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Title: With the World's Great Travellers, Volume 2
Author: Various
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "With the World's Great Travellers, Volume 2" ***

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 COPYRIGHT 1896 AND 1897




 SUBJECT.                                AUTHOR.                    PAGE

 New York, Washington, Chicago           OLIVER H. G. LEIGH            5
 Winnipeg Lake and River                 W. F. BUTLER                 21
 A Fine Scenic Route                     HENRY T. FINCK               31
 South Pass and Fremont's Park           JOHN C. FREMONT              42
 In the Yellowstone Park                 FERDINAND V. HAYDEN          49
 The Country of the Cliff-Dwellers       ALFRED TERRY BACON           58
 Lake Tahoe and the Big Trees            A. H. TEVIS                  68
 The Chinese Quarter in San Francisco    HELEN HUNT JACKSON           78
 Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley      CHARLES LORING BRACE         88
 A Sportsman's Experience in Mexico      SIR ROSE LAMBERT PRICE       99
 The Scenery of the Mexican Lowlands     FELIX L. OSWALD             108
 Among the Ruins of Yucatan              JOHN L. STEPHENS            119
 The Route of the Nicaragua Canal        JULIUS FROEBEL              130
 The Destruction of San Salvador         CARL SCHERZER               137
 Scenes in Trinidad and Jamaica          JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE        145
 The High Woods of Trinidad              CHARLES KINGSLEY            157
 Animals of British Guiana               C. BARRINGTON BROWN         169
 Life and Scenery in Venezuela           ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT      179
 The Llaneros of Venezuela               RAMON PAEZ                  190
 The Forests of the Amazon and Madeira
     Rivers                              FRANZ KELLER                200
 Canoe- and Camp-Life on the Madeira     FRANZ KELLER                212
 Besieged by Peccaries                   JAMES W. WELLS              219
 The Perils of Travel                    IDA PFEIFFER                232
 Brazilian Ants and Monkeys              HENRY W. BATES              240
 The Monarchs of the Andes               JAMES ORTON                 251
 Inca High-Roads and Bridges             E. GEORGE SQUIER            261

List of Illustrations


 BOSTON COMMON, BOSTON, MASS.                             _Frontispiece_
 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, WASHINGTON                                      14
     QUEBEC                                                           34
 THE UPPER YELLOWSTONE FALLS                                          50
 GRAND CAÑON, ARIZONA                                                 66
 RED WOOD TREE, CALIFORNIA                                            96
 REGINA ANGELORUM (Queen of the Angels)                              116
 A WATERFALL IN THE TROPICS                                          146
 LA GUAYRA, VENEZUELA                                                180
 A SOUTH SEA ISLAND                                                  214
 THE MONARCHS OF THE ANDES                                           252





The reflective voyager, on his first sight of New York, is baffled when
he attempts to catalogue his sensations. All is so completely in
contrast with the capitals of Europe. The gloriously bright sky, air
that drinks like champagne, the resultant springiness of life and
movement, that overdoes itself in excitement and premature exhaustion,
and the obtrusively visible defects of this surface enthusiasm,
monotonous streets, unfinished or unbegun city improvements, and the
conspicuous lack of play-spaces for children--this is the rough
portrait sketch New York draws of itself for the newcomer. It does not
disguise the fact that money-making was for many years the dominant
consideration. The city was laid out for business, and public comfort
had to look out for itself. The workers, the poor, and the helpless were
apparently overlooked.

But there are at least three New Yorks to explore. Old New York
stretches from the bay up to once aristocratic Madison Square, and this
is the section that first leaves its mark on the aforesaid visitor. Then
comes new New York, the splendid modern metropolis that spreads from
Central Park along the Hudson to the northern heights where the stately
mausoleum of Grant, the transplanted Columbia University, and the great
Cathedral-to-be add majestic dignity to the grandly picturesque panorama
by the river. The antiquated brownstone wilderness of fashionable houses
blossoms into white and gray and red clusters of mansions, richly varied
in form and treatment, with the welcome grassy settings so pitifully
missing in the older quarter. From a neglected span of prairie ground,
pimpled with bare rocks and goat-sheltering shanties also shared by dago
families, this section has in a few years qualified itself to rival the
famous features of old-world cities. A nobler prospect than Riverside
Drive alongside the mighty Hudson cannot be desired nor found. At
last the city has discovered and worthily utilized its splendid
opportunities. Then, thirdly, there is Greater New York. For the
simplification of local government it is doubtless excellent policy for
London and New York to lasso their humbler neighbor towns that the big
cities may pose as suddenly greater than ever. The thing is done with a
stroke of the pen and does not wound the pride of the newly scooped-in
citizens, because the individuality of the suburban districts remains
unchanged, but in our infantile capacity as mere sightseers the
side-shows do not affect the glories of the ring proper. If this fashion
of acquiring greatness continues, being inclusion rather than expansion,
there need be no limit to the ciphers periodically tacked on to the
population of the world's swarming hives. Now that New York is growing,
it might drop its insignificant borrowed name and assume its rightful
one of dignity and historic import, Manhattan. It fills the twenty-two
square miles between Harlem river, the Hudson, the East River, and the
bay, which area is Manhattan Island. North of the Harlem it includes
the district of the Bronx, a little stream which for half a mile or
so affords as exquisite a picture of nature's beauty as can be found
anywhere. The drift from town to country homes is a sign of the times
and an augury of great good to the coming generation, physical and
patriotic. After all, bricks and mortar are not the making of a city.
New York is at its best beyond the borders. Its rich citizens overflow
into these northern suburbs and lordly estates, and across the East
River into Brooklyn and Long Island's garden villages, and across the
Hudson into New Jersey's charming towns, and down the bay to Staten
Island. In no great metropolis this side of Constantinople is it so easy
and inexpensive to slip quickly from the office or home and enjoy the
bracing delights of a sail down the salt water (the upper bay has
fourteen square miles and the lower over eighty) or up a stately river
with all the charms of the Hudson. Everything is on the grand scale,
once the city's square blocks of barracky houses are left behind.

Old-world quietists are surprised to discover one cosy quarter, perhaps
two, in the grimy section of New York. Stuyvesant Square and its
immediate belongings around St. George's Church still survive as an
oasis of sweetness and light in a wilderness of dismal commonplace.
Washington Square carries somewhat of the old aristocratic flavor to
the borders of Bohemia, and the Theological College in Chelsea used
to give a solemnizing leaven to that changing district. The social
transformation is still in progress. It may, perhaps, be a token of the
rise to metropolitanism that the distinctively American hotels of the
old-fashioned type have virtually disappeared. European models have
the preference for the time being in the in- and outdoor life of New
Yorkers. English sports have apparently taken firm root, as seen in the
popularity of golf, football, horse-racing, rowing, and some less
desirable practices incident to one or two of these erstwhile sports
that have developed into business undertakings, to the regret of true
sportsmen. In this connection it is worth while to notice the striking
disparity in the sizes of the audiences and outdoor crowds of New York
and London. If fifteen thousand people pay to see the Harvard-Yale
football game, or other such sport, it is considered worthy of special
headlines in the papers. Madison Square Garden holds that number,
seated, but the occasions when it has been filled at meetings have been
few. Football crowds in England range from thirty up to seventy
thousand, by turnstile record. The Crystal Palace accommodates over one
hundred thousand holiday-makers without being crowded, in its central
nave, sixteen hundred feet by eighty, besides transepts, and its famous
grounds. The late Rev. C. H. Spurgeon had congregations of six thousand,
seated, twice each Sunday for twenty-eight years. Mr. Gladstone and
others have addressed twenty-five thousand in the Agricultural Hall,
which covers over three acres, and St. Paul's Cathedral has occasional
congregations of over twenty thousand. These facts are the more curious
as applying to a small country.

One explanation of this contrast lies in the fact that New York is not a
homogeneous community. In a more marked degree than other capitals it is
a congeries of towns and colonies, largely alien in sympathies. You can
wander in turn through Judea, China, Italy, Ireland, France, Russia,
Poland, Germany, Holland, and colored colonies. Local color is strong
in each. The English speech is not used, not known, by many of these
people. The picturesqueness of tenement life and its Babel sounds does
not atone for the want of the deep-rooted Americanism which must sooner
or later be the test of welcome immigration.

Broadway is one of the great streets of the world though really a
Narrow-way for so important a thoroughfare. Running north and south
and having no rival for its most used section it has more than its
natural share of traffic. From the historic Bowling Green and Trinity
Church--two fine monuments of pre-Revolution days--up to Fourteenth
Street, Broadway is mainly a wholesale market. Then it changes to a
retail bazaar, and its trading features disappear as it nears the park.
There used to be a well-defined sky-line in the lower city, but this has
been sadly damaged by the towering office Babels that make the older
quarter of the city a cave of the winds. If some day an earthquake were
to shake the lower end of Manhattan Island, mighty would be the fall of
these presumptuous files and woe betide their inhabitants. Fifth Avenue
up to Thirty-fourth Street has given up its fashionable prestige in
exchange for the profits of business. The Stock and Produce Exchanges
are far down-town, among the multitude of banks that crowd around the
spot made sacred ground to future generations of patriots as the scene
of Washington's inauguration as President. The city and its environs are
rich in historic sites and monuments of the Revolutionary struggle.
These, happily for the country's future, are every year being sought and
studied by the young, also by bands of teachers from states near and
far, and by visitors from abroad. The devotion of one or more societies
of private individuals has of late years conferred a boon upon the
public which can hardly be too highly appreciated, in causing durable
memorial tablets to be placed on buildings of historic interest. In this
and kindred ways New York is fast removing all justification for the
stale reproach that it cared not for shrines and took small interest in
its own history.

A mere suggestion, yet a very helpful one, toward realizing somewhat of
the enormous shipping business done for the country by New York can be
got by a tour of the main wharves. There is a water-front of twenty-five
miles around the island, without reckoning the shores of Brooklyn and
Hoboken. The bird's-eye view from the wonderful and graceful Suspension
Bridge enlarges one's conception of what such a metropolis is and can
do. Alpine grain elevators circle the city on the opposite shore of the
rivers and upper bay. Two thousand ships sail out each year laden with
the grain that feeds the nations on the other hemisphere. Three thousand
steamships enter these wharves yearly with human and commercial freight
from foreign ports. Nearly ten thousand steerage immigrants land each
week the year round, besides an immense passenger contingent. These are
the sights that fascinate the thoughtful: the comings and goings of the
peoples of the earth and its products. Old Castle Garden and the Battery
have greatly changed in recent years, but their memories linger. If it
had been possible to keep the triangle south of Fourteenth Street as the
select residential quarter, what an unrivalled site it would now be! A
water panorama worth crossing the Atlantic to see, for its immensity,
its picturesque bordering, and the magnificent view of the foreground of
an embowered city by the sea.

Human needs shaped these water avenues to other destinies. They draw
from the great ocean beyond the Narrows the sources of all that has gone
to the building of national greatness. In turn they have borne to other
lands the seeds of a larger liberty, patterned after and stimulated by
the unparalleled success that has so splendidly rewarded self-achieved
freedom to grow, to think, to speak out, and to speed the commerce of
the world.

The wealth thus created has of recent years done much to beautify the
city with palatial residences. In the northern districts detached
mansions in grass-plots supersede the monotonous brownstone rows. Many
of these vie with each other in the extent and delicacy of decorative
carvings outside. Others are fashioned after the castellated structures
of Europe. The general impression left by a town of the newer fashion
quarter is that Jeffersonian simplicity, in architecture at least, is no
longer to be understood as synonymous with severe plainness. Probably no
other city can point to an equally rapid transition from conventional
taste, excellent for its period, to the present enthusiasm for the best
in artistic construction, whatever its cost.

The bicycle proved a revolutionizer of dress as well as a stimulus
to outdoor exercise. Each nation learns from the others and so we
progress, though there is possible weakness in the tendency toward
rigid uniformity. The picturesque and the primitive are disappearing
in every land. National individuality should not lightly be allowed
to lapse, even in minor matters of costume and recreation.

Experienced travellers know that a country is not to be judged by its
metropolis. There is a sturdier back-bone of conservatism in the
provinces than in the great cities, so largely made up of aliens and
sojourners. A goodly proportion of the business men whose genius has
made New York what it is, and who are admittedly qualifying it soon to
become the financial centre of the world, are country-born and raised.
Great as New York is, and mightier as it will become by reason of its
situation, the true and abiding greatness of the nation is spread over
the thousand cities and towns that equally represent American pluck and
stability. In the farming districts and the scattered rural communities,
in vast agricultural areas of which city people take too little note,
and in the steady, plodding, smaller towns, there abides a calm but
potent force that throbs with high patriotism, and will prove an
all-sufficient strength in time of peril.

       *       *       *       *       *

Washington! Its very name an inspiration, its every feature a
fascination to the lover of his country who makes his first pilgrimage
to the national shrine. Other great cities bear the glorious marks of
the tribulations and triumphs they suffered and enjoyed as they passed
through their historic experiences. Here is a capital created as the
consummation of a people's release from thralldom. A new city, invented
as the proclamation of a new nation's advent, the symbol and promise
of a mightier world-power than its proudest founders ever conceived
possible in their highest enthusiasms. The youngest of famous capitals,
it already holds its own with the best of its kind for grandeur and the
_rus in urbe_ charm. Its spacious avenues, one hundred and sixty feet
wide, are lined with trees and grassy walks. Their stately sweep gives
chances for fine landscape effects, which are finely used. The vistas of
the grand avenues are bounded by some piece of memorial statuary or an
imposing structure in the distance, as is Pennsylvania avenue by the
incomparable Capitol. No national monument is better known throughout
the world than this noble edifice. Its majestic stateliness is enhanced
by its snowy whiteness.

The Capitol is the greatest building for its purposes in the United
States. It covers three acres and a half, and has a frontage of seven
hundred and fifty feet. The great dome, with its figure of Liberty,
reaches a height of over three hundred and seven feet. Standing on the
rising ground among the rich foliage it has an aspect of quiet strength,
an impressive assurance of dignity and permanence peculiar to itself
among massive buildings in the great cities. Everyone goes, or should
go, to see Congress at work, and to explore the corridors trod by
generations of the nation's legislators, soldiers, jurists, orators, in
short, by all the great makers of the nation since Washington laid its
foundation stone. A singular instance of fate thwarting intention is
found in the situation of the Capitol. It was planned to face eastward,
the White House was to be in the rear, and the city was expected to
spread away from the river, eastwardly. But it perversely grew to the
northwest, with the result that the Capitol turns its back on the
capital. No one would suppose this is so unless told, so splendidly
balanced in architectural dignity are both fronts of the edifice.
Another peculiarity is that the head city of the republic is
monarchically governed, and governed better than any other city in the
Union. Three commissioners are appointed by the President, and the
citizens have no political franchise. The city was planned as a grand
example of what a capital should be. Impressed by the lessons of the
revolutions in Paris the designer dotted the area with circular
grass-plots or miniature parks, from which avenues and streets radiate
like wheel-spokes. In case of need a gun in each of the circles could
command an enemy approaching from any quarter. The peaceful use of these
charming sites is more befitting the spirit of the republic. Statues of
its soldier-heroes who saved the Union adorn each circle and give
historic interest to the vistas. There are two hundred miles of streets.
In summer-time they are groves of rich foliage. They and the park spaces
take up half the area of the city. It is wisely intended to re-name the
principal streets after famous American patriots instead of

Washington is pre-eminently a city of "sights." The great government
buildings are distributed over the city with excellent effect. They are
noble edifices, worthy of the Capitol and the capital. The Treasury,
with its never-to-be-forgotten scenes inside, the Army and Navy offices,
the Smithsonian Institution, and the rest of the head-quarters of
national business need no further mention here. The Corcoran Art
Gallery, the Patent Office, and the new Library of Congress demand a
special word. The latter is one of the most exquisite buildings in the
world, with interior decorative treatment quite beyond anything hitherto
known in the country. Its brilliant dome does not suffer by proximity to
the Capitol. An inspection of the Patent Office is a revelation of
genius peculiarly American, and its display throws the clearest light
on the secret of the country's amazing material prosperity. A visit to
Washington ought to be the finishing touch to the schooling of every
girl and boy. Historic sites and shrines appeal to the mature mind, but
the show places of the capital peculiarly suit the youthful instinct for
the novel and striking in matters of fact.


To see the Senate and House of Representatives in session is a high
privilege for any citizen, yet it is hampered by few, if any, such
restrictions as are imposed in other national legislatures. The chambers
are spacious and handsome, so are the classified galleries for
spectators, and the sessions are held in daylight. Equally impressive is
the Supreme Court of the United States--a temple of equity in all its
features, wherein the instinctive reverence for the highest embodiment
of justice and legal authority is encouraged by the surroundings. The
robes worn by the justices invest the bench and court with a dignity
which various state courts wisely emulate by adopting the same rule.
Isolated in striking grandeur, the lofty Washington obelisk lifts the
contemplative mind to heights above the level of material evidences of
prosperity. Like the Stuart portrait, this memorial of Washington leaves
the meaner measurements of a man's stature for other seasons and moods,
and by a touch of sublimity gives the nobler cue to patriotic devotion
and whole-hearted enthusiasm for him who, though human indeed, in his
life-work neared the divine.

Summer is not the best time to appreciate the social life of the
capital. It lies low, the Potomac's swampy margin is near and the street
forests of trees aid humidity. The White House snugly reposes in
beautiful grounds, with the great obelisk as a perpetual reminder of the
first President's example and reward. Another white portico gleams in
the distance, Arlington, the resting-place of the nation's hero-martyrs.
In the winter season Washington blooms into cosmopolitan grandeur. It
becomes the focus of the nation's lights in statesmanship, art,
literature, and social pleasures. The foreign embassies supply the grace
of brilliant color so lacking in the gatherings of men in the sombre
attire of the period. A continuous round of social festivities gladdens
the mild winter days and nights. Here, as in royal capitals, society has
its greater and lesser constellations. There are the senatorial,
judicial, diplomatic, military, and naval groups, too sharply divided,
to judge from audible criticisms in New York circles. Still literature,
art, and commerce have as free a welcome in Washington salons as
anywhere else, despite the plaints of overlooked suppliants. The White
House knows nothing of artificial shibboleths. It happily dispenses its
hospitalities--which are coveted honors--impartially upon all whom it
is an honor to honor, and so sustains the true American principle of
equal courtesy to citizens and sojourners of every degree. Washington is
an inexhaustible field for the student of men, manners and movements, a
theatre on whose stage the comedy of life plays itself, with all-potent
moulders of opinion and legislation as the actors, backed by a
supernumerary army of minor aids. Among its most eager auditors are
outsiders, reporting every byplay to profoundly interested critics
across the seas. The drama cannot be too deeply watched and pondered,
for it is fraught with issues vital to the well-being of coming

       *       *       *       *       *

Chicago is usually figured as a conventionally insipid beauty, in
flowing garments which would obstruct her progress and could never be
kept white. This is a mistake. Most masculine of cities, most American
of America's great centres, its shield should portray a strong youth in
the flush of adolescence, conscious power in his proud curled lip, fire
in his eye, springing to the foreground in the first ray of dawn, in his
right hand the sceptre of genius and his left grasping the key of
destiny. The good people of Chicago are not conspicuously lacking in
civic self-appreciation. They are accustomed to being twitted by rivals
in the rear on their boundless faith in their city's future greatness.
They can afford to listen smilingly. If the child is father of the man,
full-grown Chicago must some day tower above the up-stretched heads of
its envious seniors like a giant among, say, a committee of venerable
municipal Solons. Ordinary cities develop as babies do, slow growth to
maturity, but this extraordinary late-comer into the family attained
mental and muscular precocity in shorter time than its sisters required
to cut their wisdom-teeth. Considered in relation to its geographical
position and its express-speed rate of progress, Chicago has the
promise and potency of an imperial greatness no easier to exaggerate
than to limit. It was tried by fire in the day of small things, but
quickly rose to a new life and it still carries the memorial glow in its
heart as an inspiration to great things.

The word Chicago is a simpler form of the Indian name, Chacaqua, given
to the river in honor of their deity, the Thunderer. The position of
Chicago makes it the greatest lake port in the world. It is already the
second city in the United States, though only born in 1830, and has
hopes of becoming the first, by growth, and not by annexation policy.
True, the newest city inherits the wealth and experience which the older
ones had to gain for themselves, yet Chicago has done some fine original
things. It hitched up an inland sea as its beast of burden and made a
vast lake its pleasure pond. Finding itself only seven feet above the
level of Lake Michigan it lifted itself bodily another seven feet,
churches, warehouses, dwellings and all, with jack-screws, and shovelled
a new foundation of dry earth beneath. Fifteen years later the great
fire laid it lower than ever. On Oct. 8, 1871, began the disaster that
made nearly a hundred thousand people homeless, destroyed seventeen
thousand buildings and two hundred lives, and caused the loss of two
hundred millions of dollars. Within a year or so the wooden town was
transformed into a city of massive palaces built of stone and brick. It
is now fast changing itself into a maze of towering Babels, whose tops
support the pall of smoke that tells of manufacturing activity. It drove
tunnels beneath its river for street-cars. Its thirty-five bridges were
not enough for the constant rush. On its lake first swam the novel
whale-back boats. One sin will rise up against the city on the day of
doom: the twenty-mile line of lake shore has been largely prostituted
to railway interests instead of being conserved as an unrivalled
pleasure park for the people and an adornment to the city. It can plead
in mitigation of sentence that its six public parks cover more than
three square miles, besides some sixty linear miles of park-like
boulevards of which Paris might be proud. Of these Michigan Avenue has a
well-won fame. No business traffic is permitted on its wide and
well-sprinkled roadway, the morning and afternoon procession of
carriages taking its wealthy residents to and from business at times
recalls the Queen's Drive in the London season. If the Chicago man of
affairs works hard at his calling, he takes his pleasure zestfully and
plenty of it. On the grand occasion of the American Derby (for Chicago
has its Epsom and Ascot in one) it is a revelation to see the gay
caravan _en route_ to the race-course, as impressive a display of
metropolitan luxury as any capital can present. And on this day the West
can match the big crowds of England with this sixty thousand throng,
each person paying two dollars for bare admission to the ground.

In a city primarily devoted to business it takes time for the
development of the beautiful. Chicago has its "sights" for seekers after
the merely outlandish, who often miss the real greatnesses that are less
catchy to the eye. One of its achievements which impresses both the
trained and untrained observer is the undertaking which has the
uninviting name of Drainage Canal. The pure water of Lake Michigan used
to be polluted by the inflow of the Chicago River. To prevent this the
city has made an immense waterway by which the lake water is carried to
the Illinois River and the tide of the Chicago River is diverted from
its former course. The new canal is navigable and opens a route between
the great lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. The territory involved embraces
the city and forty-three square miles of Cook County. The main channel
is twenty-eight miles long and the cost was about thirty millions.

In their commercial aspect the famous Stock-yards have greater interest
than as a show place. They cover four hundred acres, the plant is valued
at four million dollars, and about twenty millions of animals are killed
and packed in a year. Similarly imposing are the statistics of most of
Chicago's enterprises. The Board of Trade is one of the most remarkable
sights in the country. Its public galleries are usually filled with
spectators of the feverish bidding of the grain operators, whose
slightest nod affects the markets of the world. The Stock Exchange is
yearly taking a more important share in the money market. The financial
institutions of Chicago and the West have more than once saved the East
from impending panic, and immense loans are constantly being renewed,
insuring the speedy recognition of the city as a force in the money
markets of the nations.

More interesting is the honor-roll of Chicago's intellectual enterprise.
The Columbian World's Fair of 1893 astonished the world with its beauty,
its perfection of artistic skill and taste. It gave an impetus to the
pursuit of the beautiful and refining which has borne substantial
results. Near the site of the Fair is a cluster of buildings
constituting the University of Chicago, dating from 1891, to which a
single donor has given nine million dollars, and loyal citizens are
continually adding to its possessions. The heads of the University count
on an endowment fund of fifty millions. Nowhere is Chicago enthusiasm
for progress more finely manifested than here. The great public
libraries of the city are envied by foreign visitors. The central Public
Library is a splendid triumph of architecture, next in interior
elegance to the Library of Congress. It is valued at three millions,
exclusive of its books. The Newberry and Crerar libraries form special
branches of the system. The city's churches and charities are doing
nobly in ameliorating the condition of the toilers and the handicapped
in life's race. The name and fame of Miss Jane Addams and the Hull House
settlement are world-wide. How difficult the task is may be conceived
from the fact that out of a million and seven hundred thousand people in
the city, nine hundred thousand are Americans, German, and Irish; the
remainder represent twenty-four nationalities, exclusive of negroes. A
report issued by an investigating committee of Hull House states that
"the density of population in the Polish quarter in Chicago is three
times that of the most crowded portions of Tokio, Calcutta, and many
other Asiatic cities."

As in New York there is a marked tendency among the richer people
to set up country homes. New suburban towns and villages of great
attractiveness are drawing an increasing number away from the smoky
city. On the other hand the far-famed hospitality of its people to
prophets of every school of thought, and the spirit of enterprise which
welcomes every new idea, attracts eccentrics and adventurers whose
trumpetings are loud enough to mislead superficial observers into the
notion that Chicago is the crank's paradise. If a fault at all, this
amiable toleration leans to virtue's side. Rightly to appreciate the
depth and breadth of Chicago's influence we must follow its trade to the
remotest corners of the earth. We must trace the influences of its seats
of learning and refinement. We must count, if we can, the tremendous
results of its world-renowned enterprises that have stimulated nations
to follow the successful lead. Be its faults what they may, Chicago has
the heart, the will, and the muscle to mend them, as the world will
see, and then will the true greatness of the Western metropolis be
discerned, and its full influence be felt.



     [Colonel W. F. Butler, in "The Great Lone Land," gives us some
     very interesting information about the life and scenery of the
     great American Northwest, from which we select the following
     description of a picturesque lake and river. His journey was
     made during the Riel rebellion, and the traveller was on his
     way to the Lake of the Woods, where he expected to meet an
     expedition sent for the suppression of the rebellion. The Red
     River Indians gave him a hearty send-off.]

The chief gave a signal, and a hundred trading guns were held aloft,
and a hundred shots rang out on the morning air. Again and again the
salutes were repeated, the whole tribe moving down to the water's edge
to see me off. Putting out to the middle of the river, I discharged my
fourteen-shooter into the air in rapid succession; a prolonged war-whoop
answered my salute, and, paddling their very best, for the eyes of the
finest canoers were upon them, my men drove the little craft flying over
the water until the Indian village and its still firing braves were
hidden behind a river bend. Through many marsh-lined channels, and
amidst a vast sea of reeds and rushes, the Red River of the North seeks
the water of Lake Winnipeg. A mixture of land and water, of mud, and of
the varied vegetation which grows thereon, this delta of the Red River
is, like other spots of a similar description, inexplicably lonely.

The wind sighs over it, bending the tall weeds with mournful rustle, and
the wild bird passes and repasses with plaintive cry over the rushes
which form his summer home.

Emerging from the sedges of the Red River, we shot out into the waters
of an immense lake,--a lake which stretched away into unseen spaces, and
over whose waters the fervid July sun was playing strange freaks of
mirage and inverted shore-land.

This was Lake Winnipeg,--a great lake, even on a continent where lakes
are inland seas. But vast as it is now, it is only a tithe of what it
must have been in the earlier ages of the earth.

The capes and headlands of what once was a vast inland sea now stand far
away from the shores of Winnipeg. Hundreds of miles from its present
limits these great landmarks still look down on the ocean, but it is an
ocean of grass. The waters of Winnipeg have retired from their feet, and
they are now mountain-ridges, rising over seas of verdure. At the bottom
of this by-gone lake lay the whole valley of the Red River, the present
Lakes Winnepegoos and Manitoba, and the prairie islands of the Lower
Assiniboine,--one hundred thousand square miles of water. The water
has long since been drained off by the lowering of the rocky channels
leading to Hudson Bay, and the bed of the extinct lake now forms the
richest prairie-land in the world.

