre. We found the N.N.E. channel the best.
Where the river narrowed again to a width of 50 m. huge rocks stood in
the centre. From that point for some 300 m. we went over a succession of
gravel banks and nasty rocks forming barriers across the stream.

Small streamlets entered the Arinos, one on the left, the other on the
right. A cluster of high rocks was on the right bank. On both sides were
extensive white sand beaches. The river soon widened to 100 m. in a basin
with an islet 12 ft. high, and a cluster of trees on its north-east side.
Another island 6 ft. high, 80 m. long--Mosquito Island--with a spit of
gravel to the south, was near it.

Rubber trees were most plentiful on the right bank where the forest was
thick, whereas on the left bank was _chapada_. Huge gorgeous butterflies
with black-striped brown wings and velvety bodies flew in great numbers
around the canoe. Some settled on my hat, hands, and on the sleeves of my
white shirt. They were so unaccustomed to see human beings that when
touched they did not attempt to fly away.

The river was getting more and more wonderful every hour as we went
along--in great straight lines of 3,500 m., 3,000 m., 2,200 m., 2,000 m.,
4,000 m., in length.

Some ducks rose from the water only a few yards in front of the canoe.
The man who was behind me fired with his carbine close to my head. The
bullet grazed my right ear. It was a trifle trying to be travelling with
such careless sportsmen, but the best thing was to say nothing and go on.

A big island--Passos Island--300 m. long, preceded by a smaller islet 80
m. long--Passos Junior I.--was subsequently passed, where the river
formed a channel (N.W.) 50 m. wide and a minor one (W.) 30 m.

The river there changed from a westerly course to W.S.W. Once more we had
before us a great wall of red rock which at first seemed to bar our way.
In the lower section of the wall was a cave eroded by water and extending
some way back. It was too low to be entered by the canoe. The lower
stratum of the wall was at an angle--in other words, had a dip of
21°--while the stratum above it, 30 ft. in thickness, intersected by a
yellow band, was perfectly horizontal. On the left side of this high
natural wall was a charming waterfall of limpid water. Farther on a great
land-slip displayed for a length of 40 m. brilliant red earth over a
stratum 60 ft. thick of white chalk. The river, which described a number
of turns, was bordered on the left side by a hill range covered with
handsome trees.

The ardour of my men for rowing had already passed away. They smoked and
sang the whole time, and let the current--fortunately strong--carry us
along. Whenever I remonstrated they scooped the water carelessly with
their paddles for a few minutes. As is the case with individuals mentally
deficient, everything seemed to distract them. One moment it was the
flight of a _jacutinga_--a handsome black gallinaceous bird with a white
crest. Another moment it was the jump of an inquisitive fish. Many
_mergulhão commun_ (_Podiceps Americanus_), wonderfully graceful, velvety
black birds with long beaks, flew about unconcerned from tree to tree.
Whenever anything moved about anywhere, the paddles were abandoned, the
rifles were seized, and there was a regular fusillade. The men seldom hit
anything, although on many occasions, with the unsteady canoe, we all of
us had narrow escapes. One day the man in front of me fired a shot at a
bird--but so close to my head, not more than one foot away, that the
concussion blinded me for several seconds. On other occasions the rifles
went off when they were not expected to. I had ceased to give orders of
any kind about the careful use of the weapons. It was time and lung-power
absolutely wasted, and only made things worse.

After floating down a beautiful stretch of 3,000 m., two more islands
were reached within a great circle over 200 m. wide. A small tributary
entered the Arinos on the right bank. Another island, 500 m. long, was
seen farther down, at the end of which, where two channels met again,
violent eddies were produced by the meeting of the two strong currents.

Immense quantities of _Siphonia elastica_ were there to be seen on both
sides of the stream in the forest, which was getting more and more
luxuriant as we proceeded on our journey farther north. Many wild banana
palms (_bananeira do matto_) were to be seen here and there along the
lovely, deliciously clean river, with its extraordinarily tidy banks.

Another great basin, 300 m. in diameter, was met, with three islands and
two gravel beaches in its centre. The two principal islands--Paolo and
Francesca--were each 100 m. long and 50 m. wide.

We now made the acquaintance of the _capivara_ (_Hydrochoerus capibara_),
a rodent which we found common farther down in those waters. It was a
stupid animal. When fired at several times by my men it remained
perfectly still, gazing at its enemies. It was only when a bullet hit the
ground too near that it would move away, surprised more than concerned.

After going down a _corrideira_ (small rapid) we encountered thousands of
white and lemon-yellow butterflies. On islets of red earth swarms of them
were basking in the sun--which was getting hotter and hotter as we got
farther north.

Again we were soon after faced by a high natural wall of brilliant yellow
and red colouring. In its western part it showed a white stratum 3 ft.
thick upon a layer of yellow lava of an equal thickness. A stratum of
lighter yellow was nearest the surface of the water, while above was a
thick layer of grey earth. On the right side, at this point, a tributary
streamlet flowed into the Arinos. The basin formed by the crescent-shaped
wall was perfectly circular. When the river emerged from it, it folded
back from 40° b.m. to 290°.

Owing to the steepness of the banks we experienced difficulty in finding
a suitable camping place for the night. Eventually at sunset we had to
clear with our big knives a patch in the dirty forest on the edge of the
stream. I never liked to camp out of sight of the canoe in case anything
happened during the night--an attack, a flood, a forest fire, or anybody
trying to steal or get away with the canoe; the danger from my own men
being quite as great as from any enemy I could have found. I well knew
that if we lost that canoe we were done for entirely.

There was a great falling off in the distance covered that day owing to
the laziness of my men. We had only gone 67 kil. 600 m.--or 22 kil. 250
m. less than the previous day, when we had travelled less hours and gone
easily over a distance of 89 kil. 850 m.



CHAPTER IV

     _Oleo Pardo_ Trees--Beautiful Palms--The River Bottom--Swarms of
     Butterflies--Millions of Bees--A Continuous Torture


THE night of July 10th was cool--minimum temperature 58° F. When we
departed at 7.10 in the morning the river was extremely tortuous at
first--in one place actually veering from north to due south. On the
right side of us was a lake divided by a low bank, 3 to 5 ft. high, from
the river by which it was fed. The entrance into the lake was narrow. We
had hardly gone 1 kil. when we found ourselves in a great basin 300 m.
long, 200 m. wide, with one large island--Nellie Island--150 m. in
length, and several other small islets in its centre.

Another lagoon was shortly after reached on the right bank, its inlet
being 10 m. wide.

The waters of the Arinos were, at this point, of a leaden placidity. We
seemed to travel slowly now that the current did not help us. The river
was again compressed into a deep channel 50 m. wide. Before us loomed a
cliff 100 ft. high, reflected with irreproachable faithfulness in the
almost still waters of the stream. There was not a breath of wind to
disturb the mirror-like surface, nor to cool our sweating brows in the
stifling heat of the broiling sun. The lower 40 to 60 ft. of the cliff
was red, the upper light yellow--almost white. Where we reached this
rocky wall there was a circle 150 m. in diameter, with a low,
thickly-wooded triangular island, 80 m. long, 100 m. wide--Eleonora
Island.

The north-eastern passage was shallow, with a stony bottom. We followed
the northern channel along the vertical wall. On leaving the island we
came to a stretch 2,500 m. long of beautiful water flowing due north,
with ideally fascinating banks embellished by dense vegetation--neat,
clean, and healthy--of the richest green.

After crossing a bay, 100 m. wide, with volcanic rocks showing through on
both banks and in the river bed, the stream was squeezed through a rocky
neck 25 m. wide, and spread again immediately afterwards to its normal
width of 50 m. We were beginning to find big rocks more frequently, many
in the river channel--a bad sign for us, for I feared we might soon
encounter rapids.

Wonderful _oleo pardo_ trees (_Myrocarpus frondosus_ Fr. All.), with
their octopus-like branches hanging down to the water, were fairly common
in that region. There were two kinds of _oleo_ trees in Brazil--the brown
or _oleo pardo_ and the red or _oleo vermelho_, the latter technically
known as _Myrospermum erytroxylon_ Fr. All.

We subsequently entered a basin 150 m. wide which contained a circular
island 100 m. in diameter--Horus Island.

Eight hundred metres farther we came to another large circular bay with a
large globular mass of lava on its left side. The current was very swift
over a nasty rocky bottom. The canoe was suddenly flung by the current
between an accumulation of rocks and an island, and, as we found it
impossible to turn, floated down at an uncomfortable speed through a
narrow channel, dodging as best we could the many ugly rocks just below
the surface of the water. At the end of this channel we encountered
violent eddies forming wide circles of most treacherous water--although
on the surface it looked placid enough.

The tributary Sumidoro, 30 m. wide at its mouth, entered the Arinos from
the west-south-west at this point. Its water was deliciously clear. A
little way off to the left we could hear the noise of a waterfall on the
Sumidoro, before it joined the Arinos.

The river, after the meeting of this important tributary, became even
more exquisitely beautiful than before. Rocks strewn about added to the
picturesqueness of the landscape as well as to the dangers of navigation,
while springs of crystalline water, cool and quite delicious to drink,
descended here and there from the banks.

The river had an average width of 60 m. in this part, and was much strewn
with broken-up volcanic boulders, especially on the left bank. On the
right bank was a beach of immaculate white sand. For 300 m. we went over
a great stony place with shallow water. We had to be careful, but all the
same many times did we bump with great force and get stuck upon submerged
rocks--which we could not see owing to the blinding, glittering
refraction of the sun upon the troubled waters.

A tributary 4 m. wide, coming from the north-east, entered the Arinos on
the right bank. A great number of rubber trees were to be seen on the
right bank, where the forest was luxuriant; but not on the left bank,
where the growth of trees was scanty. _Carandá_ or _burity_ or _tucuman_
palms were plentiful along the water's edge near the spot where a small
rivulet entered the Arinos on the left bank. Two thousand metres farther
down we came upon denuded country, low, and liable to inundation when the
river rose. Farther on were campos and open country, with the exception
of a thin row of trees immediately along the river. On the left we had
luxuriant forest, wonderfully healthy, neat and clean. The stream was
there beautiful--60 to 70 m. wide.

When we had gone 10 kils. 800 m. more the entire channel became strewn
with rocks and mounds only 1 ft. below the surface of the water, and not
unlike parallel small dunes of sand with a deposit of gravel upon them.
For 700 m. the river was obstructed and navigation rendered somewhat
troublesome.

Where the river turned from bearings magnetic 310° to 360° (due N.) we
went over a nasty stony place with a strong _corrideira_ above it, and we
were confronted with a rocky barrier almost the entire width across the
stream. We kept on the west side, the only way where it was possible to
get the canoe through. A little farther another _corrideira_, stronger
than the first, obliged us to find a passage on the east side of the
river--which bore upon its bank _campos_ and _chapada_. Curious mounds of
white sand and gravel were visible in the centre of the river, and also
near the left bank below the second _corrideira_; then we came to
parallel ridges of white sand and gravel right across the river bottom at
an angle of 45° in relation to the general direction of the stream.

Two tributaries, one 3 m. wide on the left bank, the other 4 m. wide on
the right side (the latter coming from the north-east), swelled the
Arinos from that point. The width of the stream was now increased to 80
m., the water being shallow. The bed of the river was ever changing, and
supplied me with constant interest. It was adorned with strangely precise
triangles of beautiful white sand exposed through a layer of gravel which
covered most of the river bottom.

A thickly-wooded hill range, 150 ft. high and extending from W.S.W. to
E.N.E., stood to the north of us. Its slopes, eroded by the water, had
caused a landslip, leaving bare vertical red rock for half the height of
the hill-range and two much eroded spurs of bright yellow and white earth
extending into the stream.

The river at that point turned from north to east. Open country was again
on our right after leaving the hill range, and lowlands liable to
inundation. Soon afterwards, however, higher land appeared with banks 35
ft. high.

Swarms of small white butterflies played upon the banks on the edge of
the water.

Sand and gravel mounds were numerous in the centre of the channel, with
occasional basins of shallow water with _corrideiras_ upon them. For
instance, in one of those places for 150 m. the river was only from 1 to
3 ft. deep, and we had to drag the long heavy canoe, which drew 2 ft. of
water, along the undulating gravel bed. In fact, we spent a good deal of
our time every day in the water, pushing or pulling along the canoe over
innumerable obstacles, her great length making it difficult to navigate
her properly through the many shallow and tortuous passages.

In a circular basin, 120 m. in diameter, beyond that point we encountered
strong eddies near the left bank. On the north side big rocks emerged
from the water and a _corrideira_ was formed.

An island 50 m. long and two other islets were separated from the
mainland by two channels, one 20 m. wide and only 3 in. deep--the other
60 m. wide and 3 ft. deep. The right bank was there 45 ft. high.

Fifteen hundred metres farther down we entered another basin 200 m. in
diameter, with an island 80 m. long and eight dry beaches of gravel.

My men were greatly excited in trying to capture a _capivara_ they had
wounded. We actually got the animal on board, but my men were so timid in
going near it that it jumped overboard again and made its escape.

The right bank, which had been high, was now reduced to only 4 ft. above
the water; whereas the left bank rose to a height of 46 ft. A rivulet 3
m. wide coming from the west had cut its way through the latter bank.

The main river was getting more and more magnificent at every turn. I
should have enjoyed the journey very much had it not been for the
constant attention I had to pay to my men, who left their paddles and
steering gear at every moment in order to fire recklessly at birds or
_ariranhas_ or _capivaras_, much to the danger of everybody on board.
They would blaze away with their repeating rifles--and bullet cartridges,
of course--at parrots and even _colibri_ birds 100 or 200 metres off.
They said the rifles were bad because they could never hit anything! I
had ceased scolding them. They made me positively ill with pity, I was
only praying for our supply of cartridges to come to an end soon, so that
if we were to die at all it might not be through being pierced by one of
our own bullets.

The river had been flowing, with slight deviations, northwards.

We came to an enchanting island 70 m. wide, with thick vegetation upon it
and fine rocks.

The river in that portion flowed practically north in great stretches of
6,000 and 4,000 m. Another large and beautiful island, 250 m. long and 70
wide--Ghislaine Island--was passed, and we admired the gorgeous
vegetation upon it.

Below the island the river was 100 m. wide and very shallow--not more
than from 1 to 4 ft. in depth. We halted at sunset, having gone that day
92 kil. 300 m.

During the night of July 11th my men suffered a great deal from cold, the
thermometer being as low as 45° Fahrenheit. In the morning there was a
thick fog over the river--so thick that we had to delay our departure
until eight o'clock, as we could not see more than two or three metres
ahead.

Two kilometres beyond we came to a rivulet, 2 m. wide, on the left bank,
and soon after to a small _corrideira_ with a navigable channel in the
centre. Three hundred metres farther down we passed another tributary on
the right bank. There was open country with sparse stunted trees on the
left of us, thick forest with plenty of rubber trees on the right. I
noticed several good specimens of the _pao dolce_--a tree with a curious
cluster of yellow flowers not unlike the flower of wistaria upside down.
Not only was the _pao dolce_ pretty to look at, but a most refreshing
beverage could be made from a decoction of its leaves.

The course of the river was winding, with basins and rapids of no great
importance. Another tributary 2 m. wide was reached on the left bank, and
soon after another tiny streamlet entered the Arinos from the same side.

I had a narrow escape. One of the men, who was sitting behind me in the
canoe, saw an _ariranha_ (_Lutra Brasiliensis_) put its head out of the
water only ten metres in front of the canoe. In his great hurry to kill
the beautiful animal he seized his rifle and emptied the eight shots out
of his magazine, firing the first three shots close to my head on the
left side, the other five just as close on the other side. The muzzle of
his rifle was so near my ear that the noise deafened me for several
minutes and my hair was almost singed off. The _ariranha_, needless to
say, escaped unhurt, and luckily so did I.

We went over a long strip of shallow water from 1 to 3 ft. deep. We now
had open country on the right bank, with a small streamlet finding its
way into the Arinos on that side. The river was flowing again in long
straight stretches--3,000 m., 2,000 m., 2,500 m. in length. In the
portions where the banks were thickly wooded innumerable rubber trees
were to be seen.

In the centre of a basin 150 m. wide we found another island, 100 m. long
and 50 m. wide, absolutely smothered in vegetation and with a handsome
gravel spit at its southern end. Two kilometres farther another basin,
300 m. broad, appeared. An amazing quantity of rubber trees was to be
seen round that basin. Near the water we also found fine specimens of the
_mate_ (_Ilex Paraguayensis_ St. Hil.), with its wax-like leaves, much
used in certain parts of South America for making a kind of tea.

For close upon 13 kils. the river flowed--with slight deviations--almost
always due north, and with its limpid waters was of extraordinary beauty.
The country was open on the right side of us. We saw that day two white
_urubú_ (_Cathartes_). The Brazilians have a curious superstition about
them. They say that if you write with a quill taken from the wing of one
of these birds any business which you may be transacting will go well; in
fact, anything you may wish to do and which you set down on paper with
one of these quills and ink is sure to turn out successfully.

That day I again suffered much, while taking astronomical observations,
from the millions of bees and other insects which settled in swarms upon
my hands and face and stung me all over. We were then in lat. 12° 26'·5
S., long. 56° 37' W. The temperature in the sun was not
unbearable--merely 85° Fahr.

In the afternoon, after we had enjoyed an excellent lunch of fish, tinned
provisions, and rice--my men also enjoying their _feijao_ (boiled
beans)--we continued our journey. The river for 9,000 m. displayed first
clean _campos_ and _chapada_ on the left bank and dense forest on the
right, then _campos_ on the right bank and a belt of forest along the
river on the left.

The _campos_ were particularly neat in that region--merely a few _burity_
and _tucum_ palms flourishing on the edge of the water. In other
localities a thick growth of beautiful bamboos interspersed with gigantic
palms lined the banks.

Where the river turned due east we came to fairly strong rapids. The
water was shallow with mounds of gravel, and we bumped about a great
deal. Eventually we all had to get into the water and push the canoe
along for greater comfort.

The river next formed a huge basin, 900 m. long and 200 m. wide. A small
tributary flowed into the Arinos in the crescent-shaped bank on the
right. That bank had a height of 80 ft. On its summit quantities of
_Siphonia elastica_ were to be admired. Farther down it was on the left
side that the river had high banks, some 60 ft. high.

We went over a charming little _corrideira_. Strong eddies were
encountered on emerging from the rapids. Where the right bank became
lower--only 40 ft.--_chapada_ replaced the forest. The left bank was but
1 ft. above the level of the river, and the low country beyond (south)
was naturally liable to inundation. For 4,000 m. the left bank was never
higher than 4 ft. The right bank also suddenly became very low in that
region.

Where the river turned from 290° b.m. to 320° b.m., there was a basin
700 m. broad with low banks. An island--Lydia Island--200 m. in
circumference, rose within this basin on the north side and was
luxuriantly wooded.

We found that day beautiful beaches of gravel, mostly on the right side.
Then strong rapids and _corrideiras_; below these more clean-looking
gravel beaches--this time on the left--were visible, and an extensive
island of gravel close to the right bank.

For 8,000 m. the gorgeous stream flowed almost in a direct line
northward, with dense forest and a wealthy growth of rubber trees on both
sides. Wonderful _figueira_ trees with their spotless white branches
embellished the landscape.

On the left a tributary of some size entered the Arinos from the
south-east in two arms with an island between; the largest arm was 40 m.
wide, the smaller 10 m. Then another stream entered the Arinos on the
right side.

We were again confronted by a large basin enclosed on the north by a
crescent-shaped wall 100 ft. high, at the foot of which at the level of
the river was a quantity of débris of yellow rock. The river at that spot
turned sharply from 20° b.m. (N.N.E.) to 290° b.m.--that is to say,
almost north-west. The width of the Arinos at this point was from 80 to
100 m.

Towards sunset we came to a beautiful island 200 m. long. We cleared a
sufficiently large space in the dense and gorgeous vegetation to make our
camp for the night.



CHAPTER V

     Great Islands--The Trinchão Fish--A Fisherman's Paradise--Alastor
     Island--Plentiful Rubber--The Civilized Man's Idea of the
     Tropical Forest--The War-Cries of the Indians--Swarms of Bees and
     Butterflies


WE had another cool night on July 12th--minimum temperature 47° F. It was
very damp, and in the morning we had, as on the previous day, a thick
mist which prevented our starting until it cleared up, at 7.40 a.m. The
mist rose in columns and square blocks over the warmish water of the
river. The right bank of the Arinos was 40 ft. high.

We had gone some 1,500 m. from our camp when we came to a magnificent
island, 400 m. long and 200 m. wide--Griselda Island--which divided the
stream into two channels.

All the islands we had seen of late showed on the up-stream side a more
or less extensive spit of beautifully coloured gravel and glittering
crystals. The latter shone in the sun with such iridescent luminosity
that it gave those islands a fairy-like appearance.

We encountered troublesome eddies which swung the canoe about, and in one
case actually spun her completely round in a most alarming manner,
tearing out of Alcides' hands the steering gear, which we had some
trouble in recovering.

There were many handsome large-leafed _pacová_, somewhat resembling
banana palms; also quantities of _Siphonia elastica_, although these were
not quite so plentiful as farther south nor the trees so high. A tiny
brook of delicious water descended into the Arinos from the left bank.

Ten thousand five hundred metres farther down from Griselda Island we
came to another island, 300 m. long and 50 m. broad--Negrino Island--with
the usual spit of gravel and beautiful crystals on the south side. This
island was 10 ft. high above the water, with some trees on it, but not
such luxuriant vegetation as on most of the other islands we had seen.

A stream 5 m. wide at the mouth, coming from the N.N.W., entered the
Arinos on the right side. The main river had a direction of 305°
b.m.--that is to say, virtually north-west. Great volcanic slabs of rock
and sand-banks were now reached.

The sun was not extraordinarily hot--90° F. at noon. The country on
either side was open--chiefly _chapada_. Beautiful gravel beaches were
now seen, extending half-way across the river, particularly from the left
side.

Another tributary 5 m. wide coming from the N.N.E. was passed on our
right, and beyond this a thick forest with rubber trees was visible,
while _chapada_ continued on the left.

Round a big basin 200 m. in diameter, containing shallow water from 1 to
6 ft. deep, stood a mass of gigantic trees with verdant healthy foliage,
and innumerable abnormally tall _burity_ palms, over 100 ft. high, and
_tucum_ (_Astrocaryum tucuma_)--also of immense size.

Many huge _trinchão_ fish followed our canoe for some time, gazing
curiously at us. They came so impudently near that my men actually hit
them on the head with their paddles.