But although Winnipeg has shrunken to a tenth of its original size, its
rivers still remain worthy of the great basin into which they once
flowed. The Saskatchewan is longer than the Danube, the Winnipeg has
twice the volume of the Rhine. Four hundred thousand square miles of
continent shed their waters into Lake Winnipeg; a lake as changeful as
the ocean, but, fortunately for us, in its very calmest mood to-day.
Not a wave, not a ripple on its surface, not a breath of breeze to
aid the untiring paddles. The little canoe, weighed down by men and
provisions, had scarcely three inches of its gunwale over the water, and
yet the steersman held his course far out into the glassy waste, leaving
behind the marshy headlands which marked the river's mouth.

A long low point stretching from the south shore of the lake was faintly
visible on the horizon. It was past mid-day when we reached it; so,
putting in among the rocky boulders which lined the shore, we lighted
our fire and cooked our dinner. Then, resuming our way, the Grand
Traverse was entered upon. Far away over the lake arose the point of the
Big Stone, a lonely cape whose perpendicular front was raised high above
the water. The sun began to sink towards the west; but still not a
breath rippled the surface of the lake, not a sail moved over the wide
expanse, all was as lonely as though our tiny craft had been the sole
speck of life on the waters of the world. The red sun sank into the
lake, warning us that it was time to seek the shore and make our beds
for the night. A deep sandy bay, with a high backing of woods and rocks,
seemed to invite us to its solitudes. Steering in with great caution
among the rocks, we landed in this sheltered spot, and drew our boat
upon the sandy beach. The shore yielded large store of drift-wood, the
relics of many a northern gale. Behind us lay a trackless forest, in
front the golden glory of the western sky. As the night shades deepened
around us and the red glare of our drift-wood fire cast its light upon
the woods and rocks, the scene became one of rare beauty.

As I sat watching from a little distance this picture so full of all
the charms of the wild life of the voyageur and the Indian, I little
marvelled that the red child of the lakes and the woods should be loath
to quit such scenes for all the luxuries of our civilization. Almost as
I thought with pity over his fate, seeing here the treasures of nature
which were his, there suddenly emerged from the forest two dusky forms.
They were Ojibbeways, who came to share our fire and our evening meal.
The land was still their own. When I lay down to rest that night on the
dry sandy shore, I long watched the stars above me. As children sleep
after a day of toil and play, so slept the dusky men who lay around me.
It was my first night with these poor wild sons of the lone spaces; it
was strange and weird, and the lapping of the mimic wave against the
rocks close by failed to bring sleep to my thinking eyes.

     [The next day an early start was made]

We entered the mouth of the Winnipeg River at mid-day and paddled up to
Fort Alexander, which stands about a mile from the river's entrance.
Here I made my final preparations for the ascent of the Winnipeg,
getting a fresh canoe better adapted for forcing the rapids, and at five
o'clock in the evening started on my journey up the river. Eight miles
above the fort the roar of a great fall of water sounded through the
twilight. In the surge and spray and foaming torrent the enormous volume
of the Winnipeg was making its last grand leap on its way to mingle its
waters with the lake. On the flat surface of an enormous rock which
stood well out into the boiling water we made our fire and our camp.

The pine-trees which gave the fall its name stood round us dark and
solemn, waving their long arms to and fro in the gusty winds that swept
the valley. It was a wild picture. The pine-trees standing in inky
blackness; the rushing water, white with foam; above, the rifted
thunder-clouds. Soon the lightning began to flash and the voice of
the thunder to sound above the roar of the cataract. My Indians made
me a rough shelter with cross poles and a sail-cloth, and, huddling
themselves together under the upturned canoe, we slept regardless of the

A man may journey very far through the lone spaces of the earth without
meeting with another Winnipeg River. In it nature has contrived to place
her two great units of earth and water in strange and wild combinations.
To say that the Winnipeg River has an immense volume of water, that it
descends three hundred and sixty feet in a distance of one hundred
and sixty miles, that it is full of eddies and whirlpools, of every
variation of waterfall from chutes to cataracts, that it expands into
lonely pine-cliffed lakes and far-reaching island-studded bays, that
its bed is cumbered with immense wave-polished rocks, that its vast
solitudes are silent and its cascades ceaselessly active,--to say all
this is but to tell in bare items of fact the narrative of its
beauty. For the Winnipeg, by the multiplicity of its perils and the
ever-changing beauty of its character, defies the description of
civilized men as it defies the puny efforts of civilized travel. It
seems part of the savage,--fitted alone for him and for his ways,
useless to carry the burdens of man's labor, but useful to shelter the
wild things of wood and water which dwell in its waves and along its
shores. And the red man who steers his little birch-bark canoe through
the foaming rapids of the Winnipeg, how well he knows its various ways!
To him it seems to possess life and instinct, he speaks of it as one
would of a high-mettled charger which will do anything if he be rightly
handled. It gives him his test of superiority, his proof of courage. To
shoot the Otter Falls or the Rapids of Barrière, to carry his canoe down
the whirling of Portage-de-l'Isle, to lift her from the rush of water at
the Seven Portages, or launch her by the edge of the whirlpool below the
Chute-à-Jocko, all this is to be a brave and a skilful Indian, for the
man who can do all this must possess a power in the sweep of his paddle,
a quickness of glance, and a quiet consciousness of skill, not to be
found except after generations of practice. For hundreds of years the
Indian has lived amidst these rapids, they have been the playthings of
his boyhood, the realities of his life, the instinctive habit of his old
age. What the horse is to the Arab, what the dog is to the Esquimaux,
what the camel is to those who journey across Arabian deserts, so is the
canoe to the Ojibbeway. Yonder wooded shore yields him from first to
last the materials he requires for its construction: cedar for the
slender ribs, birch bark to cover them, juniper to stitch together the
separate pieces, red pine to give resin for the seams and crevices. By
the lake or river shore, close to his wigwam, the boat is built;

     "And the forest life is in it,--
     All its mystery and its magic,
     All the tightness of the birch-tree,
     All the toughness of the cedar,
     All the larch's supple sinews.
     And it floated on the river
     Like a yellow leaf in autumn,
     Like a yellow water-lily."

It is not a boat, it is a house; it can be carried long distances
overland from lake to lake. It is frail beyond words, yet you can load
it down to the water's edge; it carries the Indian by day, it shelters
him by night; in it he will steer boldly out into a vast lake where land
is unseen, or paddle through mud and swamp or reedy shallows; sitting in
it, he gathers his harvest of wild rice, or catches his fish or shoots
his game; it will dash down a foaming rapid, brave a fiercely running
torrent, or lie like a sea bird on the placid water.

For six months the canoe is the home of the Ojibbeway. While the trees
are green, while the waters dance and sparkle, while the wild rice bends
its graceful head in the lake, and the wild duck dwells amidst the
rush-covered mere, the Ojibbeway's home is the birch-bark canoe. When
the winter comes and the lake and rivers harden beneath the icy breath
of the north wind, the canoe is put carefully away; covered with
branches and with snow, it lies through the long dreary winter until the
wild swan and the wavey, passing northward to the polar seas, call it
again from its long icy sleep.

Such is the life of the canoe, and such the river along which it rushes
like an arrow.

The days that now commenced to pass were filled from dawn to dark with
moments of keenest enjoyment, everything was new and strange, and each
hour brought with it some fresh surprise of Indian skill or Indian

The sun would be just tipping the western shores with his first rays
when the canoe would be lifted from its ledge of rock and laid gently on
the water; then the blankets and kettles, the provisions and the guns,
would be placed in it, and four Indians would take their seats, while
one remained on the shore to steady the bark upon the water and keep its
sides from contact with the rock; then when I had taken my place in the
centre, the outside man would spring gently in, and we would glide away
from the rocky resting-place. To tell the mere work of each day is no
difficult matter: start at five o'clock A.M., halt for breakfast at
seven o'clock, off again at eight, halt at one o'clock for dinner, away
at two o'clock, paddle until sunset at seven-thirty; that was the work
of each day. But how shall I attempt to fill in the details of scene and
circumstance between these rough outlines of time and toil, for almost
every hour of the long summer day the great Winnipeg revealed some new
phase of beauty and of peril, some changing scene of lonely grandeur? I
have already stated that the river in its course from the Lake of the
Woods to Lake Winnipeg, one hundred and sixty miles, makes a descent of
three hundred and sixty feet.

This descent is effected not by a continuous decline, but by a series of
terraces at various distances from each other; in other words, the river
forms innumerable lakes and wide expanding reaches bound together by
rapids and perpendicular falls of varying altitude; thus when the
_voyageur_ has lifted his canoe from the foot of the Silver Falls and
launched it again above the head of that rapid, he will have surmounted
two-and-twenty feet of the ascent; again, the dreaded Seven Portages
will give him a total rise of sixty feet in a distance of three miles.
(How cold does the bare narration of these facts appear beside their
actual realization in a small canoe manned by Indians!) Let us see if we
can picture one of these many scenes. There sounds ahead a roar of
falling water, and we see, upon rounding some pine-clad island or ledge
of rock, a tumbling mass of foam and spray studded with projecting rocks
and flanked by dark wooded shores; above we can see nothing, but below,
the waters, maddened by their wild rush amidst the rocks, surge and leap
in angry whirlpools. It is as wild a scene of crag and wood and water as
the eye can gaze upon, but we look upon it not for its beauty, because
there is no time for that, but because it is an enemy that must be

Now mark how these Indians steal upon this enemy before he is aware of
it. The immense volume of water, escaping from the eddies and whirlpools
at the foot of the fall, rushes on in a majestic sweep into calmer
water; this rush produces along the shores of the river a counter- or
back-current which flows up sometimes close to the foot of the fall;
along this back-water the canoe is carefully steered, being often
not six feet from the opposing rush in the central river; but the
back-current in turn ends in a whirlpool, and the canoe, if it followed
this back-current, would inevitably end in the same place. For a minute
there is no paddling, the bow-paddle and the steersman alone keeping the
boat in her proper direction as she drifts rapidly up the current. Among
the crew not a word is spoken, but every man knows what he has to do,
and will be ready when the moment comes; and now the moment has come,
for on one side there foams along a mad surge of water, and on the other
the angry whirlpool twists and turns in smooth hollowing curves round an
axis of air, whirling round it with a strength that would snap our birch
bark into fragments, and suck us down into the great depths below. All
that can be gained by the back-current has been gained, and now it is
time to quit it; but where? for there is often only the choice of the
whirlpool or the central river. Just on the very edge of the eddy there
is one loud shout given by the bow-paddle, and the canoe shoots full
into the centre of the boiling flood, driven by the united strength of
the entire crew; the men work for their very lives, and the boat breasts
across the river, with her head turned full towards the falls; the
waters foam and dash about her, the waves leap high over the gunwale,
the Indians shout as they dip their paddles like lightning into the
foam, and the stranger to such a scene holds his breath amidst this war
of man against nature. Ha! the struggle is useless; they cannot force
her against such a torrent; we are close to the rocks and foam; but see,
she is driven down by the current, in spite of those wild fast strokes.
The dead strength of such a rushing flood must prevail. Yes, it is true,
the canoe has been driven back; but behold, almost in a second the whole
thing is done,--we float suddenly beneath a little rocky isle on the
foot of the cataract. We have crossed the river in the face of the
fall, and the portage landing is over this rock, while three yards out
on either side the torrent foams its headlong course.

Of the skill necessary to perform such things it is useless to speak.
A single false stroke and the whole thing would have failed; driven
headlong down the torrent, another attempt would have to be made to
gain this rock-protected spot, but now we lie secure here; spray all
around us, for the rush of the river is on either side, and you can
touch it with an outstretched paddle. The Indians rest on their paddles
and laugh; their long hair has escaped from its fastening through their
exertion, and they retie it while they rest. One is already standing
upon the wet, slippery rock, holding the canoe in its place; then the
others get out. The freight is carried up, piece by piece, and deposited
on the flat surface some ten feet above; that done, the canoe is lifted
out very gently, for a single blow against this hard granite boulder
would shiver and splinter the frail birch-bark covering; they raise her
very carefully up the steep face of the cliff and rest again on the top.
What a view there is from coigne of vantage! We are on the lip of the
fall; on each side it makes its plunge, and below we mark at leisure the
torrent we have just braved; above, it is smooth water, and away ahead
we see the foam of another rapid. The rock on which we stand has been
worn smooth by the washing of the water during countless ages, and from
a cleft or fissure there springs a pine-tree or a rustling aspen. We
have crossed the Petit Roches, and our course is onward still.

Through many scenes like this we held our way during the last days of
July. The weather was beautiful; now and then a thunder-storm would roll
along during the night, but the morning sun, rising clear and bright,
would almost tempt one to believe that it had been a dream, if the
pools of water in the hollows of the rocks and the dampness of blanket
or oil-cloth had not proved the sun a humbug. Our general distance each
day would be about thirty-two miles, with an average of six portages. At
sunset we made our camp on some rocky isle or shelving shore: one or two
cut wood, another got the cooking things ready, a fourth gummed the
seams of the canoe, a fifth cut shavings from a dry stick for the fire;
for myself, I generally took a plunge in the cool, delicious water;
and soon the supper hissed in the pans, the kettle steamed from its
suspending stick, and the evening meal was eaten with appetites such
as only the _voyageur_ can understand.

Then when the shadows of the night had fallen around and all was silent,
save the river's tide against the rocks, we would stretch our blankets
on the springy moss of the crag, and lie down to sleep with only the
stars for a roof.

Happy, happy days were these,--days the memory of which goes very far
into the future, growing brighter as we journey farther away from them;
for the scenes through which our course was laid were such as speak in
whispers, only when we have left them,--the whispers of the pine-tree,
the music of running water, the stillness of great lonely lakes.



     [From Henry T. Finck's "The Pacific Coast Scenic Tour" we
     select the following description of the Canadian Pacific
     Railway route, which is acknowledged to possess a long
     succession of grand and beautiful scenery, unequalled by any
     other railroad route in America. The description is too long a
     one to be given in full, and for further acquaintance with it
     the reader must be referred to the book itself.]

After leaving Vancouver, and before reaching Westminster, the train for
some time runs along Burrard Inlet, on which is situated Fort Moody,
another town which had hoped to be chosen as terminus, and actually did
enjoy that privilege for a short time. The shores of the inlet are
beautifully wooded, and some of the trees are of enormous size. At the
crossing of Stave River a fine view is obtained of Mount Baker, looking
forward to the right; and the bridge over the Harrison River, where it
meets the Frazer, also affords a picturesque view. For the next fifteen
or sixteen hours the train follows the banks of the Frazer River and its
tributaries, and this is one of the grandest sections of the route.

At the first the Frazer is a muddy, yellow river, about the size of
the Willamette above Oregon City, but more rapid and winding, and an
occasional steamer may be seen floating along with the current, or
slowly making headway against it. In some places the railway runs so
close to the precipitous bank of the river that a handkerchief might be
dropped from a car window into the swirling eddies, fifty feet below.
At other places it leaves room--and just room enough--for the old
wagon-road between the track and the river; but it would take a cool
driver, with much confidence in his horses, to remain on his wagon here
when a train passes. At last the road itself becomes frightened and
crosses the river on a bridge, whereupon it winds along the hill-side
above the opposite bank, at a safe distance.

This road was made during the Frazer River gold excitement in 1858, when
twenty-five thousand miners flocked into this region, and wages for any
kind of work were ten to eighteen dollars a day. To-day the metal no
longer exists in what white men consider paying quantity; but Chinamen
may still be seen along the river, washing for remnants, their earnings
being about fifty cents a day. There is also a "Ruby Creek" in this
neighborhood, and some Indian habitations and salmon-fishing places.
Shortly before reaching Yale, which for a long time was the western
end of the road, there is a slight intermission in the scenic drama,
represented by some rich, level, agricultural lands, as if to give the
passengers a moment's rest before the wonders of the Frazer Cañon begin
to monopolize their bewildered attention, till darkness sets in and
drops the curtain on the superb panorama.

Yale, which is so completely shut in by high, frowning mountain walls on
every side that the sun touches the village only during part of the day,
has lost its importance since it ceased to be a terminus, and seems at
present to be inhabited chiefly by Indians and half-breeds. The train is
invaded by a bevy of half-breed girls with baskets of splendid apples
and pears, which could not be beaten for size and flavor in any of our
States, and indicate a possible use for these mountain regions in the
future. And now the train plunges into the midst of the series of
terrific gorges which constitute the Frazer Cañon, and which make this
railway literally the most gorge-ous in the world. Here were appalling
engineering difficulties to overcome, which no private corporation
without the most liberal government support could have undertaken. Yet
the builders had to be thankful even for this wild and rugged cañon dug
out by the Frazer River, without which the Cascade range would have been

The palace cars of the Canadian Pacific, which contain all the best
features of the Pullman cars, with home improvements, have a special
observatory, with large windows, at the end of the train, whence the
cañon should be viewed; but to see it at its best one must sit on the
rear platform, so as to see at the same time both of the wild and
precipitous cañon walls, between which the river rushes along as if
pursued by demons. At every curve you think the gorge must come to an
end, but it only grows more stupendous, and the river, lashed into foam
and fury, dashes blindly against the rocks which try to arrest its
course. These rocks, ten to thirty feet wide and sometimes twice as
long, form many pretty little stone islands in the middle of the
torrent, and are a characteristic feature of the cañon scenery. Numerous
tunnels, resembling those on the Columbia River, are built through
arches seemingly projecting over the river. The train plunges into them
recklessly, but always comes out fresh and smiling on the other side,
although it seems that if the bottom of the tunnel should by any chance
drop out, the train would be precipitated into the river below.

Once in a while the river takes a short rest, and in these comparatively
calm stretches hundreds of beautiful large red fish can be seen from
the train, in the clear water, struggling up-stream. With their dark
backs and bright red sides they form a sight which is none the less
interesting when you are told that they are "only dog salmon," which
are not relished by whites, though the Indians eat them.

     [A night now passes, during which much fine scenery is missed.
     But the best is reserved for the next day.]

Scenic wonders now succeed one another with bewildering rapidity
throughout the day. This second day, in fact, represents the climax of
the trip, and the attention is not allowed to flag for a second. However
much such a confession may go against the grain of patriotism, every
candid traveller must admit that there is nothing in the United States
in the way of massive mountain scenery (except, perhaps, in Alaska) to
compare with the glorious panorama which is unfolded on this route.
Within thirty-six hours after leaving Vancouver we traverse three of
the grandest mountain ranges in America,--the Cascades, Selkirks, and
Rockies,--all of them the abode of eternal snow and glaciers, and all of
them traversed through by cañons which vie with each other in terrific


Before the Selkirks are reached the train passes the Columbia or Gold
range, through the Eagle Pass, so called because it was discovered by
watching an eagle's flight. Eagle's Pass is a poetic and appropriate
name, and yet I think it would be well to re-name this mountain pass and
call it Mirror Lake Cañon, because that would call the attention of
tourists to what is its most characteristic feature, which may otherwise
be overlooked. There are four lakes and many smaller bodies of water in
this valley, in whose placid surface the finely-sloped mountain ridges
and summits of the pass are reflected with marvellous distinctness, so
that here, as in the Yosemite Mirror Lake, the copy is more lovely than
the original. Some of the mountain-sides reflected in these mirrors are
naked rocks, others are covered with living evergreen trees, and others
still with dead trees. In the mirror these dead forests look hardly less
beautiful than the living ones; but in the original the eye dwells with
more pleasure on the green forests which here, and almost everywhere in
British Columbia, grow with the rank luxuriance of a Ceylon jungle. The
soil under these dense tree-masses, consisting of decayed pine- and
fir-needles, a foot deep, and always moist, makes a paradise for lovely
mosses and ferns. Here, also, is the home of the bear, and one would not
have to walk far in this thicket to encounter a grizzly, black, or
cinnamon bruin.

On emerging from the Mirror Lake Cañon, a great surprise awaits the
passengers. The Columbia River--to which they had fancied they had said
a final farewell when they were ferried across it on the way from
Portland to Tacoma--suddenly comes upon the scene again, as clear and
as picturesque as ever; and even at this immense distance from its mouth
still large enough to require a bridge half a mile long to cross it. A
few hours later the train again crosses the Columbia, at Donald, where
the river has become much smaller than it seems that it should in such a
short distance.

To get an explanation of this circumstance, it is interesting to glance
at the map and notice what an immense curve northward the Columbia has
made in this interval in order to find a passage through the Selkirk
range; and in thus encircling the snowy Selkirks it has, of course,
added to its volume the contents of innumerable glacier streams and
mountain brooks. Its real sources are southeast of Donald, on the summit
of the Rockies, separated by but a short distance from springs which run
down on the eastern side and find their way through the Mississippi into
the Gulf of Mexico. Thus do extremes meet. It would be difficult to find
anything so curious in the course of any other river as this immense,
irregular parallelogram which the Columbia here describes from its
sources to Arrow Lake....

The snow-peaks of the Selkirks are now looming up on all sides, and the
atmosphere becomes more bracing and Alpine as the train slowly creeps up
the mountain-side, doubling up on itself in a loop. The Glacier House is
reached before long, and here every tourist who has time to spare should
get off and spend a day or two, since next to Banff, in the National
Park, this is the finest point along the whole route, scenically
speaking, while the air is even more salubrious, cool, and intoxicating
than at Banff, owing to the nearness of the glacier. It would be
difficult, even in Switzerland, to find a more romantic spot for a hotel
than the location of the Glacier House. High peaks rise up on every
side, so finely moulded, so deeply mantled with snow, and presenting
such various aspects from different points of view, that we forget our
disgust at the fact that, as usual in the West, these grand eternal
peaks have been named after ephemeral mortals,--Browns, Smiths, and
Joneses. The Grizzly and Cougar Mountains are more aptly named, as these
animals will long continue to abound in the impenetrable forests which
adorn these peaks below the snow-line. Looking from the hotel towards
the glacier, to the left is a peak which looks like the Matterhorn, the
most unique mountain in Switzerland, and, what is still more striking,
at its side is another smaller peak, which is an exact copy of the
Little Matterhorn....

The principal difference between the Swiss Alps and the Selkirk range
lies in the aspect of the mountain-sides below the snow-line. These, in
Switzerland, are green meadows dotted with browsing cows, and presenting
one unbroken mass of dark green, except where an avalanche has
tobogganed down and opened what seems at a distance like a roadway, but
is found to be a battle-field strewn with the corpses of cedars three
and four feet in diameter.

The most imposing view of such a mountain forest unbroken by a single
avalanche path is obtained from the snow-sheds just above the hotel.
Sitting outside these sheds and looking towards the left, you see a vast
mountain slope covered with literally millions of dark-green trees. Why
has none of the world's greatest poets ever been permitted to gaze on
such a Selkirk forest, that he might have aroused in his unfortunate
readers who are not privileged to see one emotions similar to those
inspired by it? But I fear that neither verse nor photographs, nor even
the painter's brush, can ever more than suggest the real grandeur of
such a forest scene. This mountain is not snow-crowned in September, but
its wooded summit makes a sharp green line against the snow-peaks beyond
and above. From this summit down to the foot stand the giant cedars, as
crowded as the yellow stalks in a Minnesota wheatfield. But in place of
the flat monochrome of a wheatfield, our sloping forest presents a most
fascinating color spectacle. The slanting rays of the sun tinge the
waving tree-tops with a deeply saturated yellowish-green, curiously
interspersed with a mosaic of dark, almost black streaks and patches of
shade, due to clouds and other causes, and the whole edged by the
dazzling snow.

If we descend and enter this forest, a cathedral-like awe thrills the
nerves. Daylight has not the power to penetrate to the ground hidden by
this dense mass of tree-tops rising two hundred to three hundred feet
into the air,--except that an occasional ray of sunlight may steal in
for a second, like a flash of lightning. And the carpet on which this
forest stands! In America we rarely see a house, even of a day-laborer,
without a carpet; why, then, should these royal trees do without one?
The carpet is itself a miniature forest of ferns and mosses, luxuriating
in riotous profusion on an ever-moist soil, the product of thousands of
generations of pine-needles. Nor is this carpet a monochrome, for the
green is varied by numerous berries of various kinds, most of which are
red, as they should be,--the complementary color of green. But there are
also acres of blueberries as large as cherries; and if you will tear off
a few branches of these and bring them to the young bear chained up near
the Glacier Hotel, he will be very grateful, and you will find it
amusing to watch him eating them.

There is music, too, in this Forest Cathedral, which is heard to best
advantage from the elevated gallery occupied by the snow-sheds. It takes
a trained ear to distinguish the steady, rippling _staccato_ sound of a
snow-fed mountain brook from the prolonged _legato_ sigh of a pine
forest, swelling to _fortissimo_, and dying away by turns. In the
romantic spot we have chosen these sounds are blended, the music
of the torrents being caught up by the sloping forest as by a huge
sounding-board, and increased in loudness by being mingled with the
mournful strains of the tree-tops, as orchestral colors are blended by
modern masters. Those err who say there is no music in nature. It is not
in "Siegfried" alone that the _Waldweben_ is musical, that leaves sing
as well as birds, while the thunder occasionally adds its loud _basso
profundo_. The æsthetic exhilaration which we owe to these poetic sights
and sounds is intensified by the salubrious breezes which waft this
music to our ears. Born among the clouds and glaciers, they are perfumed
in passing across the forests, warmed by the sun's rays in passing over
the valley; and every breath of this elixir adds a day to one's life. It
is not surprising that mountains should make the best health-resorts;
for do they not themselves understand and obey the laws of health? They
keep their heads cool under a snow-cap, their feet warm in a mossy
blanket, and their sides covered with a dense _fir_ overcoat....

For the greater part of the two hours which the train requires to go
from Donald to Golden City it passes along the bank of the Columbia
River; and there is, perhaps, no part of the whole route where grandeur
and beauty are so admirably united as here, especially in the autumn.
The grandeur lies in the snowy summits which frame in this Columbia
valley--the Selkirks on one side, the Rockies on the other. The beauty
lies in the river itself and in the young trees and bushes along its
banks, dressed in fall styles and colors, some as richly yellow as a
golden-rod, others as deeply purple or crimson as fuchsias or begonias,
the yellow predominating. These colored trees occur in groups and
streaks along the river, and in isolated patches on the mountain-sides,
where they might be mistaken for brown mosses or lichen-colored rocks.
There may be as beautifully colored trees in our Eastern forests, but
they are not mixed, as here, with young evergreen pines, nor have they a
framework of snow mountains, like these, to enhance their beauty.

High up on the ridges there is another variety of trees of a beautiful
russet color set off by a deep-blue sky. Talk of color symphonies. Here
they are--miles of them--long as a Wagner trilogy, and as richly
orchestrated. Even the masses of blackened logs and stumps--if one can
set aside for the moment all thought of pity for the poor charred trees,
so happy before the fire in their green luxuriance, and of the sad waste
of useful timber--enhance the charm of this scene by contrast.

I have said that the time-table of the Canadian Pacific Railway is
so arranged that the finest scenery is passed in daylight, in both
directions; but of course there must be exceptions, and, as a matter of
fact, as long as the road crosses the three great mountain ranges of the
Cascades, Selkirks, and Rockies, there is hardly a mile that does not
offer something worth seeing. Consequently, as darkness again closes in
soon after leaving Golden, east-bound passengers must resign themselves
to lose sight of the Kicking Horse Cañon, the Beaverfoot and Ottertail
Mountains, the large glacier on Mount Stephen, etc.,--which is all the
more provoking as they have to sit up anyway till midnight, when Banff
is reached; for, of course, every tourist who is in his right senses and
not a slave to duty gets off here to spend a few days in the Canadian
National Park.