One more streamlet entered the Arinos on the right side just before we
reached a big basin, 250 m. in diameter, with wonderful gravel beaches in
regular little mounds stretching half-way across the basin. Another
little tributary (on the right side) came next, 7,000 m. farther down
stream. The vegetation was there so dense and so entangled that we could
find nowhere a suitable spot on which to land for our midday halt. About
noon, however, _chapada_ and open country again appeared on the right
bank for a distance of some 2,000 m.

[Illustration: A Formidable Vortex.]

[Illustration: Going down a Violent Rapid in a Narrow Channel.]

There we indulged in a plentiful lunch, the country round being as still
as death. Not a sign could be seen anywhere of a human being; not a
column of smoke indicating the presence of man rose anywhere in the clear
sky. Nowhere did we meet disturbed vegetation; nowhere did we notice a
trail or a passage through the vegetation coming to the water; nowhere
did we meet abandoned camps or any signs whatever that human beings had
ever lived there. There was no animal life of fair size on the surface;
no parrots, no monkeys, no mammals of any kind--only millions of insects,
which made one's life a burden.

It was not so with the river, which was swarming with innocent fish, only
too ready to be killed and supply us with excellent meals. The reason, of
course, that the river was so full of fish, and that the fish displayed
such delightful simplicity, was because there were there no human
beings.

Soon after leaving camp--all the happier for an excellent lunch--we came
once more to thick, beautiful, clean forest on both sides. Again rubber
was plentiful, and absolutely untouched by the collector's hand. The
river was getting amazingly beautiful, 200 m. wide all along, the water
like a faultless silver mirror irreproachably reflecting each leaf, each
branch of the motionless trees on both banks. There was not a breath of
wind to disturb the tranquillity of that deliciously restful scene.

Yet one more gorgeous island--Alastor Island--300 m. long and 80 to 100
m. wide, was seen. It was preceded on the south-east side by innumerable
gravel mounds just emerging above the water surface, then by a
magnificent gravel beach with numberless beautiful crystals. On the left
bank a tributary 15 m. wide entered the Arinos from the south-west.

The river was getting more and more entrancing at every turn. Profuse
blossoms of the most gorgeous yellow shone resplendent in all their
beauty against the background of dark green foliage. The entire edge of
the forest was festooned with daintily-leafed creepers and with myriads
of convolvuli of the purest amethyst colour.

There was poetry in the scene--frequently disturbed, perhaps, by the
inconceivable oaths of the man to whom was entrusted the heavy task of
baling out the water from the canoe, which leaked badly. She was fissured
from end to end, and we had no effective means of preventing the water
coming in; in fact, if the baling were not done quickly and continuously
with a bucket, the water soon gained and reached the platform on which
we had placed the baggage. Our feet, of course, were in water all day
long. We did not mind that so much. In fact, our feet got so soaked with
moisture that we could peel off the skin in big patches with the greatest
ease.

After travelling across a basin 250 m. broad, we came to a _corrideira_
with shallow water. We dashed with great speed sideways over a bank of
gravel, and nearly turned turtle. The gravel was banked up against the
lee side of the canoe, and with a strong current pushing her we had the
greatest trouble to pull her off again.

There was a great deal of rubber, particularly on the left bank, while on
the right, _chapada_ was again observed. The river was so wonderfully
tidy that, had it not been for its great breadth, one would have felt as
if going through a watercourse in England.

From the east came a little tributary, 2 m. wide, on the right bank.
Another beautiful island, 500 m. long and 80 m. wide--Helena Island--a
most enchanting place, preceded by the usual gravel mounds and beach, was
passed in the afternoon. Small streamlets entered the main stream, one on
each side--one 6 kils. beyond Helena Island, the other one a little
farther.

The river maintained its average width of 200 m. nearly all the time.
Late in the afternoon we passed on the left bank a hill 120 ft. high,
belonging to a range that extended from E.S.E. to W.N.W. at an angle to
the river, which there flowed in a direction almost north. There was
plenty of rubber of excellent quality near the water.

Shortly after leaving this range we came to a lagoon, then to open
campos behind a thin row of stunted trees on the left bank. The lagoon
was situated at a point where the river described a curve from north to
70° b.m. Two small streamlets entered the Arinos on the right. We made
camp near a small lagoon in the forest shortly after sunset.

The distance we had travelled during the last two days was 86 kil. 900 m.
on July 11th, and 76 kil. 600 m. on July 12th, or altogether 163 kil. 500
m.

To anybody accustomed to travelling in equatorial countries it seems
amazing, on returning to civilization, to find what curious notions
people have of the tropical forest. Even in the case of writers of
distinction I could quote many passages which are painfully ridiculous.
One of the greatest modern Italian writers, for instance--who, by the
way, in one of his latest novels, copied almost word for word many pages
from my books--added the poetic touch that in the tropical forest flowers
were found so large that they could not be picked, and fruit so enormous
that no human tooth could bite it! Again, the majority of people believe
that it is impossible to go through the forest without cutting your way
all the time--the "cutting a way through" meaning to most people the
constant chopping down of trees of all sizes, undergrowth, bamboos,
_liane_, and other creepers. As a matter of fact, any experienced
traveller has much less trouble in going through the forest than people
imagine. This is not the case with people unacquainted with the forest,
or with people whose sense of observation is not much developed. One can
go sometimes for miles through the dense forest without once using knives
at all; although necessarily a knife must be carried, as there are
places where a cut from its blade will make passing through more
comfortable. This is particularly true of the Brazilian forest. The
forests of that country, especially in the central region where I was
then travelling, were wonderfully clean, when once you entered them,
although, when seen from the river, they appeared impenetrable. Near the
water, owing to the moisture, there was frequently a thick but narrow
belt--only a few metres wide--of dense growth. Beyond it, when you were
in the forest itself, nothing grew under the trees, and the ground was
just as clean as the best kept English park. One could walk in comfort
without the slightest trouble, an occasional well-applied blow with the
heavy-bladed knife disentangling in a second an interfering _liana_ which
might stand in one's way.

It must not be forgotten that you can get under or over _liane_, or shift
them on one side, without ever having the trouble of severing them. It is
only occasionally, when they are entangled, that it saves time to cut
them. Barring an occasional thick belt along the Amazon River, it is
almost safe to assert that an experienced man can travel, alone, anywhere
in the forests of Brazil without carrying a penknife. This is not the
case, of course, when you are travelling with a caravan and with baggage,
when a sufficiently large passage has to be opened.

In Africa the equatorial forests are incomparably more difficult to
traverse than the Brazilian forests, and those who assert the Brazilian
forests to be impenetrable only say so because they do not know what
they are talking about. Even when it comes to actually chopping down
trees in the Brazilian forests, one blow with the axe or with the knife
will easily cut down a fair-sized tree. As I have already stated
elsewhere, most of the Brazilian forest trees have no resistance
whatever. They are full of water, and, with a judicious blow, can be cut
almost as easily as celery. Many are the trees also, the inside of which
near the ground has been eaten up entirely by ants, and it was not
uncommon when you leant heavily against a tree that you and the tree
tumbled down. Ants do not seem to attack lactiferous trees, such as those
producing rubber, which therefore flourished in that particular region.

Most of the trees in that particular part of the forest were small in
diameter, and only had branches or leaves at a very great height. That
was why the forests in Brazil looked so extraordinarily clean beneath, in
contrast to the equatorial forest in such countries as Central Africa or
the Philippine Islands. The wonderful cleanliness of the river, to which
I have so often alluded, was a great contrast to the masses of floating
decomposing vegetation which is always to be seen in the African rivers.

The minimum temperature during the night of July 13th was 51° Fahr.
During that night we were suddenly roused by our dogs barking furiously.
We heard strange noises, as if people were trying to run away quickly
through the forest. Indians had, much to our surprise, come quite close
to our camp, and had it not been for the alarm given by the dogs we
should most likely have been attacked by them. In the morning we heard
in the distance their war-cries and piercing ululations, which rent the
air. Judging merely by the noise they made, there must have been from
thirty to fifty of them. My men were greatly excited over this
experience. These Indians belonged, I think, to the Tapanhonas tribe.

We left our camp at 7.45 in the morning. As the river was there in an
almost straight line for 8 kil., we continued hearing--more and more
faintly, of course, as we went on--for some distance the excited yells of
the Indians.

The left bank, through which a streamlet cut its way into the Arinos, was
fairly open with _chapada_. An island, 150 m. wide and 200 m. long--Julia
Island--was next seen. It had an extensive beach of gravel at its
southern end, and the island itself was covered with dense and very
beautiful vegetation. Another streamlet 1 m. wide entered the Arinos
opposite the island from the left side. Farther on another streamlet, 3
m. wide at the mouth, and coming from the north, flowed into the main
stream on the right side. Three and a half kilometres farther another
tributary streamlet, also 3 m. wide, was met on the right. We there saw
_chapada_ on both banks as we went along, with merely a thin edge of
trees along the river.

Where the river described a graceful elbow, a charming tongue of land,
with deliciously green grass upon it, was most refreshing to the eyes. A
river 8 m. wide at the mouth was met a little way beyond on the left
side. We noticed opposite that place a beautiful spot for making a camp,
but it was not a convenient hour for us, and so we went along.

About 1,500 m. farther down a long narrow island (200 m. long, 80 m.
wide)--Gemma Island--heavily wooded, was passed and admired. It had the
usual gravel spit on its southern or up-stream point, the river in that
particular spot flowing due north in a perfectly straight line for 4,000
m. The island stood in the centre of a basin 200 m. broad. There were
_campos_ and _chapada_ on the left bank.

We landed on the island, and found most beautifully clean forest, nice
and cool in the greenish dim light which penetrated through the dense
masses of foliage. Particularly noticeable for their beauty were the
handsome large mimosas.

On the right bank of the river was forest with plenty of rubber trees,
but occasionally even on that side patches of what the Brazilians call
_serradão_ (close forest) were met with.

A hill range 120 ft. high formed a crescent from west to north-west on
the left side of the stream. A kilometre and a half farther forest was to
be seen on the left side of the river; whereas on the right was _chapada_
and _campos_, quite open. A picturesque rocky island, 15 m. in diameter,
in laminated horizontal and rich brown volcanic rock, rose 3 ft. above
the water in the centre of the stream. From that spot for 2 kil. I
noticed _chapada_ on the right bank; then after that was beautiful dense
forest on both sides, with innumerable vigorous rubber trees.

The river there was 200 m. wide and had shallow water with strong
_corrideiras_ over enormous parallel transverse dunes of sand and gravel
which formed the bottom. Islets of gravel were exposed, especially near
the left bank and in the centre, leaving only a more or less navigable
channel near the right bank.

We ran aground many a time along the 500 m. of shallow water, varying
from 6 in. to 3 ft. deep. We emerged into a large basin 300 m. wide where
eddies of no great strength were formed. On the edge of the beautiful
basin we halted for our lunch, and to take the usual astronomical
observations at local noon. We were in lat. 12° 26'·5 S.; long. 56° 47'
W.

I do not know if I have ever seen such swarms of bees and butterflies as
I saw at that place. They seemed to swoop down upon us in myriads from
all sides. Taking the solar observations with the sextant and artificial
horizon, I endured positive torture with the hundreds of bees which
settled on my forehead, nose and hands; while thousands of mosquitoes and
ants stung my legs, arms and face in those spots where it was not
possible to wrap myself up with towels.

It will be noticed in most of the photographs which were taken along the
river, and some of which illustrate this book, that all my men have their
heads wrapped up. This was done as a protection against the tantalizing
insects. The temperature was warm; that day, for instance, was 105° F. in
the sun and 86° in the shade.

We left again at 1.15, my men being--for a change--in a good mood, owing
to the amusing time we always had fishing. We had been making excellent
progress during the last two or three days. The strange man X enlivened
our journey with diabolical songs and with crude wit, which sent his
companions into fits of laughter. When they were in a merry mood or
excited, I noticed that they paddled along much quicker and better, so I
did not try to put a check to the abominable language which would have
jarred the feelings of any one not born and bred in the interior of
Brazil.

It was quite interesting to me to find in that region so much _chapada_
and open country, as I had fully expected to find thick forest all along.
What struck me particularly on the Arinos, and which I could not very
well explain, was that nearly invariably, when you had thick forest on
one side of the stream, you had open country on the other, and only
seldom noticed either forest or campos on both sides of the stream at the
same time.

After passing _chapada_ on the left bank we came to a great many rocks
just above water. A river 3 m. wide entered the Arinos on the right side,
and there was to be seen an immense quantity of beautiful rubber
trees--as yet untouched by human being. The river kept its width of 200
m. After going along _chapada_ on the left bank for some 3 kil., we came
to magnificent forest--this time on both sides--with a luxuriant growth
of rubber trees.

The scene, in its wonderful quietude, was most impressive. It made one's
heart bleed to think that such rich land should lie unknown and
unexploited in these enlightened and enterprising days of the twentieth
century.

The sky above us was always interesting, with its typical filaments of
mist, their lengthy radiations faintly marked upon the vivid blue of the
sky vault and making a centre in the north. These radiations were in
appearance not unlike giant ostrich feathers. They were formed, I think,
over the great streams which flowed northwards into the Amazon.

We were troubled that day with numerous eddies and shallow water, owing
to the great width of the river. Innumerable mounds of gravel rose in the
centre of the stream up to a few inches below the water level.

Another hill range, 100 ft. high, met that day was crescent-shaped, the
arc of a circle thus described being from south-east by east to
north-east.

The hill range on the north-east side of us was eroded, exposing a red
vertical wall 60 ft. high. A small river 2 m. wide coming from the east
entered the Arinos on the right bank.

For 3,500 m. from that point the stream had an average width of 250 m.,
and was really magnificent with the wonderful cleanliness of the
water--not the slightest impurity, not a speck of wood or a leaf floating
upon its surface.

Fourteen kilometres of heavenly navigation--barring X's language and the
comments of his companions--and we came to an ideal triangular island,
1,200 m. long, 200 m. wide at its broadest point, with the usual
extensive gravel spit at its southern end--Victor Emmanuel Island. The
vegetation upon it was too gorgeous for words, but there was no animal
life except insects.

Four kilometres farther a basin 300 m. in diameter and from 1 to 6 ft.
deep was crossed, in which a strong _corrideira_ was met. The navigable
channel was in the centre of the basin. A stream 10 m. wide, of most
beautiful crystalline water, which had its origin from the south-west,
threw itself into the Arinos on the left side, some 2,000 m. below the
basin.

From this point for 8 kil. the river flowed with a slight deviation of
10° in a northerly direction. The left bank of the river was now quite
open, with patches of _chapada_ and somewhat taller but still stunted
vegetation beyond; a thin row of tall trees lined the river side. On the
right bank was luxuriant forest, and again plenty of beautiful rubber
trees. Two islets of gravel were next seen.

We were experiencing great difficulty in getting suitable camping places
at the right time when we needed them. By 4.30, having come across a spot
which seemed suitable, we halted, having gone that day 85 kil. 700 m.



CHAPTER VI

     The _Tapirus Americanus_--Striking Scenery--The _Mate_
     Tree--Photography in Camp--Brazilian Way of Reasoning--A New
     Christopher Columbus--The Selection of our Camps--Beautiful
     Fruit--A Large Tributary


WE were still at an elevation of 1,100 ft. The water was almost stagnant,
and was evidently being held up by some obstacle. I feared that we should
soon encounter nasty rapids. Watching the sky, I was generally able to
foretell what was ahead of us in the river. In fact, a pretty mackerel
sky, particularly to the north-west, showed me that the water of our
river must be breaking up considerably, either in rapids or waterfalls,
in order to produce sufficient moisture in the air to cause the
accumulation of those cloudlets. I always noticed that wherever there
were heavy rapids farther down clouds of more or less magnitude formed
directly above them at a comparatively low elevation, and remained there
owing to the perfect stillness of the air.

On the night of July 14th the cold was felt intensely by my men, the
thermometer actually showing a minimum of 38° F.

During the night my men had a great excitement. A large pachyderm, an
_anta_ (_Tapirus Americanus_) inquisitively came in the midst of our
camp. It was evidently as much astonished at seeing us as we were in
discovering its presence. My men had been firing their cartridges away
during the day at rocks, at fish in the river, and so on, so that when
their rifles were really needed the magazines were all empty, and gave
the _anta_ plenty of time to hop away gracefully into the darkness of the
forest.

I had given orders to them to keep watch all night, as a precaution
against an attack from the Indians, but my orders were, as usual,
disobeyed. Personally, I took the first watch every night, sitting up
till 2 a.m., which time I occupied in writing up my notes, working out
computations of astronomical observations, classifying the botanical and
geological specimens collected during the day, and replenishing my
cameras with new plates.

My men had eaten up all the supply of beans (_feijao_) I had purchased at
Diamantino, and therefore even the cook could not be kept awake during
the night. The first rubber collector I had picked up when coming down
the Arinos was now our cook, and diabolical indeed was his _cuisine_.
Several times already his life had been in danger from the angry attacks
of his companions, the quantities of pepper he sprinkled on everything he
cooked causing us all to cough sometimes for half-hours at a time. He was
very fond of pepper himself, and could not understand why none of us
liked it.

During the night we still had a mackerel sky, covering one-third of the
sky vault, and a clear triangle of mist, the apex of which was to the
west, extending towards the east, close upon the horizon line. When we
left in the morning at 7.30, we had _chapada_ and _campos_ on the right
bank and forest on the other side. We had gone some 8½ kil. from our camp
when we came to a hill range, 75 ft. high, on the right bank, encircling
the river with its thickly wooded slopes. There was a tributary 25 m.
wide, a most beautiful stream, on the right bank. It came from 70° b.m.
Its water was deliciously clear. Where it entered the Arinos it had
deposited a bank of crystals and marble pebbles--yellow, red, and
white--which in the dazzling sun shone with great brilliancy at the
bottom of the river. Numberless rubber trees were to be seen at that spot
on the banks of the Arinos, and also on those of this new important
tributary.

Two kilometres farther, where the Arinos was 280 m. wide, it looked just
like a big lake of stagnant water. The country was quite open on the left
side, first _chapada_, then _campos_.

By 9.30 a.m. we had a most wonderful display of clouds and radiations of
what looked like so many mares' tales from the W.S.W. The river at that
point flowed for 1 kil. in a direction due south. We came to a basin 300
m. across with a spit of white sand on the north-west side. In this basin
was an island--Nattalì Island--200 m. long, 20 m. wide, 10 ft. above
water, with a fine beach of sand and gravel on the south side. Gravel
mounds were innumerable in the centre of this stream.

After we had gone some 8 kil. farther down my men shot an _ariranha_.
They had a belief that these _ariranhas_ would easily kill a man in the
water. As we have already seen, they certainly had a great craving for
blood and were always brave in attacking. My men called them "water
leopards." In fact, the head of the _ariranha_ was not unlike the head of
a cat or a leopard. Although shot through the body two or three times,
the _ariranha_ actually came thrice to the attack of the canoe--so that
my men were able to seize it by the tail and pull it inside the canoe
while it was in a dying condition.

Sixteen kilometres farther down we came to another beautiful tributary
with delightfully clear water, 6 m. wide where it met the Arinos. One
hundred metres lower down another little tributary, only 4 m. wide, also
on the right bank, joined our stream. The first tributary seemed to come
from the north-east. At the mouth of this tributary was a spot which
would have made a lovely halting place, but as it was too early in the
day we reluctantly went on in a north-westerly direction, first for 4
kil., then north-east for 5 kil., passing through a large basin 300 m.
wide, containing two islets, then passing charming sand-beaches, and
farther on another tributary, 8 m. wide, on the left of us, also with
deliciously clear water. When we proceeded on our journey after lunch we
found big rocks more frequent in the stream, and went over a field of
great boulders just under the surface of the water that stretched
half-way across the shallow river.

Eight kilometres from our halting-place we came to an extensive stony
place with a strong rapid. One kilometre beyond, a small tributary flowed
into the Arinos from the left side. On the left side we had a red and
brilliant yellow bank 70 ft. high, part of a small range of hills which
turned the river from N.N.W. to N.N.E. Another small tributary 2 m. wide
was seen on the left side. Then, 4 kil. farther on, another tributary,
also 2 m. wide, and also on the left side, came from the south-west.
Three thousand six hundred metres beyond this, we entered a basin 320 m.
wide with an island 150 m. long, including its gravel spit. Three more
islands were seen a little way beyond--Meraud, Tanis, and Loel Islands,
Meraud being the largest. Another island was on the left of the river,
leaving a passage 50 m. wide on its west side. The group of islands was
of alluvial formation with deposits of gravel below.

The river in that region was too beautiful for words. The foliage of the
thick heavy forest on both sides was densely green, the banks most tidy,
and running in an almost straight line for 10,000 m. During all that
distance the stream was 300 m. wide, and its speckless water reflected
with marvellous definition each leaf and branch against the background of
deep green. Neat gravel banks occurred frequently in the shallow water.

Some 300 m. down this long straight stretch of river a tributary 8 m.
wide, coming from 210° b.m., threw itself into the Arinos. Strong eddies
were formed, as many rocks were strewn in the centre of the stream.

One kilometre farther a conglomerate mass of granite and yellow and red
lava, with impurities embedded in it, emerged just above the water in the
centre of the stream.

Another streamlet, 2 m. wide, and of wonderfully limpid water, joined the
Arinos on the right side. It came from the north-east. Then another
little streamlet was seen on the left side.

At the end of 10 kil., where the river made a wide angle from 330° b.m.
to 350° b.m., and another straight line of 4,000 m. stretched in front of
us, we beheld a huge submerged bank of sharp volcanic conglomerate rock.
In fact, we unexpectedly almost ran into it. Had we done so at the rate
at which we were travelling, our canoe would certainly have been smashed
to pieces against the sharp-edged fractured rock--just as sharp at the
angles as the blades of knives.

Where the river turned once more from 350° b.m. to 320° b.m. another
small tributary appeared on the right bank, and there a lot of handsome
_mate_ trees (_Ilex paraguayensis_) seemed to flourish, and were
certainly pretty to look at.

Farther down we again came to _chapada_ on the left bank and heavy
foliaged forest with a certain number of rubber trees on the right bank.
The left bank, where it described a great sweeping circle, was low and
sandy, some 12 ft. above the level of the river. Only a thin fringe of
low trees grew there on the edge of the water.

Six kilometres from the last tributary on the right bank another
streamlet, 3 m. wide, coming from the S.S.W., cut its way through the
left bank. Two thousand five hundred metres farther on another tributary
20 m. wide--a deliciously beautiful stream--flowed gracefully into the
Arinos on the right side from the north-east.

We made our camp at the junction of the two streams. The camp was
extremely bad. It was already late in the evening and we could find no
other suitable spot. We had gone that day 83 kils. I was quite satisfied
with the progress we had made during the last few days. During the
evening I made an excursion on foot along the tributary river to the
north-east for several kilometres, but I found nothing of particular
interest.

During the night we received another visit from an _anta_, but the
pachyderm again escaped before my men had time to kill it. We heard cries
of Indians in the distance. My men were in a great state of mind for fear
we should be attacked. I sat up the entire night in order to be ready in
case of emergency.

I took that opportunity of computing and checking many of the
astronomical observations I had taken, and developing a great number of
photographic glass plates.

In my experience I have found that the fears people have of spoiling
negatives unless one is shut up in an absolutely dark room are quite
exaggerated. On that particular occasion, for instance, and on many
previous and subsequent occasions, I developed the glass plates--and I
think with satisfactory results--out in the open, with merely the
fly-leaf of the tent sheltering me overhead so as not to have the direct
rays of the stars shining upon the photographic plates. Indeed, there was
light enough coming in around the tent for me to see quite plainly what
was going on outside. I simply covered up the developing trays as an
extra precaution, and seldom--in fact, never--spoiled a negative in
process of development.

I also found developing tanks quite serviceable when a great number of
negatives had to be developed quickly. The red lamp necessary for
photographic work was invariably a great nuisance. I do not believe that
a compact, practical dark-room lamp has yet been invented which is really
serviceable to an explorer. If it is a candle lamp the candle melts
quickly in those hot countries, producing an extra large flame which
generally cracks the red glass, and makes so much smoke that the upper
aperture becomes blocked and puts the light out when you happen to be at
the most crucial point of your work.

The oil lanterns would be better, were it not for the difficulty and
messy nuisance of carrying and re-filling the lamp each time with oil.
Electric lights, which are the only practical ones, of course are out of
the question when you have to be away for a year or a year and a half,
the storage batteries getting damaged easily by damp and the innumerable
accidents which you have when exploring.

The greatest care had to be used in repacking the developed glass plates.
I owe to the care I took of them that I was able to bring back 800
excellent negatives out of 800 glass plates exposed.

The night was a little warmer than usual on July 15th--minimum 53° F.
There was a heavy mist over the river when we rose in the morning, and we
had to delay our departure until 7.30 a.m. When the mist began to rise it
hung about in beautiful curves converging to a common radiating centre to
the west.

During the night I had noticed a weird lunar effect--a perfect cross of
immense proportions intersecting the crescent moon, which had a radiating
halo surrounding it.

Four thousand metres from our camp we came to a tributary 3 m. wide on
the left side of the river. It came from the W.S.W. Near this a streamlet
1 m. wide entered the Arinos on the right side, and another streamlet of
equal size farther down on the left bank. There was fairly thin forest on
both sides as we went on, kilometre after kilometre, the water of the
river being almost stagnant in that part and heavy to paddle along.

Five hundred metres down the straight stretch of river, 4,000 m. long, we
came to another charming affluent, 10 m. wide, coming from the E.S.E.
Farther on, another tributary 2 m. wide entered the Arinos on the left
side, and formed a shallow bank of gravel extending half-way across the
stream.

[Illustration: The Result of Half an Hour's Fishing on the
Arinos-Juruena.]

As I have stated elsewhere, the mentality of Brazilians was somewhat
difficult to understand by people of any other nation. They did
everything the wrong way, according to our notions. I had been worried a
great deal, the reader may remember, at the most unpractical way in which
my men loaded the animals when I had my caravan of mules and horses. I
had been more than amazed at Brazilian ideas of architecture, sculpture,
painting and music. I had on many occasions been dumbfounded at their
ideas of honour and truthfulness. Now once more I was sickly amused--I
had by then ceased to be amazed or dumbfounded or angry--at the way my
men daily packed the baggage in the canoe. The baggage was naturally
taken out of the canoe every night when we made our camp, for the canoe
leaked so badly that when we arrived anywhere and halted we had to beach
her, or else, where this was not possible, we found her in the morning
almost entirely submerged. Naturally we invariably selected shallow
places where we could bale the water out and float her again.

Returning to the baggage: the men every morning insisted on loading the
canoe in front, where the four men were situated paddling, and the three
dogs of the expedition were also accommodated. I sat in the centre of the
canoe, and Alcides at the helm naturally stood in the stern. The man
whose incessant daily occupation it was to bale out the water of course
had to be with the group of four men in the bow, since, the canoe being
so heavily weighted at that end, the water found its way down there.

Now, loading the canoe in such a fashion, at the bow, had the double
drawback of causing a greater resistance against the water, and therefore
nearly doubling the work of the men in paddling. Then again, when we ran
aground or struck a rock, the impact was more severe on the canoe--not to
speak of the difficulty of getting her off again. The steering, too, was
also much more difficult with the stern of the canoe so far out of the
water.

I pointed out the mistake to my men, but it was no use arguing, and they
refused to follow my advice. Like all ignorant people, they thought they
knew everything better than anybody else, and as, in a way, they were the
chief sufferers for their own conceit, I thought I would avoid
unpleasantness and let them do things their own way as long as we kept
going forward on our journey.

Alcides, too, who by now had become imbued with the idea that he was as
good a navigator as Christopher Columbus or Vasco da Gama, had the
strangest notions of navigation. He never avoided grounding the canoe on
every bank he saw; he never avoided dashing the canoe into every rock
which stood or did not stand in our way. I never could understand exactly
why he did that, except for the mischievous pleasure he derived from
giving the men who were sitting at the other end of the canoe a violent
bump, which often rolled them over altogether.

When we left Goyaz my men insisted on purchasing life-belts in case we
should be travelling by water. As only one of the Goyaz men could swim, I
had gladly given them the money to purchase those articles. On our first
day of navigation the men amused me very much, as they all appeared
garbed in their life-belts, as if we had been going to the rescue of a
stranded ship in a tempest. I laughed heartily at the sight. The intense
heat of the sun made the heavy cork belts so uncomfortable for them, that
they discarded them when they saw that the canoe would actually float on
the water, and packed them away inside a wooden box, which they then
screwed down tight. The belts remained in that box most of the time,
except one day when a man put one on, as I had given him instructions to
go some way off in the centre of the stream where the current was rather
swift. By misadventure he lost his footing, and had we not been quick in
going to his rescue he certainly would have been drowned.

We tested the life-belts, and I found that not only would they not float
after they had been a minute or two in the water, but they became so
heavy when soaked with moisture that they would have dragged to the
bottom even a fair swimmer. They were evidently old discarded ship belts.
The cork, enclosed in a canvas cover, had got decomposed and pulverized,
and therefore rendered useless.

As we are referring to the strange ways of looking at things by different
nations, I might as well include the endless arguments I had with my men
in selecting our camps. I naturally always selected the cleanest spots
with a flat ground, so that the tents could be pitched satisfactorily
without extra trouble, where there was little vegetation, and where the
water was good. My men always quarrelled over this, and insisted on
stopping in the filthiest places, either where some trees, rotted away,
had fallen down, where the vegetation on the edge of the river needed
cutting, and where the ground had to be levelled before I could pitch my
camp bed. They always preferred sleeping under the stifling vegetation to
where there was an open space and we had the clear sky over us.

They all slept in hammocks--the favourite resting arrangement of the
Brazilian--to my mind the most uncomfortable and absurd fashion of
resting, especially in tropical regions. First of all, it is almost an
impossibility to assume a perfectly horizontal position for your entire
body, except--if you are an expert--diagonally; then there is always a
certain amount of swing and you are likely to tumble over at any moment;
you can never keep the blankets in position, and you expose your entire
body to the stings of the mosquitoes, flies and other insects, and of the
ants which crawl into your hammock by hundreds from the trees in which
they swarm. It was not uncommon when we camped to hear during the night a
crash, followed immediately after by oaths. The tree to which one of the
hammocks had been fastened had suddenly broken and let the man down with
a bump. Then again, the mischievous ants took the greatest delight during
the night in cutting the strings of the hammocks, and on several
occasions my followers had nasty falls. Yet the Brazilians swear by
hammocks.

Another stream 2 m. wide, coming from the north, entered the Arinos on
the right bank. A number of _ariranhas_, attracted by the vivid red of
the British flag which was flying at the stern of the canoe, followed us
for some time and came courageously to the attack, showing their teeth
fiercely at us and snarling frantically. Entire families of those
delightful little creatures were seen, and they invariably gave us a
similar hearty greeting. They followed us sometimes for hundreds and
hundreds of metres, and became most excited when I took the flag and
waved it at them, and sometimes placed it near the water in order to
drive them frantic.

We now had most beautiful forest on both sides. A stream 5 m. wide joined
the Arinos on the left side from the west, forming a charming little
waterfall as it entered the main stream. A little farther on the right
was another streamlet, coming from the south-east. Generally, as in this
case, when we reached tributary streams of any importance, gravel banks
extended and blocked a great part of, sometimes even half, the main
stream.

A picturesque stream, 8 m. wide, coming from the north-east, was then
reached on the right side. It flowed through a rocky gate. Five or six
kilometres farther on a tiny streamlet dribbled into the Arinos, and also
another, 1 m. wide, on the left bank.

At noon that day the sky was extraordinarily interesting. From the
north-west extended a wonderful succession of loop coils of transparent
mist, giving the sky the appearance of a peacock's extended tail.

Just before we halted for lunch we came to a charming streamlet of
delicious water, 2 m. wide, on the right bank.

The days were getting warmer as we advanced farther north. It was hot
work sitting in the sun--105° F. that day--to take observations for
latitude and longitude. In the shade the thermometer registered 89° F.
Lat. 12° 21'·3 S.; long. 57° 16' W.

After lunch, 2½ kil. from our camp, we passed on the left bank a
delightful tributary coming from the W.S.W. Its mouth was 8 m. wide, and
poured forth waters of the most beautiful emerald green.

Five hundred metres farther down another large tributary, 30 m. wide,
coming from the north-east, was observed on the right bank. Farther
still, the river formed a large basin 300 m. wide. Lovely forest
flourished round the sweeping curve of the basin. There was simply a
solid mass of marvellously fresh foliage, with hardly a break through
which, it seemed, a human being could pass. In that particular part the
leaves came right down to the water, but there was no reason to suppose
that they grew equally low inland.

The stream, which was 250 m. broad, showed farther on an immense bank of
gravel 700 m. long, which rose above the surface in the shape of two long
islands--one 300 m., the other 400 m. in length.

We felt the heat considerably going down the river, as we were always in
the sun in the centre of the stream, with a temperature seldom less than
105° F. Especially where thick forest was on both sides of us, there
seemed to be no air close to the water. When we came to patches of
chapada and open country we could breathe a little better. Several were
the tributary streamlets to which we came that afternoon. First we saw
one rivulet, 1 m. wide, on the right bank, then 13 kil. 500 m. farther on
another affluent, 3 m. wide, coming from the north-east, also on the
right bank; then 1,500 m. farther a rivulet ½ m. wide, coming from the
south-west (left bank); then 4,500 m. farther a charming stream, 6 m.
wide, coming from the north, and meeting with the Arinos near an
extensive stony place with shallow and troublesome water. Strong eddies
formed at that spot. One more streamlet, 1 m. wide, was reached that day
on the right. It came from the north-east.

The river had that day flowed almost continuously in directions varying
from north-west to north, barring two sections where its course had been
10° east of north.

After passing the last tributary the river described a sweeping curve,
gradually turning so far back as to flow in a south-westerly (240° b.m.)
direction.

There was there shallow water with gravel banks in the centre of the
stream. Curiously enough, we did not notice so much rubber close to the
river in that region, but in an excursion a short distance from the
water we came upon _Siphonia elastica_ trees, not only along the Arinos
but also along the tributaries.

We halted that day at sunset, having gone 73 kil. 400 m.; which, although
much less than the previous days, was still fair going for us.



CHAPTER VII

     Ideal Islands--Immense _Figueira_ Trees--The "Spider
     Monkey"--Great Variety of Fish in the Arinos--The Rocky Gateway
     into Diabolical Waters--Shooting Dangerous Rapids--Cutting a Way
     through the Forest--A Nasty Rapid--Plentiful Fish


THE night of July 16th was heavy, the thermometer registering a minimum
temperature of 62°F. We had great fun fishing during the early hours of
the night. In the morning we had hundreds of pounds of fish spread upon
the bank of the river, with many excellent specimens of the _motimchun_
fish--so called, I believe, because of its noisy and rebellious habits.

The sky was overladen with clouds, and the west showed radiations of
light. We had gone 2,500 m. from our camp when we came to a tributary
stream on the left side coming from the south. Four thousand four hundred
metres farther on, a hill-range 120 ft. high, with heavy forest upon it,
encircled a sweeping curve on the left of us to the west and north-west.
The cliff of this range, eroded by the river, showed rock of a vivid red
right up to its highest point, laminated in perfectly horizontal layers,
each 10 ft. thick. Farther on a great basin 350 m. wide and of great
beauty had formed.

[Illustration: Leading the Canoe down a Rapid by Rope.]

[Illustration: Characteristic Rocky Barrier across the Arinos River.

(Author's sextant in foreground.)]

Some 10 kil. beyond a beautiful beach of white sand was noticeable on the
left bank. We were always glad to see these beaches, as we frequently
found on them quantities of tortoise eggs--most delicious to eat.

An island--Gabriella Island--200 m. long divided the river into two
channels, the larger one of which--200 m. wide--we followed; the other
being but 30 m. broad and much strewn with rocks. The river, from the
point where we met the sand beach, flowed in a S.S.W. direction for 6,500
m., when it gradually resumed its course northward. The island, thickly
wooded, was extremely beautiful, with trees of great size upon it.
Quantities of _ariranhas_ were to be found near this island, and they
came straight for us with their mouths open, shrieking wildly and
snarling and spitting like cats. I was always amazed at their bravery, as
they came right on while being shot at by my men, the reports of the
rifles enraging them to absolute frenzy.

Shortly after we came to another most beautiful, oval-shaped island, 350
m. long--Maude Island--in a basin extending from east to west for a
breadth of not less than 500 m.

Another island--Vera Island--150 m. long and of an elongated shape, was
seen in the same basin. It also had luxuriant vegetation upon it,
whereas, curiously enough, the banks on either side of the great basin
showed _chapada_ with stunted trees. Farther on, where a small tributary
entered the Arinos on the left side, the country seemed quite open beyond
the narrow fringe of trees along the water.

Another streamlet 3 m. wide flowed into the Arinos from the north-east on
the right bank. The main river there was of a width of 400 m.

Another great island--Luiz Schnoor Island--also most beautiful, like the
others, was next seen. We halted on it for our midday meal, and to take
the usual astronomical observations. The sky had, by that time, become
beautifully clear, of a dense cobalt blue, and I was able to take
twenty-three sights of the sun. I generally took a great many sights with
the sextant and artificial horizon, in order to define the latitude and
longitude with greater accuracy. We were then in lat. 11° 38'·4 S.; long.
57° 35' W.

Gorgeous _gamelleira_ or _figueira_ trees (_ficus_) were to be seen on
that island, standing high up upon arches formed by vigorous roots. In a
way the lower part of those _figueiras_ resembled a huge octopus, the
branches being extremely contorted as they clung to the ground in order
to support the weight of the giant tree of which they made part. One
could easily walk under the tree among the roots and still have six or
eight feet of space left above one's head.

As I went round to explore the island while my men were cooking the
dinner, I discovered a small lake in the centre of the island--a most
poetic spot, with its neat, delightful vegetation all round it reflected
as in a mirror in the golden waters which reproduced in a deeper tone the
rich sunset tints of the sky above. I sat myself down to look at the
beautiful scene. The poetry vanished at once. There were millions of ants
which swarmed all over me the moment I sat down upon the ground, and bit
me with such fury that I had to remove my clothes in the greatest haste
and jump into the water. That raised a cloud of mosquitoes, which made it
most uncomfortable for me when I came out again and was busy searching
for ants in my clothes.

My men killed a beautiful long-armed spider monkey. I was sorry, as I had
watched the wonderful jumps of this animal from one tree to another.
Using the impetus of the swing which they could obtain from the immense
length of their arms, as well as the swing of the branch on which they
were hanging, they could fly enormous distances through the air. The span
from hand to hand in proportion to the size of the body was really
amazing.

Luiz Schnoor Island was 450 m. long. Plenty of rubber trees were to be
seen on the right bank of the river after passing this great island,
especially where the river described a large sweeping curve towards the
north-east.

Farther on, close to the right bank, an island 100 m. long and 5 ft.
high, of yellow sand and gravel, showed brilliantly with its vivid
colouring upon the blue waters of the river. For identification' sake I
named it Gravel Island on the map I was making of the river. I seemed to
be in fairyland--but for the company of my men--as I floated down the
stream, there 400 m. wide.

We had gone hardly 4 kil. when we came to another ideal
island--Margherita Island--400 m. long and 200 m. wide, with magnificent
trees upon it. A small stream joined the Arinos on the left side. Lower
down stream we had thin forest on both sides, with some remarkable _oleo_
trees, with their minute grey leaves and the branches, laden with red
berries, drooping--weeping-willow-like--right down in the water.

Next we came to sand and gravel banks with islets 1 ft. high emerging
from the water in the centre of the river, all those little islets
displaying verdant grass on their southern side and pure white sand on
the northern side.

The river was at that point flowing in a N.N.E. direction. Then came a
long straight line of 6,000 m. of river flowing to 305° b.m. About
half-way through this long stretch the stream divided into two large
arms, one in direct continuation of the above bearings, the other in a
curve, encircling an island 1,000 m. broad. The basin--as still as a
lake--in which this island was situated was not less than 1,500 m.
across. The island--Charles Landor Island--was 2,000 m. in length. It had
plenty of rubber trees upon it, and plenty were to be seen also on the
banks. We went some 8 or 10 kil. farther that night, and at five o'clock
we halted, having made poor progress that day--only 60 kil.

Immense quantities of fish could be seen in the river. No sooner had we
made camp than we got out lines and hooks of all sizes, which we baited
with pieces of _toucinho_. One end of the bigger lines we made fast to
trees, as the fish we often caught were so powerful that on several
occasions they had dragged us into the water and we lost not only the
fish but the line as well. We had great sport that night and caught
quantities of _trahira_ (_Macradon trahira_)--not unlike a giant salmon
and quite as good to eat; and also some _surubim_ (_Platystoma Lima_), a
large fish belonging to the herring family. The surubim was flat-headed,
and not unlike the pintado fish which I have described in a previous
chapter. It had thin scales over the body, and an abnormally powerful
lower jaw, with vicious-looking, sharply-pointed teeth on the edge of the
upper and lower lip. These curiously situated teeth were far apart, and
so firmly inserted in the hard lips that it took a violent blow to remove
them.

Although after a few minutes we had killed fish enough to last us--had we
been able to preserve it--for some weeks, my men sat up the greater part
of the night hauling quantities to the bank. The excitement each time a
fish 80 or 100 lb. in weight was hauled out of the water was
considerable. The wild yells and exquisite language whenever one of my
men was dragged into the water kept me awake the entire night.

We left that camp at 7.30 on July 17th, the minimum temperature having
been 66° F. during the night. Heavy globular clouds covered the entire
sky. We were then in a region extraordinarily rich in rubber; quantities
of _Siphonia elastica_ trees were to be seen. It made one's heart bleed
to think that nobody was there to collect the riches of that wonderful
land.

The river flowed in short sections from north-west to north-north-east,
barring a long stretch of 4,000 m., when we came to a great basin 600 m.
wide, with two large islands in it; the eastern island--Orlando
Island--being 100 m. wide, the western--Elizabeth Chimay Island--220 m.
broad and not less than 500 m. long. South of both these islands were
islets of gravel 50 m. each in diameter.

Nine thousand five hundred metres below these islands an important
tributary, 8 m. wide, flowed into the Arinos from the right bank. It came
from the south-east. Close to the left bank, from which it had been
separated by the current, leaving a channel only 5 m. wide, another
island--Isabel Island--300 m. long was found.

Shortly afterwards we came to a big equilateral-triangular island--Armida
Island--fully 1 kil. a side. Albert Island, next to it, was of a narrow
elongated shape.

From the beginning of Armida Island the river flowed for 4,000 m. in a
direct line to 310° b.m. Four large rocks in a cluster stood in the
centre of the stream at the north-north-westerly end of the island. Then
we had another stretch of 4,300 m., during which the river was squeezed
through a narrow neck, 100 m. wide, between low rocks. Immediately
afterwards we emerged into a bay 800 m. broad, with three islets on one
side of it. They were rather dry and somewhat mean-looking. I called them
Faith, Hope, and Charity Islands.

After that the river was 800 m. wide. A deposit of gravel some 300 m.
long was exposed on the right side beyond the last island of the group.

Three kilometres farther we halted for an hour or so, just time enough
for me to take the latitude and longitude and for our lunch to be cooked.
The usual torture had to be endured from the innumerable insects. The
heat was also terrible--107° F. in the sun, 93° in the shade. Lat. 11°
23'·9 S.; long. 57° 39' W.

When we left, we saw 3,500 m. beyond our halting place, beside a great
heap of rocks on the left side of the river, a rivulet, 3 m. wide,
entering the Arinos on the left.

From that spot the river was contracted from a width of 800 m. to one of
only 120 m. Naturally the water was of great depth and the current
swift.

Two great volcanic rocks stuck out in the centre of the stream, and two
extensive heaps of volcanic rock stood on the right side of us, the rocks
being at all angles in a confused mass. Where these rocks were--a spot
which my men called the "porteira" or gateway--the river turned sharply
from 70° b.m. to 290° b.m. The water seemed almost stagnant there, and we
had to make a great effort to get on. It seemed as if there had been an
undercurrent pushing us back. The water was surely held up by some
obstacle, and I feared we had at last reached the extensive rapids which
I had expected for some days. Rocks were to be seen in abundance all
along, and three more sets of giant boulders were reached, one after the
other, in the centre of the river, there only 150 m. broad. Strange heaps
of broken-up boulders of immense size were to be seen on the right bank;
then farther on more great heaps in confusion on the left bank.

A tiny rivulet found its way among the rocks on the right side. The
channel was much strewn with dangerous submerged rocks. I thought I would
take the navigation into my own hands for a little while, and found a
comparatively easy channel on the left side of the river close to the
bank.

As I had expected, the rumbling noise of troubled waters was getting
louder and louder, and the whitish mist which rose above the horizon line
was an unmistakable sign that we had come to a dangerous spot. Soon
after, in fact, we arrived at a large circular basin, some 600 m. in
diameter, with rocks in the centre of it. Two clusters of magnificent
rocks, 30 ft. high, towered on the left side of the river. Then came a
long row of rocks, also gigantic, and a sandy beach which had accumulated
against them. A little farther another great mass of rocks in disorder
stood up against the now once more fierce current.