     [The description of this park we can give only in summary.]

Summing up on the Canadian National Park, we may say it has not so many
natural wonders as the Yellowstone Park,--no geysers, steam-holes,
gold-bottomed rivulets, paint-pots, nor anything to place beside the
Yellowstone Cañon and Falls. But the Minnewonka Lake may fairly
challenge comparison with the Yellowstone Lake, and the mountain scenery
is grander in the Canadian Park, and the snow and glaciers are nearer,
though not so near as at the Glacier House, where the air is in
consequence cooler and more bracing in summer than even at Banff. As
the Canadian Park is only twenty-six miles long and ten wide, while the
Yellowstone Park is about sixty-two by fifty-four miles, the former can
be seen in much less time than it takes to do justice to the latter.

When we get ready to leave Banff we have to take the midnight train, so
there is no chance to say good-by to the mountains. But we have seen so
much of them since leaving Vancouver, that we have felt almost tempted
to cry out to Nature, "Hold, enough; less would be more!" Now we get
ample opportunity to ruminate in peace over our crowded impressions.
When we get up we are on the prairie; we go to bed on the prairie, after
traversing a territory larger than a European kingdom; again we rise on
the prairie, and again go to bed on it; and not till Lake Superior is
approached does the scenery once more become interesting....

As a general thing, it is no doubt wiser to take the Canadian Pacific
Railway westward than eastward, as the scenic climax is on the western
side. However, it is quite possible to avoid the feeling of anti-climax
on going east, if we conclude the trip with the Thousand Islands and the
Rapids of the St. Lawrence, together with Montreal; or with Niagara
Falls and the Hudson River. The Pacific slope, no doubt, is scenically
far more attractive than the Atlantic; still, there are some things in
the East which even California would be proud to add to her attractions.



     [Captain John Charles Fremont, one of the earliest government
     explorers of the Rocky Mountain region and the Pacific slope,
     was born at Savannah, Georgia, in 1813. Becoming a civil
     engineer in the government service, in 1842 he explored the
     South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, ascending in August the
     highest peak in the Wind River range. This has since been known
     as Fremont's Peak. In the following year he explored Great Salt
     Lake. In 1845 he led a third expedition to the Pacific, and
     during the Mexican war was instrumental in securing California
     for the United States. He led subsequent expeditions westward,
     was Republican candidate for the Presidency in 1856, served
     during the war, and in 1878-82 was governor of Arizona. He died
     in 1890. We subjoin his account of the crossing of the South
     Pass and discovery and ascent of Fremont's Peak.]

The view [of the Wind River Mountains] dissipated in a moment the
pictures which had been created in our minds by many travellers who have
compared these mountains with the Alps in Switzerland, and speak of the
glittering peaks which rise in icy majesty amidst the eternal glaciers
nine or ten thousand feet into the region of eternal snows.

     [Continuing their course, they encamped on August 7 near the
     South Pass, and the next morning set out for the dividing

About six miles from our encampment brought us to the summit. The ascent
had been so gradual that, with all the intimate knowledge possessed by
Carson, who had made the country his home for seventeen years, we were
obliged to watch very closely to find the place at which we reached the
culminating point. This was between two low hills, rising on either
hand fifty or sixty feet. When I looked back at them, from the foot of
the immediate slope on the western plain, their summits appeared to be
about one hundred and twenty feet above. From the impression on my mind
at this time, and subsequently on our return, I should compare the
elevation which we mounted immediately at the Pass to the ascent of the
Capitol hill from the avenue at Washington. It is difficult for me to
fix positively the breadth of this pass. From the broken ground where
it commences, at the foot of the White River chain, the view to the
southeast is over a champaign country, broken, at the distance of
nineteen miles, by the Table Rock, which, with the other isolated hills
in its vicinity, seem to stand in a comparative plain. This I judged to
be its termination, the ridge recovering its rugged character with the
Table Rock.

It will be seen that it in no manner resembles the places to which the
term is commonly applied,--nothing of the gorge-like character and
winding ascents of the Alleghany passes in America; nothing of the Great
St. Bernard and Simplon passes in Europe. Approaching it from the mouth
of the Sweet Water, a sandy plain, one hundred and twenty miles long,
conducts, by a gradual and regular ascent, to the summit, about seven
thousand feet above the sea; and the traveller, without being reminded
of any change by toilsome ascents, suddenly finds himself on the waters
which flow to the Pacific Ocean. By the route we had travelled, the
distance from Fort Laramie is three hundred and twenty miles, or nine
hundred and fifty from the mouth of the Kansas.

     [They continued their course westward, crossing several
     tributaries of the Colorado River, and on the 10th reached
     unexpectedly a beautiful lake.]

Here a view of the intensest magnificence and grandeur burst upon our
eyes. With nothing between us and their feet to lessen the effect of the
whole height, a grand bed of snow-capped mountains rose before us, pile
upon pile, glowing in the bright light of an August day. Immediately
below them lay the lake, between two ridges, covered with dark pines,
which swept down from the main chain to the spot where we stood. "Never
before," said Mr. Preuss, "in this country or in Europe, have I seen
such grand, magnificent rocks." I was so much pleased with the beauty of
the place that I determined to make the main camp here, where our
animals would find good pasturage, and explore the mountains with a
small party of men.

     [On the 12th this party set out, crossing intervening hills,
     and ascending through dense forests to the summit of the ridge.]

We had reached a very elevated point, and in the valley below, and among
the hills, were a number of lakes of different levels, some two or three
hundred feet above others, with which they communicated by foaming
torrents. Even to our great height the roar of the cataracts came up,
and we could see them leaping down in lines of snowy foam. From this
scene of busy waters we turned abruptly into the stillness of a forest,
where we rode among the open bolls of the pines, over a lawn of verdant
grass, having strikingly the air of cultivated grounds. This led us,
after a time, among masses of rock, which had no vegetable earth but in
hollows and crevices, though still the pine-forest continued. Towards
evening we reached a defile, or rather a hole in the mountains, entirely
shut in by dark pine-covered rocks.

     [In the morning they ascended a mountain stream, to its source
     in a small lake surrounded by a lawn-like expanse.]

Here I determined to leave our animals, and make the rest of our way
on foot. The peak appeared so near that there was no doubt of our
returning before night; and a few men were left in charge of the mules,
with our provisions and blankets. We took with us nothing but our arms
and instruments, and, as the day had become warm, the greater part left
our coats. Having made an early dinner, we started again. We were soon
involved in the most rugged precipices, nearing the central chain very
slowly, and rising but little. The first ridge hid a succession of
others; and when, with great fatigue and difficulty, we had climbed up
five hundred feet, it was but to make an equal descent on the other
side; all these intervening places were filled with small deep lakes,
which met the eye in every direction, descending from one level to
another, sometimes under bridges formed by huge fragments of granite,
beneath which was heard the roar of the water. These constantly
obstructed our path, forcing us to make long _détours_; frequently
obliged to retrace our steps, and frequently falling among the rocks.
Maxwell was precipitated towards the face of a precipice, and saved
himself from going over by throwing himself flat on the ground. We
clambered on, always expecting, with every ridge that we crossed, to
reach the foot of the peaks, and always disappointed, until about four
o'clock, when, pretty well worn out, we reached the shore of a little
lake, in which was a rocky island.

By the time we had reached the farther side of the lake we found
ourselves all exceedingly fatigued, and, much to the satisfaction of the
whole party, we encamped. The spot we had chosen was a broad, flat rock,
in some measure protected from the winds by the surrounding crags, and
the trunks of fallen pines afforded us bright fires. Near by was a
foaming torrent, which tumbled into the little lake about one hundred
and fifty feet below us, and which, by way of distinction, we have
called Island Lake. We had reached the upper limit of the piney region;
as, above this point, no tree was to be seen, and patches of snow lay
everywhere around us, on the cold sides of the rock. From barometrical
observations made during our three days' sojourn at this place, its
elevation above the Gulf of Mexico is ten thousand feet....

     [They set out early the next morning.]

On every side, as we advanced, was heard the roar of waters, and of a
torrent, which we followed up a short distance, until it expanded into a
lake about one mile in length. On the northern side of the lake was a
bank of ice, or rather of snow covered with a crust of ice. Carson had
been our guide into the mountains, and, agreeably to his advice, we
left this little valley and took to the ridges again, which we found
extremely broken, and where we were again involved among precipices.
Here were ice-fields, among which we were all dispersed, seeking each
the best way to ascend the peak. Mr. Preuss attempted to walk along the
upper edge of one of these fields, which sloped away at an angle of
about twenty degrees; but his feet slipped from under him, and he went
plunging down the plain. A few hundred feet below, at the bottom, were
some fragments of sharp rock, on which he landed; and, though he turned
a couple of somersets, fortunately received no injury beyond a few

     [That day's work failed, and they returned at evening to the
     camp. The next day they ascended a long defile on mule-back,
     and soon had the satisfaction to find that they had taken the
     right course. Finally, leaving their mules, they continued on
     foot, eventually reaching a point near the summit. Here was an
     overhanging buttress of rock, which could be surmounted only by
     passing around one side of it, which was the face of a
     precipice several hundred feet in depth.]

Putting hands and feet in the crevices between the blocks, I succeeded
in getting over it, and when I reached the top, found my companions in
a small valley below. Descending to them, we continued climbing, and in
a short time reached the crest. I sprang upon the summit, and another
step would have precipitated me into an immense snow-field five hundred
feet below. To the edge of this field was a sheer icy precipice; and
then, with a gradual fall, the field sloped off for about a mile, until
it struck the foot of another lower ridge. I stood on a narrow crest,
about three feet in width, with an inclination of about 20° north, 51°

As soon as I had gratified the first feeling of curiosity I descended,
and each man ascended in his turn; for I would only allow one at a time
to mount the unstable and precarious slab, which it seemed a breath
would precipitate into the abyss below. We mounted the barometer in the
snow of the summit, and, fixing a ramrod in a crevice, unfurled the
national flag to wave in the breeze where never flag waved before.
During our morning's ascent we had met no sign of animal life, except a
small sparrow-like bird. A stillness the most profound and a terrible
solitude forced themselves constantly on the mind as the great features
of the place. Here, on the summit, where the stillness was absolute,
unbroken by any sound, and solitude complete, we thought ourselves
beyond the region of animated life; but while we were sitting on the
rock, a solitary bee (_Bombus, the bumble-bee_) came winging his flight
from the eastern valley, and lit on the knee of one of the men.

It was a strange place, the icy rock and the highest peak of the Rocky
Mountains, for a lover of warm sunshine and flowers; and we pleased
ourselves with the idea that he was the first of his species to cross
the mountain barrier,--a solitary pioneer to foretell the advance of
civilization. I believe that a moment's thought would have made us let
him continue his way unharmed; but we carried out the law of this
country, where all animated nature seems at war; and seizing him
immediately, put him in at least a fit place,--in the leaves of a large
book, among the flowers we had collected on our way. The barometer stood
at 18.293, the attached thermometer 44°; giving for the elevation of
this summit thirteen thousand five hundred and seventy feet above the
Gulf of Mexico, which may be called the highest flight of the bee. It is
certainly the highest known flight of that insect.

From the description given by Mackenzie of the mountains where he
crossed them, with that of the French officer still farther to the
north, and Colonel Long's measurements to the south, joined to the
opinion of the oldest traders of the country, it is presumed that this
is the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains. [Fremont's Peak is now
estimated at thirteen thousand seven hundred and ninety feet. There are
many peaks now known over fourteen thousand feet. The highest point is
Blanca Peak, fourteen thousand four hundred and sixty-three feet high.]

The day was sunny and bright, but a slight shining mist hung over the
lower plains, which interfered with our view of the surrounding country.
On one side we overlooked innumerable lakes and streams, the spring of
the Colorado of the Gulf of California; and on the other was the Wind
River Valley, where were the heads of the Yellowstone branch of the
Missouri; far to the north we could just discover the snowy heads of the
_Trois Tetons_, where were the sources of the Missouri and Columbia
Rivers; and at the southern extremity of the ridge the peaks were
plainly visible among which were some of the springs of the Nebraska or
Platte River. Around us the whole scene had one main, striking feature,
which was that of terrible convulsion. Parallel to its length, the ridge
was split into chasms and fissures; between which rose the thin lofty
walls, terminated with slender minarets and columns.

     [The party reached camp the next day, and on the 17th turned
     their faces homeward, the purpose of the expedition having been



     [About the middle of this century reports began to be heard of
     a veritable wonderland in the far West, as yet seen only by
     trappers and other adventurers, whose stories of the marvels
     they had beheld whetted the appetite of scientific explorers.
     The first attempt to reach the region of the Yellowstone was
     made in 1856, but failed, and it was not until 1869 that an
     exploring party entered this marvellous valley. A second party
     reached the Yellowstone region in 1870, and Mr. N. P. Langford
     wrote a glowing account of the wonders observed. The first
     detailed description of the locality was made by Dr. Hayden,
     chief of the Geological Survey of the Territories, in 1871.
     From this extended and highly interesting account we can only
     quote a few passages, selecting those which relate to the hot
     springs and geysers of the wonderful Fire-Hole River region.]

Early in the morning of August 30 the valley was literally filled with
columns of steam, ascending from more than a thousand vents. I can
compare the view to nothing but that of some manufacturing city like
Pittsburg, as seen from a high point, except that instead of the black
coal smoke there are here the white delicate clouds of steam. Small
groups or solitary springs that are scattered everywhere in the woods
upon the mountain-sides, and which would otherwise have escaped
observation, are detected by the columns of steam. It is evident that
some of these groups of springs have changed their base of operations
within a comparatively recent period; for about midway on the east side
of the lower basin there is a large area covered with a thick,
apparently modern, deposit of the silica, as white as snow, while
standing quite thickly all around are the dead pines, which appear to
have been destroyed by the excessive overflow of the water and the
increased deposition. These dry trees have a most desolate look; many of
them have fallen down and are incrusted with the silica, while portions
that have fallen into the boiling springs have been reduced to a pulp.

This seems to be one of the conditions of silicification, for when these
pulpy masses of wood are permitted to dry by the cessation of the
springs, the most perfect specimens of petrified wood are the result. In
one instance a green pine-tree had fallen so as to immerse its thick top
in a large hot basin, and leaves, twigs, and cones had become completely
incrusted with the white silica, and a portion had entered into the
cellular structure, so that when removed from the water and dried in the
sun, very fair specimens were obtained. Members of my party obtained
specimens of pine-cones that were sufficiently silicified to be packed
away among the collections.


In order that we might get a complete view of the Lower Geyser Basin
from some high point, we made a trip to the summit of Twin Buttes, on
the west side of the basin. From the top of one of these buttes, which
is six hundred and thirty feet above the Fire-Hole River, we obtained a
bird's-eye view of the entire lower portion of the valley, which was
estimated to be about twenty miles long and five miles wide. To the
westward, among the mountains, were a number of little lakes, which were
covered with a huge species of water-lily, _Nuphar advena_. The little
streams precipitated their waters in the most picturesque cascades or
falls. One of them was named by Colonel Barlow the "Fairy Fall," from
the graceful beauty with which the little stream dropped down a clear
descent of two hundred and fifty feet. It is only from a high point
that it can be seen, for the water falls gently down from the lofty
overhanging cliff into a basin at the foot, which is surrounded by a
line of tall pines one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet in height.
The continual flow of the waters of this little fountain has worn a deep
channel or furrow into the vertical sides of the mountain. As far as the
eye can reach can be seen the peculiar plateau mountain ranges, black
with the dense forests of pine, averaging from nine thousand to ten
thousand feet above sea-level....

A spring on a level with the river has an enormous square basin thirty
feet across, of unknown depth. We called this the "Bath Spring." A
little below is another singular form of wonderful beauty. The water
issues from beneath the crust near the margin of the river from several
apertures. The basin itself is fifteen by twenty feet and twenty feet
deep. It seemed to me that nothing could exceed the transparent
clearness of the water. The slightest object was reflected in its clear
depths, and the bright blue tints were indescribable. We called this the
"Cavern." The mud springs are also numerous and important in this group.
As usual, they are of all sizes, from an inch or two to twenty or thirty
feet in diameter, with contents varying from mere turbid water to stiff
mud. They seldom have any visible outlet, but are in a constant state of
agitation, with a sound that varies with the consistency of the
contents. There are several of the mud-pots that give off a suppressed
thud as the gases burst their way through the stiff mortar. Sometimes
the mortar is as white as snow, or brown, or tinged with a variety of
vivid colors....

On the west side of the Fire-Hole, and along the little branch that
flows into it from the west, are numbers of springs of all grades, and
the broad bottom is covered with a snow-white silicious crust. Near the
base of the mountains there is a massive first-class boiling spring, in
a constant state of violent agitation, sending forth great columns of
steam, with a singular toadstool rim.... About three miles up the
Fire-Hole we meet with a small but quite interesting group of springs on
both sides of the stream. There is a vast accumulation of silica,
forming a hill fifty feet along the level of the river; upon the summit
one of the largest springs yet seen, nearly circular, one hundred and
fifty feet in diameter, boils up in the centre, but overflows with such
uniformity on all sides as to admit of the formation of no real rim, but
forming a succession of little ornamental steps, from one to three
inches in height, just as water would congeal from cold in flowing down
a gentle declivity. There was the same transparent clearness, the same
brilliancy of coloring to the waters, but the hot steam and the thinness
of the rim prevented me from approaching it near enough to ascertain its
temperature or observe its depth. It is certainly one of the grandest
hot springs ever seen by human eye.

But the most formidable one of all is near the margin of the river. It
seems to have broken out close by the river, and to have continually
enlarged its orifice by the breaking down of its sides. It evidently
commenced on the east side, and the continual wear of the under side of
the crust on the west side has caused the margin to fall in, until an
aperture at least two hundred and fifty feet in diameter has been
formed, with walls or sides twenty to thirty feet high, showing the
laminæ of deposition perfectly. The water is intensely agitated all the
time, boiling like a caldron, from which a vast column of steam is ever
rising, filling the orifice. As the passing breeze sweeps it away for a
moment, one looks down into this terrible seething pit with terror. All
around the sides are large masses of the silicious crust that have
fallen from the rim. An immense column of water flows out of this
caldron into the river. As it pours over the marginal slope it descends
by numerous small channels, with a large number of smaller ones
spreading over a broad surface, and the marvellous beauty of the
strikingly vivid coloring far surpasses anything of the kind we have
seen in this land of wondrous beauty,--every possible shade of color,
from vivid scarlet to a bright rose, and every shade of yellow to a
delicate cream, mingled with vivid green from minute vegetation. Some of
the channels were lined with a very fine, delicate yellow, silky
material, which vibrates at every movement of the waters. There was one
most beautiful funnel-shaped spring, twenty feet in diameter at the top,
but tapering down, lined inside and outside with the most delicate
decorations. Indeed, to one looking down into its clear depths, it
seemed like a fairy palace. The same jelly-like substance or pulp to
which I have before alluded covers a large area with the various shades
of light red and green. The surface yields to the tread like a cushion.
It is about two inches in thickness, and although seldom so tenacious as
to hold together, yet it may be taken up in quite large masses, and when
it becomes dry it is blown about by the wind, like fragments of
variegated lichens.

     [From this description of the hot springs of the region we
     proceed to an account of its marvellous geyser phenomena.]

We camped the evening of August 5 in the middle of the Upper Geyser
Basin, in the midst of some of the grandest geysers in the world.
Colonel Barlow and Captain Heap, of the United States Engineers, were
camped on the opposite side of the Fire-Hole. Soon after reaching camp
a tremendous rumbling was heard, shaking the ground in every direction,
and soon a column of steam burst forth from a crater near the edge of
the east side of the river. Following the steam, arose, by a succession
of impulses, a volume of water, apparently six feet in diameter, to the
height of two hundred feet, while the steam ascended a thousand feet or
more. It would be difficult to describe the excitement which attended
such a display. It is probable that if we could have remained in the
valley several days, and become accustomed to all the preliminary
warnings, the excitement would have ceased, and we could have admired
calmly the marvellous ease and beauty with which this column of hot
water was held up to that great height for the space of twenty minutes.
After the display is over the water settles down in the basin several
inches, and the temperature slowly falls to 150°. We called this the
"Grand Geyser," for its power seemed greater than any other of which we
obtained any knowledge in the valley.

     [After describing more particularly the peculiarities of the
     Grand Geyser and the smaller neighboring geysers, Dr. Hayden
     gives us an enthusiastic pen-picture of a beautiful type of

On the summit of the great mound is one of a class I have called central
springs; it is located on the highest point of the mound on which this
great group belongs; has a crater twenty feet in diameter, very nearly
quiescent, slightly bubbling, or boils near the centre, with a thin,
elegant rim projecting over the spring, with the water rising within a
few inches of the top. The continual but very moderate overflow of this
spring, uniformly on every side, builds up slowly a broad-based mound,
layer by layer, one-eighth to one-sixteenth of an inch thick. Looking
down into these springs, you seem to be gazing into fathomless depths,
while the bright blue of the water is unequalled even by the sea. There
are a number of these marvellous central springs, with projecting rims
carved with an intricate delicacy which of itself is a marvel; and as
one ascends the mound and looks down into the wonderfully clear depths,
the vision is unique. The great beauty of the prismatic colors depends
much on the sunlight, but about the middle of the day, when the bright
rays descend nearly vertically, and a slight breeze just makes a ripple
on the surface, the colors exceed comparison; when the surface is calm
there is one vast chaos of colors, dancing, as it were, like the colors
of a kaleidoscope.

As seen through this marvellous play of colors, the decorations on the
sides of the basin are lighted up with a wild, weird beauty which wafts
one at once into the land of enchantment; all the brilliant feats of
fairies and genii in the "Arabian Nights" entertainments are forgotten
in the actual presence of such marvellous beauty; life becomes a
privilege and a blessing after one has seen and thoroughly felt these
incomparable types of nature's cunning skill....

Our search for new wonders leading us across the Fire-Hole River, we
ascended a gently incrusted slope, and came suddenly upon a large oval
aperture with scalloped edges, the diameters of which were eighteen and
twenty-five feet, the sides corrugated and covered with a grayish-white
silicious deposit, which was distinctly visible at the depth of a
hundred feet below the surface. No water could be discovered, but we
could distinctly hear it gurgling and boiling at a great distance below.
Suddenly it began to rise, boiling and spluttering, and sending out huge
masses of steam, causing a general stampede of our company, driving us
to some distance from our point of observation. When within about forty
feet of the surface it became stationary, and we returned to look down
upon it. It was foaming and surging at a terrible rate, occasionally
emitting small jets of hot water nearly to the mouth of the orifice.

All at once it seemed seized with a fearful spasm, and rose with
incredible rapidity, hardly affording us time to withdraw to a safe
distance, when it burst from the orifice with terrific momentum, rising
in a column the full size of this immense aperture to the height of
sixty feet; and through and out of the apex of this vast aqueous mass
five or six lesser jets or round columns of water, varying in size from
six to fifteen inches in diameter, were projected to the marvellous
height of two hundred and fifty feet. These lesser jets, so much higher
than the main column, and shooting through it, doubtless proceed from
auxiliary pipes leading into the principal orifice near the bottom,
where the explosive force is greater. If the theory that water by
constant boiling becomes explosive when freed from air be true, this
theory rationally accounts for all irregularities in the eruptions of
the geysers.

This grand eruption continued for twenty minutes, and was the most
magnificent sight we ever witnessed. We were standing on the side of the
geyser nearest the sun, the gleams of which filled the sparkling column
of water and spray with myriads of rainbows, whose arches were
constantly changing, dipping and fluttering hither and thither, and
disappearing only to be succeeded by others, again and again, amid the
aqueous columns, while the minute globules into which the spent jets
were diffused when falling sparkled like a shower of diamonds, and
around every shadow which the denser clouds of vapor, interrupting the
sun's rays, cast upon the column, could be seen a luminous circle,
radiant with all the colors of the prism, and resembling the halo of
glory represented in paintings as encircling the head of Divinity. All
that we had previously witnessed seemed tame in comparison with the
perfect grandeur and beauty of this display. Two of these wonderful
eruptions occurred during the twenty-two hours we remained in the
valley. This geyser we named the "Giantess."

A hundred yards distant from the Giantess was a silicious cone, very
symmetrical, but slightly corrugated upon its exterior surface, three
feet in height and five feet in diameter at its base, and having an oval
orifice twenty-four by thirty-six and a half inches in diameter, with
scalloped edges. Not one of our company supposed that it was a geyser;
and among so many wonders it had almost escaped notice. While we were at
breakfast upon the morning of our departure, a column of water, entirely
filling the crater, shot from it, which, by accurate triangular
measurement, we found to be two hundred and nineteen feet in height. The
stream did not deflect more than four or five degrees from a vertical
line, and the eruption lasted eighteen minutes. We named it the

On our return to the lake from this basin we passed up the Fire-Hole
River to its source in the divide. Early in the morning, as we were
leaving the valley, the grand old geyser which stands sentinel at the
head of the valley gave us a magnificent parting display, and with
little or no preliminary warning it shot up a column of water about six
feet in diameter to the height of a hundred to a hundred and fifty feet,
and by a succession of impulses seemed to hold it up steadily for the
space of fifteen minutes, the great mass of water falling directly back
into the basin, and flowing over the edges and down the sides in large
streams. When the action ceases, the water recedes beyond sight, and
nothing is heard but the occasional escape of steam until another
exhibition occurs. This is one of the most accommodating geysers in the
basin, and during our stay played once an hour quite regularly. On
account of its apparent regularity, and its position overlooking the
valley, it was called by Messrs. Langford and Doane "Old Faithful." It
has built up a crater about twenty feet high around its base, and all
about it are decorations similar to those previously described.

On the morning of August 6 we ascended the mountains at the head of the
Fire-Hole River, on our return to the hot-spring camp on the Yellowstone
Lake. We had merely caught a glimpse of the wonderful physical phenomena
of this remarkable valley. We had just barely gleaned a few of the
surface observations, which only sharpened our desire for a larger
knowledge. There is no doubt in my mind that these geysers are more
active at certain seasons of the year than at others. We saw them in
midsummer, when the surface waters are greatly diminished. In the
spring, at the time of the melting of the snows, the display of the
first-class geysers must be more frequent and powerful. We left this
valley, with its beautiful scenery, its hot springs and geysers, with
great regret.



     [Ruskin, among his reasons for not visiting the United States,
     declared that it would be impossible for him to exist, even for
     a short interval, in a country that had no old castles. Had he
     known it, he might have found here old castles in abundance,
     older perhaps, and grander in situation, than any to be found
     in his own land. These are the ruined dwellings of the ancient
     inhabitants of the western cañons and of the pueblo-builders of
     Arizona and New Mexico. We give a traveller's account of the
     Cliff-dwellers' habitations.]

The attraction which drew the conquerors of Mexico forty-five days'
journey away into the North was the fame which had reached them of the
Seven Cities of Cibola (the buffalo), great in wealth and population,
lying in the valley of the Rio de Zuñi. To the grief of the invaders,
they found not cities, but rather villages of peaceful agricultural
people dwelling in great pueblos three and four stories high, and they
searched in vain for the rumored stores of gold. At that time the
pueblos held a large population skilled in many arts of civilization.
They cultivated large tracts of ground, wove fabrics of cotton, and
produced ornate pottery. Their stone-masonry was admirable. But even
three hundred years ago it seems that the people were but a remnant of
what they had once been. Even then the conquerors wondered at the many
ruins which indicated a decline from former greatness. The people have
not now the same degree of skill in their native arts which the race
once had, and it is probable that when the Spaniards came and found them
declining in numbers the old handicrafts were already on the wane.