We made our way tentatively along what seemed to us the safest channel,
to 320° b.m., and with trepidation shot the rapids, which were quite
fearsome. I must say for my men that by now they had acquired a certain
amount of courage--courage, like all things, being a matter of training
after all. We went down at a terrific speed amidst the splashing waters,
shaving dangerous rocks and escaping collision by miracle. When we got to
the bottom of the rapid we were shot into the whirlpool, which we might
have avoided with ease had Alcides obeyed the orders I shouted to him.

When I had shot the rapids before in other countries, I had always
avoided getting into the centre of the whirlpool; but Alcides, who had
never navigated a river before, held the contrary idea, and always
insisted on steering the canoe right into the centre of those dangerous
rotating waters.

[Illustration: Whirlpool at End of Rapid.]

[Illustration: In Shallow Water.]

It was sufficient to remonstrate as I did, for Alcides to do a thing over
and over again with the persistency of a mule, in order to maintain what
he thought was his _amour-propre_. As it was, on that occasion, the canoe
swerved round with such force that she nearly turned over, and got so
filled with water that we had to struggle out of the difficulty as best
we could and beach her, or she would have sunk.

At that point an island 400 m. long and 50 m. wide divided the river into
two channels. The western channel had a small island of white sand and
many rocks on its southern side. Pretty yellow flowers grew wherever a
little earth had accumulated upon the rocks.

After going 1,800 m. we found a great basin 600 m. wide with a rocky
island and barrier right across it.

Farther on innumerable rocks of all sizes could be seen on the left bank;
and 1,500 m. beyond these, where a solid rock rose in the centre of the
stream, eddies of wonderful power were produced in the stream.

We glanced at a magnificent island of rock on the left side as we sped
along swiftly with the current; but we were so busy with the difficult
navigation, and expecting accidents at any moment--what else could I
expect with the disobedient, unpractical, obstinate crew I had with
me?--that I had not much time to admire the picturesqueness of the
scenery.

I had quite foreseen that it was impossible to avoid disaster sooner or
later, so that all I could do was to think of which would be the best way
to minimize its effects, when it did come.

In the great circular basin which was formed in the river there was a
passage to the west, which I did not like at all, so I ordered my men to
follow the passage to the north-east. We met there violent eddies which
knocked the canoe about in a most alarming manner soon after we had
descended a short rapid of some steepness.

Our baggage was simply soaked owing to the amount of water we had shipped
on various occasions during the day. We saw ahead of us, only a short
distance off, a rapid of some magnitude. We decided to halt at four
o'clock in order that we might go and explore on foot along the bank and
see whether the canoe could be navigated down, or if we had better
unload her and let her down with ropes. We cut a space in the forest,
which was there thick, in order to make our camp. We spread all our
things to dry during the night. The air was stifling--we had a minimum
temperature of 73° F. (July 18th).

I took the accurate elevation of the camp with the hypsometrical
apparatus, water boiling at that spot at 210°·4, with the temperature of
the air 73° F.; altitude 1,113 ft. above sea level. I also took
observations for latitude and longitude: Lat. 11° 17'·5 S.; long. 57° 37'
W. We had to remain the entire morning in order to cut a way through the
forest and take part of the most valuable baggage on men's backs until a
point below the rapids was reached.

We named that place Camp Jahu, as we caught there several enormous fish
of that name.

In a reconnaissance we made we found that from Camp Jahu we had to take
the canoe along among innumerable rocks scattered in the only navigable
channel on the north side of a basin 700 m. wide, with a large island 350
m. wide--Sarah Island--on the southern side of the bay, and another
smaller island almost in the centre of the basin. There was a drop 2 ft.
high--a regular step--in a barrier of sharply-pointed rocks. We had some
two hours' hard work in order to get the canoe safely down. The rocks
were so close together that we could not find a passage large enough for
the canoe, and we actually had to pull her out of the water over some
rocks and then let her down gently on the other side.

After leaving that great _pedraria_ there was a clear basin 250 m. wide,
ending where two enormous heaps of rock formed a giant gateway. An
island, 80 m. wide--Rebecca Island--was found near the left cluster of
rocks. Another small island had formed close to the right of the river.
We descended by the north-easterly passage, only 4 m. wide, where the
current was extremely swift but the rapid comparatively easy to
negotiate.

We then followed the channel flowing to 350° b.m., and after passing
innumerable rocks made our camp again before coming to a large rapid
which we heard rumbling in that direction.

We had worked hard all that day, and all the progress we had made by
sunset was a distance of 2,000 m.--or a little more than one mile.

Alcides, Antonio and I immediately proceeded to cut a trail through the
forest from that point down to the end of the rapid, 1,200 m. farther
down. Then we proceeded to take all the baggage upon our shoulders--a
task which occupied several hours. I was greatly surprised to find that
the men did this willingly enough, although they were unaccustomed to
carrying and the loads were heavy. They laughed heartily at one another
as they struggled under the heavy weights, or trod upon thorns, or were
jerked about with knocking against trees--the passage we had cut being
necessarily not spacious.

I had not seen my men so jolly for a long time--in fact, I do not
remember ever having seen them so jolly. I was in hopes that this state
of affairs might last, as it was certainly not pleasant to be travelling
in such usually morose company.

During the night we caught an immense jahu, weighing over 50 lb., as well
as some 200 lb. of smaller fish. As the bank of the stream was rather
high and steep, we had a great deal of trouble to land the larger fish
safely. Some of my men had exciting experiences, one man falling into the
water on receiving a powerful blow from the tail of the struggling jahu.
The scene was a comic one, the terror of the man being amusing to watch.

We carried a great quantity of salt; with it my men set out to preserve
the best portions of the fish we had caught--a precaution of which I
fully approved.

I noticed that whenever we came across rocky places the number of insects
increased to an enormous extent, especially mosquitoes and gnats. I think
it was due principally to the fact that in those rocks many cavities were
found which got filled with stagnant water which eventually became
putrefied.

The place where we halted we called Abelha Camp, because of the millions
of bees which worried us to death there, not to speak of the swarms of
flies, mosquitoes and ants, and myriads of butterflies which came to
settle in swarms upon us. It was indeed curious to note the wonderful
tameness of the latter, as they had never seen a human being before.

[Illustration: Fishing on the Arinos: a Jahu.]

[Illustration: Fish of the Arinos River.]

There was a nasty-looking rapid close to the camp. We had to let the
empty canoe down carefully by means of ropes, my men on that particular
occasion donning their lifebelts again, although they walked on dry land
when they were taking the canoe along. When I asked them why they put
them on, they said that perhaps the canoe might drag them into the
water and they had no wish to get drowned.

We left that camp late in the afternoon--at three o'clock--having wasted
the entire morning conveying the canoe to a spot of safety and then
carrying all the baggage along overland.

After having gone some 2 kil. farther we came to another rapid and a
_pedraria_ with nasty rocks right across the channel, the only passage I
could see possible for our canoe being in the centre of the stream. That
channel was only a few metres wide, and had in the centre of it a large
rock just under the surface, which flung the water up in the air. We just
managed to shoot that rapid safely, although with trembling hearts.

Farther down, rocks innumerable, rising only two or three feet above
water, spread half-way across the channel from the right side. Then
rapids and strong eddies were encountered. For 700 m. the river showed
foliated rock strewn all along on both banks, and great volcanic boulders
of a more rounded shape. The foliation showed a dip westward of 45°.

We were delighted when we discovered in that region many _solveira_ or
_sorveira_ trees, or milk trees, exuding when incised milk most delicious
to drink. Then there were plenty of _figueiras_ or _gameilleiras_ and
wild bananas. We wasted much time extracting milk from the _solveiras_
and eating wild fruit.

Monkeys were to be seen in that part. They seemed most astonished on
perceiving us, and came quite close, gazing at us in the most inquisitive
manner.

We felt that we had come to a real heaven on earth, except for the
river, which could have given points to the River Styx of infernal fame.

When we returned to the canoe we found obstructions of all kinds in the
stream. Small rapid succeeded small rapid. Rocky islets and scattered
rocks rendered navigation complicated.

Where the river turned sharply to the N.N.E. another dangerous rapid was
reached, with rocks scattered all over the channel, some just submerged.
We tried to shoot that rapid on the east side, but we got badly stuck on
a submerged rock, and once more the canoe filled with water. It took us
the best part of an hour to extricate ourselves from our uncomfortable
position.

A beautiful island 400 m. long and 200 m. wide--Maria Island--was then
reached. It had a long spur of white sand at its south-easterly end, and
pretty vegetation upon it. Strange domes of rock were near by, one
particular dome of great size showing a spit of white sand 70 m. long, on
its north-westerly side. Many other islets of rock rose above the water
along the bank of the larger island, while rapids of some magnitude
existed at the end of the island.

We hardly ever came to a stretch of placid water. No sooner had we left
the last rapid than, the river turning sharply at that point, we went
over a strong _corrideira_, so strewn with obstacles that in the terrific
current we had a narrow escape of having our unmanageable, long canoe
smashed against one of the innumerable rocks.

As we went on at a great speed I had just time to notice rocks of all
sizes and shapes along both banks, and strange rocks in the middle of the
river, one or two of them with stunted trees growing in fissures which
had become filled with earth.

Another island, 300 m. long--Martia Island--with a picturesque spur of
rock at its south-easterly end, was next reached as we were going swiftly
down a _corrideira_ in the channel to the right which we were following.

After the _corrideira_, as I was busy writing a description of the
landscape, I was thrown off my seat. My men also had a similar
experience, the canoe nearly turning turtle and becoming filled with
water. Alcides had steered us right into the centre of a whirlpool.

These unexpected baths were not much to my taste--not so much for the
discomfort they caused my person, as for the trouble they gave me in
protecting my notebooks and instruments. Also, in these accidents we lost
a considerable amount of our supply of salt, which melted away in the
water, and the supply of flour and rice suffered from these unnecessary
immersions.

A channel 30 m. wide separated Martia Island from a second
island--Camilla Island--100 m. long, which must once certainly have
formed part of it, but which had been separated by the eroding waters of
the stream. Both islands were wooded, and were extremely pretty. Great
heaps of rock, 20 m. in diameter and even more, occupied the centre of
the stream after we had passed the last island.

We had only gone 12 kil. 300 m. that day, so difficult had been the
navigation.

During the night in less than one hour we caught two large _jahu_, one
huge _pacu_ (_Prochilodus argentius_), the latter shaped like a sole,
but of a much greater size, and with brilliant red patches on its body--a
most delicately-tasting fish to eat--and a number of large _trahira_
(_Machrodon trahira_), also called by the Brazilians _rubaffo_ because of
the noise they make in the water. Altogether over 200 lb. of fish were
got out of the water in less than sixty minutes.

We found many _jenipapeiros_ (or _genipapeiro_) trees, from the stewed
bark of which we made excellent tea. Its fruit was good to eat, and we
used it for making sweets.

During the night of July 19th the minimum temperature was 67° F.

We started off gaily enough in the morning, passing first a great
boulder, 10 m. in diameter, sticking right out of the water; then an
island 200 m. long contained in a basin 500 m. wide. We left the
island--Ruby Island--which was 80 m. long, on our left, and went down a
channel with strong eddies and whirlpools. Looking back at the eastern
channel, we were glad we had not followed it, as it was extremely rocky.

[Illustration: A Fine Cataract on the Arinos-Juruena River.]

The river was contracting in narrow necks and expanding into large
basins, another of these being 450 m. broad. A strong rapid existed here,
owing to the barrier formed across the stream by a central island of rock
and other boulders. After that came a basin 700 m. wide, with three
islands--Teffe I., Nair I., Rock I.--in its western part. The central and
eastern passages were difficult owing to the quantity of rocks which
stood in the way, so we took the canoe down the channel from S.S.W. to
N.N.E., which was also extremely bad, and where we had to let her down
with the greatest care by means of ropes, the baggage having been
previously unloaded. Even then the canoe got filled with water. That
involved a great loss of time and waste of energy, so that we had to halt
longer than usual in the middle of the day.

Our halting place was most picturesque, situated on volcanic rocks of
great beauty, and overlooking a canal cut into the rocks, with strong and
foaming rapids from east to west. Strong eddies formed at the end of the
rapids.

After leaving the camp and negotiating the rapids, we came to an island
150 m. long--Magda Island--separated by a rocky narrow channel from
another island, 50 m. long, west of it.

After the last rapid we were in a basin 800 m. wide and 1,000 m. long.
Strong _corrideiras_ or rapids occurred all the time, and rocks alone or
in groups standing wherever they were not wanted. Farther on we came to
another big basin, 1,000 m. wide, with a square island on its western
side. The island--Eva Island--was 400 m. broad and of course of an equal
length.

Another island, triangular in shape, 700 m. long--Rose Island--was then
observed, after we had gone over some strong rapids in the passage on the
east side of it.

The river was flowing in a northerly direction, and shortly afterwards
formed two channels--one north-west, the other south-west--which soon
joined again.

A beautiful bank of white sand 120 m. long and 4 ft. high stretched along
the edge of the water on the left side of us. Soon afterwards we entered
an immense basin, 1,300 m. broad with a large island--May Island--on its
western side.

One kilometre farther the island ended at a place where a lot of rocks
stood out of the water. A little lower down other rocks spread right
across the river in two parallel lines, forming very strong rapids, which
were shot, our canoe coming within an ace of turning over.

The basin which followed was extremely rocky, with strong whirlpools,
most troublesome to negotiate. Another island of irregular shape, 200 m.
long and 200 m. wide--Rita Island--was found in a large basin, 1,000 m.
broad, where we came to strong rapids and violent eddies and whirlpools,
the latter most dangerous-looking. The water revolved with such force
that it formed in the centre of each vortex holes from one to two feet in
diameter.

The channel flowing north on the left side of the river seemed the better
of the two, but it was strewn with rocks against which we had many
collisions, owing to the strong current, the unmanageable canoe and the
disobedient crew.

Another island 350 m. long--Eloisa Island--was to the north-east of Rita
Island. Fifteen hundred metres farther on another _corrideira_ occurred.
A small tributary entered the Arinos on the right side.

We were then travelling in a N.N.E. direction, the river being in a
straight line for some 3,000 m., in the course of which we came to a
small island on the left side; then to a great island, 3,000 m.
long--Albert Rex Island--with beautiful forest upon it. There were two
other islets in this channel, one a mere cluster of rocks, the other,
north-east of the first and 150 m. in diameter--Belgium Island--having
pretty vegetation upon it.

A fourth and fifth--Laeken Island, 300 m. in length, and Elizabeth R.
Island, 5,000 m. in length--were separated by a narrow channel. The
latter had most gorgeous vegetation upon it; so tidy was everything in
the thick forest, and the ground under it so clean that you might have
imagined yourself in an English park.

Those islands were really too beautiful for words. Not being a poet, I
cannot find appropriate language to describe their wonderful charm.

The river had a tendency to flow toward the west, and even for 1 kil. in
a south-westerly direction. It had a width of 700 m. A small island 50 m.
in diameter, chiefly formed of accumulated rounded rocks which had rolled
down and deposits of gravel, had formed in the centre of the stream.
Beyond it a charming little island, 180 m. long--Germaine Island--was
found, on which we made our camp. It had an extensive gravel beach, on
which I found beautiful crystals and pebbles of wonderfully coloured
marble.



CHAPTER VIII

     Magnificent Basins--Innumerable Rapids--Narrow Escapes--The
     Destructive Sauba Ants--Disobedient Followers--A Range of
     Mountains--Inquisitive Monkeys--Luck in Fishing--Rocky
     Barriers--Venus


WE left at 8 a.m. on July 20th, the minimum temperature during the night
having been 57° F. We had hardly gone 1½ kil. when we came to another
island, 500 m. long--Mabel Island--quite as beautiful as the one on which
we had camped. Small rapids were encountered where we just managed to
avoid dangerous submerged rocks close to the right bank, near the
entrance of a basin 900 m. wide.

All those basins were really magnificent to look at. This one, for
instance, displayed a lovely island--Noailles Island--500 m. long, and
200 m. wide on its left side. Picturesque rocks of a vivid red colour
peeped out of the water and broke the current, the spray that rose in the
air forming pretty rainbows. There was a channel there, 300 m. wide,
after passing the last island. Then came one more great basin 700 m.
wide, and yet another pretty island, with a rocky spur.

[Illustration: Preparing the Canoe prior to descending a Rapid.]

[Illustration: A Nasty Rapid.]

We followed a course of 10° b.m. on the left side of the island--Margie
Island--which was 500 m. long, and had a number of subsidiary islands
formed by picturesque groups of rock.

We then came to one more great basin, with an immense quantity of rock in
its western part. Many of the boulders showed a foliation in their strata
with a dip of 45° east. The accumulation of boulders formed a formidable
barrier before we reached an island most beautiful to gaze upon, so
luxuriant was the vegetation on it.

This particular island was 200 m. long; next to it was another 150 m.
long; then, joined to this by a link of high rocks to the south-east, was
a third, also of considerable beauty. So charming were these islands that
I called the group the Three Graces Islands.

The river turned due west from that point in a channel of continuous
rapids and violent eddies for some 3,000 m. We went down, the canoe being
knocked about in a most alarming way on one or two occasions, and
shipping so much water as to reach almost up to our knees inside it.

It was fortunate that all my photographic plates, note-books and
instruments were in water-tight boxes, or they certainly would have been
damaged beyond saving. This was not the case with my clothes, shoes, and
bedding, which had now been wet for many days with no possibility of
drying them, as we were travelling all day long and every day, and during
the night the heavy dew prevented them from getting dry. Why we did not
get rheumatism I do not know, as not only did we wear wet things all day
long, but we slept in blankets soaked with moisture.

The moment I dreaded most was that in which we emerged from the rapid
into the whirlpool which always followed, and in which the canoe swerved
with such terrific force that it was all we could do to hold on and not
be flung clean out of her--owing, of course, to the centrifugal force as
she revolved quickly.

Making a survey of the river was getting to be a complicated and serious
job, what with the numberless islands we encountered, the continuous
rapids, and the constant changes of direction. I was busy writing, as
fast as I could--only interrupted momentarily by involuntary
shower-baths--prismatic compass and watch in hand all the time, the
latter in order to measure the distances as accurately as possible.

We had now come to another group of islands in a line in the centre of
the river. They had been at one time evidently all one, which had
subsequently been eroded into five separate islands and an extensive bank
of gravel and sand. Taken in succession from south to north, there was
first an oblong island, thickly wooded, 120 m. long--Nina Island--having
on its western side an elongated bank of sand and gravel; then, where a
barrier of rocks stretched transversely across the stream and where
extremely bad rapids occurred--three of them in succession, each worse
than the last--was another island--Providence Island--1,400 m. in length.

When we reached any rapid we had to be quick in judging which was the
best channel to follow, as the current was so strong that we had not
sufficient strength to pull back against it. I generally selected the
channel, my men by this time having gained sufficient confidence in my
judgment, since so far we had had no serious mishap. But I foresaw that
we should soon have an accident, as they were getting foolhardy, and in
their ignorance attributed the wonderful luck we had had entirely to
their own skill in navigation.

On that particular occasion we had hardly time to recover from shooting
the first rapid with the velocity of an arrow, and were wet all over with
the splash of the water, when we came to the second and third rapids,
where the channel was so narrow and rocks were scattered so near the
surface, that it was really a marvel to me how we got through without
capsizing. The men in their excitement were shrieking wildly as we dashed
through the foaming waters, and there were also yells of positive terror
from the man ahead, who with a long pole in hand tried to save the canoe
from dashing now upon one rock then upon another.

Below the rapids the three other islands were Dora Island, 200 m. long;
Edna Island, 500 m. long; and Lucia Island, 700 m. long.

The river was flowing in a westerly and south-westerly direction, the
banks showing a quantity of rubber trees all along. A tiny islet 50 m.
long had been eroded from the right bank, just above a strong
_corrideira_, easily identifiable by later travellers who may visit it,
since a huge rock stands there in the centre of the river.

On the left side of the river foliated rock 10 ft. high was exposed for
the length of 1 kil. Dense forest was to be seen on both sides of the
river all along the rapids.

Two more islands, each 100 m. in diameter--Romeo and Juliet
Islands--close to each other, were then seen on one side of the main
channel, which was 200 m. wide.

From this point the river actually flowed in a S.S.W. direction (230°
b.m.), and for 2,500 m. we had to negotiate strong and troublesome rapids
with variations of shallow water, usually with a bottom of sharp rocks.
The water in many of those places, coming with great force, hit the
bottom and was thrown up again in high waves which swamped our canoe each
time we went through them. In one place we got stuck on a rock in the
middle of the foaming waters, and had a hard job to get the canoe off
again and prevent her sinking when we had done so.

Where the river turned for another 2 kil. 500 m. more to the west,
another elongated island rose on the left side of the stream. The
island--Laurita Island--was only 80 m. broad, but had a total length of
1,800 m.

More rapids and shallow water above a bottom of red volcanic débris were
found. A small tributary 2 m. wide at the mouth entered the Arinos on the
left bank, not far from the spot where a rocky rugged island rose in the
centre of the stream.

I halted at 11.30 in order to take the usual observations for latitude
and longitude and soundings of the river. The stream, which was 320 m.
broad, below some rapids, showed a depth of 6 ft. the entire way across.
Farther down, where it contracted to 200 m. in breadth, it showed a depth
of 8 ft. in the centre with a maximum depth of 10 ft. to the right and
left of it, gradually decreasing to 5 ft., 3 ft., 2 ft., and 1 ft. as it
neared the banks. Lat. 11° 7'·3 S.; long. 57° 46' W.

[Illustration: A Giant Central Wave emerging from a Narrow Channel.]

When we resumed our journey after lunch, we came to another thickly
wooded island, 1,000 m. long, 350 m. wide--J. Carlos Rodriguez
Island--with a cluster of huge rocks on its southern end.

We had a few minutes of comparatively easy navigation, the river being
extraordinarily beautiful in straight stretches of 3,000 m., 2,000 m.,
and 3,000 m., to 340°, 350°, and 360° (N.) bearings magnetic. In the
first 3,000 m. we came upon another strong rapid over a barrier of rocks
which extended right across the stream. Beyond the rapids the usual
troublesome whirlpools occurred. A polished dome of rock 10 ft. high
emerged in mid-stream. Then another charming island--Nona Island--with a
spit of white sand at its southern end rose gracefully out of the river.
It had a breadth of 100 m. and a length of 600 m.

More _corrideiras_ and eddies had to be gone over that day. We seemed to
be spending our entire time trying to avoid--not always
successfully--collisions with dangerous rocks. We came to another
beautiful island, 200 m. long and 100 m. wide--Emma Island--screened at
its southern end by high-domed volcanic rocks, and soon after to a rocky
island on our right, separated by a narrow channel from a larger and
thickly wooded island, 300 m. long and 100 m. wide--Georgia Island.

The rapids seemed to be getting worse and worse as we went down the
stream. After passing these three islands we came to a most dangerous
spot, the rapids there being strewn all over with nasty-looking rocks
which did not seem to leave a clear passage anywhere in a straight line.
After 500 m. of anxious travelling we encountered more rapids and
troublesome eddies. We had by that time got accustomed to the danger,
and even felt travelling dull and stupid when we came to a few metres of
placid water.

As we were going down a stretch of 3,000 m. to 350° b.m. we found the
centre of the river blocked by great masses of rock; then, a little
farther, rocks occupied the left of the river. We went through a narrow
passage between those high rocks, finding ourselves carried away
helplessly into a rapid of alarming swiftness, which subsequently shot us
into a terrific whirlpool.

Alcides was steering us right into the centre of the terrifying rotating
waters, when I jumped up and, seizing the steering gear out of his hands,
was just able to avoid disaster. As it was, the canoe switched off at a
tangent with a heavy list to port, leapt out of the water like a flying
fish, and when she dropped again into the water was carried off at a
great speed, with a heavy list on and filling fast. I do not know why she
did not capsize altogether.

We then had rocks on the left side, rocks on the right side; a barrier of
many rocks across the entire stream, with a thickly wooded island, 70 m.
wide and 200 m. long--Lilian Island--on the left side. There were a great
many scattered rocks at the northern end of the island, where a small
rapid was found. Then we were confronted by 4,000 m. of river in a
straight line. We had gone but 2,000 m. along that stretch when we came
to a lovely rectangular island, with a spit of rock extending for 120 m.
eastward, and separated by a narrow channel from the island itself. The
island--Susan Island--was 100 m. broad and 250 m. long, with its
fore-part of gravel as usual. It was in a basin 500 m. wide.

The river turned to the W.S.W., and was there placid enough, although the
current was swift. Where the river flowed once more in a more northerly
direction we found rocks and two tiny wooded islands on the left side of
the stream, one 20 m., the other 70 m. long. There a _corrideira_
occurred soon after we had negotiated a dangerous rapid--dangerous
because of the number of intricate rocks which forced the canoe to
describe a snake-like dance like a double S, bumping and swerving with
such force from the restless waters underneath, that it was all we could
do to prevent her turning over.

In a basin 700 m. wide which was further crossed, we admired a
picturesque rocky island of a beautiful emerald green colour in the
centre of the stream. An immense barrier of rock was on the north-east
side of this basin. Before we halted, absolutely worn out by the heavy
work of the day, we descended another troublesome rapid--fortunately that
time with no mishaps of any kind.

At five o'clock we made our camp in the only spot we could find that was
suitable; but no sooner had we landed than we were fiercely attacked by
millions of _sauba_ or _carregadores_ ants which gave us a lively time
during the entire night. Those ants, which were there absolutely in
millions, were from 1 in. to 1¼ in. in length, and possessed powerful
clippers on the head with which they bit us, giving intense pain. When
you had thousands of them climbing up your legs and over your body, and
dropping upon you from the tree branches which were alive with them, and
clinging to you with all their might once they had got you with their
clippers, you began to think what a fool you had been to leave your happy
home in England.

As I shall have an opportunity of speaking at greater length of the
_saubas_ later in this volume, I shall leave them now, merely mentioning
that during the entire night we were unable to sleep owing to those
brutes. And that was not all: we had many of our clothes, shoes, and
other articles entirely destroyed by them.

We called that place Camp Carregador. The nights had become by then quite
stifling and damp, the minimum temperature on July 21st being 63° F.

No sooner had we started on our journey that day than we came to rapids.
A lot of rocks stood everywhere in the stream. The river after that
flowed in a snake-like fashion for 5,000 m. in a general direction
N.N.E., and was there comparatively free from serious obstacles. We came
to a triangular island 700 m. long--Ada Island--separated from a second
island by a channel 50 m. wide. This second island--Hugo Island--formed
an isosceles triangle of 800 m. each side. These two islands were
evidently at one time joined together, forming a lozenge-shaped island,
and had been eroded in the centre by the back-wash of the stream at the
spot where it formed an angle.

Where the river turned from 315° b.m. to 340° b.m., it was much strewn
with sharp cutting rocks. We were thrown with great violence on one of
these and very nearly capsized. Great heaps of volcanic boulders were now
seen on the right side of the channel, and one island 50 m. long--Nora
Island--with a few shrubs on it.

[Illustration: A Dangerous Rapid.]

[Illustration: Taking the Canoe and Part of the Baggage down a
Narrow Passage among Rocks.]

A great heap of rock was fixed in the centre of the stream, forming a
kind of spur, beyond which a regular barrier of rock spread from
south-west to north-east right across the stream. We had difficulty in
finding a suitable passage, but eventually got through close to the right
bank in a small _corrideira_, easily recognizable by subsequent
travellers, as by the side of it was a rocky hill of a conical shape 30
ft. high with a tuft of trees on its summit. On both banks of the stream
rubber trees were plentiful. For 5,000 m. the river had been proceeding
in a perfectly straight line to the N.N.W.

My work was extremely tiring, as not only was my time employed surveying
the river carefully and writing up plentiful notes, but also I had to
control the navigation as much as I could and be ready for any emergency,
owing to the capricious nature of my men and their unbounded
disobedience. Orders could not be given direct, as they were always
disobeyed, so that to obtain what I wished I generally had to give the
contrary order. For instance, if I wanted to avoid a rock I ordered
Alcides to run the canoe on to the rock; if I wanted to shoot a rapid I
ordered them to take the canoe down with ropes, and so on.

Innumerable rocks were now encountered all the time. In places regular
great tables or platforms of polished rock were to be seen under the
surface in the clear water. A wonderful group of gigantic rocks was then
reached, with a most charming island peeping through behind.

We came to an island 450 m. long and 30 m. wide--Anna Island--where two
more barriers of rock were found right across the stream. Beyond, a bank
150 m. long of deliciously white sand was observed, where some 2 kil. of
placid navigation was gone through; but no sooner had we covered that
short distance than strong eddies were again met with at the point where
the river expanded to a somewhat greater width.

After going almost due west for a short distance the river gradually
swung round to due north, a most beautiful view opening before us as we
got round the sweeping curve. For 5,000 m. the river now ran in a
perfectly straight line, with its beautiful clear water flowing over a
rocky bed. In the far distance loomed the first range of mountains we had
seen since leaving the Serra Azul. I had got so tired of gazing at a flat
horizon line that the sight of the range gave me unbounded pleasure. But
I had not much time to gaze upon the scenery, for rocks of all sizes and
shapes were strewn all along the channel.

Two small islets, each 20 m. long, were passed on the right bank. Then
came more picturesque groups of rock on the right and on the left of us
as we paddled gaily along, and refreshing accumulations of pure white
sand. Farther on, an island 50 m. wide and 60 m. long, with a southerly
crown of huge boulders--Corona Island--was to be seen close to the right
bank.

Some thousand metres before we got to the end of the long stretch, yet
another elongated island 50 m. long lay close to the left bank. The
island was thickly wooded. From that spot a basin fully 1,000 m. broad
spread out. The easterly portion was a mass of rock, exposed a few feet
above the surface. These rocks extended right across the basin as far as
an island 350 m. long--Josephine Island. The vegetation was
indescribably beautiful in that part. Immense quantities of rubber trees
stood majestically, so far unknown and untouched in the luxuriant forest.

Eight distinct groups of rocks were found on the right-hand side of the
river where it flowed for 4,000 m. in a N.N.W. direction. I took
forty-two sights of the sun that day in order to determine the exact
latitude and longitude. Lat. 10° 48'·9 S.; long. 58° 0' W.

When we left again in the afternoon the river, there 350 m. broad, was
enchantingly beautiful, absolutely clear of obstacles as far as we could
see. There was a stretch of 4,000 m. of placid waters, and we imagined
that we had come to the end of our trouble.

Monkeys played gaily among the trees, evidently taking the greatest
interest in the canoe. They followed us for long distances, jumping from
tree to tree, shrieking with excitement and gazing at us with keen
interest. We in the canoe suffered perfect torture from the millions of
bees, gnats, and mosquitoes, which settled on us in absolute swarms and
stung us for all they were worth. The lips, eyelids, nose and ears seemed
to be their favourite spots for drawing blood--perhaps because the
remainder of the face and neck was already a mass of stings and the skin
had got hardened and parched by the broiling sun. The temperature was
warm--92° F. in the shade, and 103° in the sun.

At the end of the 4,000 m. another great mass of rocks was found
extending from south to north right across the stream. Fortunately we
found a channel sufficiently large for navigating our canoe exactly in
the centre of the river. After turning to the W.N.W. we found a charming
little rocky islet with a solitary tree upon it, and 1 kil. farther a
larger island 400 m. long and 300 m. wide in the shape of a
triangle--Sylvia Island. This island was separated by a channel 70 m.
wide from an immense island--Guanabara Island--6,400 m. long. The channel
we followed, the river there flowing to the S.S.W., was 300 m. wide.
Great masses of rock were visible on the left side. Where the river
flowed in a more westerly direction rocks formed a barrier right across
from south-east to north-west.

Then the river once more flowed in a S.S.W. direction through a perfectly
beautiful channel. A lovely sand and gravel beach extended from
north-east to south-west at the turn of the river where the great
Guanabara Island ended.

Some 600 m. farther on a huge dome of rock like a spherical balloon was
to be seen, with two smaller rocks by its side. A basin 400 m. wide was
then found with an islet of sand 100 m. long on the left side, and a low
islet of gravel partly wooded on the right side of the channel. These
preceded another accumulation of sand and gravel 100 m. long with a few
trees upon it, which was succeeded by a mass of rocks just before
reaching a fair-sized island.

Another great spherical rock was seen before entering the channel between
the island and the left bank. In the extensive bay great boulders of
indescribable beauty were visible.

[Illustration: The Canoe being led down a Rapid.]

Several _capivaras_ were basking in the sun on the top of the boulders,
and were fired at many times by my men as they stood up to gaze at us in
astonishment before they made up their minds to jump into the water
and escape.

Close to those rocks an island--Teresa Island--400 m. long was next
admired. Strong rapids had to be gone through in a great barrier of rocks
at the end of this island. Then no sooner were we thanking our stars that
we had negotiated that portion of our journey safely than we were among a
lot of globular boulders, some 30 ft. high.

For 800 m. we had a placid time, the water of the stream being so
beautifully green, so transparent, that we could see the bottom quite
clearly. Our happiness did not last long. We had more rapids and a great
rocky bank spreading from south-east to north-west right across the
stream, and forming in one portion an island.

We went down another strong rapid between great and dangerously situated
rocks and a large island. Then came another wonderful group of high domed
rocks, one of the great domes displaying a sharp northern spur like the
ram of a battleship. Next to it were three cylindrical rocks, just like
towers, one of which leant over the dome.

Yet another rapid was shot through with no misadventure, and when we came
to the end of a large island 4,500 m. long and 80 m. wide--Priscilla
Island--preceded by a smaller islet of sand and gravel, we arrived at a
direct stretch of 4,000 m. of river, flowing to the west. Another rocky
islet with an accumulation of sand and a lot of scattered rocks by its
side, then a high island, were passed on our right, and farther on we
found another great group of globular rocks at the point where Daphne
Island, 350 m. in length, began.

I hardly had time to map out the numberless rocks and islands we met
before we came upon others. There again we saw three more islands in
succession--Mars Island, 500 m. long and 100 m. wide; Jupiter Island, 250
m. long; and a third and smaller one, separated from the second by a
channel strewn with huge boulders.

To the N.N.W., at 340° b.m., we saw a hill 300 ft. high, some distance
from the stream. Innumerable rocks again occurred in the centre of the
channel, and then we came to an extensive triangular island--Barretos
Island--the base of which was 300 m. Its left side was 2,000 m. long, its
eastern or right side about 1,500 m. A hill range some 300 ft. high was
looming before us to the north-east. The second island--Antonio Prado
Island--had a total length of 2,000 m. with an average width of 200 m.

On this magnificent island we halted at five o'clock in the afternoon,
and I took altitude observations with the hypsometrical apparatus: 1,062
ft. above the sea level.

We were again lucky in fishing that evening. We caught six _trahiras_,
several _pacus_, and two young _jahus_--altogether some 120 lb. in
weight. My men had wasted so much food, and so much had been spoiled by
constant immersions--many of the tinned meats had been altogether spoiled
by the tins having got rusty and gradually perforated--that I was
beginning to feel rather anxious in case our journey should last longer
than I expected. Unfortunately, we had lost most of our salt, and we had
no way of preserving the fish, which we had to leave on the banks,
absolutely wasted. In order, however, to show how lazy my men were, it is
enough to say that, rather than take the slight trouble of placing some
pieces of the excellent fish on board the canoe instead of trusting
entirely to the luck we might have in fishing the next evening, they had
to go the entire day without food. For some reason or other we could not
get a single fish to bite, and we did not find a single bird or monkey to
shoot.

I was rather interested to observe, in looking over my notes, that nearly
all the rocky barriers we had met stretching across the river extended
from south-east to north-west. I believe that similar barriers stretched
in the same direction in the other southern tributaries of the Amazon,
the Xingu and the Madeira Rivers, but, curiously enough, this was not the
case with the River Araguaya.

We had made our camp that particular night on a lovely beach of white
sand, which I found perfectly delicious, but which my men hated, as there
were no trees on which they could hang their hammocks. They did not like
to go into the luxuriant forest of the beautiful island, as they were
afraid to go too far away from me, and I did not wish to go too far away
from the canoe, which we had beached on the gravel bank, in case the
river should rise suddenly or something should happen to make her float
away. As I have said, I never, during the entire journey, let that canoe
go out of my sight for one single moment. The men, therefore, went into
the forest to cut big poles, which they afterwards planted with much
exertion, in the sand near my camp-bed.

Some amusing scenes happened during the night, when the poles gradually
gave way with the weight of the men in the hammocks, and, tumbling down
altogether, gave them severe blows on their heads and bodies.

[Illustration: Crocodile about to attack one of the Dogs of the Expedition.

Photographed by author at a distance of three metres (Rio Arinos-Juruena).]

The stars were simply magnificent in brilliancy as I lay on my camp-bed.
One particularly, to 290° b.m. N.W.--the planet Venus--was
extraordinarily brilliant, appearing six times as big as any other planet
visible that night. It threw off radiations of wonderful luminosity,
quite strong enough to illuminate with a whitish light a great circular
surface of the sky around it.

In the morning, before we left, Alcides--who loved carving names and
inscriptions on every tree and stone--duly incised the name of Antonio
Prado, with which I baptized the island in honour of the greatest
Brazilian living, upon a giant _figueira_ tree on the southern edge of
the extensive beach of sand and gravel.



CHAPTER IX

     Dogs--Macaws--Crocodiles--A Serious Accident--Men flung into a
     Whirlpool--The Loss of Provisions and Valuable Baggage--More
     Dangerous Rapids--Wonderful Scenery--Dangerous Work--On the Edge
     of a Waterfall--A Risky Experience--Bravery of Author's Brazilian
     Followers--A High Wind from the North-East--A Big Lake


THE night was heavy and damp. All our things were soaked in the morning
with the dew which had fallen. We were enveloped in a thick mist when we
woke up. It became a dense fog when the sun rose, and did not clear up
until the sun was fairly high above the horizon. The minimum temperature
during the night had been 62° F. (July 22nd).

We were unable to leave until eight o'clock, as the river was dangerous
enough when we could see where we were going, and it would have been
rather foolish to add one more risk to our travelling in the fog.

My men were extremely irritable and morose that morning, and even our
dogs were most troublesome. We had had a great deal of trouble with the
dogs; they were as disobedient and untrainable as the men. Nearly every
morning we had to waste a considerable time in getting the animals back
into the canoe. When we were ready to start they generally dashed away
into the forest and the men had to go and fetch them and bring them
back. That particular morning one dog--the best we had--escaped, and my
men searched for more than an hour, but were unable to find him. In
trying to run after him they got their feet full of thorns, and they
became so enraged that they decided to abandon the dog on the island. I
called him for more than half an hour, trying to save his life, but the
animal refused to come. So, much to my sorrow, we had to pull out without
him, and undoubtedly the poor beast eventually must have died of
starvation, as there was no food whatever to be obtained in the forest on
the island.

The dogs were quite amusing to watch while in the canoe, their terror
when we shot rapids being quite manifest. They were an additional source
of danger to us, for once or twice while shooting rapids strewn with
rocks they would jump out of the canoe on to the rocks as we were shaving
past them, and we lost much time on several occasions in order to rescue
them. In going through the forest the poor animals had suffered much from
the attacks of ants and all kinds of insects, many parasites having got
inside their ears and where the skin was softer under their legs, causing
terrible sores.

They never got fond of anybody, no matter how well they were treated. In
fact, unlike all other dogs of any other country, they never seemed even
to recognize any of us. Alcides had become the owner of the abandoned dog
in a peculiar way at the beginning of our journey, when travelling with
my caravan of mules. The dog was going along with a man travelling in the
opposite direction to ours. Alcides, who at the time was eating some
bread, whistled to the dog, and from that moment the animal left his
master and came along with us.

Perhaps Brazilian dogs do not give affection because they never receive
any. They were so timid that when you lifted your hand to caress them
they would dash away yelling, with their tails between their legs, as if
you had been about to strike them. I tried time after time to make
friends with them--and I am generally quick at making friends with
animals--but I gave up in despair the hope of gaining the slightest
affection from those dogs.

When we came to the end of the island we found another great barrier of
foliated rock extending from east to west, 500 m. across. The basin
showed, moreover, three sets of giant rocks on the left side. In the
north-easterly part where the river narrowed again there stood a range of
hills 300 ft. high, extending from west to east, and parallel to the
rocky barrier across the basin. A streamlet 3 m. wide coming from the
south-west entered the Arinos from the left bank. The hill range which
stood along the right bank of the river showed a rocky formation of a
greyish colour right up to its summit, and was, in fact, a mere great
rocky barrier with only a few trees growing in interstices which had been
filled with earth and sand. The southern aspect of the range was an
almost vertical wall.

The river was proceeding mostly in a westerly and north-westerly
direction for long stretches of 3,500 m., 4,000 m., 2,000 m., until we
came to an equilateral-triangular island, 300 m. each side--Erminia
Island. A small channel not more than 20 m. across separated this from
an irregularly-shaped island, 600 m. long--Niobe Island. After this came
a low island of sand and gravel 5 ft. high and 300 m. long, with merely a
few trees upon it, whereas the other two islands were covered with dense
and most beautiful vegetation. The main channel of the river was 400 m.
wide.

_Araras_ (macaws) of great size and of a beautiful vermilion colour flew
overhead, shrieking wildly at the sight of us. We began to find a great
many _jacarés_ (_Caiman fissipis_) or crocodiles. I saw one sleeping
placidly on an islet of gravel. I landed and photographed it,
subsequently waking it with a start by throwing a stone at it. My men,
who were following cautiously behind me, opened a fusillade and killed
it.

It was really amusing to watch the astonishment of the few animals and
birds we met in that deserted part of Brazil, as none of them had seen a
human being. They evidently did not know what to make of us. They
generally looked with curiosity and surprise, and my men could fire shot
after shot before they would attempt to run, or, if they were birds, fly
away.

There were in that region some fine specimens of the _cigana_
(_Opisthocomus cristatus_) and of the _jacú_ (_Penelope cristata_). The
_cigana_ was beautiful to look at, with brown and yellow stripes, not
unlike a pheasant, and a tuft of bright yellow feathers on the head. All
of a sudden we came upon great numbers of these birds, and they supplied
us with good meals.

[Illustration: Terrifying Rapid shot by Author and his Men in their
Canoe.]

There were again plenty of rubber trees in the forest, plenty of fish in
the river. The climate was not too hot--merely 87° F. in the shade, 105°
in the sun--the insects not too troublesome; so that it seemed to us a
paradise on earth.

We had now before us a great expanse of 5,000 m. of straight river to
345° b.m., with two parallel ranges of hills extending from west to east.
The second range was the higher of the two--some 600 ft., whereas the
first was only 200 ft. high.

What I took to be a great river coming from 75° b.m. (N.E.), 250 m. wide,
joined the Arinos from the right side; but I was puzzled whether this was
not a mere arm of the Arinos. In the quick survey I was making, and with
the many things which occupied my mind at every moment, the river being
moreover so wide, it was impossible, single-handed, to survey everything
carefully on every side. Therefore this may have been a mere arm of the
Arinos which I mistook for a tributary. It was not possible for me to
deviate from my course every moment to go and ascertain problematic
details, but it will be quite easy for subsequent travellers to clear up
this point now that attention has been drawn to it.

An island, 1,000 m. long--Olivia Island--was found at the point where the
main arm of the river flowed in a direction of 345° b.m., and where to
the north-west, north, and north-east, three hill ranges were before
us--one 300 ft. high, extending from south-west to north-east on the left
side of the river; another thickly wooded hill from west to east, also
300 ft. high; and yet another one, the highest of all, behind it from
S.S.W. to N.N.E., on the right bank. The river was 350 m. wide, and its
water almost stagnant.

Another barrier of rock held up the stream. We came to an island 800 m.
long, 300 m. wide--Sabrina Island--on the left side of the stream, which
showed a beautiful spit of white sand at its southern end.

I halted on the bank where the island began in order to take observations
for latitude and longitude, and as the day was a very clear one I took
forty-eight consecutive sights of the sun with the sextant. Lat. 10°
35'·1 S.; long. 58° 12' W. While I was busy observing the sun I thought I
heard curious noises in the forest just behind me. The dogs all of a
sudden jumped up, barking furiously, and I heard the sounds of what
seemed an escaping person dashing away through the thick growth near the
stream. My men were greatly excited, saying it was an Indian who had come
quite close to me, and was about to shoot an arrow while I was busy with
my sextant and chronometers. All through lunch they sat with their loaded
rifles next to them, in case we might be attacked.

The river now flowed in a straight line for 5,000 m. in a north-westerly
direction. Half-way along was a large triangular island--Pandora Island;
then farther on the left another island, 2,000 m. long--Sibyl Island.