In a remote age the ancestors of these Pueblo tribes, or a race of
kindred habits, filled most of that vast region which is drained by the
Colorado River and its affluents, and spread beyond into the valley of
the Rio Grande. The explorers of a great extent of country in Utah,
Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado have found everywhere evidences of
the wide distribution and wonderful industry of that ancient people.
On the low land which they used to till lie the remains of their
villages,--rectangular buildings of enormous dimensions and large
circular _estufas_, or halls for council and worship. On the sides of
the savage cliffs that wall in or overarch the cañons are scattered in
every crevice and wrinkle those strange and picturesque ruins which give
us the name "Cliff-dwellers" to distinguish this long-forgotten people.
And on commanding points, seen far away down the cañons or across the
mesas, stand the solitary watch-towers where sentinels might signal to
the villagers below on the approach of Northern barbarians....

There is no other district which embraces in so small a compass so great
a number and variety of the Cliff-dwellers' ruined works as the cañon of
the Little Rio Mancos in Southwestern Colorado. The stream rises in a
spur of the San Juan Mountains, near the remote mining-camp called
Parrott City. Flowing southward for a few miles through an open valley,
it is soon enclosed between the walls of a profound cañon which cuts for
nearly thirty miles through a table-land called the Mesa Verde. The
cañon is wide enough to have permitted the old inhabitants to plant
their crops along the stream, and the cliffs rising on either side to
a height of two thousand feet are so curiously broken and grooved
and shelving, from the decay of the soft horizontal strata and the
projection of the harder, as to offer remarkable facilities for building
fortified houses hard of approach and easy of defence. Therefore the
whole length of the cañon is filled with ruins, and for fifteen miles
beyond it to the borders of New Mexico, where the river meets the Rio
San Juan, the valley bears many traces of the ancient occupation.

The scenery of the cañon is wild and imposing in the highest degree. In
the dry Colorado air there are few lichens or weather-stains to dull the
brightness of the strata to the universal hoariness of moister climates:
the vertical cliffs, standing above long slopes of débris, are colored
with the brilliant tints of freshly-quarried stone. A gay ribbon of
green follows the course of the rivulet winding down through the cañon
till it is lost to sight in the vista of crags. The utter silence and
solitude of the wilderness reigns through the valley. It is not occupied
by any savage tribe, and only a few white men within the last few years
have passed through it and told of its wonders; and yet its whole
length is but one series of houses and temples that were forsaken
centuries ago. I can hardly imagine a more exciting tour of exploration
than that which Mr. Jackson's party made on first entering this cañon in

Above the entrance of the cañon the evidences of prehistoric life begin.
On the bottom-land, concealed by shrubbery, are the half-obliterated
outlines of square and circular buildings. The houses were of large
size, and were plainly no temporary dwelling-places, for an accumulation
of decorated pottery fills the ground about them, indicating long
occupation. No doubt they were built of adobe,--masses of hard
clay dried in the sun,--which the wear of ages has reduced to
smoothly-rounded mounds. For some miles down the cañon remains of this
sort occur at short intervals, and at one point there stands a wall
built of squared sandstone blocks. Along the ledges of the cliffs on the
right bits of ruinous masonry are detected here and there, but for a
time there is nothing to excite close attention. At last a watchful eye
is arrested by a more interesting object perched at a tremendous height
on the western wall of the cañon. It is a house built upon a shelf of
rock between the precipices, but, standing seven hundred feet above the
stream and differing not at all in color from the crags about it, only
the sharpest eyesight can detect the unusual form of the building and
the windows marking the two stories.

The climb up to the house-platform is slow and fatiguing, but the
trouble is repaid by a sight of one of the most curious ruins on this
continent. Before the door of the house, part of the ledge has been
reserved for a little esplanade, and to make it broader three small
abutments of stone, which once supported a floor, are built on the
sloping edge of the rock. Beyond this the house is entered by a
small aperture which served as a door. It is the best specimen of a
Cliff-dweller's house that remains to our time. The walls are admirably
built of squared stones laid in a hard white mortar. The house is
divided into two stories of three rooms each. Behind it a semicircular
cistern nearly as high as the house is built against the side of it,
and a ladder is arranged for descending from an upper window to the
water-level. The floor of the second story was supported by substantial
cedar timbers, but only fragments of them remain. The roof, too, has
entirely disappeared, but the canopy of natural rock overhanging serves
to keep out the weather. The front rooms in both stories are the largest
and are most carefully finished. Perhaps they were the parlor and "best
bedroom" of some prehistoric housewife. They are plastered throughout
with fine smooth mortar, and even in that remote age the mania for
household decoration had a beginning: floor, walls, and ceiling were
colored a deep red, surrounded by a broad border of white.

The same cliff on which this house stands has on its side many other
ruins; some half destroyed by gradual decay, some crushed by falling
rocks, none so perfect as the one described; but all are crowded into
the strangest unapproachable crevices of the cañon-wall, like the
crannies which swallows choose to hold their nests, far removed from
the possibility of depredation. Some are so utterly inaccessible that
the explorers, with all their enthusiasm and activity, have never been
able to reach them. How any beings not endowed with wings could live at
such points it is hard to conceive: it makes one suspicious that the
Cliff-dwellers had not quite outgrown the habits of monkey ancestors.

As the cañon widens with the descent of the stream, the ruins in the
western wall increase in number. One fearful cliff a thousand feet in
height is chinked all over its face with tiny houses of one room each,
but only a few of them can be detected with the naked eye. One, which
was reached by an explorer at the peril of his life, stands intact:
ceiling and floor are of the natural rock, and the wall is built in a
neat curve conforming to the shape of the ledge.

A mile farther down the stream there is a most interesting group of
houses. Eight hundred feet above the valley there is a shelf in the
cliff sixty feet in length that is quite covered by a house. The
building contains four large rooms, a circular sacred apartment and
smaller rooms of irregular shape. It was called by its discoverers "The
House of the Sixteen Windows." Behind this house the cliff-side rises
smooth and perpendicular thirty feet, but it can be scaled by an ancient
stairway cut into it which ascends to a still higher ledge. The stairs
lead to the very door of another house filling a niche a hundred and
twenty feet long. A great canopy of solid rock overarches the little
fortress, reaching far forward beyond the front wall, while from below
it is absolutely unapproachable except by the one difficult stairway of
niches cut in the rock. In time of war it must have been impregnable.
These dwellings have given more ideas about their interior furnishing
than any of the others. Among the accumulated rubbish were found corn
and beans stored away. In the lower house were two large water-jars of
corrugated pottery standing on a floor covered with neatly-woven rush
matting. In a house not far above were found a bin of charred corn, and
a polished hatchet of stone made with remarkable skill.

From this point onward both the valley and the cliffs are filled with
the traces of a numerous population, every mile of travel bringing many
fresh ones into sight. Among the cliff-houses there is of necessity a
variety in form and size as great as the differences of the caves and
crevices that hold them; but among the buildings of the low ground there
is more uniformity, not only in this cañon, but in all the valleys of
the region. Most of them may be classed as aggregated dwellings or
pueblos with rectangular rooms, round watch-towers and large circular
buildings. To these must be added a few which seem to have been built
only for defence. The straight walls have generally fallen, except the
parts supported by an angle of a building; but, as usual in old masonry,
the circular walls have much better resisted decay.

About midway down the cañon the curved wall of a large ruin rises above
the thicket. It is a building of very curious design. The outer wall
was an exact circle of heavy masonry a hundred and thirty feet in
circumference. Within, there is another circular wall, concentric with
the outer, enclosing one round room with a diameter of twenty feet. The
annular space between the two walls was divided by partitions into ten
small apartments. Other buildings of the same type occur in this region,
some of much larger size and with triple walls. Even in this one, which
is comparatively well preserved, the original height is uncertain,
though the ruin still stands about fifteen feet high.

The vast quantity of débris about some of them indicates that they were
of no insignificant height, and their perfect symmetry of form, the
careful finish of the masonry, the large dimensions and great solidity,
made them the most imposing architectural works of that ancient people.
I find no reason to doubt that they were their temples, and the
presumption is very strong that they were temples for sun-worship. The
occurrence of a circular room in connection with nearly every group of
buildings is of special interest, as seeming to link the Cliff-dwellers
to the modern Pueblo tribes in their religious customs.

Most striking and picturesque of all the ruins are the round
watch-towers. On commanding points in the valley, and on the highest
pinnacles of the cliffs overlooking the surface of the mesa, they occur
with a frequency which is almost pathetic as an indication of the life
of eternal vigilance which was led by that old race through the years,
perhaps centuries, of exterminating warfare which the savage red men
from the North waged upon them. To us the suffering of frontier families
at the hands of the same blood-thirsty savages is heart-rending. What
was it to those who saw year by year their whole race's life withering
away, crushed by those wild tribes?

Near the lower end of the cañon stands one of the most perfect of these
towers, rising sixteen feet above the mound on which it is built. It
was once attached to an oblong stone building which seems to have
been a strongly-fortified house. The rectangular walls, as usual, are
prostrate, and have left the tower standing as solitary and picturesque
and as full of mystery as the round towers of Ireland....

In the Montezuma Cañon, just beyond the Colorado State border, there are
some remains built after an unusual manner with stones of great size.
One building of many rooms, nearly covering a little solitary mesa, is
constructed of huge stone blocks not unlike the prehistoric masonry
of Southern Europe. In the same district there is a ruined line of
fortification from which the smaller stones have fallen away and
are crumbling to dust, leaving only certain enormous upright stones
standing. They rise to a height of seven feet above the soil, and the
lower part is buried to a considerable depth. Their resemblance to the
hoary Druidical stones of Carnac and Stonehenge is striking, and there
is nothing in their appearance to indicate that they belong to a much
later age than those primeval monuments of Europe.

All the certain knowledge that we have of the history and manners of
the Cliff-dwellers may be very briefly told, for there is no written
record of their existence, except their own rude picture-writing,
cut or painted on the cañon walls, and it is not likely that those
hieroglyphics will ever be deciphered. But much may be inferred from
their evident kinship to the Moquis of our time; and the resemblance of
the ancient architecture and ceramics to the arts as they are still
practised in the degenerate pueblos of Arizona gives us many intimations
in regard to the habits of the Cliff-dwellers.

 [Illustration: GRAND CAÑON, ARIZONA

It was centuries ago--how long a time no one will ever know--when that
old race was strong and numerous, filling the great region from the
Rio Grande to the Colorado of the West, and from the San Juan
Mountains far down into Northern Mexico. They must have numbered many
hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions. It is not probable that they
were combined under one government, or that they were even closely
leagued together, but that they were essentially one in blood and
language is strongly indicated by the similarity of their remains.
That they were sympathetic in a common hostility to the dangerous
savage tribes about them can hardly be doubted. They were of peaceful
habits and lived by agriculture, having under cultivation many
thousands of acres in the rich river-bottoms, which they knew well how
to irrigate from streams swollen in summer by the melting snows of the
high mountain-ranges. We read of their dry canals in Arizona, so deep
that a mounted horseman can hide in them. We know that they raised
crops of corn and beans, and in the south cotton, which they skilfully
wove. That they had commercial dealing across their whole country
is shown by the quantity of shell-ornaments brought from the Pacific
coast, which are found in their Colorado dwellings. They did not
understand the working of metals, but their implements of stone are of
most excellent workmanship. Their weapons indicate the practice of
hunting, and while the race was still numerous their forts and their
sharp obsidian arrows made easy their resistance to the wandering
savage hordes.

I believe that no instance can be cited of a people still in their Stone
Age who have surpassed that old race in the mason's art: indeed, I doubt
if any such people has even approached their skill in that respect. The
difficulty of constructing a great work of well-squared, hammer-dressed
stones is enormously increased if the masons must work only with stone
implements. Imagine the infinite, toilsome patience of a people who in
such a way could rear the ancient Pueblo Bonito of New Mexico, five
hundred and forty feet long, three hundred and fourteen feet wide, and
four stories high! In one wall of a neighboring building of stone less
carefully dressed it is estimated that there were originally no less
than thirty million pieces, which were transported, fashioned, and laid
by men without a beast of burden or a trowel, chisel, or hammer of

At the time of the Spanish conquest the Pueblo tribes were worshippers
of the sun and fire, like all the races of this continent which were
above barbarism. To-day, even in those pueblos where a corrupted form of
the Roman faith is accepted, there are traces of the old sun-worship
mingled with it, and in all pueblos there are large circular rooms,
called estufas, reserved for councils and for worship. The invariable
appearance of estufas among the ruined towns, and even on the ledges of
the cliffs, shows what sacredness was attached to the circular room,
which, perhaps, was symbolic of the sun's orb: it indicates a unity of
religious faith between the ancients and moderns.



     [To Rev. A. H. Tevis, author of "Beyond the Sierras; or,
     Observations on the Pacific Coast," we owe the following
     description of a most charming example of American lake
     scenery, one of the varied and striking regions of beauty which
     California offers to the tourist.]

Of the many curiosities that nature has scattered over the length and
breadth of this coast, Lake Tahoe is one of the most charming.

This is a land of wonders, certainly of curiosities. Providence has made
this vast area, between the Rocky Mountains and the sea, his chief
receptacle of the wealth of the country. And what folly to travel in
foreign countries to see the sights until you have at least seen some of
the wonders and treasures of our own great Commonwealth! You can spend
your life in exploring these various wonders, and then not find an
end,--petrified forests; lost rivers, whose _termini_ no one knows, and
of whose source there is great doubt; brackish lakes, whose waters are
worse than the Dead Sea, and in which no living thing can exist;
bubbling, hissing, thundering geysers, whose awfulness impresses the
hardest heart; roaring cataracts, that with a band of silver seem to
bind together earth and sky; boiling springs, hither and yon in almost
countless profusion, that send their breath of steam as through the
throats of some great furnace from Vulcan's forge; geographical and
topographical features that are marvellous in themselves; the big trees,
whose magnitude is a wonder, and whose age links the present almost to
the days of Solomon; Yosemite, unlike anything of the kind in the known
world, whose sublimity is beyond description; and charming, silvery,
unique Tahoe, or Pearl of the Sierras.

There is no patent on the name, hence we have chosen to christen it
thus. And who will say it is a misnomer that has seen its grandeur and
enjoyed the beauty of its surroundings? Its name belongs to the Indian
tongue, and signifies _clear water_.

This lake in its greatest length is twenty-three miles, and greatest
width eleven miles; hence it has an area of two hundred and fifty-three
square miles. Its altitude is six thousand two hundred and twenty feet
above the level of the sea. Here, spread out before me, like the finest
of burnished silver, is a lake unlike any other body of water in the
world, save one in Switzerland, and that has only a few marks of

This lies nestled away, like a very jewel, in the summit of the
Sierras,--the Alps of America,--at an altitude of a mile and a quarter
above the level of the sea. Think of it! A body of water containing an
area of more than two hundred and fifty square miles, and deep enough to
float the largest vessel that ever traversed the sea, and then have
almost immeasurable depths below the keel; think of this being in the
very summit of the greatest range of mountains in America!

It has been sounded along the line between Nevada and California, which
runs through the lake, to the distance of two hundred and fifty-three
fathoms, or fifteen hundred and eighteen feet. But other places have
been sounded to the great distance of nearly twenty-five hundred feet.
The character of the water is almost incredible to one who has never
looked upon it. Coming down from the springs that burst from the cañons,
and the everlasting snows that crown the mountain-tops, where

     "'Tis the felt presence of the Deity,"

the water is almost perfectly pure.

I have leaned over the side of the boat and watched the play of the
trout a _hundred and fifty feet_ below the surface. I have dropped a
small, shining, metallic button, and watched distinctly its oscillations
in sinking for three or four minutes.

The transparent nature of the water is best seen in the morning, when
the lake is perfectly calm; not even the small surface ripples that
nearly always exist on ordinary streams and lakes are visible.

The various angles of vision present the most charming scene. Yonder the
lake looks like a quiet mass of molten silver; yonder, where the rays of
the sun meet you, is a gorgeous array of crimson and gold; then there is
a range of purest emerald, deepening into blue-black as the scene
stretches away from you, bespangled in the distance by the rising
white-caps. This, fringed with the green of the deep pine-forests that
skirt the mountains, and capped with the everlasting snows, made radiant
with the flood of sunlight, furnishes a picture of incomparable beauty,
and worthy of a master's brush.

But here by you, right at your feet, is one of the most pleasing
features of all: so still in the morning quietness, and such air-like
purity withal. You think you can reach down and pick up those shining
pebbles, and yet they are twenty, thirty, or forty feet beneath you. And
that boat or skiff seems to be poised in mid-air. You can count the
small indentures and nail-heads in the very keel.

You cringe with fear as your boat glides towards that huge boulder, as
large as a church, thinking surely your vessel will be wrecked; but
there is no danger, as the rock is many feet beneath you. The
transparency of the water makes the danger seem so near.

How often have I wished this place--mountains, lake, and all--could be
the place of one of the grand Eastern camp-meetings! This bracing air,
this unique spot, this wonderful lake, this rich, healthful aroma of
deep pine-forests, this grand scenery, all combined, make it one of the
best of places for religious summer resort.

Yonder is a quaint spot, a veritable Gibraltar on a small scale, a
lonely, rocky island in the centre of Emerald Bay. Some foolish man
built a tomb in the solid rock on its summit, intending to be buried
there, where the marks of decay would come slowly over his grave, and
where he might sleep undisturbed amid the incomparable grandeur that
would have surrounded him. His sarcophagus and all were prepared, but
the treacherous billows of the lake, that occasionally foam and roar
with fury, seized him, and he lies buried at the bottom,--no man knows
where, for no one going down ever comes up again from these waters.

It was first an artless, genial party of three of us that drank in the
poetry of the scenery around Lake Tahoe. The "elect lady," whose
presence has ever been an inspiration and encouragement in life's
blackest, bitterest hours, her best and dearest friend, Miss Torreyson,
and the writer, made up the trio. We were joined by and by with a party
of others kindred in spirit, who entered into all our schemes and
reconnoissances after pleasure.

Those were memorable six weeks; and now, at this distance of many months
on the road of time, that period of frolic and recuperation gleams as
with the radiance of youth's happiest sunset scene. How strange that
happy days even never look so charming as when they are mellowed in the
deep past!...

During the days we enlivened many a bright morning hour with
boat-riding, fishing, gathering wild-flowers, and such other amusements
as this delightful place afforded. On one of these fishing excursions
one of our party came very near falling into the treacherous waters of
the lake.

Our favorite resorts, and it is so with all tourists, were Emerald and
Carnelian Bays. The former is a beautiful, land-locked arm of the lake,
walled in by rugged and towering cliffs. The latter is a long, gravelly
beach, where by the hour we have searched for carnelian stones, of which
some of the purest quality are found.

The mountains and cañons are most delightful points of interest as
places of observation and rest, and often charm by the echoes they
throw back. We were given to song; and many a time summering here,
and travelling over the lake, we united in singing the "Evergreen
Mountains of Life" and "A Thousand Years," our favorite lake airs;
the former suggested, no doubt, by the towering mountains that
surrounded us. The effect is peculiarly fascinating, as the song
rings out over the waters, in the pure mountain air, and echoing
dies away, after many reverberations of "evergreen mountains of
life"--"mountains of life"--"life"--in some deep cañon. Or "a thousand
years, Columbia,"--"years, Columbia,"--"Columbia,"--the vowels of the
last becoming beautifully distinct in the echoes.

Nearly south of the head of Lake Tahoe, a distance of perhaps a mile and
a half, is a little lake that bears the name of Fallen Leaf; and then to
the west of this some three miles is Cascade Lake, as charming a little
body of water as ever flashed back the sunlight. Of all the objects of
interest here, none of its kind is more interesting than this delightful
lake, that spreads itself out a half-mile by a mile and a half, and
that at an altitude of four or five hundred feet above Tahoe.

Above this, from the summit of Tallac Mountain, it is positively
asserted _seventeen_ lakes, varying in size, can be seen at one glance
nestled away like a cluster of diamonds in the bosom of the Sierras. All
these lakes abound with the finest of trout, and are surrounded by the
best of game.

On the east side of Tahoe are Cave Rock and Shakespeare Rock. The former
is a bald precipitous peak, that presses its perpendicular side almost
to the water's edge, leaving just room enough for the road of the old
overland stage-coach. Under this rock is a cave of small pretensions,
but with the wild scenery, the bald, dizzy height of the cliff, and the
fine view of the lake, it is one of the many frequented places.

Shakespeare Rock stands back perhaps full half a mile from the landing
at Pray's Bay, or Glenbrook. It is a perpendicular cliff of well on
towards a thousand feet above the waters of the lake. It has its name
from a well-defined portrait of a man, moss-formed or wind-chiselled,
doubtless, that is seen plainly several hundred feet up the rugged side.
It is said to look very much like the old bard of Stratford-upon-Avon.
But of this we cannot say; we never saw him.

It was on one of Nature's brightest days that our trio, lunch-armed,
toiled up its rugged side, the only accessible point, and flung our
handkerchief banners to the breeze from the improvised flag-staff, while
we grew enraptured at the rich perspective from the dizzy height. It
seemed almost like being on "cloud's rest" as some cloud's shadow fell
upon us while there.

Below us lay the bustling, thriving village of Glenbrook, having,
perhaps, well on towards a thousand souls as the number of its
inhabitants; increased by tourists, and, of course, largely diminished
in the winter months, when business here "shuts down." The temperature,
however, is generally fine from the last of April to the first of
November, or even later. It is not unpleasant now, as I write,--the
middle day of January,--to be out boat-riding or rambling by the shore.

This is the outlet of the entire lake and its surroundings; an immense
traffic in lumber, etc., is carried on. Five saw-mills give life
and activity to the place, as they cut nearly three hundred thousand
feet per day, or more than fifty millions during the business months
of the year. A hotel, store, post-office, with daily mail, and
telegraph-office, add to the convenience of the place. There are six
steamers on the lake that run for pleasure-parties and traffic.

From the lake one of the most unique railroads ever built runs to the
summit, a distance of nine miles by the route travelled, although the
distance by an air line is but three, while the elevation that it gains
is eight hundred and fifty feet. It climbs the mountain by zigzag
movements, like a letter Z, the engine sometimes hauling its burden, and
sometimes pushing the train. More than a quarter of a million of dollars
were required to build and stock this novel short line. It is a rare
evidence of engineering skill, and certainly is a good illustration of
Western enterprise. It lacks at least a dozen miles of connecting with
any other railroad point, and its engines, rolling-stock, etc., had to
be hauled up the mountain eight thousand feet high.

     [To this description of the liquid marvel of California we add
     the author's account of one of its land marvels, a grove of the
     "big trees," the vegetable giants of the world.]

The Big Trees, as they are technically called, are of a light, bright
cinnamon color, and have a diameter at the ground of from twenty-five to
forty feet, a height of from three hundred to four hundred and fifty
feet, and a bark that will average one foot and a half in thickness
where it has not been molested. I have seen blocks of bark that would
measure thirty-two inches in thickness, and I have no doubt but some
trees have bark that would average nearly three feet. The texture is
loose and spongy, and when cut transversely it is often worked into
pincushions and such like toys. The wood is light as the cedar, but is
susceptible of a very fine polish. I had a cane made from a piece that I
bought of the guide, and I found it would polish equal to mahogany. The
Mariposa grove is a State park, together with Yosemite Valley, given by
the United States government.

This grove, "together with the Yosemite Valley with its branches and
spurs, an estimated length of fifteen miles, and in average width one
mile back from the edge of the precipice on each side of the valley,
with the stipulation, nevertheless, that the State shall accept this
grant on the express condition that the premises shall be held for
public use and recreation, and shall be inalienable for all time." So it
is absolutely impossible to get a bit of bark or piece of wood except
from the guide, who is allowed to gather them from the outskirts of the
grove from a tree that has fallen or one that stands outside of the
prescribed limits.

There has but one fallen, however, since their discovery, and that was
felled by men's hands. It was done by immense augers. It took five men
twenty-two days to fell the tree, equal to the services of one man for
_one hundred and ten days_. Think of that, nearly four months' work, not
counting any time lost by Sundays, or rainy days, or sickness, to fell
one tree! That tree would have yielded more than a thousand cords of
four-foot wood and a hundred cords of bark, more than eleven hundred
cords altogether. On the stump of this tree there is a house--"whose
foundation is sure"--thirty feet in diameter. This house contains room
enough in square feet, if it were the right shape, for a parlor twelve
by sixteen, a dining-room ten by twelve, a kitchen ten by twelve, two
bedrooms ten feet square each, a pantry four by eight feet, two
clothes-presses one and a half feet deep and four feet wide, and still
have a little to spare.

The foliage of these trees resembles the cedar somewhat. They bear a
cone not more than two inches in length, and a black pitch bitter as
gall. The forests at present have a gloomy appearance, as some time in
the past, no one knows when, the Indians, the better to facilitate their
hunting, burned off the chaparral and rubbish, and, as a matter of
course, disfigured the trees by burning off nearly all the bark.

The first sight of these monarchs is one of sore disappointment. For you
have travelled many miles where the trees are all large, and here,
surrounded as they are by immense pines, their magnitude is not
appreciated. But their greatness grows very rapidly upon you, so that if
there was at first disappointment, there is now a greater awe. Our first
view of interest was the Fallen Monarch, a ponderous old trunk stretched
out upon the ground for more than two hundred feet, upon which a stage
and four horses could be driven with ease. We had to go a hundred feet
towards the top to climb upon the trunk. The diameter of this tree,
without bark, at the base is twenty-two feet; one hundred feet from the
root it is twelve feet.

How long this monarch has been sleeping no one pretends to know. The
guide says it is no more decayed now, to all appearances, than it was
when first discovered. The tree of greatest interest is the Grizzly
Giant, which has an altitude of more than three hundred feet. The first
thing we did to try its magnitude was to surround it on horseback,
passing around in single file, the head of one horse to the tail of
another. It called into requisition twenty-five horses out of the
twenty-eight in our party to complete the measurement. This is not
considered strictly correct, mathematically speaking, but it indicates
the size of the tree by _horse measurement_.

I had prepared myself with a good-sized string, and, with the help of
a friend, made close calculation four feet from the ground, and found
it to be ninety-three feet, giving a diameter of thirty-one feet. This
tree has a limb one hundred feet from the ground that is six feet in
diameter. These trees stand around us in quiet grandeur, but to write
of one is to write of many, hence the reader must not be wearied with
a notice of each. Pluto's Chimney is a hollow tree, standing upright,
into which several of us rode on horseback. Yonder is another that had
fallen in some past age, and sixty feet or more of it had burned from
the root upward, and then towards the top had burned in two, leaving a
barrel-shaped or hollow part of the trunk some fifty feet in length.
Through this we all rode without any inconvenience. I have understood
that several have ridden abreast through it, which I do not think

This completed our tour among these forest giants. There are two
groves--and, properly speaking, but two--of these _Sequoia gigantea_,
the Mariposa and Calaveras groves. The first is about twenty miles south
of Yosemite Valley, perhaps a little more, while the latter is some
fifty miles northwest of the valley. Thus it will be seen that they are
not, as many suppose, in the great Yosemite Valley.

The big trees of California, not of this species, however, are not
confined to these two groves. Many of the noted redwood species
(_Sequoia sempervirens_) used to grow back of Santa Cruz, many of which
are standing yet that were very great in size. We once upon a time, with
five others, rode into one of these during a storm. The butt was hollow,
and large enough to hold at least twelve men on horseback, and was not
less than two hundred and fifty feet in height.