The river was of extraordinary beauty in that region. The tall range of
hills to the north-west of us showed beautiful cobalt-blue tones against
the whitish and grey sky; while the dark green foliage of the trees and
the yellow blooms of the _Oleo pardo_ trees visible here and there, the
immaculate white sandy beach along the water line, together with the
brilliantly red and yellow rocks which stood out of the crystalline
emerald water, formed indeed a beautiful scene for the painter's brush.

It did not do to be poetically inclined when travelling on the Arinos. I
had hardly time to realize how beautiful that scene was when we found
ourselves confronted by another big barrier of rocks, through which we
went over a swift _corrideira_.

A basin was formed, 900 m. wide, with an extensive island of rock on the
right side of it. Then we suddenly came to a terrible-looking rapid at an
incline so steep that I foresaw trouble in store for us. There was no way
of stopping anywhere, as the current was swiftly taking us down.

"We are lost!" shouted one man. "Jesus Maria Santissima!"

"Paddle away! paddle away, for Heaven's sake!" I shouted, as I knew that
speed alone could save us from disaster.

Down went the canoe at an angle of 45° in the foaming and twisting waters
of the rapid. Where the water curled right over itself the heavy canoe
was lifted up in the air like a feather, and as I turned round to shout
to Alcides to steer straight ahead I saw his expanded eyes looking in
terror at the terrific whirlpool which was facing us at the bottom of the
rapid.

"No! no!" cried Alcides.

"Straight--straight! For God's sake, straight!" shouted I; and as I saw
the canoe swerve to the right I again shouted to Alcides to steer
straight in order to avoid the dangerous part of the whirlpool.

Alcides would not steer straight, but steered us instead on the right for
the very centre of the whirlpool. No sooner did the prow of the canoe
enter the circle of the rotating water, which formed a deep concave
hollow 70 or 80 m. in diameter, than, dipping her nose in the water, she
was flung right up into the air, revolving on herself. Baggage and men
all tumbled over, two men being thrown with terrific force clean out of
the canoe. A lot of baggage disappeared into the whirlpool. The canoe,
although filled with water, righted herself and spun round helplessly at
an alarming speed. The impact had been so violent that the men, in
tumbling over, had lost all the paddles except one.

We heard the cries of the two men in the water, and I saw them struggle
in order to keep themselves afloat. I gave a sigh of relief that the two
men--already a long distance from us--were, by a great stroke of luck,
the only two who could swim. I urged them to have courage and we would
come to their rescue, although for a moment I could not think how we
should do it, as we had only one paddle left and the steering gear had
got torn away from its socket, although Alcides with great courage had
managed to save it. I ordered my men to paddle with their hands and with
the large oar which was used for steering. We were tossed about in a
terrific manner, the men and canoe going round and round the whirlpool in
an absolutely helpless fashion.

[Illustration: Author's Men shooting a Crocodile.]

What distressed me more than anything was when I saw the two men getting
nearer and nearer the centre, although they made a desperate struggle to
swim away from it. In our effort to get to them by using the steering
oar, the canoe, for some reason or other, swung round upon herself two or
three times, and I saw with gladness the men gradually getting nearer. It
was a moment of joy when I saw Antonio, who was a powerful swimmer,
within only a few feet of the canoe. His face was ghastly, with an
expression of terror upon it. He was quite exhausted, and was shouting
pitifully for help. The man X was a few yards farther off.

The canoe suddenly swung round, going right against Antonio, who grasped
the side of the boat and proceeded in such haste to climb on board that
he came within an ace of capsizing her. A few moments later we were
alongside of X, but he was so exhausted that he had not the strength to
climb up. We seized him and with great difficulty lifted him inside the
canoe.

We continued to go round and round the vortex in a helpless fashion,
endeavouring with the steering oar to get out of that perilous position.
As I gazed around I saw my camp bed and bedding, which were enclosed in a
water-tight canvas bag, still floating close to the centre of the
whirlpool. Alas! a moment later they were sucked down. Most of our
cooking utensils which were loose in the canoe had been washed overboard.
Two of our casseroles were floating gracefully in a circle round the
whirlpool.

It is curious how people's mentality will work on such occasions. After
we had been some minutes endeavouring to get away from the centre of the
whirlpool, one of my men, who had recovered from the fright, saw the
cooking pans, which were about to disappear. His first impulse was to
shout that we must go and get them!

It was with some relief that we were able to extricate ourselves, and
eventually reached the outer edge of the whirlpool, where the water
changed direction, and the canoe was swung violently, entering a patch of
comparatively placid water. Paddling with our hands we slowly reached the
bank, and nearly an hour later--it having taken us all that time to go
about 150 m.--we baled the water out of the canoe and proceeded to
examine the amount of our loss.

Nearly all the cooking utensils, as I have said, had disappeared; two
boxes of tinned provisions had gone overboard and were lost for ever; a
bag of flour and a bag of rice had vanished in those terrible waters; a
package containing a great part of my clothes had also gone for ever, as
well as some of the clothing of my men. What was worse than all for me,
my camp-bed and all my bedding were lost, which would compel me in the
future to sleep either on the ground--which was practically impossible in
that region owing to the number of ants and other insects--or else do as
I did, sleep on four wooden packing-boxes, which I placed in a line. They
made a most uneven and hard bed, as I had, of course, no mattress and no
covering of any kind. A despatch-box, with some money, a lot of important
official letters and other documents, were lost, and also my mercurial
artificial horizon and one of my chronometers. A number of other things
of less importance were also gone and quite beyond recovery.

We worked hard all that afternoon and the greater part of the night in
shaping new paddles out of trees we had cut down with the axes, which
were fortunately not lost. The new paddles were even more primitive and
clumsy than those we had before.

We dried what remained of our baggage in the sun during the afternoon.
The beautiful sandy beach on which we had landed looked very gay with all
the articles I had spread out from some of my trunks, including a
dress-suit which I hung on a young palm, and other such articles, which
looked rather incongruous in that particular region. All the white linen
clothes I possessed had gone, and there only remained some good serge
clothes which I had kept for my arrival in civilized places again. My
water-tight boxes had been knocked about so much that they had got
injured and let in a good deal of moisture.

One of my valuable cameras was badly damaged in the accident, and one of
my sextants was soaked to such an extent that it took me the best part of
two hours to clean it all up again. I saved the negatives which were in
the damaged camera by developing them at once during the night while they
were still wet.

My men were greatly excited over the accident, especially the two who had
fallen into the water. In a way I was glad it had happened, as I was in
hopes it might be a good lesson to them and they might be a little more
careful in the future. Had Alcides obeyed my orders we should have gone
through safely. I pointed that out to him, but it was no use; even then
he maintained that in order to be safe you must steer right into the
whirlpool and not out of it--which really made me begin to feel rather
nervous, as I fully expected, as we went along, to find worse rapids than
those we had negotiated so far, since we still had to get down from 1,000
ft. or so to the sea level.

We halted for the remainder of the day. I spent a miserable night
sleeping on the packing-boxes, now that my bed had gone for ever. I did
not deserve that bit of ill-luck, for indeed my camp-bed was the only
thing I possessed which gave me a little comfort. After working hard all
day and the greater part of the night, a few hours spent lying down flat
on the stretched canvas of the bed were most enjoyable; although never,
throughout the entire journey, was I able to sleep soundly, as I always
had to be on the alert, never knowing what might happen.

[Illustration: A Cataract in the River Arinos.]

[Illustration: Author's Canoe among Great Volcanic Rocks.]

The night of July 22nd was fairly cool, the minimum temperature being 58°
F. When we proceeded on our journey in the morning we passed an island
1,500 m. long--Arabella Island. The river was now flowing due west. Again
we came upon rocks in the centre and upon the right side of the river,
with a strong _corrideira_ and with dangerous submerged rocks close to
the surface. There was an islet 150 m. long on the right side in a basin
500 m. broad. A hill 100 ft. high stood on the left side of the stream,
while a hill range 300 ft. high was now visible to the W.N.W.

We had little time to admire the beautiful scenery, for we soon found
ourselves upon another great barrier with a terrible-looking rapid. I
asked my men if they preferred to shoot it, as the exertion of loading
and unloading the canoe was certainly heavy.

"No, no, no, no!" they all cried in a chorus.

We therefore unloaded the canoe, and with considerable trouble and waste
of time we led her down the rapid by means of ropes. Even led in that
fashion with the greatest care, the canoe was entirely filled with
water.

Islets of rock of considerable beauty rose from the river on the
right-hand side. As we got a little way farther, slightly more to the
north-west, another hill range, perhaps a little higher than the one we
had already observed, began to disclose itself to the north-west, on the
right side of the river. As we advanced I further ascertained that the
first range extended in a general direction from south-west to
north-east. The river had actually eroded its way through this range.
Strong rapids were again met with at that point, the channel being strewn
with innumerable sharp-edged rocks, most unpleasant if you were to come
in contact with them.

A small islet with a picturesque spur of rock on the north side was here
seen; then a larger island, 300 m. long--Evelina Island--also on the left
side. The river flowed for 3,000 m. in a N.N.W. direction, and at the end
of that distance a rectangular island, 200 m. long and 80 m. wide--Eileen
Island--embellished it. Like most of the islands in that particular
portion of the river it had a beautiful spur of rock on its eastern side,
preceded by a little islet also of rock. We passed to the left of this
island. It was separated by a channel 80 m. wide from another narrow
island, 200 m. to the west of it--Diana Island.

Just before getting to a third range extending from south-west to
north-east, and, like the other two, about 300 ft. high, we came upon a
long barrier of rock spreading diagonally for about 1,000 m. from
south-west to north-east. A long narrow island (200 m. long)--Bertha
Island--began from that point close to the right bank, and another had
been separated by the water from the bank itself. A tributary 2 m. wide
was observed on the left side. We kept close to the left bank and passed
on our right an island 300 m. long--Sophia Island.

So numerous were the islands following one another that I was beginning
to have great difficulty in supplying sufficient names for them all.

More rapids were reached, and were of terrific force--especially in the
centre of the river. It took me some little time to find a suitable
passage, but at last I found a channel 25 m. wide through which I got the
canoe among innumerable rocks. We went over a great _filare_--by which
word the Italians cleverly define an extensive alignment in the
stratum--of rock of extreme hardness which had evidently been fractured
in some violent commotion of the earth, and had left sharp edges which
cut just like knives close to the surface of the water. This rocky
obstacle extended as usual from south-east to north-west.

A tiny streamlet entered the river on the left not far from the hill
range on that same side. The trees in that particular region had a most
peculiar appearance: their high, perfectly straight stems, quite free
from branches or leaves up to their very summit, looked like so many
columns, mostly of a whitish colour. Many, however, were encircled,
others absolutely smothered with creepers. The scenery was really
beautiful; it was like travelling through fairyland.

In the centre of the basin 400 m. wide to which we next came was an
island, 80 m. in diameter--Gingillo Island--and to the south-west of it a
small islet with an extensive beach and accumulation of rocks in a
northerly direction. On the southern side of the river a sand beach,
interspersed with rocks, spread almost across, as far as the latter
island.

I took 55 astronomical sights in order to get the exact latitude and
longitude (lat. 10° 30'·7 S.; long. 58° 19' W.), and to check the time of
the second chronometer, which still remained in my possession. We had
made poor progress that day as far as the distance went--only 17 kil. 100
m.

We had come to some nasty rapids, which at first looked quite impassable
by water, some of the waves shooting up so high in the air as to make it
out of the question for any canoe to go through.

There was another extensive _filare_ of rock, so beautifully polished
that it looked almost as if it had been varnished over. It was evidently
an ancient flow of lava, with great holes in it here and there. The flow
spread from south-west to north-east, was of a brilliant shining yellow,
and most beautiful to look at.

I had to make my camp on the rocks near this rapid, where we unloaded the
canoe in order to take her down by means of ropes by the eastern
channel--very narrow and very unpleasant, but it was the only one
possible. It was all we could do to hold the canoe as she tobogganed down
the incline, and we had some nasty falls on the slippery rock trying to
hold her.

We had a dangerous bit of work to do the moment we had descended the
rapid, for we had then to navigate the canoe right across the basin,
where whirlpools of some magnitude were formed, directly over a waterfall
of some height and pouring down great volumes of water with a terrific
roar on the north-east side of the basin; then along the really
terrifying rapid on the south-west side. It was necessary to do that, as
I had observed that it was only on the opposite side of the river that we
could possibly take the canoe down, and no other course was open to us
than to go across that dangerous spot.

We had to be smart about it, or we certainly should have perished. My men
behaved splendidly. We had reloaded the canoe. The quarter of an hour or
so which it took us to cross that basin was somewhat exciting, as we
struggled through the various whirlpools, the current all the time
dragging us closer and closer to the waterfall, while my men were
paddling with all their might and Alcides was steering right against the
current in order to prevent the fatal leap.

I urged the men on, and they paddled and paddled away, their eyes fixed
on the fall which was by that time only a few metres away from us. They
were exhausted in the frantic effort, and their paddles seemed to have no
effect in propelling the canoe. The men, who were always talkative, were
now silent; only the man X exclaimed, as we were only eight or ten metres
from the fall: "Good-bye, father and mother! I shall never see you
again!" The other men gave a ghastly grin.

[Illustration: Preparing to descend a Rapid.]

[Illustration: A Cataract in the Arinos River.]

"Go on! Row! row!--For God's sake row!" I shouted to them, as I saw they
had given themselves up for lost. "Row!" I shouted once more; and as if
the strength had suddenly come back to them they made a frantic effort.
The canoe went a little faster for a minute or two--just enough for us to
clear the waterfall and to drift alongside some rocks which stood in
the centre of the stream. We were saved.

My men were so exhausted that we had to rest there for some time before
we could proceed to cross the dreadful rapid down the other portion of
the barrier.

I was glad we had had that experience, because it showed me that after
all it was possible to make brave men of men who were absolutely
pusillanimous before. When I mentioned that we still had to go over the
other dangerous part, they said, much to my delight:

"We are Brazilians--we are afraid of nothing! We will come with you." And
what is more, they did.

They smoked a few cigarettes. I had always supplied them with ample
tobacco in order to keep them in a good temper. Then when I gave the
order to start they jumped gaily into the canoe, shouting again:

"We are Brazilians! We are afraid of nothing!"

So we began negotiating the second portion of that nasty crossing. There
is nothing I admire more than courage. My men went up in my estimation
that day at least a hundred per cent.

The second part of our crossing was just as dangerous as the first
part--perhaps more so. The men, however, behaved splendidly, and rowed
with such vigour that we got through safely and quickly above the most
difficult portion, and eventually landed upon a mass of rocks on the
opposite side of the stream.

There we had a busy time, as we had once more to unload the canoe, cut a
way through the forest in order to convey the baggage overland to a spot
about half a mile farther down stream; then we had to come back to take
the canoe by means of ropes down the rapid itself.

It was necessary for one of us to be inside the canoe in order to steer
her while being led down. Alcides, who was indeed an extraordinarily
brave man, would not hand over his job to anybody else, and insisted on
being allowed to steer the canoe. It was with great reluctance that I
allowed him, as he could not swim. When we proceeded to let the canoe
down by the small western channel, the foaming waters and high waves
rolling back upon themselves with great force were most troublesome to
negotiate. The canoe was repeatedly lifted right out of the water, and
gave us holding the ropes such violent jerks that we were flung in all
directions. When I got up again, still holding on to the rope, Alcides
had disappeared. He had been pitched clean out of the canoe. Fortunately,
a moment later I saw that he was clinging to the steering gear, which we
had made extra fast in order that it might stand the great strain.

We managed to pull the canoe and Alcides close to the rocks. Eventually
we all had to go into the water up to our necks and lead the canoe by
hand with the greatest care in the swift current for the remaining
distance. Once or twice we were nearly overpowered by the current, and we
were glad when, nearly two hours later, our job was finished, and,
absolutely exhausted, we made camp for the night on the rocks.

The men were so excited that during the entire night they sat up
commenting on the experience of the day. Their remarks were quite
amusing, especially their imitations of the rush of the water, the
bumping of the canoe, and Alcides' sudden disappearance and narrow escape
from drowning.

The waterfall and rapids spread across the river at that spot for some
650 m. During the night of July 24th the thermometer showed a minimum
temperature of 62° F.

I noticed a small streamlet 1 m. wide on the left bank, and to the W.S.W.
a conical hill rising over a gently sloping undulating range 350 ft.
above the river level--that is to say, about 1,400 ft. above the sea
level.

A strong wind sprang up, which caught us sideways and produced such high
waves breaking over the canoe, and so severe a motion, that my men became
ill. We had to stop, until the wind abated, on a small charming island.
As we were approaching the island Alcides sent us right over a rock which
was sticking some 2 ft. above water. The bottom of the canoe was so
scraped in the violent collision that a good deal of the stuffing with
which we had filled the longitudinal crack was torn off, and she quickly
filled with water. When we halted more garments had to be destroyed in
order to fill up the aperture to the best of our ability.

When the storm was over we continued our journey, going over some rapids
in quite a novel way. The men were quarrelling among themselves and had
stopped paddling, the paddles being waved in the air in a threatening way
as they spoke violently to one another. Alcides had also left the
steering gear, and in his fury against the other men had seized his
rifle in order to give force to his words. We were approaching the rapid.
I advised them to continue their quarrel after we had gone through, but
they would not listen to me. The prow of the canoe, just as we were about
to enter the rapid, was caught in a rock, and the canoe swung right
round, so that we shot the rapid floating down stern first. We shipped a
lot of water, the refreshing bath somewhat cooling the excitement of my
men, who, realizing the danger when we entered the whirlpool, took to
paddling again.

I discovered from their conversation during the night that my men were
imbued with the idea that I had a guardian angel attending my person, and
that no matter what happened while they were with me they would have no
mishap.

The river gradually turned northwards again. I noticed on the right side
a hill-range 350 ft. high, extending from south-west to north-east.

The wind came up again, tossing the canoe about considerably. My men once
more became seasick owing to the rolling. The new paddles we had made
from fresh wood after our accident in the rapids did not prove much of a
success, the wood splitting badly. We had to keep the various pieces
together by tying them with string. I could not help laughing when I
looked at my men paddling. One paddle had a quadrangular blade; another
formed an elongated oval; a third had originally been circular but was
then reduced to the shape of a half-moon, the other half having been
washed away.

[Illustration: Lake formed where the Arinos and Juruena Rivers meet.]

[Illustration: Going through a Rapid.]

For 4,000 m. the river had flowed due west, then it turned to 310°
b.m. Two large islands in succession--one 400 m. long and 350 m.
wide--Pericles Island; the second of an equal width to the first, and 700
m. long--Aspasia Island--were seen.

A high wind from the north-east and east continued the entire day, and
broke into occasional severe gusts that were most troublesome to us.
Heavy rain-clouds hung over our heads. My men felt cold and shivery and
quite miserable in the choppy waters, which made them extremely ill.
Their faces were green and yellow, their eyes had a pitiful expression in
them. They looked as if they were all being led to execution. The
temperature of the atmosphere was only 75° F.

Shortly before sunset, after a beautiful stretch of river of 4,000 m. to
335° b.m. (N.N.W.), followed by one of 4,000 m. 5° farther to the north,
we came to an immense basin--a regular lake--4,000 m. long, 1,500 m.
wide, with two lovely islands in its northerly part. It was there that
the great River Juruena, coming from the south-west, joined the Arinos.
We had the greatest difficulty in crossing the big, deep lake, because of
the high wind which was blowing at the time. The waves were high and
caught us on one side; the rolling was so heavy that on many occasions we
shipped a great deal of water and nearly capsized. When we got into the
centre of the lake the wind increased in fury. My men were very ill and
much scared--for we had a great expanse of water on all sides and we
could not bale the water out of the canoe fast enough, so quickly was she
filling. I urged on the men all the time and took an extra paddle myself
to encourage them. We made slow progress, the men suffering greatly. I
had to wait for their convenience every few moments when they were badly
indisposed.

We tossed about for the best part of two hours, until at last we reached
the opposite side of the lake. In a hurry to land, Alcides threw the
canoe over some rocks on which the water was breaking with fury. However,
the water was shallow at that point. We jumped out, and eventually,
trembling with cold, we beached the canoe on a most beautiful island,
where we made our camp for the night.



CHAPTER X

     The Point of Junction of the Arinos and Juruena Rivers--Elfrida
     Landor Island--Terrible Days of Navigation--Immense Islands--An
     Old Indian Camp--A Fight between a Dog and an _Ariranha_--George
     Rex Island--A Huge _Sucuriú_ Snake


THE spot where the two great rivers met was most impressive, especially
from the island on which we stood, directly opposite the entrance of the
two streams. The immense lake was spread before us, and beyond were the
two great rivers meeting at an angle. Great walls of verdant forest lined
all the banks and islands before us. Curiously enough, both in the Arinos
and in the Juruena two long narrow islands appeared parallel to the banks
of each stream. The islands resembled each other in size. The Juruena had
two islands near its mouth, one narrow and long, the other in the shape
of a quadrangle. The Arinos also showed a long and narrow island at its
mouth, and another ending in a point.

It was my intention to take soundings right across the mouth of the
Arinos and also across the mouth of the Juruena, but unluckily, owing to
the strong easterly wind which prevailed that day, it was quite
impossible for me to attempt such a task at the mouth of the Arinos, and
equally impossible was it to proceed back across the lake to the mouth of
the Juruena to measure the volume of water which came out of that river.
Without any attempt at mathematical accuracy I should say that the two
rivers carried an almost equal volume of water.

Where we landed there were two separate islands, one of which I named
after my sister--the Elfrida Landor Island; the other one, next to it, I
named Francesco Island. The Elfrida Landor Island--really most beautiful
to look at--was 800 m. long; Francesco Island was 1,200 m. in length but
not quite so broad.

There was a most picturesque channel 200 m. wide, with marvellous rocks
forming a barrier across it, on the right side of the river, between
Francesco Island and the right bank. The main part of the stream,
however, flowed in a much larger channel between the left bank and
Elfrida Landor Island.

The joint Arinos-Juruena River had now a total width of 500 m., and
flowed in a direction of 15° bearings magnetic. I took accurate
observations with the hypsometrical apparatus in order to determine the
exact elevation of that important spot: water boiled at the junction of
the Juruena and Arinos at 210°·4¾, while the temperature of the air was
70° F.; in other words the elevation of the place was 987 ft. above the
sea level.

[Illustration: Author's Canoe going down a Cataract.]