     [We need not tell who Helen Hunt Jackson is. She is well known
     to American readers both of verse and prose for her excellent
     ability in both these fields of literature. Born in 1831, at
     Amherst, Massachusetts, the daughter of Professor N. W. Fiske,
     she married first Mr. Hunt, of the United States Engineer
     Corps, and after his death a Mr. Jackson. She died in 1885.
     From her work entitled "Bits of Travel at Home," a series of
     racy sketches of experience east and west, we extract her
     narrative of the odd and amusing things she saw in the Chinese
     quarter of San Francisco.]

Sing, Wo & Co. keep one of the most picturesque shops on Jackson Street.
It is neither grocer's, nor butcher's, nor fishmonger's, nor druggist's;
but a little of all four. It is like most of the shops on Jackson
Street, part cellar, part cellar-stairs, part sidewalk, and part back
bedroom. On the sidewalk are platters of innumerable sorts of little
fishes,--little silvery fishes; little yellow fishes, with whiskers;
little snaky fishes; round flat fishes; little slices of big
fishes,--never too much or too many of any kind. Sparing and thrifty
dealers, as well as sparing and thrifty consumers, are the Celestials.
Round tubs of sprouted beans; platters of square cakes of something
whose consistency was like Dutch cheese, whose color was vivid yellow,
like baker's gingerbread, and whose tops were stamped with mysterious
letters; long roots, as long as the longest parsnips, but glistening
white, like polished turnips; cherries, tied up in stingy little bunches
of ten or twelve, and swung in all the nooks; small bunches of all
conceivable green things, from celery down to timothy grass, tied tight
and wedged into corners, or swung overhead; dried herbs, in dim
recesses; pressed chickens, on shelves (those were the most remarkable
things. They were semi-transparent, thin, skinny, and yellow, and looked
almost more like huge, flattened grasshoppers than like chickens; but
chickens they were, and no mistake),--all these were on the trays, on
the sidewalk, and on the cellar-stairs.

In the back bedroom were Mrs. Sing and Mrs. Wo, with several little
Sings and Wos. It was too dark to see what they were doing; for the only
light came from the open front of the shop, which seemed to run back
like a cave in a hill. On shelves on the sides were teacups and teapots,
and plates of fantastic shapes and gay colors. Sing and Wo were most
courteous; but their interest centred entirely on sales; and I could
learn but one fact from them in regard to any of their goods. It was
either "Muchee good. Englis man muchee like," or else, "China man like;
Englis man no like." Why should I wish to know anything further than
that some articles would be agreeable to "Englis man's" palate, and
others would not? This must be enough to regulate my purchases. But I
shall always wish I knew how those chickens were fattened and what the
vivid yellow cakes were made of.

     [Next our traveller looks into the shop of Ty Wing & Co., where
     nothing appears but darkness, dust and cobwebs, and two Chinese
     women eating something unknown with chopsticks; that of Chick
     Kee, a druggist, with feathers and banners without and nothing
     but old dried roots visible within; and of Tuck Wo, a
     restaurant-keeper, where nothing is visible that she has the
     courage to taste.]

Moo, On & Co. come next. Their shop is full, crowded full,--bags,
bundles, casks, shelves, piles, bunches of utterly nondescript articles.
It sounds like an absurd exaggeration, but it is literally true, that
the only articles in his shop which I ever saw before are bottles. There
are a few of those; but the purpose, use, or meaning of every other
article is utterly unknown to me. There are things that look like games,
like toys, like lamps, like idols, like utensils of lost trades, like
relics of lost tribes, like--well, like a pawnbroker's stock, just
brought from some other world. That comes nearest to it.

Moo, On & Co. have apparently gone back for more. Nobody is in the
shop; the door is wide open. I wait and wait, hoping that some one
will come along who can speak English, and of whom I may ask what this
extraordinary show means. Timidly I touch a fluttering bit, which hangs
outside. It is not paper; it is not cloth; it is not woollen, silk, nor
straw; it is not leather; it is not cobweb; it is not alive; it is not
dead; it crisps and curls at my touch; it waves backward, though no air
blows it. A sort of horror seizes me. It may be a piece of an ancestor
of Moo's doing ghostly duty at his shop door. I hasten on and half fancy
that it is behind me, as I halt before Dr. Li Po Tai's door. His
promises to cure, diplomas, and so forth, are printed in gay-colored
strips of labels on each side. Six bright balloons swing overhead; and
peacocks' feathers are stuck into the balloons. I have heard that Dr. Li
Po Tai is a learned man, and works cures. His balloons are certainly
very brilliant....

Then comes a corner stand, with glass cases of candy. Almond candy, with
grains of rice thick on the top; little bowls of pickles, pears, and
peppers; platters of odd-shaped nuts; and beans baked black as coffee.
As I stand looking curiously at these, a well-dressed Chinaman pauses
before me, and making a gesture with his hand towards the stand, says,
"All muchee good. Buy eat. Muchee good." Hung Wung, the proprietor, is
kindled to hospitality by this, and repeats the words, "Yaas, muchee
good. Take, eat," offering me, with the word, the bowl of peppers.

Next comes a very gay restaurant, the best in the empire. Hang Fee, Low
& Co. keep it, and foreigners go there to drink tea. There is a green
railed balcony across the front, swinging full of high-colored lanterns,
round and square; tablets with Chinese letters on bright grounds are set
in panels on the walls; a huge rhinoceros stands in the centre of the
railing: a tree grows out of the rhinoceros's back, and an India rubber
man sits at the foot of the tree. China figures and green bushes in
flower-pots are ranged all along the railing. Nowhere except in the
Chinese Empire can there be seen such another gaudy, grotesque house
front. We make an appointment on the spot to take some of Hang Fee's
tea, on our way to the Chinese Theatre, the next evening, and then we
hurry home....

After all, we did not take tea at Hang Fee's on our way to the theatre.
There was not time. As it was, we were late; and when we entered the
orchestra had begun to play. Orchestra! It is necessary to use that
name, I suppose, in speaking of a body of men with instruments, who are
seated on a stage, furnishing what is called music for a theatrical
performance. But it is a term calculated to mislead in this instance.
Fancy one frog-pond, one Sunday-school with pumpkin whistles, one
militia training, and two gongs for supper on a Fall River boat, all at
once, and you will have some faint idea of the indescribable noise which
saluted our ears on entering that theatre. To say that we were deafened
is nothing. The hideous hubbub of din seemed to overlap and transcend
all laws and spheres of sound. It was so loud we could not see; it was
so loud we could not breathe; it was so loud there did not seem to be
any room to sit down! The theatre was small and low and dark. The pit
and greater part of the gallery were filled with Chinamen, all smoking.
One corner of the gallery was set aside for women. That was full, also,
with Chinese women. Every woman's hair was dressed in the manner I have
described ["drawn back from her forehead, twisted tight from the nape of
the neck to the crown of the head, stiffened with glue, glistening with
oil, and made into four huge double wings, which stood out beyond her
ears on either side. It looked a little like two gigantic black satin
bats, pinned to the back of her head, or still more like a windmill gone
into mourning."] The bat-like flaps projected so far on each side of
each head that each woman seemed almost to be joined to her neighbors by
a cartilaginous band; and, as they sat almost motionless, this effect
was heightened.

The stage had no pretence of secrecy. It was hung with gay banners and
mysterious labels. Tall plumes of peacock's feathers in the corners and
some irregularly placed chairs were all the furniture. The orchestra sat
in chairs at the back of the stage. Some of them smoked in the
intervals, some drank tea. A little boy who drummed went out when he
felt like it; and the fellow with the biggest gong had evidently no plan
of operations at all except to gong as long as his arms could bear it,
then rest a minute, then gong again.

"Oh, well," said we, as we wedged and squeezed through the narrow
passage-way which led to our box, "it will only last a few minutes. We
shall not entirely lose our hearing." Fatal delusion. It never stopped.
The actors came out; the play began; the play went on; still the
hideous hubbub of din continued, and was made unspeakably more hideous
by the voices of the actors, which were raised to the shrillest falsetto
to surmount the noise, and which sounded like nothing in nature except
the voices of frantic cats....

At first, in spite of the deafening loudness of the din, it is ludicrous
beyond conception. To see the superbly dressed Chinese creatures,--every
one of them as perfectly and exquisitely dressed as the finest figures
on their satin fans or rice-paper pictures, and looking exactly like
them,--to see these creatures strutting and sailing and sweeping and
bowing and bending, beating their breasts and tearing their beards,
gesticulating and rushing about in an utterly incomprehensible play,
with caterwauling screams issuing from their mouths, is for a few
minutes so droll that you laugh till tears run, and think you will go to
the Chinese Theatre every night as long as you stay in San Francisco. I
said so to the friend who had politely gone with me. He had been to the
performance before. He smiled pityingly, and yawned behind his hand. At
the end of half an hour, I whispered, "Twice a week will do." In fifteen
minutes more, I said, "I think we will go out now. I can't endure this
racket another minute. But, nevertheless, I shall come once more, with
an interpreter. I must and will know what all this mummery means."

The friend smiled again incredulously. But we did go again, with an
interpreter; and the drollest thing of all was to find out how very
little all the caterwauling and rushing and bending and bawling and
sweeping and strutting really meant. The difficulty of getting an
interpreter was another interesting feature in the occasion. A lady, who
had formerly been a missionary in China, had promised to go with us;
and, as even she was not sure of being able to understand Chinese
caterwauled, she proposed to take one of the boys from the missionary
school, to interpret to her before she interpreted to us. So we drove to
the school. Mrs. ---- went in. The time seemed very long that we waited.
At last she came back, looking both amused and vexed, to report that not
one of those intelligent Christian Chinese would leave his studies that
evening to go to the theatre.

"I suppose it is an old story to them," said I.

"Not at all," said she. "On the contrary, hardly a boy there has been
inside the theatre. But they cannot bear to lose a minute from their
lessons. Mr. Loomis really urged some of them; but it was of no use."

In a grocery store on Kearny Street, however, we found a clever young
man, less absorbed in learning; and he went with us as interpreter.
Again the same hideous din; the same clouds of smoke; the same hubbub of
caterwauling. But the _dramatis personæ_ were few. Luckily for us, our
first lesson in the Chinese drama was to be a simple one. And here I
pause, considering whether my account of the play will be believed. This
is the traveller's great perplexity. The incredible things are always
the only things worth telling; but is it best to tell them?

The actors in this play were three,--a lady of rank, her son, and her
man cook. The play opened with a soliloquy by the lady. She is sitting
alone, sewing. Her husband has gone to America; he did not bid her
farewell. Her only son is at school. She is sad and lonely. She weeps.

Enter boy. He asks if dinner is ready.

Enter cook. Cook says it is not time. Boy says he wants dinner. Cook
says he shall not have it. This takes fifteen minutes.

Mother examines boy on his lessons. Boy does not know them; tries to
peep. Mother reproves; makes boy kneel; prepares to whip; whips. Mother
weeps; boy catches flies on the floor; bites her finger.

Enter cook to see what the noise means. Cook takes boy to task. Boy
stops his ears. Cook bawls. Cook kneels to lady; reproves her also;
tells her she must keep her own temper, if she would train her boy.

Lady sulks, naturally. Boy slips behind and cuts her work out of her
embroidery frame. Cook attacks boy. Cook sings a lament, and goes out to
attend to dinner; but returns in frantic distress. During his absence
everything has boiled over; everything has been burned to a crisp.
Dinner is ruined. Cook now reconciles mother and son; drags son to his
knees; makes him repeat words of supplication. While he does this cook
turns his back to the audience, takes off his beard carefully, lays it
on the floor, while he drinks a cupful of tea.

This is all, literally all. It took an hour and a half. The audience
listened with intensest interest. The gesticulations, the expressions of
face, the tones of the actors, all conveyed the idea of the deepest
tragedy. Except for our interpreter, I should have taken the cook for a
soothsayer, priest, a highwayman and murderer, alternately. I should
have supposed that all the dangers, hopes, fears, delights possible in
the lives of three human beings were going on on that stage. Now we saw
how very far-fetched and preposterous had probably been our theories of
the play we had seen before, we having constructed a most brilliant plot
from our interpretation of the pantomime.

After this domestic drama came a fierce spectacular play, too absurd to
be described, in which nations went to war because a king's monkey had
been killed. And the kings and their armies marched in at one door and
out at the other, sat on gilt thrones, fought with gilt swords, tumbled
each other head over heels with as much vigor and just as much art as
small boys play the battle of Bunker Hill with the nursery chairs on a
rainy day. But the dresses of these warlike monarchs were gorgeous and
fantastic beyond description. Long, gay-colored robes, blazoned and
blazing with gold and silver embroidery; small flags, two on each side,
stuck in at their shoulders, and projecting behind; helmets, square
breastplates of shining stones, and such decorations with feathers as
pass belief. Several of them had behind each ear a long, slender
bird-of-Paradise feather. These feathers reached out at least three feet
behind, and curved and swayed with each step the man took. When three or
four of these were on the stage together, marching and countermarching,
wrestling, fighting, and tumbling, why these tail feathers did not
break, did not become entangled with each other, no mortal can divine.
Others had huge wings of silver filigree-work behind their ears. These
also swayed and flapped at each step.

Sometimes there would be forty or fifty of these nondescript creatures
on the stage at once, running, gesticulating, attacking, retreating,
howling, bowing, bending, tripping each other up, stalking, strutting,
and all the while caterwauling, and all the time the drums beating,
the gongs ringing, and the stringed instruments and the castanets and
the fifes playing. It was dazzling as a gigantic kaleidoscope and
deafening as a cotton-mill. After the plays came wonderful tumbling and
somersaulting. To see such gymnastic feats performed by men in long
damask nightgowns and with wide trousers is uncommonly droll. This is
really the best thing at the Chinese Theatre,--the only thing, in fact,
which is not incomprehensibly childish.

My last glimpse at the Chinese Empire was in Mr. Loomis's Sunday-school.
I had curiosity to see the faces of the boys who had refused our
invitation to the theatre. As soon as I entered the room I was asked to
take charge of a class. In vain I demurred and refused.

"You surely can hear them read a chapter in the New Testament."

It seemed inhuman as well as unchristian to refuse, for there were
several classes without teachers, many good San Franciscans having gone
into the country. There were the eager yellow faces watching for my
reply. So I sat down in a pew with three Chinese young men on my right
hand, two on my left, and four in the pew in front, all with English
and Chinese Testaments in their hands. The lesson for the day was the
fifteenth chapter of Matthew. They read slowly, but with greater
accuracy of emphasis and pronunciation than I expected. Their patience
and eagerness in trying to correct a mispronunciation were touching. At
last came the end of the chapter.

"Now do you go on to the next chapter?" said I.

"No. Arx-play-in," said the brightest of the boys. "You arx-play-in what
we rade to you."

I wished the floor of that Sunday-school chapel would open and swallow
me up. To expound the fifteenth of Matthew at all; above all, to expound
it in English which those poor souls could understand! In despair I
glanced at the clock: it lacked thirty minutes of the end of school; at
the other teachers: they were all glibly responding. Guiltily I said,
"Very well. Begin and read the chapter over again, very slowly; and when
you come to any word you do not understand, tell me, and I will try to
explain it to you."

Their countenances fell. This was not the way they had usually been
taught. But with the meekness of a down-trodden people they obeyed. It
worked even better than I had hoped. Poor souls! they probably did not
understand enough to select the words which perplexed them. They
trudged patiently through their verses again without question. But my
Charybdis was near. The sixth verse came to the brightest boy. As he
read, "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your
tradition," he paused after the word tradition. I trembled.

"Arx-play-in trardition," he said.

"What?" said I, feebly, to gain a second's more of time. "What word did
you say?"

"Trardition," he persisted. "What are trardition? Arx-play-in."

What I said I do not know. Probably I should not tell if I did. But I am
very sure that never in all my life have I found myself, and never in
all the rest of my life shall I find myself, in so utterly desperate a
dilemma as I was then, with those patient, earnest, oblique eyes fixed
on me, and the gentle Chinese voice reiterating, "What are trardition?"



     [Our sketches of travel in America will not be complete without
     descriptive narratives relating to its great natural wonders,
     of which the United States possesses more examples than any
     other country on the globe. The present selection, therefore,
     from Brace's "The New West, or California in 1867-68," is
     devoted to a brief account of the monster trees of that State
     and the scenic marvels of the Yosemite Valley.]

The great pleasure of the American continent will hereafter be the
journey to the Yosemite. There is no one object of nature in the world,
except Niagara, to equal it in attraction. Whenever the Pacific road
brings the two coasts within a fortnight of each other, innumerable
parties will be made up to visit it. I have been tolerably familiar, by
foot-journeys, with Switzerland, Tyrol, and Norway, and I can truly say
that no one scene in those grand regions can compare equally, in all its
combinations, with the wonderful Cañon of the Yosemite. It is a matter
of congratulation, also, to me, that I saw it before any road, or coach,
or rail-car had approached it. It ought not to be visited otherwise than
as our party journeyed to it,--on horses winding in picturesque train
over velvety trails, beneath the gigantic pines of the Sierras....

Among all my many travelling experiences in various countries, I do not
think I can ever forget the romance and the delicious beauty of that
first night's ride towards the Yosemite. The trail was barely wide
enough for two to ride abreast, winding under majestic pines, over
mountains, and down wide, deep dells, each step of the horses springing
elastic from soft pine-leaves. The sun soon set, and a magnificent moon
arose, giving us at one time a broad belt of light over the path, and
then leaving us to descend into a mysterious gulf of darkness, and then
casting strange shadows and half-lights through the pine-branches over
our procession of riders. As we penetrated farther into the forest we
began to wind about beneath trees such as few of us had ever seen,--the
superb sugar-pine, perhaps the most perfect tree in nature, here
starting with a diameter of from seven to twelve feet, and mounting up
with most symmetrical branches to the height say of Trinity Church spire
(two hundred and fifty to two hundred and sixty feet); on the ends of
its branches cones hanging a foot long. Sometimes we came forth from the
forest for a few moments, and had grand glimpses of great mountain
valleys, only partly revealed in the glorious moonlight. Most of the
party were old travellers, and were rather impervious to sensations,
but we all agreed that this was a new one, and gave a most promising
augury of the Yosemite excursion. After fourteen miles--an easy ride--we
all reached Clark's Ranch at a late hour, ready for supper and bed.

[The next morning] we started at not too early an hour for a forest-ride
to the Trees, Mr. Clark kindly guiding us. What may be called the avenue
to these hoary monuments of antiquity lies through a gigantic forest of
sugar-pines, themselves some two hundred to two hundred and fifty feet
high; so that when you reach the mighty towers of vegetation you lose a
little the sense of their vast height. I searched curiously as we rode
through the forest for the conditions which should produce such monsters
of growth. It must be remembered that the _Sequoia gigantea_ is not
found merely here, or at Calaveras and its neighborhood. There appears
to be a belt of them running along the slope of the Sierras, about four
thousand and five thousand feet above the sea-level, and as far south as
Visalia. They are so plentiful near that place as to be sawed for
lumber, though what so light a wood could be used for I can hardly
think. In the neighborhood of the latter place the Indians report a
tree, far in the forest, surpassing in grandeur anything ever seen; but
thus far no white man has ever cast eyes on it. It is a mistake, too, to
suppose the race wearing out. I saw, both here and in Calaveras, young
giant _Sequoiæ_, beginning patiently their thousand years of growth with
all the vigor of their grand ancestors; some of but four hundred years,
mere youths, were growing splendidly. There are fewer young trees here
than in Calaveras, because fire or some other cause has swept among the
underbrush of all trees, and must have destroyed many of these burly

The Sequoia grows on mountain-slopes, where the slow wash of water,
through ages, brings down minute particles of fertilizing rocks, and
the decayed vegetation of countless centuries, with the moisture of
eternal springs, water and feed its roots. It enjoys a sun of the
tropics without a cloud for six months, and has the balmy air of the
Pacific, with incessant and gentle moisture, and a warm covering of snow
for its winter. Beneath its roots, the ground never freezes. As has been
well said, "It has nothing to do but grow;" and so with all the
favorable conditions that nature can offer--air and sun and moisture--it
pumps up its food from the everlasting hills, and builds up its slow,
vegetable-like substance during century after century into a gigantic,
symmetrical, and venerable pile, while nations begin and pass away
beneath its shadow.

Think of lying under a tree beneath which the contemporary of Attila or
Constantine might have rested, and which shall defy the storm, perhaps,
when the present political divisions of the world are utterly passed
away, and the names of Washington and Lincoln are among the heroes of a
vague past.

But how to give an impression of its size! If my readers will imagine a
Sequoia placed beside Trinity Church, he must conceive it filling up one
of our largest dwelling-houses, say a diameter of thirty feet, with a
circumference of ninety feet; the bark of this gigantic trunk will be
light, porous, and reddish in color, with many scars upon it of fire
(its great enemy); then, perhaps, at the height of the Trinity belfry
(say one hundred feet), two opposing huge branches will protrude, it may
be, themselves, of the size of large trees (say eight feet in diameter);
these will be twisted and much broken; above them will come forth other
heavy branches, which show the marks and blows of the storms of a
thousand years or more, for the giant, so far above his fellows, meets a
continual battering from the gales of the mountains.

There is no symmetry in his top, or delicacy and grace in his outline;
he has battled and struggled with the storm for too many centuries to
preserve an artistic appearance. He looks the giant of the forest,
broad-rooted and strong-limbed, rough and weather-beaten, but defying
snow and frost and hurricane for thousands of years, and still
sheltering bird and beast and cattle beneath his grand shadow....

We visited one big tree in Calaveras which had been blown over two years
before. The enormous weight which each tree carries makes it more
difficult to bear the gales, as it overtops the forest. Perhaps any
ordinary wood, such as oak or maple, would increase the specific
gravity, so that at three hundred feet high the leverage on the roots
would be too great to bear any strain of a gale; but this wood is almost
like cork,--lighter than any wood on the Eastern coast. The fall of this
mighty tower, they say, was heard for miles around, and made the earth
tremble. Where it fell it has buried its top deep in the ground, so that
there is quite a ravine made by the blow in the earth. You strike the
trunk where it is still a large tree, and then walk upon it some two
hundred feet towards the roots. When you reach the roots you are upon a
height equal to the roof of a moderate-sized house, and a fall from the
trunk would be dangerous. You descend by a ladder.

If I recollect rightly, there were three hundred and sixty-five trees in
this Mariposa Grove. I measured one trunk, broken off at the top, where
it was a foot in diameter, which was about two hundred and ninety feet
in length, and estimating thirty feet as the length of the part broken
off, it must have been some three hundred and twenty feet high. We
lunched near a "camp" of the Geological Survey, in the heart of the
grove, lying on our backs beneath the gigantic canopies, and feeling
like pigmies at the feet of these giants. The younger trees were often
wreathed with a strange, yellow, hanging moss. Our ladies were deeply
interested in a remarkable flower which grew beneath the snow, a few
patches of which still remained here in June. It was a blood-red flower
of a fleshy-like substance, like the Pyrola, or "Dutchman's pipe,"
growing somewhat like a garden hyacinth. Its stems were clustered, from
six to ten inches high, with long, erect scales, broader below and
gradually narrower, and finally becoming bracts. The flowers were
numerous, and occupied the upper half of the stem. It is the _Sarcodes

     [Leaving the Big Tree grove, the travellers made a farther ride
     of twenty-five miles through the Sierras to the Yosemite, the
     first view of which impressed them deeply.]

No aspect of nature I have ever looked upon, no sight of the desolate
ocean, heaving and lashing in mighty surges beneath wintry storm, or
sudden view of Alpine snow-peaks through rifts of black thunder-clouds,
or glimpses of Norwegian coast-glaciers through the lulls of an Arctic
gale, or even Niagara itself, was so full of the inspiration of awe as
this first opening view of the Yosemite Cañon. All other scenes of
grandeur and beauty must fade away in my memory when this vision is
forgotten. Before the mighty powers which had shaped this tremendous
gorge, and in presence of this scene of unspeakable and indescribable
beauty and majesty, man and his works seemed to sink away to
nothingness.... I almost felt as if I had known nothing of the cañon
before, so surprising were the effects of coloring and shadow. It must
be remembered we had struck the gorge on one of its lateral walls, say
about four miles from its western end. There is no approach to it from
below up the stream. As we lay on the edge of the cliff we gazed up a
narrow green valley perfectly flat, from a mile to half a mile wide,
and winding, some six miles above, between enormous cliffs and
precipices, a small, bright, sparkling stream in the middle, fringed
with green grass or forest-trees. The wall, over the edge of which we
were looking, was nearly three-quarters of a mile high, and far below,
the oaks and willows and poplars and pines in the green intervale looked
like little shrubs. On the other side, a short distance beyond, was the
grand bluff of El Capitan, a sheer precipice of nearly four thousand
feet, its light granite pile, in the evening light, the most majestic
cliff that human eye has looked upon, beyond were other bluffs and
precipices, pearly gray and purplish-white, with green fringes below,
and dark archways or fantastic figures traced by shadows on their
surface. There were buttresses, as of gigantic cathedrals, and archways
such as might support hills of granite, and domes where a mountain was
the substructure, and half domes, and peaks whose regular succession has
given them the name of "Brothers,"--all varying in color and shadow,
incessantly, with the receding light; some with the delicious cool gray
of the rock color, some white, with a reddish shade; others faint
purple; others resplendent in pink and brilliant purple; while over
their edges, giving a joyous life to the scene, rushed sparkling silver
streams, in innumerable waterfalls, dashing into the green valley
below.... But the scene was changing. Over the valley, the heavy shadow
of El Capitan continually increased its gigantic breadth of shade;
beyond him the "Arches," which, to be seen at that distance, must be a
thousand feet in height, grew each instant more strongly marked, but
still farther beyond to the east the North Dome and the Half Dome were
golden and purple in the evening light, and yet beyond the still white
peaks of the Sierras towered above in the pale blue.

On our side of the vast gorge the foot of the various precipices and
cliffs was covered with detritus, making, near the bottom, a
considerable slope, on which grew many evergreen trees.

On the other side there was one line of massive rock, which fell
apparently plumb, without a break or curve, for nearly four thousand
feet, and at its base, so hard was the material, there seemed no recent
detritus at all. One could evidently touch the very bottom of the
immense fall of rock....

The form of the cañon is unique, nothing in Europe resembling it: the
immense vertical walls rising so abruptly from the green vale; the
peaks, too, which surround it, being original, even in the Sierras; the
immense, inaccessible, concentric masses of granite,--domes, or
half-domes, as if melted in some gigantic mould, and then, when cooled,
left standing in the air.

One of the grandest and most beautiful objects in the valley was
directly opposite our hotel, and its music never ceased, day or
night,--the Yosemite Fall. The stream which bears this name heads about
ten miles away, and then flows down, almost directly over the mighty
precipice, into the valley below,--a depth of two thousand five hundred
and fifty feet. At this time it is about thirty-five feet wide by two or
three deep. The fall has almost the appearance of one grand shoot of
water, but it has, in reality, three divisions: the first is a descent
of fifteen hundred feet on a ledge (as it seems), though it is, in fact,
a shelf of rock, a third of a mile broad; then follow a series of
cascades for six hundred and twenty-five feet, and a final leap of four
hundred. There is water enough now to give a bright, foaming, grand
sweep of the whole cataract. It is certainly one of the most beautiful
objects the human eye can ever gaze upon! We never wearied of riding
out over the green meadows and gay, wild flowers to get some new aspect
of it.

The only fall to compare it with, that I have ever seen, is the Vöring
Foss, in Norway. This is a fall of nine hundred and fifty feet, but the
water is so scanty that it is all resolved into wreaths of mist before
it reaches the bottom; and it makes but little impression on the mind,
compared with the Yosemite Fall. It is, moreover, confined in a narrow,
dark gorge, and must be seen usually from above. In seeing the
Californian fall, I did not even think of the Norwegian.

The amount of water, at this season, adds immensely to the cheerfulness
and life of the valley; but it also occasioned us a great deal of
trouble in getting round. We were mired several times, and twice one of
our ladies was thrown on the soft greensward.

But the scampering gallops through the groves under these grand scenes,
and the quiet amblings amid such beauty and sublimity, were pleasures
which nothing marred. In our rides down the cañon, we were struck by the
grand mass of the Sentinel Dome, four thousand one hundred and fifty
feet above the valley, and said to give the finest point of view in the
whole region round; the valley itself, it must be remembered, being over
four thousand feet above the sea-level. Then three-quarters of a mile
beyond is the majestic buttress of the Sentinel Rock, three thousand
feet high, of which a thousand feet is a smooth obelisk; opposite to
this are the Three Brothers, the highest three thousand eight hundred
and thirty feet, and each regularly lower than the next.


Then comes the Cathedral Rock, two thousand six hundred and sixty feet,
with two perfect spires, the most picturesque object in the valley; then
the exquisite Pohono, or Bridal Veil, a flashing fall of a thousand feet
swaying like a silvery plume in the mountain breezes, and the grand
feature of the gorge, of which I have so often spoken, El Capitan, three
thousand six hundred feet.

To the east of the hotel, about two miles above the falls, the valley
ends and divides into three cañons, each containing scenery as
remarkable as those of the main gorge. The northwest cañon is the Tinaya
Fork; here we have the Half Dome, a majestic inaccessible crest of
concentric granite, four thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven feet
above the valley, with a vertical face where the half sphere split off
of two thousand feet in height; the North Dome, a rounded mass, three
thousand five hundred and sixty-eight feet, and easy to ascend from the
north. In this fork is the exquisite Tisayic Lake, on which the morning
reflections are so beautifully given.

The middle cañon, that of the Merced River, is the most important
one of the three. No ravine scenery in Europe equals this wild and
extraordinary gorge. The river, which at this season has a tremendous
body of water, descends through a wild ravine of two miles, nineteen
hundred and eighty feet. The path winds along over a series of wild
falls and rapids, till a cloud and gale of mist and wet cover it,
through which we reach a dry place at the foot of a magnificent fall,
four hundred and seventy-five feet high,--the Vernal. Then ladders are
ascended up the face of the cliff, and we rest on the dry, sunny ledge
over the boiling and whirling cataract. Still another scramble for a
mile, and we find ourselves blinded, gasping, in the breath of the
furious cataract above. We are all clad in India-rubber coats (furnished
by a guide), and drip with water, and work up, inch by inch, stooping,
as against a violent current. The gale takes away our breaths, and we
have every now and then to catch a breath; there is nothing visible
ahead but clouds of mist and driving swirls of rain, with a roar
filling the air, which prevents all voices from being heard. We are
helping the ladies on with the utmost difficulty, but at last all
reluctantly give out and turn back; but I cannot bear to give up the
view; and after groping in the furious storm and mist, I at length find
a side path through the chaparral, and soon reach a dry ledge beneath
the superb Nevada Fall,--a majestic sweep of thundering water, six
hundred and thirty-nine feet in height, more grand than any waterfall in
the valley, because of the volume of water. There is a peculiar twist in
the upper portion of it, which adds to its picturesque effect. On the
other side rises a most remarkable peak of granite, solitary and
inaccessible,--Mount Broderick, some two thousand feet. The scene as I
stood there alone beneath this sublime sweep of waters, and amid those
mighty mountain-cliffs, can never be forgotten.

The South Fork I did not visit, but the photographs show that it
possesses scenery as romantic as the other branches of the cañon. It is
interesting to notice that these enormous waterfalls in the Merced Cañon
have scarcely an indentation on this most hard rock,--a fact probably
indicating that they have not existed a great length of time. The
comparative absence of detritus in the upper part of the main valley
would seem to show the action of water and ice, pressing the débris into
the lower portion, where more of it is found. There are, too (as was
discovered by Mr. King), something which may be called lateral moraines,
and perhaps a terminal moraine in the middle of the cañon, so that it
seems not improbable, though there is no absolute evidence, that in a
comparatively recent period glaciers existed in the upper part, and a
lake in the body of the Yosemite Cañon, the descent of the whole valley,
it must be remembered, being only fifty feet during some eight miles.



     [Major Price, whose hunting adventures seem to have extended
     from Terra del Fuego to the northern boundary of the United
     States, gives us, in his "Sport and Travel; or, The Two
     Americas," a record full of incident and observation. From his
     greatly varied hunting experience we select a description of
     the pursuit of game in the vicinity of Acupulco, Mexico, which
     is of interest as showing the conditions of animal and
     vegetable life in that region.]

The day after our arrival, H---- and myself, getting mules and a guide,
started for Pira de la Questa, a small Indian village about twelve miles
from Acupulco, and situated near the extremity of a large lagoon, some
thirty miles in circumference, which we were informed was full of wild
fowl. Over many a rough road and in many lands have I ridden, but never
did I travel a highway like unto this. The path ran over the mountains
through a thick forest, and more resembled the bed of a water-course
than an actually connected route. Nothing but mules, whose cat-like
propensities enable them to overcome apparently insurmountable
difficulties, could possibly have done the journey. In places the path
was so narrow that two of these animals were unable to pass abreast, so
that one would be obliged to go back into a convenient corner, or
scramble up a bank, to permit the other to go by.

The forest was dense, but, as it was just prior to the rains, almost
leafless, everything being burned and parched up except in the valleys
and bottoms of ravines, where running water rendered the vegetation
luxuriant and flourishing. This absence of foliage, though detracting
considerably from the beauty of the forest, permitted us to view all
the better its feathered denizens, and in few tropical countries have I
seen such lovely birds, or in such numbers as out here. To classify or
name them would require a man to be a perambulating encyclopædia of
natural history; but among them all I was most struck with the number of
specimens of the woodpecker class, several of which were very beautiful.
One in particular with a blood-red topknot, which glittered vividly in
the sun, I envied much for my fishing-book, and regretted the guide had
my gun in his possession nearly a mile behind.

As the sun was setting we entered the village, which consisted of a few
mud huts with sideless roofs, and halting before one of them, was
informed by the guide that it was to be our quarters for the night. It
was simply a roof of palm-leaves over a mud floor, there being no kind
of wall or even screen, and it formed the universal dormitory of men,
women, and children, pigs and poultry, at the principal hotel--the
Claridge's, in fact--of Pira la Questa. Leaving the proprietress and her
numerous progeny engaged in hunting down an active-looking fowl for our
evening repast, we rode to the lagoon, and giving the guide our mules
to hold, shot a few of the curious-looking aquatic birds, which he
pronounced to be "buéno," or good for eating, that were feeding round
the banks. It was rapidly getting dark, and seeing at a distance some
birds that I took to be duck, I noiselessly crept down on them. To do so
I had to pass over a small spot of white sand, concealed, until I was on
it, by a clump of bushes.

While still silently watching the birds I saw something move a little to
my right, and on turning round discovered a huge alligator, whom I had
almost cut off from the lake. The bushes had hidden us until absolutely
face to face, and he came by me with his teeth grinning and tail half
cocked, in the most unamiable frame of mind I ever saw in one of his
tribe. Without intending it, I had very nearly cut him off from his
native element; and though naturally a cowardly brute, feeling himself
to a certain degree cornered, he had evidently made up his mind to
fight. Not being prepared, with only small shot in my gun, for a duel
with the reptile, I stopped short and gave him right of way, and, as he
cleared me at about two yards, let him have both barrels behind the
shoulder to expedite his movements, and had the satisfaction of seeing
him give a jump into the water that would have done credit to a
performer for the Grand National.

They are cowardly brutes, and though I have been frequently in parts of
the world they inhabit, I have never yet heard of an instance of a man
being attacked by one on land. In the water it is different. A boy had,
while bathing, been taken down some months since close to this very
spot; and from what I saw of the lagoon next morning, I would not have
ventured a swim there for untold gold. Had I been a little quicker, and
unintentionally barred this fellow's way to the lake, I am quite certain
he would have attacked me, as he must have passed somehow. These
creatures never take to the jungle, and, like a rat driven into a
corner, he would have been obliged to fight.

On returning to the village we found our dinner nearly ready; bread and
liquor we had brought with us, but the hunted fowl, new-laid eggs, and
hot tortillas formed no bad meal for travellers sharp set by a mountain
ride. After feeding, we visited some of the principal houses in the
village, chaffed some of the good-humored and pretty little Indian
girls, and arranged about a canoe for the following morning. We then
slung our grass hammocks among the miscellaneous company and wooed the
drowsy god of slumber, our guide slinging his hammock up between us,
and sleeping with his machete buckled around him, ready for attack or
defence at a moment's notice.

The machete is the invariable companion of the poorer and middle classes
of Mexicans, and the multiplicity of uses to which it is dedicated are
something wonderful to the uninitiated. With it he clears the tangled
paths in the forest; it helps to build his hut, to cut his firewood, and
eat his dinner; he uses it for purposes of warfare, and too frequently
also for purposes of assassination. The blade is broad, slightly curved,
a little shorter than an infantry officer's regulation sword, and about
twice as heavy. The handle is generally made of wood, the scabbard
leather, and the edge invariably as keen as a razor. Occasionally the
blades are ornamented with gold or silver, but the ordinary machete is
perfectly plain.

Next morning we were up before daylight, and hastened to the banks of
the lagoon, where according to agreement we should have found our canoe.
None was forthcoming, however, and not until the sun broke fiercely
on our heads and our patience was completely exhausted did our guide
prevail on the man who was to have provided it to go in search of
another. After a still further considerable delay, at last he arrived,
but with a rickety conveyance that would only hold one gun besides the
paddler; and H----taking the canoe, I walked along the edge, and our
shooting commenced.

The place was full of all kinds of odd-looking waterfowl. Geese, duck,
teal, pelicans, flamingo, and spoonbills were in hundreds, and many
kinds of waders unknown to me; in fact, such an extraordinary variety
of fresh-water birds I had never seen together before. The ducks were
particularly handsome, having bright bronze breasts, which shone like
burnished metal in the sun. Of teal I shot several varieties, many of
them with exceedingly beautiful and brilliant plumage; but I think among
the queer ones I killed there were none more beautiful in plumage than
the spoonbill; for though his singular and uncouth beak did not improve
his countenance, he had the most lovely and delicate tinge of rose-color
through his white feathers it is possible to conceive. We had him for
dinner two days afterwards, and found him excellent.

Not knowing a quarter of the birds that got up, and many being fishy and
unfit for food, whenever one rose the guide would cry either "Buéno" or
"No buéno," as it happened to be fit or unfit for culinary purposes; and
so on for nine miles along the banks, sometimes through mud, at others
through sand, and at others through jungle or water, did I plod along,
taking whatever was termed "buéno," and occasionally peppering an
obtrusive alligator when he came anything inside twelve yards.

The heat was intense, and, to add to the discomfort of walking, the
paths through the jungle and mangrove swamps occasionally bordered the
edges of the lake, and were so thickly crossed by cobwebs that they were
perpetually knocking off my hat, getting in my mouth and eyes, and at
times almost impeded my progress. I never saw anything like them.
Occasionally large forest-trees were entirely covered from top to
bottom, and so thickly shrouded that not a leaf or twig could be seen
through its unnatural-looking winding-sheet. The lagoon seemed full of
fish, which were jumping in shoals all over it; but not once during the
day did we see a single bird settle on its surface; and from the number
of alligators swimming about, I think they showed their wisdom.

It was capital sport, but precious hard work also, and I was just about
"played out," when we reached a "ranche," where, after a pull of cold
water that must have somewhat alarmed my constitution, I tumbled into a
grass hammock, uncommonly glad to get out of the burning sun.

A pleasant-featured young Mexican woman, with a dark-eyed, good-looking
sister, soon despatched between them one of the many chickens running
about the house; and while the _cazuela_ was preparing they very
good-naturedly washed out my shirt, lending me, _ad interim_, some
embroidered garment of their own. The rest of my clothes were hung up to
dry, every stitch on me being thoroughly saturated. H---- and the canoe
soon after arrived, and how we did enjoy the homely but excellent fare
our hostess put before us! Then came pipes and a siesta, and a couple of
hours' rest saw us fit to return. H---- had got enough of it, and,
borrowing a horse, rode back to the village. I returned in the canoe,
and got a good many shots _en route_. Our bag was a mixed one, and
consisted of the birds I have already mentioned, with several others
whose names we did not know, and four rabbits. Wild duck and teal
predominated, and the guides could hardly stagger from the canoe to the
houses with our united bag.

The sun was fast setting as we left Pira la Questa on our return
journey, and ere we reached the mountain-top it was quite dark. Unable
to see a yard before us, but knowing we must go on, I threw the reins on
my mule's neck, and, lighting a pipe, resigned myself implicitly to his
sagacity, not only to find the path, but to avoid the obstacles which
at every step lay before him. My confidence was not misplaced. With
nose almost touching the ground, he seemed to smell his way along, and
not once during our long ride did he deviate for a second from the
proper track, or make a single false step or stumble. The sounds and
strange cries during the dark stillness of the night were very
remarkable. Whether caused by bird or insect I could not tell; but
one in particular, resembling the prolonged whistle of a locomotive
steam-engine, was frequently of more than a minute's duration without
ceasing, and of such volume and intensity that unless I had been aware
of the utter impossibility of a train being within hundreds of miles, I
would have almost sworn to so familiar a sound. The lights of Acupulco
at last came in sight, and our animals soon after deposited us safely,
after a somewhat trying but very agreeable trip....

On the 10th of May we left Acupulco and steamed quietly along the
Mexican coast in sight of land until we reached Manzanillo Bay, on
the southeast part of which are situated the few wretched huts that
constitute the village. The harbor is well protected from southerly
winds, but not from those directly from the westward. Behind the
village, and only a few hundred yards from the sea-beach, is a large
shallow lagoon which runs nearly forty miles into the interior, and at
the end of the dry season becomes almost empty. The exhalations at this
time rising from the mud and stagnant water are most dreadful, and even
at our anchorage the stench during the night was almost unbearable....

Next morning, before daylight, we started with Mr. D---- across the
lagoon to a place about an hour's row from the village, where he said
he was in the habit of getting wild duck. The lake was so shallow that
our boat often grounded, and the oars at each stroke disturbed the
black, ink-like mud that constituted the bottom. The sides were
beautifully wooded, and surrounded by ranges of hills extending far
into the interior, the edges of the water being fringed with a belt
of mangrove-trees, whose peculiarly bright green foliage contrasted
pleasingly with the sombre coloring of the leafless trees behind them.
The perfectly stagnant water was of a light-yellow tint, and as full of
alligators as it could well be....

After firing a good many shots, and gathering a somewhat miscellaneous
bag, Mr. D---- saw a large alligator asleep on some mud, lying half in
and half out of the water; and as I was the only one of the party who
had brought any bullets, he sent one of the guides to show me where it
lay, in hope that I might get a shot.

Slowly, and with the greatest caution, I waded through water until I got
within twelve yards of where the brute lay, and aiming about an inch
behind the eye, drove a bullet clean into his brain. He gave a
convulsive kind of shudder and lash with his tail, and was, I believe,
dead; but to make certain I gave him the second barrel at about four
yards' distance behind the shoulder, and then felt quite confident that
I had indeed "wound him up."

It was some time before we could induce the natives to assist in pulling
him on dry land. Though they do not mind them living and swimming about,
they are particularly careful of a wounded one, a single sweep of its
powerful tail, even when mortally stricken, being known to break both
legs of a man like a pipe-stem. Though dead enough to all intents and
purposes, an alligator, like either a shark or a turtle, will continue
possessed of a certain amount of vitality and motion for a long period
after life is really extinct. This fellow was still gently swaying his
tail about while we bent on a rope to it, and, all five of us clapping
on, soon hauled him to the dry mud on the bank, where we took his
length, opened his jaws, and generally examined the formidable-looking
reptile at our leisure. He was about fifteen feet long and inconceivably
hideous. The first bullet had smashed a large hole exactly where I
aimed,--namely, about one inch behind the eye; the skull seemed
comparatively thin there, was unprotected by any thick skin, and a large
lump of his brain was oozing through the wound. The second bullet went
through his heart; but I am convinced that it was unnecessary, as the
first shot had done all that was needful.

Much as people have written to the contrary, I am quite satisfied now
that an alligator is as easily slain as a rabbit, if only hit in the
right place; and that place is not in the eye, as is generally stated,
but on the same level, and from an inch to an inch and a half behind it.
The brain in all reptiles lies rather far back in the head, joining
almost to the neck. By striking one in the eye from many positions it is
quite possible that the brain may not be touched at all; while, if the
ball hits the slightest degree in front of it, on the creature's long
ugly snout, the bullet might as well be chucked in the river for all
the harm it will do the alligator. Unsightly as these gentry are, the
Indians occasionally eat them. The skins are sometimes tanned; but
they smell so strong, it is an awkward job to handle them. During dry
seasons they collect in vast quantities in the small pools still left
unevaporated, and are then killed in large numbers for their hides,
which when tanned are found serviceable for many purposes. They are
tougher than ordinary leather, and resist water better. Only the belly
pieces are used.

Some few years ago during a very heavy rain, a number of alligators got
taken out of the lake by a small river running into the sea, which was
greatly flooded. They were immediately attacked by the sharks, and a
strange battle ensued between these equally voracious monsters, which
all the people of the village flocked out to witness. The battle lasted
all day, and the noise of the combat could be heard half a mile off.
John Shark was, however, more at home in his native element than his
scaly antagonist, and eventually the alligators were all eaten up or



     [Mexico is made up of two distinctively different regions; one,
     the central plateau, temperate in climate, and marked by a
     great dearth of rainfall; the other, the lowland areas between
     the plateau and the bordering oceans, tropical in climate and
     productions, and luxuriant from abundant rains. Dr. Oswald, in
     the following selection, leads us through the Valley of Oaxaca,
     a section of this Tierra Caliente, or warm country, and makes
     us familiar with its interesting vegetable and animal
     productions and its scenic features.]

We had a glimpse of the sun before we finished our short breakfast, and
when we plunged into the maze of the forest the occasional vistas
through the leafy vault revealed larger and larger patches of bright
blue sky. Our so-called road, however, was worse than anything I had
ever seen or heard of Flemish or South Louisiana synonymes of that
word,--miry lagoons and spongy mud as black and as sticky as pitch. I
followed at the heels of my carrier, who preferred the lagoons and
seemed to find the shallow places by a sort of instinct, and the Switzer
managed to propel his heavy boots through the toughest quagmire; but his
boy, after losing his shoes five or six times, slung them across his
shoulder and splashed on barefoot. We kept through a comparatively open
forest of cottonwood- and tulip-trees, with a dense jungle on our
right-hand side, while on our left the land sloped towards the bottom of
the Rio Verde, which is here about five hundred paces wide, and during
the rainy season fills its muddy banks to the brink. These lower coast
forests abound in gigantic trees, whose fruits are only accessible to
the winged and four-handed denizens of the forest, but farther up the
river-shores are lined for miles with a dense growth of wild-growing
plantains, of which the natives distinguish four varieties under as
many different names. The fruit of the largest, the _cuernavacas_
("cow-horns"), attains a weight of seven pounds, and resembles in shape
the crooked pod of the tamarind rather than the cucumber-shaped little
bananas which reach our Northern markets. They ripen very slowly, and
often rot on the tree before they become eatable, but the Mexicans
cure them over a slow fire of embers and green brushwood, after which
their taste can hardly be distinguished from that of the finest
yellow bananas. Palm-trees mingle here with the massive stems of the
cottonwoods, talipot-palms, and the _Palma prieta_, whose nut might
become a profitable article of export, having a close resemblance to a
filbert. The plum-clusters of the mango can only be reached by a bold
climber, as the trunk rises like a mast, often perfectly free from
branches for eighty or ninety feet, and the chief beneficiaries of
this region are still the macaws and squirrel-monkeys; but farther
up Pomona becomes more condescending, and the ancient Gymnosophists,
whose religion restricted true believers to a diet of wild-growing
tree-fruits, would have found their fittest home in the terrace-land
between the lower twenty miles of the Rio Verde and the foot-hills of
the Sierra de San Miguel.

Plum-bearing bushes abound from June to September with red, yellow,
and wax-colored fruit; the _morus_, or wild mulberry-tree, literally
covers the ground with its dark, honey-sweet berries; the crown of the
pino-palm is loaded with grape-like clusters, which, struck by a cudgel,
discharge a shower of rich acorn-shaped nuts; guavas, alligator-pears,
mamayos, chirimoyas, and wild oranges display flowers and fruit at the
same time, and under the alternate influence of heat and moisture
produce their perennial crops with unfailing regularity; the algarobe
(_Mimosa siliqua_), a species of mezquite not larger than an apple-tree,
yields half a ton of the edible pods known as carob-beans or St. John's
bread; the figs of the gigantic banyan-tree furnish an aromatic syrup;
the trunks of the _Robinia viridis_ exude an edible gum; and from
the vine-tangle forming the vault of the forest hang the bunches and
clusters of forty or fifty varieties of wild grapes, many of them
superior to our scuppernongs and catawbas, while the amber-colored _Uva
real_ rivals the flavor of the finest Damascene raisin-grapes. A forced
march of ten hours through fens and silent virgin woods brought us at
last to the hummock region; the plain swelled into mounds, and the
currents of the sluggish bayous became more perceptible. The higher
levels showed vestiges of cultivation; we crossed dykes and ditches,
a neglected fence here and there, and where the larger trees had been
felled grapes and liana figs covered even the bushes and hedges in
incredible profusion. A troop of capuchin monkeys leaped from a low
mango-tree, and two stumbling youngsters who brought up the rear in the
scramble for the high timber would have tempted us to a chase if we had
not been anxious to reach less malarious quarters before night. The
neighborhood of the great swamps still betrayed itself by that peculiar
miasmatic odor which emanates from stagnant pools and decaying vegetable
matter, and in the recesses of the forest fluttered the slate-colored
swamp-moth, the ominous harbinger of the mosquito. The tipulary pests
were getting ready for action; their skirmishers, the _sancudos_ and
_Moscas negras_, had already opened the campaign, and became sensible
as well as audible in spite of the rapidity of our march. One of the
twilight species, the _Mosca delgada_, a straw-colored little midge,
bites like a fire-ant,--a mischievous and, it seems, unpractical freak
of nature, since the superfluous virulence of its sting must certainly
interfere with the business facilities of a suctorial insect.

     [As evening descended the travellers reached a cotton
     plantation, and hastened to take refuge from the rising cloud
     of mosquitoes.]

The cotton-gin loomed at the farther end of the field, and was taken by
storm over piles of muck and scattered fence-rails. Seeing no ladder,
we clambered through the pivot-hole in the ceiling of a musty-smelling
machine-shed, but in the open loft above we found a delicious breeze,
and--St. Hubert be praised!--not a single mosquito.

The carrier threw himself upon his pack with a sigh of relief, and we
squatted around the hatch to cool off before we opened our mess-bag.

From the hills on our right came the perfume of blooming tamarisks, and
from the jungle below a cool lake-air; and at times strange voices of
the wilderness,--the hoarse bark of a cayman, answered by the shriek of
swamp-geese in the canebrakes of the Rio Verde, and in the distance now
and then a queer rustling sound, like the shaking of a tree butted by
some heavy animal. Bats were circling above our heads in the moonlight,
and our advent seemed to have excited the curiosity of a troop of
flying-squirrels, who uttered their chirping squeak now on the roof, now
in the branches of a neighboring live-oak-tree.

After removing a layer of seed-cotton that might harbor scorpions or
centipedes, I spread my blanket near the hatch and made myself
comfortable for the night. My feet still smarted, though I had pulled
off my stockings as well as my boots; yet I could not regret the
hardships of a march which had brought us to such an encampment. The
portador was taking his ease in the centre of the floor, where the
night-wind played with his long hair, while the Swiss boy had fallen
asleep on the mantle of his countryman, who was sitting in the open
louvre, smoking his pipe in measureless content. The air up here was
delightfully cool, and, with the buzz of the legions of Beelzebub still
ringing in our ears, the sense of security itself was more than a
negative comfort.

Baron Savarin, who wrote a treatise on the art of enjoying life, should
have added a chapter on the happiness of contrast. A snug little cottage
in a stormy November night, a shade-tree on the Llano Estacado, the
silence of the Upper Alleghanies after a "revival-meeting" in the
valleys, a bath in the dog-days, would rank above all the luxuries of
Paris and Stamboul, if unbought enjoyments could ever become

The moon set soon after midnight, but we managed to readjust our luggage
by the light of greased paper spills, and entered the gates of the
foot-hills before the watch-call of the night-hawk had been silenced by
the reveille of the iris-crows. A keen land-breeze, tumbling the mists
through the fens of the Tierra Caliente, gave promise of a bright day.
What wonderful perfumes the morning wind brews from the atmosphere
of a moist tropical forest-land!--scents that haunt the memory more
persistently than the echo of a weird song. No latter-day nose could
analyze these odors and trace them to their several sources; but with or
without an attempt at further classification, they might be primarily
divided into sweet and pungent aromatic smells, the latter prevailing in
the coast jungles, the former in the mountain forests. A few of the
first named--the spicy scents--are so peculiar that, once identified,
they can be easily recognized: here, for instance, the effluvium of the
musk lianas, whose flowers diffuse a sort of odorous diapason which
predominates, even through the bouquet-medley of the South Mexican

As the white streaks in the east assumed a yellowish tint, the paroquets
in the crests of the pino-palms saluted the morning with sudden screams;
the multitudinous voices of a crow-swarm approached from the coast
forests; two and two, and in a series of pairs, the macaws came flying
across the sky; and in our near neighborhood the startling cry of the
_chachalaca_ or jungle-pheasant went up from an hibiscus thicket. Softly
first, then louder and louder, the _calanda_, the mocking-bird of the
tropics, intonated its morning hymn, and the fluting curlew rose from
the grass like a skylark; but a sweeter sound to our ears was the
murmuring of a little brook at the roadside. We had reached the region
of rocks and swift-flowing waters.

Of reptiles, as of Red Republicans, it may be said that they are least
dreaded in the countries where they most abound. While a New England
boarding-school virgin goes into epileptic spasms at the aspect of a
blindworm, the young Mexicanas surround themselves with a variety of
ophidian pets, and view a freckled tree-snake and a gay butterfly with
equal pleasure or equal unconcern. A little barefoot girl that met us on
her way to the spring put her toes caressingly on the smooth hide of a
green-and-white speckled _Vivora mansa_ that wriggled across the road;
and our barelegged portador kicked dozens of good-sized bush-snakes out
of our path after noticing that they frightened our young travelling
companion. More than ninety per cent of all South American snakes are as
harmless as lizards, and the four or five venomous varieties are well
known and easily avoided.

I will here add a word on the dreaded venomous insects of the tropics.
The ant and mosquito plagues of the coast jungles can hardly be
over-estimated, but the virulence of their larger congeners is
frequently and grossly exaggerated. The chief insect-ogres of sensation
romancers and fireside travellers are three: the scorpion, the
tarantula, and the centipede, either of whom can rival the homicidal
prestige of Victor Hugo's octopus. But I may confidently appeal to
the verdict of any personal observer who has passed a few years in
the African or American tropics when I assert that these supposed
express-messengers of Death are not more venomous and are far less
aggressive than our common North American hornet. I doubt if the sting
of twenty tarantulas could cause the death of a healthy child, and I am
quite sure that a poison-ivy blister and the bite of a fire-ant are more
painful than the sting of a centipede. An hysterical lady may succumb
to the bite of a common gadfly, but I hold that only co-operative
insects--termites, wasps, bumble-bees, etc.--could ever make away with
a normally constituted human being.