I also took observations there for latitude and longitude. Lat. 10° 21'·7
S.; long. 58° 35' W. The Juruena entered the lake from bearings magnetic
250° (W.S.W.), the Arinos from bearings magnetic 100° (E.S.E.). The
minimum temperature during the night on Elfrida Island was 57° F. My men
suffered a great deal from the cold, as they had got badly chilled
with the wet and the high wind during the day. Most of them complained of
severe rheumatic pains and violent toothache. They could not understand
why I did not have any pains of any kind--and to tell the truth, neither
could I, after all we had gone through of late.

When we left Elfrida Landor Island on July 25th we had a beautiful
stretch of river 4,000 m. long in a straight line, but with a good many
rocks strewn in the channel. The men paddled unwillingly, as they said
they were aching all over; but the current was strong and we were going
along fairly quickly. My men said that we must now have come to the end
of all the rapids. I did not care to disillusion them, although I
suspected that we still had hard days in store. We had not proceeded very
far when a rumbling noise warned us that we were approaching danger.
There was a rapid on the east side of the river, but it left a fairly
easy passage on the west. A little farther, however, we came to a very
bad rapid, and had to unload the canoe, which we were obliged to let down
carefully with ropes. My men, who felt feverish and irritable, owing to
our previous day's experience, were greatly upset at this new obstacle
facing us.

The river was 500 m. wide at this part. The rocks on which we trod when
we took the canoe down were so sharp that they cut our feet. It was not
possible to wear shoes, as when we had them on we slipped on the rock and
had no hold upon the ropes. My men, in their state of weakness, had not
sufficient strength to hold the canoe, and the moment she entered the
swift current she escaped, dragging one man into the rapid. I jumped into
the water after him, and just managed to grab him before he was swept
away altogether in the terrific current. We were all drenched, and as the
wind blew with great violence that day, and there was no sun to warm us
up, we felt the cold very much.

The canoe was thrown mercilessly now against one rock, then against
another; but, as luck would have it, after she had made several
pirouettes, we, running all the time with our bleeding feet on the sharp
rocks along the bank, were eventually able to recapture her at the end of
the rapid. Then came the job of going back to fetch all the baggage and
bring it down, baling the water out of the canoe, and starting off once
more.

My men were tired; they said they could stand the work no more, and they
wanted to remain there and die. It took much persuasion to make them come
on. I succeeded principally by giving them a good example, carrying down
most of the loads that day myself from the upper end of the rapid to the
lower--a distance of several hundred metres. I was getting tired, too, of
carrying the heavy loads, but I never let my men see it; that would have
been fatal.

The river was divided into two channels by a group of islands which must
at one time have been one great triangular one, subsequently worn by
parallel and transverse channels into seven islands. The first, most
southerly, was 300 m. broad, 150 m. long, and of a triangular shape. The
three immediately behind this, and of irregular shapes, had an average
length of some 700 m.; whereas the last group of three, all of elongated
shapes, had a length of 300 m. each. I was getting to the end of the list
of names for all those islands, and I was at a loss to find seven names
all of a sudden, so I called the group the Seven Sisters Islands. At the
end of the group the river narrowed to 400 m. in width between a long
island to the west and the right bank, and flowed due north for 12,000 m.
in a direct line--indeed a most beautiful sight. Fifteen hundred metres
down that distance a great barrier of columnar or cylindrical rocks stuck
out of the water from W.S.W. to E.N.E. North of those rocks on the left
side, upon the island, not less than 5,000 m. long--Lunghissima
Island--was a beautiful yellow sand beach 200 m. long, which formed a
separate islet with trees upon its northerly half. Numerous rocks
obstructed the east side (right) of the river.

Farther on, another lovely sandy islet 100 m. long had formed behind a
number of rocks, and was of a clean, beautiful yellowish white, with a
few shrubs and trees growing upon it. All those sand beaches were
extremely interesting to me. I invariably landed upon them. I had made a
wonderful collection of all the minute plants and delightful miniature
flowers which grew upon these beaches--an immense variety, indeed, but of
such small dimensions and of such delicate tints that it required
sometimes a great strain of eyesight to see them at all. Some were really
most beautiful. I spent a good deal of time and patience in collecting,
pressing, and classifying those dainty little sand-plants, and I was
beginning to flatter myself that I had formed a complete collection.

At the spot where Lunghissima Island came to an end a large triangular
island was to be seen on the left of us. A great barrier of rocks
stretched across the stream, a prominent cluster of picturesque boulders
forming a powerful spur which cut the current at the southern part of the
triangle of land.

Although the thermometer marked 93° in the sun my men complained of the
intense cold, partly because they all had fever, partly also because the
wind was extremely strong that day and caused waves of some size in the
stream, which dashed against the canoe and splashed us all over. Again my
men were seasick that day, and got furious with me as I could not help
laughing at their plight.

With a slight deviation of 20° to the west came another stretch of 4,000
m. in a straight line. A two-humped range of hills now loomed before us
to the north-west. We had gone along the side of another elongated island
8,000 metres in length--Yolanda Island. When we came to the end of this
great island, two other islands parallel to each other were disclosed to
the west of us, one 1,000 m. long--Carmela Island--the other 600
m.--Stella Island. The first had a pretty island 300 m. long--Hilda
Island--next to it on the east side. We halted at the end of Yolanda
Island and there took observations for latitude and longitude, thirty-one
consecutive sights of the sun being taken. Lat. 10° 13'·3 S; long. 58°
35' W.

[Illustration: The Immense Waves encountered by Author in emerging
from the Channel in the Rapid of the Inferno.

(The canoe with its occupants shot up vertically in the air.)]

When we resumed our journey four more islets were visible and a barrier
of rock from north-west to south-east again stretching right across the
stream. Just beyond lay Romola Island, 1,200 m. long and equally broad.
At the end of the island we found a channel 100 m. wide, separating it
from two neighbours on the east; in fact, much to my dismay, we found
ourselves in a regular maze of islands and rocks, and my time was fully
employed keeping an account of and measuring them.

A crescent-shaped island--Urania Island--1,000 m. in length, with most
wonderful vegetation upon it, was now on our left. That region was
extraordinarily rich in rubber. The channel which we had followed was
strewn all over with rocks. Another island, 400 m. long--Caterina
Island--followed. The current in the Arinos-Juruena River had a speed of
80 m. a minute. The river in places where no islands lay had a width of
200 m. The water was most beautifully clear, of a lovely emerald green,
with a wonderful white sand bottom clearly visible although the river had
considerable depth in many places. Yet another island, 600 m. long--Una
Island--came in sight to the right of us; then another between two
companions, forming almost a circle round the central isle. The river now
formed a basin not less than 800 m. wide with innumerable rocks at the
entrance. We went on kilometre after kilometre, spending our time in
avoiding unpleasant rocks, when again we came first to fairly strong
rapids, then to an extremely dangerous rapid, which we shot, as we were
carried away into it before we had time to realize where we were. We had
the greatest difficulty in extricating ourselves from the many terrifying
whirlpools at the end of the rapid, in a great basin 900 m. wide. We
found a most beautiful halting place on a natural terrace of volcanic
rock some 20 ft. above the river, with a dome of rock in the centre.

I met signs of Indians close to the river. Evidently a tribe had once
halted there, but apparently many years before our arrival. I discovered
their fireplaces, several carved pieces of wood, and some fragments of
rudimentary pottery in the neighbourhood of this picturesque spot. In
exploring round the place I also found some almost entirely obliterated
indications of several ancient trails which had been made by the Indians
in the forest.

Looking toward bearings magnetic 340°, and also in the opposite direction
to the south, most gorgeous river scenes were before us. This was by far
the most beautiful spot I had come across on the river so far. I
therefore named the huge island on which I stood George Rex Island. I
gave Alcides orders to carve the name on a tree, but as he was an
anarchist he refused to do it, excusing himself by saying that he had
injured his hand.

At that camp we caught over 400 lb. of fish in less than half an
hour--three _jahus_ among the number, each weighing over 40 lb. Then we
also captured two _cachorra_ or dog fish, which possessed vicious-looking
molars of great length, not unlike those of a big dog. Each of these fish
weighed over 30 lb. Then we got eight _trahiras_, some 20 lb. each in
weight. With the little salt which remained we preserved some of the
fish, as we were now getting very short of food. However, we had
excellent meals most of the time on the river, frying the fish with fat
which we extracted from the fish itself.

During the night of July 26th we had a minimum temperature of 55° F., but
as we had had plenty to eat the previous evening--in fact, too much--we
did not feel the cold quite so severely.

_Ariranhas_ in large families were plentiful near that spot, and came
close several times, grinding their teeth at us, especially when we were
slaughtering the fish on the bank. We kept watch during the entire night,
as on that occasion they were truly vicious. Our dogs, for a change,
became quite sportive. One of them, named Negrino, got furious with the
_ariranhas_, and, driven mad by their unmusical noises, actually jumped
into the stream to go to their attack. In a moment he had quantities of
_ariranhas_ upon him, and was bitten savagely, one ear being nearly torn
off. He endeavoured to beat a retreat, but by that time he was in
mid-stream and struggling for dear life against his enemies. We put out
in the canoe at once and went to his rescue, eventually getting him on
board in an exhausted condition, and bleeding terribly all over.

We enjoyed a hearty breakfast of boiled and fried fish before leaving
camp at 9 o'clock in the morning. We were sorry to leave the beautiful
camp--the best we had had since we had been on the River Arinos. There
were before us two great channels. The one flowing east was the larger of
the two, fully 400 m. wide and 3,000 m. long in a straight line. As we
were paddling along we passed on our left a triangular island the
southern side of which was 2,000 m. long, the south-east side 500
m.--Angela Island.

Where the river deviated to 30° b.m. a perfectly straight stretch of
8,000 m. was before us--a most beautiful sight. Two parallel islands,
only 50 m. wide, one 400 m. the other 300 m. long, were on the right of
us, in the part of the river where George Rex Island, which was still to
the right of us, described a graceful semicircle. Fifteen hundred metres
farther down George Rex Island came to an end with a beautiful spit of
sand 200 m. long. Just beyond, still on our right, another island, 400 m.
long--Rosalinda Island--was passed, also with a lovely spit of sand 200
m. in extent. The river at this place had a total width of 500 m. At a
point 5,000 m. down the straight stretch due east we came to three
parallel elongated islands, two of them 300 m. long, the third 1,000 m.
in length, all three on the right of us as we floated down. A barrier of
rocks extended right across the stream from north-west to south-east, at
a spot where on our left side, at b.m. 330°, a hill range extended
northwards. With a slight deviation of 10° eastward (40° b.m.) another
beautiful stretch of 6,000 m. was before us. More islands, more clusters
of picturesque rocks were passed. First came a group of two islands, the
larger 350 m. long--Vanessa Island; then a beautiful clean sand-spit 150
m. long, almost in mid-stream, preceded a group of three parallel
islands--Philomela Island, 400 m. long, Portia Island, 300 m. and Psyche
Island, 4,500 m. Beyond these were two more islands, one triangular in
shape in the centre of the stream--Rhea Island--some 250 m. long, with a
strong _corrideira_ at its north-easterly terminus.

[Illustration: A Giant Sucurí Snake with Entire Deer contained in
its Digestive Organs.]

A most gorgeous sand-bank of great length now lay on our left, while on
the right we had two small islets, one 100 m. long, another, beyond it,
500 m. long. A tributary entered the Arinos-Juruena at that spot on the
right side. Where the river turned again due east for 3,000 m.,
another set of parallel islands with a chain of hills beyond them on the
right bank was to be seen. The hill range extended from north-west to
south-east. All these ranges, with a backbone of rock underneath, formed,
as it were, the ribs which held up the central plateau of Brazil. We were
now in a region of wonderful accumulations of sand; nearly all the
islands showed a sand-spit of great length on the up-stream side. Great
islands occurred once more: Paulina Island, 2,500 m. long, on our left;
another, 200 m. long--Olivia Island--on our right; and a third--Clara
Island--just beyond it. A long tail of rocks followed, and the channel
was strewn with dangerous rocks where the river had cut its way through
the range of hills.

What must have been formerly an immense island which had become cut up
into three was now on the left of us as we followed the central channel
in an easterly direction. The first of these was comparatively small; the
next--Tristan Island--was 1,500 m. long; the third--Isolda Island--1,000
m. long. All were of extraordinary beauty. Rubber trees were to be seen,
but not in such great numbers as we had found farther up the stream.
Evidently the soil was somewhat too rocky and not sufficiently moist for
their healthy growth.

From due east the river suddenly turned to due north, diverted by the
great rib of rock which had formerly made part of the hill range we had
now on our right. We had a good deal of trouble here, as difficult rapids
were encountered, and sharp, cutting rocks, collision with which would
have been fatal for us. Our canoe, after the many bumps we had already
experienced, gave alarming signs that she might split in two
longitudinally at any moment. For 5,000 m. the river flowed in a
northerly direction. Great domes of granite and immense boulders were
scattered near the left bank, and rocks of all sizes and shapes emerged
from the water all over the basin, which was 600 m. across. Another
barrier of rock stretched from north-east to south-east and formed a high
drop in the river. We had to unload the canoe once more upon some rocks
in mid-stream, then let her gently down the step of foaming waters by
ropes. We were then in a magnificent basin 1,000 m. wide, with a great
cluster of impressive rocks on the right side, in front of two
enchantingly beautiful islands--Melisande Island, 400 m. long, Pelleas
Island, 700 m. long--on the left.

Whenever I was gazing enraptured at the heavenly scenery Alcides always
managed to send the canoe on to some rock, which quickly brought me back,
not to earth but to water. His principle in life was always to do the
worst thing and then you knew that nothing worse could happen--a
topsy-turvy philosophy for which we all had to suffer. Emerging from the
basin, we had two channels before us, one to the N.N.E., the other N.N.W.
Gigantic palm trees such as we had seen along the River Arinos were now
to be seen all along the banks of the river. We saw in the water not far
from us a large _sucuriú_ snake (_Eunictes murinus_), fully 6 in. in
diameter. It peeped its head out of the water to gaze curiously into our
canoe, and caused some excitement among my men.

Another immense barrier of rocks with most troublesome rapids extended
from south-west to north-east right across the stream. That seemed a
great place for snakes, especially in the narrow and tortuous channel
which we followed, between a great island--Victor Emmanuel Island--and
the left bank. We were going along fairly gaily when I saw a huge
snake--another _sucuriú_--floating upon the water among the foliage and
branches of a fallen tree. The section of the body which I could perceive
measured fully 2½ ft. in diameter, and I must say that for one moment--we
were only about 20 ft. away from it--I was somewhat surprised, as my
quickly calculating mind constructed in my imagination a snake at least
100 ft. long. My men immediately took to their rifles, and were about to
open a fusillade, but I stopped them, not caring to disturb the sleep of
so gigantic a reptile. It was with some relief that, as the canoe floated
quietly a little farther, I perceived the head of the snake resting
gracefully in a sound slumber upon a branch of the tree out of the water.
The head was of more normal proportions. We landed a little distance away
as quietly as possible, my men trembling all over with excitement and
fear in case the reptile should wake up. Then all together they opened a
fusillade until a bullet actually struck the snake and it wriggled about.
There was a stampede of all my men through the foliage and plants which
grew along the stream. The snake was dead. When they had made quite sure
that life was extinct my men returned and pulled the snake out of the
water. Although the section we had seen floating was so big, the rest of
the body was not more than 4 in. in diameter. The snake had eaten an
entire _veado_ (deer), and that was the cause of the great swelling of
the central part of its body. The shape of the devoured animal could be
seen plainly inside it. The photograph of the reptile which I took is
given in one of the illustrations of this book. The light was not good
for photographic purposes, as it was late in the afternoon and the snake,
which after all was only 18 ft. 5 in. long, lay under the shadow of the
foliage, which made photography rather difficult. As I was trying to get
a second photograph my men proceeded with their knives to open the snake
and see what was inside. The terrific odour which ensued when they did so
made us violently ill, causing desperate vomiting. I have seen it stated,
in some books which have been published about South America, that snakes
of incredible length are believed to exist on that continent. Undoubtedly
the notion has been suggested by the fact that inexperienced travellers
have seen immensely broad traces of snakes along the soft ground near
rivers. Measuring the diameter of those trails they came to the
conclusion that the snake was 80 to 100 ft. long, and without taking
further trouble to ascertain they stated they had actually seen a snake
of that length. Whereas, as a matter of fact, as in the case I have
described, the immense diameter of the snake was merely in the section
which enclosed some big animal which had been swallowed.

[Illustration: An Easy Rapid.]

[Illustration: Going through a Narrow Channel.]



CHAPTER XI

     A Family of _Ariranhas_--Attacked by them--Three Nasty
     Rapids--Beautiful Sand Beaches--Exciting Experiences--Going down
     a Thundering Cataract--Alcides' Narrow Escape--A Night's Work in
     the Midst of a Foaming Rapid in order to rescue the
     half-submerged Canoe--Filippe's Courage--Visited by a Snake 20
     ft. long


WE camped some hundred metres away from the spot where we had killed the
_sucuriú_. It was getting late. My men did not sleep a wink the whole
night, as they thought perhaps the mate of the snake might come and pay
us a visit. We had a lively time the entire night, as we had made our
camp over the home of a family of _ariranhas_. They had their young in a
small grotto in the bank, and we heard them all night squealing for their
mothers, who were grinding their teeth and shrieking furiously a little
way off from the bank, not daring to enter their homes while we were
near. They were, I think, more frightened of the fire which my men had
made than they were of us. There were twenty or thirty of them, and they
made so much noise during the night that it was quite out of the question
to rest. The vegetation was very thick, the damp considerable, and the
air quite stifling, with a minimum temperature of 60° F. Occasionally,
when the air moved at all, we could smell our friend the dissected
_sucuriú_.

We were glad to leave at eight o'clock the next morning; we seldom could
make an earlier start, owing to the slowness of my men in getting their
breakfast and mine ready, and reloading the canoe, as all the baggage was
taken out every night. Where we had made camp, Victor Emmanuel Island
came to an end, the length of the island being some 14 kil. We had great
fun just before leaving, the _ariranhas_ coming boldly to attack us as we
were getting into the canoe. Our dogs, which had been squealing and
growling the whole night at the unmusical shrieks of the _ariranhas_, now
jumped into the water, and there was a fierce fight between them and the
amphibious animals. My men, as usual, fired a great many shots.
Eventually we recovered our dogs and started off once more on our
journey.

The river flowed from that point at first mostly in a north-easterly
direction and in a somewhat winding course; then gradually tended toward
the north-west. In the western part of a large basin 1,200 m. broad were
two islands and innumerable rocks. Then, farther on, one more long rocky
barrier extended from north-west to south-east in the north-western part
of the basin. Once more did we have to let the canoe down the terrific
rapids by means of ropes.

Where the river turned to the north-west it was 500 m. wide and most
beautiful. A great many islands were seen, and innumerable rocks barred
the entrance of the channel at the end of the basin above described. Soon
after, however, we entered another basin 1,000 m. wide, with more islands
and rapids fairly easy to negotiate. Once more did the river turn due
north for 6,000 m., after we had gone over another swift and most
troublesome rapid, where we had to unload our baggage and take the canoe
down carefully with ropes. After that we entered a long channel strewn
with rocks. We had not gone far when another strong rapid was
encountered, over another great barrier of rock. No sooner had we
negotiated that difficult passage than another great barrier of rock,
also from south-west to north-east, had to be gone over through a
troublesome rapid.

My men were getting tired of exploring, and were perplexed, because the
more dangers we surmounted the greater seemed the dangers confronting us.
They were beginning to lose the nerve they had temporarily acquired, and
were now so scared at the vicious waters that they tried to keep the
canoe all the time close to the banks or islands, the river being so deep
that they thought this was the best way of saving their lives in case we
had a bad accident. The current was extraordinarily swift, and to make
things worse a strong north-easterly wind blew with great fury, driving
us back and producing such high waves that our canoe was constantly
filled with water. The result of keeping so close to the bank, and having
our heads continually brushed by the foliage which overhung the stream,
was that each time we came in contact with the branch of a tree thousands
of ants would drop on to the canoe and upon us, and would bite us
furiously. This was most trying--an additional torture to that we had to
endure of being stung all over by other insects which followed the canoe
in swarms.

We had not gone much farther along when within 1,000 m. we came to three
nasty rapids in succession, over barriers of great rocks intersected by
interesting veins of quartz. From that point the river was fairly
straight for 7 kil. We had that morning encountered five troublesome
rapids, which had given us endless work. When we halted we were simply
ravenous. We were fortunate enough to get plenty of fish for lunch, and
while my men were enjoying a hearty feast I took the usual astronomical
observations, eaten all over as I was by mosquitoes and _piums_, while
bees innumerable had settled on my face and arms. The latitude was 9°
40'·4 S.; the longitude 58° 34' W. The bees had a most peculiar pungent
odour, which they seemed to leave on one's skin when they had walked on
it. We kept our heads wrapped up in towels; but even then we suffered a
great deal.

[Illustration: A Dangerous Vortex.]

[Illustration: Preparing the Canoe to go down a Rapid.]

When we started in the afternoon we continued to travel in a direction of
330° b.m., and came to a large basin, easily identifiable by subsequent
travellers by three extensive domes of granite on the right side, two of
them actually on the bank of the stream at the entrance of the basin.
Where an elongated island, 3,000 m. long--Oriana Island--beside which we
had travelled, ended on our left, we saw another island that continued
half-way down the basin, here some 2,000 m. wide. The second
island--Diana Island--was fully 8,000 m. in length. In the centre of this
great basin was a triangular island--Pomona Island--4,000 m. long and
with a base of 1,500 m. A tributary was visible on the right bank, just
opposite a great dome of granite with an appendix of sand and gravel
which stood in the middle of the channel. After we had travelled for
2,500 m., a basin some 1,400 m. wide opened again, with a small
island, 400 m. long, in the centre--M. Adams Island. This charming islet
had a picturesque headland of rock on the south side, and a long spur,
also of rock, to the north. We made our camp here. The river was really
marvellously beautiful at this point, the vegetation all round being
vigorous and healthy, with a great wealth of rubber trees, while the huge
volcanic rocks strewn about added much to the picturesqueness of the
scene.

It was warm during the night (minimum temperature 63° F.), and we were
treated to a most tormenting concert of mosquitoes. They swarmed
positively in millions around us. With my bed and bedding which I had
lost in the rapids I had unfortunately also lost my mosquito net, and I
now was suffering greatly from the stings of all the troublesome insects.
My bones were aching all over from sleeping on the uneven packing-cases
placed in a row which now formed my bed. It took too much time and
trouble to unfasten the straps and buckles which kept the boxes tightly
closed, and they did not add to the comfort when one lay spread on them.