A swarm of vociferous iris-crows appeared in the sky overhead, and
before they had passed, the woods were wide awake all around. The
humming-birds were on the wing, the wood-pigeons repeated their
murmuring call in the taxus-groves, and from the lower depths of the
forest came the chattering scream of a squirrel-monkey. The rising sun
was hidden by the tree-tops of the eastern valleys when we halted on the
summit of a rocky bluff, but the mountain mists had disappeared, and the
vistas on our left afforded a dazzling view of the sunlit foot-hills and
the valley of the Rio Verde. The river is here crossed by a rope-ferry a
little above its junction with a tributary that drains the glorious
valley of Morillo and an Alpine group whose wooded heights stand in my
memory like a vision of a Ganadesha, the mountain park of Indra's

The air of these woodlands is the antithesis of our Northern workshop
atmosphere. There is a feeling of delight--our lost sixth sense, I am
tempted to call it--which gratifies the lungs rather than the olfactory
organ if you inhale the morning breezes, oxidated, and perhaps
ozonized, by the first influence of sunlight on the aromatic vegetation
of these hills,--a delight which, like the charm of harmonious sounds,
reacts on the soul, and awakens emotions which have lain dormant in the
human breast since we exchanged the air of our Summer-land home for the
dust of our hyperborean tenement-prisons.

The hum of insects soon mingled with the bird-voices of our forest. To
and fro, in fitful flight, flashed the _libellas_, the glitter-winged
dragon-flies, and a few large papilios flopped lazily through the
dew-drenched foliage. No gnats up here, but thousands of tiny,
honey-seeking wasps and midges, and bright-winged grasshoppers that rose
with a fluttering spring when the first sunbeams reached the damp
underbrush. Ants hurried about their daily toil, and when we ascended
the next ridge we saw various kinds of lizards flitting across the road
or basking on the wayside rocks, one of them a sort of dwarf iguana of a
moss-green tint, on which protective color it seemed to rely for its
safety, as its movements were as sluggish as those of a toad.

As we kept steadily up-hill, the sun seemed to mount very rapidly,
and, peak after peak, the summits of the upper Sierra rose into view.
Zempantepec, La Sirena, and the Nevada de Colcoyan towered above the
rest, the latter at least four thousand feet above the snow-line. Few
prospects on earth could efface the impression of that panorama. In the
Sierra de San Miguel our continent reproduces the Syrian Lebanon on a
grander scale. Septimius Severus, who vacillated between his throne and
the Elysian valleys of Daphne, would have renounced the empire of the
world for the mountain-gardens of the Val de Morillo, and the giants of
the cypress forests on the southeastern slope of the Sierra dwarf all
the cedars of Bashan and Hebron. The largest, though not the tallest,
of these trees, the cypress of Maria del Tule (twelve miles south of San
Miguel), which Humboldt calls the "oldest vegetable monument of our
globe," has a diameter of forty-two feet, a circumference of one hundred
and thirty-six feet near the ground and of one hundred and four feet
higher up, and measures two hundred and eighty-two feet between the
extremities of two opposite branches. Yet this tree has many rivals in
the Val de Morillo and near the sources of the Rio Verde, where groups
of grayish-green mountain-firs rise like hillocks above the surrounding

On our right extended the orange-gardens of Casa Blanca for two miles
along the base of the hill to a deep ravine, reappearing on the other
side, where their white-blooming tree-tops mingled with the copses of a
banana-plantation. Farther up, euphorbias and hibiscus prevailed, and
the upper limit of the foot-hills is marked by the paler green of the
cork-oak forests that cover the slopes of the sierra proper. In the
northeast this sierra becomes linked with the ramifications of the
central Cordilleras, and connected with our ridge by one of the
densely-wooded spurs that flank the plateau of the Llanos Ventosos. The
rocks at our feet belonged, therefore, to a mountain-chain that might be
called a lineal continuation of the Gila range in Arizona and Nueva
Leon. But what a difference in the climate and scenery! There arid
rocks and thorny ravines; here dense mountain forests, deep rivers,
a saturated atmosphere, and springs on almost every acre of ground.
The very brambles in the rock-clefts were fresh with dew, and the
sprouts of the broom-furze looked like wildering asparagus. The ravines
flamed with flowers of every size and every hue. An agent of a London
or Hamburg curiosity-dealer might make his living here with a common
butterfly-net. On any sunny forenoon an active boy could gather a
stock of Lepidoptera that would create a bonanza sensation among the
collectors of a North European capital. The rhododendron thickets of
the upper Rio Verde are frequented by gigantic varieties of nymphalis,
vanessa, and parnassius, which would retail in Brussels at from two to
ten dollars apiece.

The sun rose higher, but not the thermometer, and when we clambered up
through an orchard of scattered cherry-trees I am sure that the maximum
temperature in the shade did not exceed sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit.
We had reached the Llanos Ventosos, the air-plains of San Miguel, the
playground of the four winds of heaven, where sun-strokes are unknown,
though the mists of the rainy season never cloud their deep-blue sky.
Down in the coast jungles the Rain-fiend was at it again: dark-gray
showers swept visibly along the shore, while the foot-hills simmered
under the rays of a vertical sun. But up here the air was dry as well as
cool; the edge of the plateau is at least six thousand feet above the
level of the Pacific, which is in plain view from Punta Piedra to the
downs of Tehuantepec.

We entered the village about two P.M., and my companions conducted me
to a little frame house, where I was hospitably received by the Indian
gardener and the daughters of Pastor Wenck, the minister of the
Protestant part of the community, whose brother in Tehuantepec had
intrusted me with different letters, with a note of introduction. The
pastor had harnessed his mule an hour ago to get a load of Spanish moss
from the foot-hills, so I left my carrier in charge of the Indian
gardener and sauntered out into the village.

Neubern (New Bern) de San Miguel--or Villa Cresciente, as it was
originally called, from its situation on a crescent-shaped bluff--was
founded in 1865 under the happiest auspices, the charter of the colony
including such inducements as exemption from taxes for the first five
years, free roads and schools, gratuitous seed-corn, farming implements,
etc., to indigent immigrants, and attracted a considerable number of the
very best agriculturists from Tyrol and Southern Switzerland. But after
the collapse of the imperial government a waning moon would have
been the fitter emblem of the Crescent Village: its privileges were
abrogated, and many of the disappointed Bauern returned to their native
countries. Still, the appointment of a few half-Indian officials is the
only positive grievance of the colonists, and the advantages of their
climate and situation might well reconcile them to greater

At a distance of only sixteen degrees from the equator, the average
temperatures of the coldest and warmest months differ less than spring
and summer in the United States, so that the September weather of
Geneva or Innspruck is here as perennial as a sea-fog in Newfoundland.
During a residence of seven years, Pastor Wenck has chronicled four
thunder-storms, twenty-two common storms, two hoar-frosts (both in
November), one sultry day, and two hundred and eight short showers,
leaving a balance of two thousand two hundred and ninety-two days of
_himmelswetter_,--heaven weather,--as he called it, alternating with
cool nights whose dew indemnifies the fields for the scantiness of the
annual rainfall. Yet the denizens of this Himmel-land come in for a
first-hand share of all the luxuries which a compensating nature has
lavished on the inhabitants of the sweltering Tierra Caliente.

Forty or fifty varieties of tropical fruits come to their tables in
a freshness and sun-ripened sweetness quite unknown to our Northern
markets; their builders may select their material from groves of
mahogany, iron-wood, American ebony, green-heart, euphorbia, and other
timber-trees of the coast swamps; cacao, vanilla, gums, and frankincense
can be bought at half trade prices, and an excursion of ten miles will
take them to a region where the pot-hunter can fill his bag day after
day without fear of ever exhausting the meat-supply, where the
adventurous sportsman may try his luck and the mettle of his dogs, and
where the naturalist can revel in all the wonders of a tropical terra



     [The Egypt of America, as one may fairly call the Maya region
     of Yucatan, was first brought prominently into notice by John
     L. Stephens, who did yeoman service in exploring the massive
     monuments of a past civilization there scattered, and in
     describing and picturing their remarkable details. Since his
     period many travellers have visited and studied these vast
     remains and described them in abundant detail. But Stephens
     visited that region as a discoverer, and from his works we
     select a description of the difficulties under which he labored
     in his interesting work of exploration at Copan. He had taken
     quarters in a hut near the ruins, and returned to his former
     quarters for his luggage. The homeward journey was accomplished
     under stress of opposing circumstances.]

In the mean time it began to rain; and, settling my accounts with the
señora, thanking her for her kindness, leaving an order to have some
bread baked for the next day, and taking with me an umbrella and a blue
bag, contents unknown, belonging to Mr. Catherwood, which he had
particularly requested me to bring, I set out on my return. Augustin
followed, with a tin teapot and some other articles for immediate use.
Entering the woods, the umbrella struck against the branches of the
trees and frightened the mule; and, while I was endeavoring to close it,
she fairly ran away with me. Having only a halter, I could not hold her,
and, knocking me against the branches, she ran through the woods,
splashed into the river, missing the fording-place, and never stopped
till she was breast-deep. The river was swollen and angry, and the rain
pouring down. Rapids were forming a short distance below. In the effort
to restrain her I lost Mr. Catherwood's blue bag, caught at it with the
handle of the umbrella, and would have saved it if the beast had stood
still; but as it floated under her nose she snorted and started back. I
broke the umbrella in driving her across, and, just as I touched the
shore, saw the bag floating towards the rapids, and Augustin, with his
clothes in one hand and the teapot in the other, both above his head,
steering down the river after it. Supposing it to contain some
indispensable drawing-materials, I dashed among the thickets on the
bank, in the hope of intercepting it, but became entangled among
branches and vines.

I dismounted and tied my mule, and was two or three minutes working
my way to the river, where I saw Augustin's clothes and the teapot,
but nothing of him, and, with the rapids roaring below, had horrible
apprehensions. It was impossible to continue along the bank; so, with a
violent effort, I jumped across a rapid channel to a ragged island of
sand covered with scrub-bushes, and, running down to the end of it, saw
the whole face of the river and the rapids, but nothing of Augustin. I
shouted with all my strength, and, to my inexpressible relief, heard
an answer, but, in the noise of the rapids, very faint; presently he
appeared in the water, working himself round a point and hauling upon
the bushes. Relieved about him, I now found myself in a quandary.
The jump back was to higher ground, the stream a torrent, and, the
excitement over, I was afraid to attempt it. It would have been
exceedingly inconvenient for me if Augustin had been drowned. Making his
way through the bushes and down to the bank opposite with his dripping
body, he stretched a pole across the stream, by springing upon which I
touched the edge of the opposite bank, slipped, but hauled myself up by
the bushes with the aid of a lift from Augustin.

All this time it was raining very hard, and now I had forgotten
where I tied my mule. We were several minutes looking for her, and,
wishing everything but good luck to the old bag, I mounted. Augustin,
principally because he could carry them more conveniently on his back,
put on his clothes.

     [Reaching a village, he took shelter till the rain abated, but
     it began worse than ever after he again took to the road.]

I rode on some distance, and again lost my way. It was necessary to
enter the woods on the right. I had come out by a foot-path which I had
not noticed particularly. There were cattle-paths in every direction,
and within the line of a mile I kept going in and out, without hitting
the right one. Several times I saw the print of Augustin's feet, but
soon lost them in puddles of water, and they only confused me more; at
length I came to a complete standstill. It was nearly dark; I did not
know which way to turn; and as Mr. Henry Pelham did when in danger of
drowning in one of the gutters of Paris, I stood still and halloed. To
my great joy, I was answered by a roar from Augustin, who had been lost
longer than I, and was even in greater tribulation. He had the teapot in
his hand, the stump of an unlighted cigar in his mouth, was plastered
with mud from his head to his heels, and altogether a most distressful

We compared notes, and, selecting a path, shouting as we went, our
united voices were answered by barking dogs and Mr. Catherwood, who,
alarmed at our absence, and apprehending what had happened, was coming
out with Don Miguel to look for us. I had no change of clothes, and
therefore stripped and rolled myself in a blanket, in the style of a
North American Indian. All the evening peals of thunder crashed over our
heads, lightning illuminated the dark forest and flashed through the
open hut, the rain fell in torrents, and Don Miguel said that there was
a prospect of being cut off for several days from all communication with
the opposite side of the river and from our luggage. Nevertheless, we
passed the evening with great satisfaction, smoking cigars of Copan
tobacco, the most famed in Central America, of Don Miguel's own growing
and his wife's own making....

At daylight the clouds still hung over the forest; as the sun rose they
cleared away; our workmen made their appearance, and at nine o'clock we
left the hut. The branches of the trees were dripping wet, and the
ground was very muddy. Trudging once more over the district which
contained the principal monuments, we were startled by the immensity of
the work before us, and very soon concluded that to explore the whole
extent would be impossible. Our guides knew only of this district; but
having seen columns beyond the village, a league distant, we had reason
to believe that others were strewed in different directions, completely
buried in the woods and entirely unknown. The woods were so dense that
it was almost hopeless to think of penetrating them. The only way to
make a thorough exploration would be to cut down the whole forest and
burn the trees. This was incompatible with our immediate purposes, might
be considered taking liberties, and could only be done in the dry

After deliberation we resolved first to obtain drawings of the
sculptured columns. Even in this there was great difficulty. The designs
were very complicated, and so different from anything Mr. Catherwood had
ever seen before as to be perfectly unintelligible. The cutting was in
very high relief, and required a strong body of light to bring up the
figures, and the foliage was so thick and the shade so deep that drawing
was impossible.

After much consultation we selected one of the "idols," and determined
to cut down the trees around it, and thus lay it open to the rays
of the sun. Here again was difficulty. There was no axe, and the
only instrument which the Indians possessed was the machete, or
chopping-knife, which varies in form in different sections of the
country. Wielded with one hand, it was useful in clearing away shrubs
and branches, but almost harmless upon large trees; and the Indians, as
in the days when the Spaniards discovered them, applied to work without
ardor, carried it on with little activity, and, like children, were
easily diverted from it. One hacked into a tree, and when tired, which
happened very soon, sat down to rest, and another relieved him. While
one worked there were always several looking on. I remembered the ring
of the woodman's axe in the forest at home, and wished for a few
long-sided Green Mountain boys.

But we had been buffeted into patience, and watched the Indians while
they hacked with their machetes, and even wondered that they succeeded
so well. At length the trees were felled and dragged aside, a space
cleared around the base, Mr. C.'s frame set up, and he set to work. I
took two Mestitzoes, Bruno and Francisco, and, offering them a reward
for every new discovery, with a compass in my hand set out on a tour of
exploration. Neither had seen "the idols" until the morning of our first
visit, when they followed in our train to laugh at los Ingleses; but
very soon they exhibited such an interest that I hired them. Bruno
attracted my attention by his admiration, as I supposed, of my person;
but I found it was of my coat, which was a long shooting-frock, with
many pockets, and he said that he could make one just like it except the
skirts. He was a tailor by profession, and in the intervals of a great
job upon a roundabout jacket worked with his machete. But he had an
inborn taste for the arts. As we passed through the woods nothing
escaped his eye, and he was professionally curious touching the costumes
of the sculptured figures. I was struck with the first development of
their antiquarian taste. Francisco found the feet and legs of a statue,
and Bruno a part of the body to match, and the effect was electric upon
both. They searched and raked up the ground with their machetes till
they found the shoulders, and set it up entire except the head; and they
were both eager for the possession of instruments with which to dig and
find this remaining fragment.

It is impossible to describe the interest with which I explored these
ruins. The ground was entirely new; there were no guide-books or guides;
the whole was a virgin soil. We could not see ten yards before us, and
never knew what we should stumble upon next. At one time we stopped to
cut away branches and vines which concealed the face of a monument, and
then to dig round and bring to light a fragment, a sculptured corner of
which protruded from the earth. I leaned over with breathless anxiety
while the Indians worked, and an eye, an ear, a foot, or a hand was
disentombed; and when the machete rang against the chiselled stone, I
pushed the Indians away and cleared out the loose earth with my hands.
The beauty of the sculpture, the solemn stillness of the woods,
disturbed only by the scrambling of monkeys and the chattering of
parrots, the desolation of the city, and the mystery that hung over it,
all created an interest higher, if possible, than I had ever felt among
the ruins of the Old World. After several hours' absence I returned to
Mr. Catherwood, and reported upward of fifty objects to be copied.

I found him not so well pleased as I expected with my report. He was
standing with his feet in the mud, and was drawing with his gloves on,
to protect his hands from the mosquitoes. As we feared, the designs
were so intricate and complicated, the subjects so entirely new and
unintelligible, that he had great difficulty in drawing. He had made
several attempts, both with the camera lucida and without, but failed to
satisfy himself or even me, who was less severe in criticism. The "idol"
seemed to defy his art; two monkeys on a tree on one side appeared to be
laughing at him, and I felt discouraged and despondent. In fact, I made
up my mind, with a pang of regret, that we must abandon the idea of
carrying away any materials for antiquarian speculation, and must be
content with having seen them ourselves. Of that satisfaction nothing
could deprive us. We returned to the hut with our interest undiminished,
but sadly out of heart as to the result of our labors.

     [Meanwhile, the blue bag which had caused so much trouble was
     recovered, under the incitement of a dollar reward. It was
     found to contain a pair of old, but water-proof, boots, whose
     recovery cheered Mr. Catherwood's heart, enabling him the next
     day to defy the wet mud.]

That day Mr. Catherwood was much more successful in his drawings;
indeed, at the beginning the light fell exactly as he wished, and he
mastered the difficulty. His preparations, too, were much more
comfortable, as he had his water-proofs, and stood on a piece of oiled
canvas used for covering luggage on the road. I passed the morning in
selecting another monument, clearing away the trees, and preparing it
for him to copy. At one o'clock Augustin came to call us to dinner. Don
Miguel had a patch of beans, from which Augustin gathered as many as he
pleased, and, with the fruits of a standing order for all the eggs in
the village, being three or four a day, strings of beef, and bread and
milk from the hacienda, we did very well. In the afternoon we were again
called off by Augustin, with the message that the alcalde had come to
pay us a visit. As it was growing late, we broke up for the day, and
went back to the hut. We shook hands with the alcalde, and gave him
and his attendants cigars, and were disposed to be sociable; but the
dignitary was so tipsy he could hardly speak. His attendants sat
crouching on the ground, swinging themselves on their knee-joints, and,
though the positions were different, reminding us of the Arabs. In a few
minutes the alcalde started up suddenly, made a staggering bow, and left

     [Yet trouble was brewing for them. They had made an enemy of
     the great man of the district, and he stirred up the people to
     hostility. The annoyance grew so great that Stephens found it
     necessary to take some steps to restore amity.]

Mr. Catherwood went to the ruins to continue his drawings, and I to the
village, taking Augustin with me to fire the Balize guns, and buy up
eatables for a little more than they were worth. My first visit was to
Don José Maria. After clearing up our character, I broached the subject
of a purchase of the ruins; told him that, on account of my public
business, I could not remain as long as I desired, but wished to return
with spades, pickaxes, ladders, crowbars, and men, build a hut to live
in, and make a thorough exploration; that I could not incur the expense
at the risk of being refused permission to do so; and, in short, in
plain English, asked him, "What will you take for the ruins?" I think
he was not more surprised than if I had asked him to buy his poor old
wife, our rheumatic patient, to practise medicine upon. He seemed to
doubt which of us was out of his senses. The property was so utterly
worthless that my wanting to buy it seemed very suspicious. On examining
the paper, I found that he did not own the fee, but held under a lease
from Don Bernardo de Aguila, of which three years were unexpired. The
tract consisted of about six thousand acres, for which he paid eighty
dollars a year; he was at a loss what to do, but told me that he would
reflect upon it, consult his wife, and give me an answer at the hut the
next day.

I then visited the alcalde, but he was too tipsy to be susceptible of
any impression; prescribed for several patients; and instead of going to
Don Gregorio's sent him a polite request by Don José Maria to mind his
own business and let us alone; returned and passed the rest of the day
among the ruins. It rained during the night, but again cleared off in
the morning, and we were on the ground early. My business was to go
around with the workmen to clear away trees and bushes, dig, and
excavate, and prepare monuments for Mr. Catherwood to copy. While so
engaged, I was called off by a visit from Don José Maria, who was still
undecided what to do; and not wishing to appear too anxious, told him to
take more time, and come again the next morning.

The next morning he came, and his condition was truly pitiable. He was
anxious to convert unproductive property into money, but afraid, and
said that I was a stranger, and it might bring him into difficulty with
the government. I again went into proof of character, and engaged to
save him harmless with the government, or release him. Don Miguel read
my letters of recommendation, and re-read the letter of General Cascara.
He was convinced, but these papers did not give him a right to sell his
land; the shade of suspicion still lingered; for a finale, I opened
my trunk, put on a diplomatic coat, with a profusion of large eagle
buttons. I had on a Panama hat, soaked with rain and spotted with mud, a
check shirt, white pantaloons, yellow up to the knees with mud, and was
about as _outré_ as the negro king who received a company of British
officers on the coast of Africa in a cocked hat and military coat,
without any inexpressibles; but Don José Maria could not withstand the
buttons on my coat; the cloth was the finest he had ever seen; and Don
Miguel, and his wife, and Bartale realized fully that they had in their
hut an illustrious incognito. The only question was who should find
paper on which to draw the contract. I did not stand upon trifles, and
gave Don Miguel some paper, who took our mutual instructions, and
appointed the next day for the execution of the deed.

The reader is perhaps curious to know how old cities sell in Central
America. Like other articles of trade, they are regulated by the
quantity in market and the demand; but, not being staple articles,
like cotton and indigo, they were held at fancy prices, and at that time
were dull of sale. I paid fifty dollars for Copan. There was never any
difficulty about price. I offered that sum, for which Don José Maria
thought me only a fool; if I had offered more, he would probably have
considered me something worse.

We had regular communications with the hacienda by means of Francisco,
who brought thence every morning a large waccal of milk, carrying it a
distance of three miles and fording the river twice. The ladies of the
hacienda had sent us word they intended paying us a visit, and this
morning Don Gregorio's wife appeared, leading a procession of all the
women of the house, servants, and children, with two of her sons. We
received them among the ruins, seated them as well as we could, and, as
the first act of civility, gave them cigars all around. It can hardly be
believed, but not one of them, not even Don Gregorio's sons, had ever
seen the "idols" before, and now they were much more curious to see Mr.
C.'s drawings. In fact, I believe it was the fame of these drawings that
procured us the honor of the visit. In his heart, Mr. C. was not much
happier to see them than the old Don was to see us, as his work was
stopped, and every day was precious. As I considered myself in a manner
the proprietor of the city, I was bound to do the honors; and, to the
distress of Mr. C., brought them all back upon him.

Obliged to give up work, we invited them down to the hut to see our
accommodations; some of them were our patients and reminded us we had
not sent the medicines we promised. The fact is, we avoided giving
medicines when we could, among other reasons, from an apprehension that
if any one happened to die on our hands we should be held responsible;
but our reputation was established; honors were buckled on our backs and
we were obliged to wear them. These ladies, in spite of Don Gregorio's
crustiness, had always treated us kindly, and we would fain have shown
our sense of it in some other mode than by giving them physic; but to
gratify them in their own way, we distributed among them powders and
pills, with written directions for use; and when they went away escorted
them some distance, and had the satisfaction of hearing that they
avenged us on Don Gregorio by praises of our gallantry and attentions.

     [As regards the wonderful discoveries which Mr. Stephens made
     in his low-priced city, the story is much too extensive to be
     given here, and those who would know more about these
     remarkable ruins must refer to his "Incidents of Travel in
     Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan," which will be found
     abundantly worth perusal.]



     [The waters which it is proposed to utilize in the construction
     of the Nicaragua Canal, mainly those of the San Juan River and
     the Lake of Nicaragua, are of sufficient interest to call for
     some description at our hands, and we subjoin, from Froebel's
     "Seven Years of Travel in Central America," an account of a
     journey on those waters.]

At that time [1850] steamboats were not yet plying on the San Juan River
and the Lake of Nicaragua, and I had to content myself with the
accommodations of one of the large canoes of the natives called
_bongos_, which were then the principal means of transport between the
coast and the interior, for passengers as well as for merchandise. In
company with two Americans, who, like myself, were anxious to proceed to
Granada, I hired one of the largest of these clumsy little crafts,
manned with ten boatmen or _marineros_, together with their captain or
_patron_, all of them colored people from the interior. We laid in
provisions for a fortnight, such being the full time of a passage which
is now performed by steamers in two days.

We left San Juan on the 23d of November, and arrived at Granada on the
5th of the following month. In reference to the beauties of nature the
trip is one of the most interesting that can be made, though the state
of my health prevented my enjoying it.... An open shed, furnished with a
hammock and surrounded by a plantain garden of half an acre, was the
only improvement in an extent of more than a hundred miles. With this
single exception, and with that of the site of the old castle of San
Juan, more generally known by the popular name of _Castillo Vièjo_, the
banks were covered with trees to the water's edge, their branches often
bearing a vegetation of vines, climbers, and parasites, so densely
interwoven that the whole appeared like a solid wall of leaves and

I shall never forget the impressions of one night and morning on this
river. Our boat had anchored in the midst of the stream. Strange forms
of trees, spectre-like in the dark, stood before us, and seemed to move
as the eye strove in vain to make out their real shape. From time to
time a splash in the water, caused by the movement of an alligator, the
bellowing of a manatee, the screeching of a night-bird, or the roar of
some beast of the forest, broke the silence, and mingled at last with my
feverish dream.

In the morning a song our boatmen addressed to the Virgin roused me from
my sleep. It was a strain of plaintive notes in a few simple but most
expressive modulations. Several years later I heard them again, sung by
the Mexican miners in the subterraneous chapel of the quicksilver mine
of New Almaden in California, and I never shall forget the deep emotion
felt on both occasions, so widely different in every other respect. In
the latter the scene passed in a narrow excavation before a little altar
cut out of the natural rock, on which, before a gilded image of the
Virgin, two thin tallow candles were casting their scanty light over the
forms of fifteen or twenty men calling down the blessing of Heaven on
their day of work in the interior of the mountain. In the former, it was
in the brightness and splendor of a morning of which no description can
convey a full idea to one who has had no experience in the most favored
regions of a tropical climate. The sun was just rising, and as the
first rays, gilding the glassy leaves of the forest, fell upon the
bronze-colored bodies of our men, letting the naked forms of their
athletic frames appear in all the contrast of light and shade, while
accents plaintive and imploring strained forth from their lips, I
thought to hear the sacred spell by which, unconscious of its power,
these men were subduing their own half-savage natures.

At once the same song was repeated from behind a projecting corner
of the bank, and other voices joined those of our crew in the sacred
notes. Two canoes, covered from our view, had anchored near us during
the night. The song at last died away in the wilderness. A silent
prayer--our anchor was raised, and, with a wild shout of the crew,
twelve oars simultaneously struck the water. The sun was glittering in
the river. The tops of the trees were steeped in light, monkeys were
swinging in the branches, splendid macaws flew in pairs from bank to
bank; all around exhibited the glory and brightness of superabundant

Near the mouth of the river, as far up as the higher end of its delta,
the banks are almost on the water's level, overgrown with reeds,
mangroves, and a low species of palm-tree, the latter forming extensive
thickets in the swamps. After a distance of fourteen or fifteen miles
the land gradually becomes a little higher, and steep embankments of a
brown or reddish clay rise to some ten or twenty feet above the water.
The low palm thickets of the swampy region disappear, and a vegetation
of splendid trees, mostly exogenous, overhung with blooming vines, takes
their place. Flowery garlands, swung from branch to branch, hang over
the stream, while now and then the slender shaft of one of the tallest
species of the palm tribe wafts its little crown of feathery leaves high
over the gorgeous masses of the heavier foliage.