When we left in the morning of July 28th, going along a beautiful stretch
of close upon 25 kil. in great expanses from 4,000 to 6,000 m. long, we
passed first of all an elongated quadrangular island 1,500 m. long; then
farther on great masses of volcanic rock. At the end of that stretch the
river divided into two channels separated by an equilateral-triangular
island, the side of which was 2,000 m.--Minerva Island. Another island,
also of great beauty, and with a considerable number of rubber trees upon
it, was found a little farther, and there a bar of sand spread beneath
shallow water right across the stream.

We had gone 31,500 m. that morning. When we found a most beautiful beach
of lovely sand we could not resist the temptation of halting on it to
prepare our lunch. Our surprise was great when we set foot on the beach
to hear shrill whistles beneath us. The beach was formed of whistling--or
singing--sand. The reason the sand was musical was because some large
insects had bored thousands of holes of great depth into its moistened
mass, which allowed the holes to retain their form. When the sand was
trodden the pressure drove the warmish air contained in those holes with
great force through the contracted apertures and caused a sharp whistling
and occasionally quite melodious notes.

I again took observations for latitude and longitude at this place, but I
was beginning to find the work too heavy--not the observing in itself,
but the computing of all the observations, at which I was not
particularly quick. (Lat. 9° 24' S.; Long. 58° 40' W.) Also, the great
care which I had to take of the chronometer under most difficult
circumstances was a trial to me, considering the numberless things I had
to look after. The only little comfort I had on that journey had been my
camp bed, on which I could, if not sleep soundly, at least rest my weary
bones for a few hours at night. That had now gone, and I was beginning to
feel the strain of the hard work, constant mental exertion, and the total
lack of rest.

We had passed a great number of islands in the morning: one 2,000 m.
long--Melusine Island; another 300 m.--Janus Island; a third 3,000
m.--Midas Island--by the side of which was another enormous island, some
6,000 m. in length--Miranda Island. Then little islets 200 and 250 m.
long, and another big island, 2,000 m. from end to end--A. Masõ Island.

Most beautiful sandy beaches were now constantly seen, mostly, like the
one on which we had landed, composed of singing sand. (Some of those
beaches were 200 and 300 m. long.) The beach on which we had landed for
lunch was at the southern end of a great island, 5,700 m. long, which I
named Queen Mary Island.

We left again that afternoon, travelling fairly speedily, chiefly in
W.N.W. and S.S.W. directions, varying from 290° b.m. to 230° b.m. When we
came to the end of Queen Mary Island, after passing some really
remarkable beaches on which we found a great many turtles' eggs, we came
to a large basin, 1,800 m. across, with numberless rocks scattered on the
north and south sides of it. The river there flowed due west; in fact,
those rocks formed a kind of corona all around the great circle. A
crescent-shaped island, 2,800 m. long--Giselle Island--was next passed.
The channel through which we went was full of dangerous rocks, and had a
width of 280 m.

Soon after another basin 1,600 m. broad was reached, with a formidable
barrier of islets and rocks spreading from south to north. The river
there flowed in a perfectly straight course for 10 kil. to 310° b.m. A
most extraordinary-looking islet with a circular terrace of rock on the
east side of it, which was passed in mid-stream, was surrounded by a
giant crown of pyramidal rocks of great height emerging in sharp points
from the water. We had gone but 6,000 m. of that distance when we came to
an island on the right side with a gorgeous spit, also of musical sand,
300 m. long. The island itself was only 700 m. long including the
sand-spit--Kuvera Island. We were then in an immense basin with leaden
waters as still as those of a pond.

We made our camp in a most picturesque spot, an immense beach forming
innumerable indentations, really like small dunes of sand deposited by
water. The accurate elevation of that place was, according to the
observations taken with the hypsometrical apparatus, 967 feet, water
boiling at that spot at 210° 3¾, and the temperature of the atmosphere
being 72½° F. The indented beach, not unlike a giant double-comb, was at
the beginning of a great island which I named James Dewar Island, in
honour of the great discoverer of liquid air. The minimum temperature
during the night of July 29th was 55° F.

Since we had come to the enormous sand accumulations along the stream the
troublesome insects which worried us day and night seemed to have doubled
or trebled in numbers, and we suffered positive torture from them,
especially when we landed anywhere.

[Illustration: A Narrow Passage in the Arinos River.]

[Illustration: Treble Vortex.

(The water revolved in three different directions in succession.)]

We left fairly early in the morning, finding soon afterwards a group of
sharply pointed rocks, some above the surface of the stream, some--most
dangerous--just under the surface. Another basin, 1,000 m. broad, was
crossed, which contained two islets and a number of rocks forming a
barrier from south-west to north-east. Two kilometres farther along
another immense barrier of rocks and numberless islets obstructed the
river from south-west to north-east, so that for a little time we could
not see which way the stream flowed out of it at all. Sharply-pointed
rocks, ugly and fearsome-looking, stood up everywhere. When eventually we
did perceive a channel, down which we went, we found terrifying rapids
followed by fearful eddies and a most alarming whirlpool.

I could not measure the exact width of the basin there, as there was a
regular maze of islands and I could not well see from the canoe where the
banks exactly were.

A great island, 2,000 m. long--Normand Island--presently divided the
river into two great channels, the north-easterly one of which we
followed, finding more fearsome rapids and strong eddies, which knocked
the canoe and us about in a dangerous manner.

I was greatly concerned in going down all those rapids, as the canoe was
now in a pitiable condition. We had no way of repairing her, and I was
afraid that, with the strain of the terrific current, if we had banged
too hard against a rock, she might have split in two. I was not so
anxious for myself as I was for my men, who would certainly have been
drowned, as four of them could not swim. Also, after all the trouble I
had taken to make valuable botanical collections and a unique collection
of photographs, I was most anxious to bring them all back safely. I was
particularly anxious to bring back to Europe the wonderful fossils I had
collected on the Plateau of Matto Grosso, which I had long ago packed in
one of the cases that were fortunately among the things saved from the
previous disasters. My men had invariably grumbled at having to carry
that particular heavy box, when we had to unload the canoe and take the
baggage on our heads or shoulders at the many rapids we had encountered.
They had never once missed an occasion to remonstrate and swear at the
absurdity of having to sweat to carry "those blessed stones," or "the
devil's own stones," as they called them.

We had gone but a few thousand metres when we once more came to another
great barrier, with two islands, stretching, like most of the others,
from south-west to north-east. The only point at which we could take the
canoe down was in the rapid in the very centre of the stream--a
nasty-looking place, I can assure you--followed by a whirlpool of such
proportions as would have frightened most humans. I must say for my men
that they showed a great deal of courage that day. Whether it was because
they did not quite realize the danger, or whether it was because they had
got accustomed to it by then, I do not know; but the fact remains that
when I ordered them to go down that terrifying place they obeyed without
saying a word.

We had to exercise the greatest care, having to jump out on small rocks
which stuck up in the middle of the rapid in order to arrest the almost
uncontrollable speed of the canoe. Had they missed their footing while
jumping on those rocks and holding the ropes attached to the canoe, the
men would certainly have lost their lives, as it was out of the question
to save anybody in those diabolical waters. Therefore, when you
considered the terrific speed at which the canoe was travelling, and that
the men must have known that a mistake in judging the distance would have
meant utter destruction, you could not but admire them for their really
amazing self-confidence. On many occasions, indeed, I had to do the same
thing myself, but I must say I never liked it much; although I was in a
better position than they were, as I am a good swimmer--not that a
swimmer would have much chance in those waters.

A number of islets were seen below the rapids and whirlpool. From that
point we discerned on the right bank an elongated hill, 100 ft. high.
Slightly beyond, preceded by a great mass of rock, was another island 200
m. long, dividing the stream in two. Two other islands, one 700 m.
long--Leda Island--the other one Medea Island, of greater length but much
narrower, were disclosed behind it.

Then came another great barrier of rocks extending from south-west to
north-east, and more rapids to be negotiated. A series of elongated
islets and sand-banks occurred in the basin which followed, 1,300 m.
wide. Beautiful sand-beaches had formed on either side of that lovely
bay. The river then narrowed again to a width of 500 m., and we saw a
long flat island of sand, 200 m. long and 50 m. wide, enclosed by rocks
in the centre of the stream.

We continued our journey, after the usual halt for taking astronomical
observations, and had before us a small hill 100 ft. high at bearings
magnetic 300°.

We came to a series of most dangerous rapids with terrific whirlpools,
especially after the first and second rapid. Another great barrier of
rocks with huge boulders spread across the stream from south-west to
north-east. An isolated hill was to be seen on the left bank where this
barrier was found. A strange coffin-shaped boulder of immense size was
then reached on the right side of the stream, just after we had passed a
delightful sand-spit 100 m. long enclosed within a stockade of
pillar-like rocks.

From this point we had 4,000 m. of clear navigation to 280° b.m. It
seemed heavenly to us to be in smooth waters again, and my men flattered
themselves that we had now come to the end of the rapids altogether. But
we soon arrived at innumerable rocks in a confused mass right across the
stream, between which the river flowed with great force in a contracted
neck. We passed between two islands, each 200 m. long, at the end of
which was a rapid. An island 1,000 m. long was there formed--Bomfin
Island. Dangerous rapids occurred half-way down its length on the right;
then followed a mass of square columnar pillars of rock not unlike
basalt. That was all very beautiful to look at, but we had endless
trouble in extricating our canoe from among the numberless impedimenta
which obstructed navigation.

[Illustration: At the August Falls.]

Another most beautiful island, 520 m. long--Jessica Island--was passed
just before getting to really formidable rapids, down which we had the
greatest difficulty in letting the canoe, even by the judicious use of
ropes. The navigable channel of the river--if navigable it could be
called--swerved from north-west to due north. In a basin of immense size
were a number of islands from 300 to 200 m. in length, and enormous
boulders with cataracts of great height between. The roar made by the
water falling over was so great that it resembled thunder. The difference
of height between the top and the bottom of the rapid was not less than
10 ft. The water in the channel we followed went over a great slope of
lava above which numerous boulders had accumulated.

My men became perplexed when they saw the formidable rush of water, but
before we had time to do anything we were swept away at such a speed that
for one moment I really believed we were lost. My men laughed
hysterically, and in that laugh I joined when we came out at the other
end still alive. We had shaved several rocks so closely that great
patches of the stopping in the side of the canoe had been torn off
altogether, and we were filling fast with water.

Our merriment did not last long, for in a few moments we had drifted on
to another and worse rapid, much more terrific than the one we had just
gone over. We just managed to hold the canoe on the upper edge of the
foaming stream, trying to get the ropes ready in order to let her down.
We were in mid stream, not less than 200 m. away from the right bank. We
unloaded a portion of the baggage on the rocks and proceeded to let the
canoe down with ropes--a most dangerous job in that particular rapid,
because at the end of the rush of water stood up many rocks, which drove
the water back again and eventually switched it off, curling over itself
at a very sharp angle on one side and on the other. A diabolic-looking
whirlpool of great depth formed on the other side of those rocks.

I fully realized that the strength of us seven men was hardly sufficient
to hold the canoe, particularly as all of us were immersed waist-deep and
could scarcely keep our footing in that great rush of water. It was only
with the greatest care that we could possibly accomplish the feat, and
of this I warned my men. In fact, the moment the canoe came down at an
angle on the steep incline she gave such a mighty jerk that my men, with
the exception of Alcides, let go the ropes. Some of them had the skin
taken clean off their fingers. I saw the canoe give a great leap. To my
horror, a moment after the canoe had passed me down the rapid--I was
holding one of the ropes at the lower part of the rapid--I saw Alcides,
who bravely had never let the rope go, being carried away in the current.
I just managed to grab him as he was about to be drawn into the vortex,
where most certainly he would have lost his life. I lost my footing too,
and we were both thrown against a rock, which I grabbed with one hand
while still holding on to Alcides. There we remained powerless for
several minutes, swallowing a good deal of water, which went right over
our heads with the resistance we made against the current, until Filippe
the negro--with wonderful courage, since he was no swimmer--came to our
rescue.

Alcides was undoubtedly a brave man, but he certainly had a beastly
temper. No sooner had he recovered from the accident than I heard some of
the other men tell him that he had had a narrow escape and would have
died had I not gone to his rescue. Shouting aloud so that I could hear
his remark, he said to the men: "Oh, the Englishman only came to my
rescue because there was no danger for him, as he could swim, or else he
would not have done it."

[Illustration: Author and his Men in Water up to their Necks for an
Entire Night endeavouring to save their Canoe, which in shooting a Rapid
had become stuck between Rocks.]

There was no time to lose, and certainly no time for argument. The canoe
had most unluckily got stuck at the bottom of the rapid between two
rocks, her fore-part being absolutely submerged. The vibration was
such in the after-portion which stuck out of the water that I thought any
moment she might break in two.

All my men behaved that day with marvellous courage--particularly
Filippe, who, much delighted by the words of praise I gave him when he
risked his life in coming to our rescue, now offered to risk his life
once more in endeavouring to seize one of the ropes which had got loose
and was dangling from the canoe in the foaming waters. We tied Filippe
with a rope which we removed from one of the packing-cases we had
previously landed, and let him down the rapid until he was thrown
violently against the canoe. There the plucky fellow was able to get
inside and recover the ropes, which he, after repeated attempts, flung on
to us. We pulled and pulled for several hours, but the canoe was so
jammed between the rocks, and the current was so strong, that we were not
able to get her off.

Night had come on, and we were still waist-deep in the water and
trembling with cold, trying to save the canoe. She would not move in any
direction. It was with some concern that I had seen several articles
which had been loose in the canoe being washed out into the water and
disappearing in the whirlpool. Then came a worse accident still. While
trying to unload two heavy cases of provisions--a ticklish job--the men
lost their footing in the current and one after the other the
packing-cases also disappeared in the whirlpool.

All these disasters following one another within a few hours were rather
trying to us, the loss of the provisions particularly giving me a great
shock, as I realized now that we had practically nothing else left to
eat except what we could find by shooting or fishing.

When the canoe had been made lighter we succeeded by constantly jerking
her in moving her slightly, and eventually, at two o'clock in the
morning--the accident having occurred at half-past four in the
afternoon--we were able to release her and bring her to safety along the
bank.

A great hole had been opened in the side of the canoe where she had
struck the rock, and we had to beach her in order to keep her afloat till
the morning. Then came the heavy task of taking all the baggage from the
rocks in the centre of the stream along the great barrier of sharp
cutting stones as far as the bank.

[Illustration: The Salto Augusto from Above.]

We were prostrate with fatigue when we had accomplished all the work. I
lay down on the ground to rest; my men fortunately had saved their
hammocks, as they were the first things they always took care to save
whenever there was a calamity. Not once during the whole journey did my
men offer me one of their hammocks when they saw me sleeping with great
discomfort on packing-cases or on the ground. Certainly I was too proud
to ask them for any favour.

I had hardly gone to sleep when I thought I heard a curious noise by my
side, as of something dragging along the ground. I immediately jumped up,
and saw a huge snake some 20 ft. long inquisitively looking at me, only
half a metre away. I do not know which of us two was more surprised. The
snake with sinuous grace moved away from me with gradually accelerated
speed, and, passing right under the hammocks of my men, disappeared in
the forest behind.

Taking all things into consideration, that was a night worth remembering.
What was worst of all was the fact that, with the excitement and the
fatigue, I had forgotten to wind the chronometer at the usual hour of
seven o'clock in the evening, and when I woke up startled in the morning,
remembering the fact, I found the chronometer had stopped altogether.
That was the greatest blow of all, after all the trouble I had taken to
keep the Greenwich mean time for my observations of longitude. The mishap
was not irreparable, as I got the time fairly accurately by using the
previous observations at local noon and working out the difference with
Greenwich mean time.

So many had been the obstacles we had found that day that, before
reaching the rapid where we had the disaster, we had made a progress of
39 kil. 500 m.--poor work indeed as compared to the wonderful distances
we had been able to cover on the first days of our navigation of the
Arinos River. Considering all, however, it was really marvellous that we
could cover even that distance, short as it was.



CHAPTER XII

     A Tiny Globular Cloudlet warning us--Tossed in a Merciless
     Manner--Saved by Providence--Vicious Waters--A Diabolical Spot--A
     Highly Dangerous Crossing--A Terrible Channel--More Bad
     Rapids--On the Verge of a Fatal Drop down a Waterfall--Saved in
     Time--A Magnificent Sight--The August Falls--A Mutiny--The Canoe,
     weighing 2,000 lb., taken across the Forest over a Hill-range


THE thermometer that night, July 30th, showed a minimum of 63° F. We
repaired the large hole (about 1 ft. in diameter) in the side of the
canoe by stuffing it with a pair of my pyjamas, while one or two shirts
which I still had left were torn to shreds in order to fill up the huge
crack which went from one end of the canoe almost to the other, and which
had become opened again in scraping rocks in the rapid.

We did not leave that camp until 11 o'clock a.m. An isolated hill was
visible on the left bank. We had gone some 3,000 m. when we came to
another fairly strong rapid. My men were quarrelling among themselves.
Alcides, who was fond of gesticulating on such occasions, let the
steering gear go in order to give more force to his words by waving his
hands in the air, regardless of the danger which was in front of us, with
the result that the canoe turned a pirouette upon herself and down the
rapid we went backwards.

The river flowed from that place in an easterly direction for some 3,000
m., where a great basin was formed, strewn with rocks and islets and
having two large islands in its eastern part. The basin in its widest
part had a width of 2,000 m. Then from that point the river went to 50°
b.m. for a distance of 6,000 m. A strong north-easterly wind was blowing
against us, keeping us back and making our work unduly hard. Great waves
tossed us about and made my men seasick, while we got splashed
incessantly, the moisture we absorbed being each time quickly evaporated
by the fierce wind. We felt cold and shivery and not particularly happy
after the experience of the previous night.

Benedicto, who had been entrusted during the journey with the baling out
of the canoe, was beginning to find his job too much for him--a job which
he had volunteered to do at first when the canoe was not leaking. He now
said he wanted to paddle and not bale out the water any more. Although we
used a big bucket for that purpose, Benedicto had all his work cut out
for him in keeping the canoe only half full of water.

Several times I remonstrated with him that day, as while I was sitting
behind him with the wind blowing hard, he flung most of the water on me
instead of back into the stream.

I had observed for the last few days a little globular white cloudlet to
the north, just above the horizon. Every day that cloudlet was to be seen
in the very same position, where it remained motionless most of the day
upon the otherwise beautifully clear blue sky. That was an indication to
me that we must be nearing a great fall of water or an immense rapid,
which caused the evaporation of the water to produce it.

Many were the islands we passed that day, some as much as 800 m. in
length. One island, particularly, was picturesque to a degree, with an
impressive crown of rock on its westerly side. The river was there some
2,000 m. wide--perhaps even more, as I could not quite see how far the
bank was to the left of us owing to some islands which stood in the way.

A barrier of islands describing a crescent then stood before us, the
largest island of that group being 800 m. wide and several kilometres
long--Belinda Island. I did not measure the exact length of this island,
as we got into great trouble there in some strong rapids, and I had to
leave my notebooks for a moment in order to assist poor Benedicto in
baling out the water so that we could keep afloat.

When our course turned to 10° b.m. we came into full view of a high range
to the north of us which spread from north-west to south-east. The river
had cut its way right through it. We reached a great basin again, 2,000
m. broad like its predecessor, with four beautiful islands abreast, and a
number of other islands varying from 100 to 500 m. in length behind them,
in the centre, while rocks innumerable were scattered about. There was a
rapid once more, with a nasty succession of strong whirlpools formed by
the deviation of the swift waters encountering the many rocks.

[Illustration: The Upper Terrace of the August Waterfall.]

Beyond the rapids we got a full view of the range before us, which
extended from 90° b.m. to 320°. We had hardly recovered from negotiating
those eddies when we were confronted by yet another strong rapid,
impossible to navigate, where we had to let the canoe down by means of
ropes.

The river here was most picturesque, in great straight stretches from
3,000 to 9,000 m. in length. Some 4,000 m. farther down we came to a very
bad rapid. My men were extremely tired of unloading and reloading the
canoe all the time with the heavy baggage which still remained. They
became most ill-tempered when this new rapid appeared before us, blaming
me, as it were, for the rapid being there. I told them that if they did
not care to unload all they had to do was to shoot the rapid. They
quarrelled among themselves. When we got near it my men became terrified.
Alcides, who was at the steering gear, mentioned the fact that we should
all be drowned in a few moments. He became perplexed when we entered the
rapid, which tossed the canoe about in a merciless manner. In one place,
where the water, driven through with great force along a narrow channel,
formed a central wave of great height, the canoe stood up almost
vertically on her stern. Baggage and men all slid down in a heap. The
next thing I saw, when the canoe righted herself, was that we were going
down the rapid sideways and at a really vertiginous pace. We managed to
clear by a mere hair's-breadth two great rocks which stood in the way.
Had we struck a rock on that particular occasion we certainly should have
all been killed. As luck would have it, before we knew what was happening
we were shot into the whirlpool under the rapid, and there we turned
round upon ourselves three or four times before my men had recovered from
the amazement of finding themselves still alive, and had begun to paddle
again after I had told them to do so for the twentieth time.

Filippe the negro exclaimed: "As long as we come with you, sir, we shall
never be killed, but you let us go very near death sometimes!" Then they
discussed among themselves, saying that I must have some particular
mascotte which I carried upon my person and which prevented disaster.

The range which was before us to the north-west developed itself into a
flat-topped hill mass about 500 ft. above the level of the river.

Another rapid, fairly violent, was reached some distance beyond, my men
this time offering at once, of their own accord, to unload the canoe and
take her down carefully with ropes. I pretended not to care, as I wanted
to give them a lesson, and said we had better shoot it, as we had done
the previous one.

"No, no, no, no!" they all said in a chorus; "there is such a thing as
tempting Providence!"

As we got farther down I could perceive that the range extended much
farther than I had seen earlier in the day; in fact, from the W.N.W. it
spread as far as E.S.E.

Below the last rapid was an island of great beauty--Babin Island--2,000
m. long. The river beyond that island formed two arms, one on each side
of a triangular island located in the opening formed in the hill range by
the river, where another strong rapid--in fact, a regular small
waterfall--was to be found.

It was very difficult to keep count of all the islands which we
constantly passed--many elongated, others triangular, others rectangular,
others of all kinds of irregular shapes. In my note-books I endeavoured
to map out the entire course of the river as well as I could, and I think
that, considering the amount of other work I had to do and the
difficulties encountered all the time, the map I made to the scale of one
centimetre to a kilometre is as accurate as it could possibly be made
with the means at my command. In places where I was uncertain I have left