Eight or ten miles higher up the region of the _randales_, or rapids,
begins. Here the river, locked in between wooded hills, presents a new
character of scenery. The trees, covering the hill-sides with an almost
impenetrable forest, exhibit an extraordinary variety of forms in
striking contrast. The most interesting situation in this region is that
of the _Castillo Vièjo_. Here, where the river foams over a bed of
rocks, stands the old Spanish castle of _Don Juan_. Since 1780 it has
remained a ruin, though Nicaragua has always kept a few soldiers here,
occupying a shed at the foot of the hill on which the remains of the
fort are seen. In the civil wars of the last years this place has
repeatedly been occupied and evacuated by the contending powers.

Among the rapids, that of the Castillo Vièjo is the only one that forms
a real impediment in the navigation of the river. With the necessary
caution canoes may descend, and I myself have passed over it on my way
back to the coast in a bongo carrying forty passengers; upward, however,
all boats must be towed, after having been unloaded....

Above the region of the rapids the river is almost stagnant, and
the designation of the _aguas muertas_, or dead waters, is not
inappropriately applied to it. It is a deep and still water, full
of fish, with low and swampy banks, on which the palm thickets of
the delta reappear.

Beyond this latter portion of the river the Lake of Nicaragua opens to
the view. On the little promontory formed by the lake and the inlet of
the river the custom-house of Nicaragua, designated by the high-sounding
name of the "fort of San Carlos," has been established. There are a few
houses at this place, and a small military force is kept up to protect
the establishment and, in case of necessity, enforce the payment of the
dues. The ruins of an old Spanish castle still exist here, but they are
hidden among the trees and shrubs with which they are overgrown.

The view from this elevation has a peculiar character of grandeur. At
the foot of the hill a broad sheet of water is spread, studded, in
the immediate neighborhood, with some green islands of diminutive
dimensions, and extending, in a northwesterly direction, as far as the
eye can reach. To the left, a low wooded shore begins at the outlet
of the lake, and continues in that direction till it is lost in the
distance of the western horizon. A chain of high mountains, cast in a
shroud of dark forests, rises in the rear, covering an unknown region
of Costa Rica. It comprises several active volcanoes, which on late
occasions have illumined the surface of the lake by their flames and
red-hot streams of lava. To the right, the view does not extend beyond
the nearest hills; but at a short distance from the lake it ranges over
a long line of broken eminences, with the mountain-chain of Chontales in
the rear, bordering like a wall the table-land of Upper Mosquitia. Hill
and dale, forests and savannas, appear in endless variety in this
direction. On the distant horizon in the centre of the view the two
cones of the island of Ometepe are seen, faintly traced, and as their
forms are lifted upward by refraction, they seem to swim over the water.

At the very spot where the San Juan River leaves the lake the Rio Frio
enters it. This is a river coming down from the mountains of Costa Rica,
through an absolute wilderness which, it is asserted, has never been
trodden by the foot of a civilized man. The dense forests of this region
are inhabited by a warlike tribe of Indians who refuse to have any
intercourse with the rest of the world. They are said to be of very fair
complexion, a statement which has caused the appellation of _Indios
blancos_ or _Guatusos_,--the latter name being that of an animal of
reddish-brown color, and intended to designate the color of their hair.
It is stated that not only do they not allow a foreigner to enter their
territory, but that they are even in the habit of killing those of
their own people who again fall into their hands after having been away
among the civilized inhabitants of the neighboring settlements....

While in California, I heard of a young German, living in the
neighborhood of San Francisco, who recounts a little romance of
adventures he met with among this people. Though the story was not told
to me by the man himself, still, as it was repeated by a trustworthy
friend who had derived it from the original source, I may be allowed to
introduce it here.

The young man was on his way to California. When at San Carlos he had
some difference or quarrel with his travelling companions, and, being
afraid of a pistol-ball or a bowie-knife, took the desperate resolution
of swimming to the opposite side of the river, where he soon fell into
the hands of a body of these Indians. He was tied to a tree, and they
then held a council as to the manner--so at least he believed--of
putting him to death. Suddenly, however, as it has happened before in
similar cases, a young girl, the daughter of the chief, hurried forth,
clasped her arms round the neck of my blue-eyed countryman, and gave a
favorable turn to his fate.

Of course, he married the girl, and, as the consort of this Indian
princess, he spent a few months in the forest, till he was ungrateful
enough to forsake his generous bride, and avail himself of an
opportunity to swim back to San Carlos, continuing, after this romantic
episode, his journey to California.

According to his statements, he would have remained with the Indians had
he been able to endure the life in the wilderness, which he found rather
too ill-provided with accommodations for enjoying his honeymoon. During
the rainy season the tribe lived almost exclusively on the trees, and he
speaks in very high terms of the dexterity with which they would leap
from branch to branch, a mode of travelling in which he often found it
too difficult to follow his nimble spouse. At the time of each full moon
the whole tribe met in council, for which the place was designated from
one meeting to the next by the chief, and whatever was done by common
agreement was regulated according to the phases of the moon.

Some years before the period of my first arrival in Nicaragua, the
officer then in command of the fort of San Carlos fitted out an
expedition for the purpose of exploring the country on the Rio Frio,
which is known to be rich in gold. This little corps, having hit upon a
deserted village of the Indians on the bank of the river, and resting in
the shade of some trees in the outskirts of the forest, was suddenly
assailed by a shower of arrows, and, with the exception of the
commanding officer, who was severely wounded, but succeeded in hiding
himself between the reeds till a boat from the fort came to his rescue,
every man of the expeditionary force was killed....

Our passage up the river had taken us nine days, making an average
progress of about twelve miles per day. Three days more were spent in
crossing the lake. With the native boatmen it seems to be a rule to
abstain from using oars even when they are becalmed. Before we left the
_aguas muertas_ a small tree had been cut. This was now erected as a
mast, a sail was spread, and slowly we began to move in the direction of
Granada. Our navigation was of a very primitive kind. At night, while
every soul on board slept soundly, our bongo was left to find its own
way, which, however, it refused to do; for when we awoke at dawn I saw
we were heading to the place we had come from. By and by, nevertheless,
we drew nearer to our point of destination. When we had left the two
peaks of Ometepe on one side, the summit of Mombacho, designating the
site of Granada, gradually rose from the water. We passed the island of
Zapotera, celebrated for its idols, which have been discovered and
described by my friend Mr. Squier. It is uninhabited, and may be said to
be a mountain covered with a forest, here and there interrupted by a
savanna. Like other islands in this lake, it contains numerous wild
animals, such as deer, peccaries, monkeys, and panthers....

On the evening of the 5th of December we doubled the outermost rock of
the _Corrales_ or _Isletas_, a cluster of more than a hundred diminutive
islands at the foot of the Mombacho, and a few hours after dark landed
on the _playa_, or beach, of Granada.



     [Dr. Carl Scherzer, in his "Travels in the Free States of
     Central America," gives a graphic picture of the destruction,
     in 1854, of the city of San Salvador by an earthquake, as
     witnessed by his friend Dr. Wagner, whose description of the
     event is well worth repeating. This city, which stands on a
     plateau about two thousand feet above the Pacific, was built by
     the Spaniards in 1528, and, with the exception of Guatemala,
     was the neatest and handsomest of Central American cities,
     possessing several handsome churches, a new university, and
     numerous attractive residences.]

On the 12th and 13th of April, 1854, there was heard in the upper part
of the city, towards the southwest, a hollow, subterranean, rumbling
noise, which recurred at short intervals and continued for several
minutes, appearing to come from the mountains which form a kind of large
semi-circle at the foot of the volcano, but there was no shock whatever.
On the Good Friday, at half-past seven in the morning, two slight
shocks, quickly succeeding each other, were felt, and about ten minutes
afterwards a rather stronger one. The roof and walls of my cottage
shook, without my at first perceiving the cause; but a young Spaniard,
who waited on me, said, quietly, "_Es un temblor_." Being a native of
the country, he was accustomed to the phenomenon, and thought little of

These tremblings and rockings of the earth, that seem so terrible to us
Europeans, are such ordinary occurrences in the environs of San Salvador
that the district has acquired the name of the "swinging mat;" but these
shocks, though frequent, had never been hitherto of the violent and
destructive character which they have assumed at Valparaiso and Lima,
where about once in a century the destruction of a town is reckoned on
as a matter of course.

The volcano of Isalco, too, being in constant activity, and only
forty-eight miles south of the city of San Salvador, had always been
regarded as a chimney and safety-valve, affording a free vent for the
steam and other dangerous products of the subterranean furnace.

The shocks were repeated at tolerably regular intervals, two or three
in an hour, during the whole of the Good Friday, and all had the same
direction,--namely, from west-southwest to east-northeast; at which
point, a league from the town, lies the great crater of Cuscatlan,
about five hundred feet above San Salvador.

The ceremonies of the Good Friday proceeded with the accustomed pomp,
and people did not think of disturbing their processions, or their
visits to the cathedral, on account of the earthquake; though
occasionally, when there came a shock rather stronger than usual, some
of the devout crowd did turn pale and make a rush towards the doors.

At half-past nine in the evening there came a shock so violent that the
houses were shaken to the foundations, the roofs cracked, plaster and
tiles fell, and the walls in many places were rent. The houses are all
low and broad, without upper stories, the walls mostly of clay, which
is very elastic, and the rafters made of pliable, closely-plaited cane,
admirably adapted to resist the most violent shocks; otherwise the
houses would have fallen in a mass with this one, which lasted eight
seconds, the ground undulating like the ocean. Every one rushed out into
the open air, but a full hour passed without any further movement. We
determined, nevertheless, not to sleep under a roof; but my countryman,
Mr. Kronmeier, the Prussian vice-consul, who came home about eleven
o'clock, laughed at our caution, and went to bed as usual in his
bedroom. He was used to these unpleasant occurrences; though he
confessed that, during a residence of sixteen years in Central America
and Mexico, he had never felt in one day so many shocks as during the
one just past.

The old volcano of Cuscatlan, from which the shocks appeared to proceed,
lies, as I have said, about three miles from the city; viewed from this
direction, it forms a beautiful cone, with a gently rounded summit, and
its sides are clothed from top to bottom with wood; its crater is still
quite perfect, a mile and a half in diameter, and filled with water at
the bottom.... There exists no certain record of the former activity of
this volcano; but according to tradition an eruption of lava from a
cleft in its side took place in 1650, and overwhelmed the village of
Neliopa; but according to others it was merely an eruption of mud and
not of fire....

The morning of Easter Sunday was announced as usual by the firing off
of rockets and a joyous burst of military music. The multitude betook
themselves in festival procession to the Cathedral, to witness the
celebration of high mass; the houses were gayly adorned with branches of
palm and banana-leaves, and the "_Sanctissimum_" was borne in triumph
through the streets, followed by crowds of señors and señoritas in their
gayest attire.... On this Easter Day, as on preceding ones, the people,
after having performed their devotions like good Catholics, gave
themselves up to festivity and enjoyment, and the day closed with music,
feasting, and fireworks.

Immediately after nine o'clock, however, a shock occurred more violent
than the strongest felt on the Good Friday. I was unwell with a slight
feverish attack, and had gone to bed, but was awakened by the noise.
Some walls fell in, many houses were rent, and a part of the ceiling of
my room fell, striking me on the head and face, and for some minutes
blinding me with the dust. I sprang from my bed, and groped my way to
the door, which unluckily I had locked; but after a time I succeeded in
getting it open, and made my way to the court-yard, where I found the
rest of the inhabitants of the house praying and screaming.

After a few moments had elapsed, however, they had quite got over their
fright, and were laughing and joking at their previous consternation and
precipitate flight. Unless the houses actually fall, people do not,
after the first moment, think much of these shocks, but this time they
did take the precaution to put all their doors open, and had their beds
carried out into the court. Mine was placed under the gallery of the
corridor, and a great deal of compassion was expressed for me when they
found I had been a little hurt. A young doctor, who occupied the room
next to mine, thought there would be no strong "temblor" again to-night,
but an aged priest said that this house was old and decayed, and it was
very necessary to be careful. My housemates then went back into their
rooms, and, though they kept the doors open, consumed with a good
appetite the remainder of the Easter feast, the conversation the while
turning, of course, almost exclusively on the "temblor."

I lay gazing up into the night sky, not at all inclined to sleep. The
day had been, as usual, very warm, the thermometer at noon showing 88°
Fahrenheit; a heavy mass of clouds (strato-cumulus) lay piled up about
the waning moon, but dispersed towards ten o'clock, and the moon then
shone brightly through a clear and tranquil atmosphere. A few light
scattered clouds of the cirrus and cirro-stratus lay motionless at a few
points on the horizon, but there was nothing to portend any unusual

At thirty minutes past ten, however, came the shock that laid the city
of San Salvador in ruins. It began with a terrific noise, the earth
heaving as if lifted by a subterranean sea; and this movement, and the
thunder accompanying it, continued for ten or twelve seconds, while the
crash and uproar of falling buildings were still more deafening than the
thunder. An immense and blinding cloud of dust arose, through which were
heard the shrieks and supplications of the flying people, calling on
"Maria Santissima" and all other saints; and at length a hymn, in
thousand-voiced chorus, which was heard plainly, through all the other
noises, at a distance of a mile and a half from the town, by a family of
German emigrants with whom I was acquainted.

I had witnessed many terrible scenes of war and revolution in the Old
World, but there at least they were visible enemies of flesh and blood
with whom people had to contend; but here were unknown, terrific,
incalculable forces at work, of whose nature they had only the vaguest
idea. The shocks went on, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker, and with
very brief intervals, until, by the evening of Easter Monday, one
hundred and twenty had been counted, and they were accompanied all the
time by hollow thunder and detonations, as if a tremendous battle were
raging beneath the earth. People now abandoned all thoughts of their
property, and sought only to save their lives, for, with the continual
oscillations of the ground in all directions, rents and chasms were
opening on it, so that no one knew whether it might not the next moment
yawn beneath their feet and engulf every living soul. After every new
shock I noticed that the people changed their prayers and the names of
the saints they were invoking; but whether the saints did not hear, or
could not or would not help them, the subterranean artillery continued
to bellow forth its fearful salvos with unmitigated fury.

Towards one in the morning, one of my acquaintances came climbing over
the ruined wall of our court-yard to inquire after me, as he knew I
was unwell; and he then proposed to me to take a walk through the town
by moonlight. We took the direction of the market-place, where the
Cathedral stood; and from what I saw I can truly say that the whole city
was destroyed, for I did not see a _single_ house uninjured. Those that
were not lying in ruin had so many rents, and damages of various kinds,
as to be quite uninhabitable. The Cathedral--an elegant rather than
imposing building--had escaped with less damage than many other
churches; but the clock-tower had fallen, the portal was lying in
fragments, and the walls were gaping open in two or three places.

The interior of the Franciscan convent, the door of which stood wide
open, presented a sad picture of desolation. So many stones had fallen
from the roof and such large portions of the walls, that most of the
altars lay scattered in fragments, or were covered with rubbish; several
of the colossal figures of saints had fallen from the niches, and lay
with their finery all covered with dust and stones; but the people, who
the day before had been carrying them about in triumph, now did not
trouble themselves any more about them: everybody was occupied in saving
his life, or, if possible, his most valuable possessions.

Of the new university buildings only one wing was left standing: it was
the one containing the clock-tower, and in this the clock was still
going on, regularly striking the hours. The roof of the Episcopal Palace
had fallen in, and some stones had struck the sacred head of the bishop
with no more ceremony than had been shown towards our profane pates,
though this bishop was Don Tomaso Saldana, a man most justly held in
high repute for the excellence of his life. Much injury had also been
sustained by the President of the Republic, Señor Duenas, who was
originally a monk, but afterwards a lawyer and statesman, and perhaps
the man of the greatest capacity in the whole country.

The streets were empty and desolate, and we had to scramble over heaps
of ruins to get through them: not a creature was to be seen but a few
sentinels, and in the interior of the houses also there reigned the
stillness of the grave. Even in the broadest streets the people did
not think themselves safe, and rich and poor were huddled together
indiscriminately in the great square, praying, singing, and screaming
whenever a new shock startled them with its terrible explosion; but
fortunately, in the midst of all this, the new President, Don José Maria
San Martin, showed much presence of mind, and gave his orders for the
preservation of property with much composure.

     [Fortunately, the previous warning shock had driven most of the
     people from their houses, a chance which saved most of their
     lives, though several hundreds were found buried in the ruins.]

The rising sun of Easter Monday morning shone on a mournful spectacle,
and the few people who were left in the town wandered about looking pale
and worn, the women with a total disregard of their dress very unusual
with them. Among these I noticed the wife of the President, who was
entreating him to fly, like so many others, from the scene of danger;
but he remained faithful to duty, and was exerting himself vigorously to
keep order. He had established a kind of court-martial under a tent in
the University Square, before which every thief caught in the act was
brought, and, on the evidence of two witnesses against him, immediately

Since the ruins of San Salvador could now no longer offer me a shelter,
I set off on foot, at an early hour, towards the hacienda of Mr.
Kronmeier, and on the way felt four more shocks, the strongest of which
lasted six or seven seconds, and was accompanied by violent oscillations
of the ground, and detonations like the salvos from Vesuvius, when, in
the lesser eruptions, you stand near the crater while stones are being
thrown up. I was now more than ever convinced that the centre of the
subterranean action was very near, and that the explosive steam and
glowing masses of the interior were seeking a new outlet.

The country-house of Mr. Kronmeier was still standing, but its thick
walls had been rent in so many places that it offered only an
uncomfortable and insecure shelter. From the steep cliffs on the left of
the river's bed masses of rock and earth had fallen, and the hot springs
at the foot of the hill had ceased to flow; the mill-stream was dry; one
of the cocoa-palms was prostrate, and the whole landscape, so lovely
before, had a dejected and melancholy aspect, increased, of course, by
the general flight of the inhabitants of the district.... The shocks
still went on, though they were not so frequent as on the two Easter
nights; and, as the subterranean forces were evidently struggling for a
new vent, no one could feel himself safe within the sphere of their

Many of the people whom we met, however, were leaving the place, though
not so much for any reason of this kind as on account of a prophecy of
the worthy bishop, "that before the new moon the whole district of San
Salvador, with the ruins of the city, would be swallowed up." But,
unluckily for the bishop's character as a prophet, the prediction was
not fulfilled.



     [Froude is scarcely known as a traveller, his reputation being
     founded in another field of literature, that of history. Yet he
     is the author of two works of travel,--"Oceana," from which we
     have elsewhere given a selection, and "The English in the West
     Indies," from which our present selection is derived. He
     visited most of the British West Indies, and has given
     picturesque descriptions of them all. We append some extracts
     from his account of Trinidad.]

Trinidad is the largest, after Jamaica, of the British West Indian
Islands, and the hottest absolutely after none of them. It is
square-shaped, and, I suppose, was once a part of South America. The
Orinoco River and the ocean-currents between them have cut a channel
between it and the mainland, which has expanded into a vast shallow lake
known as the Gulf of Paria. The two entrances by which the gulf is
approached are narrow, and are called _bocas_, or mouths,--one the
Dragon's Mouth, the other the Serpent's. When the Orinoco is in flood
the water is brackish, and the brilliant violet hue of the Caribbean Sea
is changed to a dirty yellow; but the harbor which is so formed would
hold all the commercial navies of the world, and seems formed by nature
to be the depot one day of an enormous trade.

     [Landing was made at Port of Spain, the capital, so called when
     Trinidad was a Spanish possession, and Mr. Froude found
     pleasant quarters in the house of a friend.]

The town has between thirty and forty thousand people living in it, and
the rain and the Johnny crows [a black vulture that acts as scavenger]
between them keep off pestilence. Outside is a large savanna or park,
where the villas are of the successful men of business. One of these
belonged to my host, a cool, airy habitation, with open doors and
windows, overhanging portico, and rooms into which all the winds might
enter, but not the sun. A garden in front was shut off from the savanna
by a fence of bananas. At the gate stood as sentinel a cabbage-palm
a hundred feet high; on the lawn mangoes, oranges, papaws, and
bread-fruit-trees, strange to look at, but luxuriantly shady. Before
the door was a tree of good dimensions, whose name I have forgotten,
the stem and branches of which were hung with orchids which G----
had collected in the woods.


The borders were blazing with varieties of the single hibiscus, crimson,
pink, and fawn-color, the largest that I had ever seen. The average
diameter of each single flower was from seven to eight inches. Wind
streamed freely through the long sitting-room, loaded with the perfume
of orange-trees; on table and in bookcase the hand and mind visible of a
gifted and cultivated man. The particular room assigned to myself would
have been delightful, but that my possession of it was disputed, even
in daylight, by mosquitoes, who for blood-thirsty ferocity had a bad
pre-eminence over the worst that I had ever met with elsewhere. I
killed one who was at work upon me, and examined him through a glass.
Bewick, with the inspiration of genius, had drawn his exact likeness as
the devil,--a long black stroke for a body, a nick for a neck, horns on
the head, and a beak for a mouth, spindle arms, and longer spindle legs,
two pointed wings, and a tail. Line for line, there the figure was
before me, which in the unforgetable tail-piece is driving the thief
under the gallows, and I had a melancholy satisfaction in identifying
him. I had been warned to be on the lookout for scorpions, centipedes,
jiggers, and land-crabs, who would bite me if I walked slipperless over
the floor in the dark. Of these I met with none, either there or
anywhere, but the mosquito of Trinidad is enough by himself. For malice,
mockery, and venom of tooth and trumpet he is without a match in the

From mosquitoes, however, one could seek safety in tobacco-smoke,
or hide behind the lace curtains with which every bed is provided.
Otherwise I found every provision to make life pass deliciously. To walk
is difficult in a damp, steamy atmosphere, hotter during daylight than
the hottest forcing-house in Kew.... Beautiful, however, it was beyond
dispute. Before sunset a carriage took us around the savanna. Tropical
human beings, like tropical birds, are fond of fine colors, especially
black human beings, and the park was as brilliant as Kensington Gardens
on a Sunday. At nightfall the scene became even more wonderful, air,
grass, and trees being alight with fireflies, each as brilliant as an
English glow-worm. The palm-tree at our own gate stood like a ghostly
sentinel clear against the starry sky, a single long dead frond hanging
from below the coronet of leaves and clashing against the stem as it was
blown to and fro by the night-wind, while long-winged bats swept and
whistled over our heads.

     [The governor's residence and the botanical gardens next call
     for attention.]

The "Residence" stands in a fine situation, in large grounds of its own,
at the foot of the mountains. It has been lately built, regardless of
expense, for the colony is rich, and likes to do things handsomely. On
the lawn, under the windows, stood a tree which was entirely new to me,
an enormous ceiba or silk-cotton-tree, umbrella-shaped, fifty yards in
diameter, the huge and buttressed trunk throwing out branches so massive
that one wondered how any woody fibre could bear the strain of their
weight, the boughs twisting in and out till they made a roof over one's
head, which was hung with every fantastic variety of parasites.

Vast as the ceibas were which I saw afterwards in other parts of the
West Indies, this was the largest. The ceiba is the sacred tree of the
negro, the temple of Jumbi, the proper house of Obeah. To cut down one
is impious. No black in his right mind would wound even the bark. A
Jamaica police officer told me that if a ceiba had to be removed, the
men who used the axe were well dosed with rum to give them courage to
defy the devil.

From Government House we strolled into the adjoining Botanical Gardens.
I had long heard of the wonders of these. The reality went beyond
description. Plants with which I was familiar as _shrubs_ in English
conservatories were here expanded into forest giants, with hundreds of
others of which we cannot raise even Liliputian imitations. Let man be
what he will, nature in the tropics is always grand. Palms were growing
in the greatest luxuriance, of every known species, from the cabbage
towering up into the sky to the fan-palm of the desert whose fronds are
reservoirs of water.

Of exogenous trees the majority were leguminous in some shape or other,
forming flowers like a pea or vetch and hanging their seeds in pods;
yet in shape and foliage they distanced far the most splendid ornaments
of an English park. They had Old-World names with characters wholly
different: cedars which were not conifers, almonds which were no
relations of peaches, and gum-trees as unlike eucalypti as one tree can
be unlike another.

Again, you saw ferns which you seemed to recognize till some unexpected
anomaly startled you out of your mistake. A gigantic Portugal laurel, or
what I took for such, was throwing out a flower direct from the stem
like a cactus. Grandest among them all, and happily in full bloom, was
the sacred tree of Burmah, the _Amherstia nobilis_, at a distance like a
splendid horse-chestnut, with crimson blossoms in pendent bunches, each
separate flower in the convolution of its parts exactly counterfeiting a
large orchid, with which it had not the faintest affinity, the Amherstia
being leguminous like the rest.

Underneath, and dispersed among the imperial beauties, were spice-trees,
orange-trees, coffee plants, and cocoa, or again, shrubs with special
virtues or vices. We had to be careful what we were about, for fruits
of fairest appearance were tempting us all round. My companion was
preparing to eat something to encourage me to do the same. A gardener
stopped him in time. It was nux vomica. I was straying along a less
frequented path, conscious of a heavy vaporous odor, in which I might
have fainted had I remained exposed to it. I was close to a

Prettiest and freshest were the nutmegs, which had a glen all to
themselves and perfumed the surrounding air. In Trinidad and in Grenada
I believe the nutmegs are the largest that are known, being from thirty
to forty feet high; leaves brilliant green, something like the leaves of
an orange, but extremely delicate and thin, folded one over the other,
the lowest branches sweeping to the ground till the whole tree forms a
natural bower, which is proof against a tropical shower. The fragrance
attracts moths and flies; not mosquitoes, who prefer a ranker
atmosphere. I saw a pair of butterflies the match of which I do not
remember even in any museum, dark blue shot with green like a peacock's
neck, and the size of English bats. I asked a black boy to catch me one.
"That sort no let catchee, massa," he said; and I was penitently glad to
hear it.

Among the wonders of the garden are the vines, as they call them, that
is, the creepers of various kinds that climb about the other trees.
Standing in an open space there was what once had been a mighty "cedar."
It was now dead, only the trunk and dead branches remaining, and had
been murdered by a "fig-vine" which had started from the root, twined
itself like a python round the stem, strangled out the natural life, and
spreading out in all directions, had covered boughs and twigs with a
foliage not its own. So far the "vine" had done no worse than ivy does
at home, but there was one feature about it which puzzled me altogether.
The lowest of the original branches of the cedar were about twenty feet
above our heads. From these in four or five places the parasite had let
fall shoots, perhaps an inch in diameter, which descended to within a
foot of the ground and then suddenly, without touching that or anything,
formed a bight like a rope, went straight up again, caught hold of the
branch from which they started, and so hung suspended exactly as an
ordinary swing.

In three distinctly perfect instances the "vine" had executed this
singular evolution, while at the extremity of one of the longest and
tallest branches high up in the air it had made a clean leap of fifteen
feet without visible help and had caught hold of another tree adjoining
on the same level. These performances were so inexplicable that I
conceived that they must have been a freak of the gardener's. I was
mistaken. He said that at particular times in the year the fig-vine
threw out fine tendrils which hung downward like strings. The strongest
among them would lay hold of two or three others and climb up upon them,
the rest would die and drop off, while the successful one, having found
support for itself above, would remain swinging in the air and thicken
and prosper. The leap he explained by the wind. I retained a suspicion
that the wind had been assisted by some aspiring energy in the plant
itself, so bold it was and so ambitious.

But the wonders of the garden were thrown into the shade by the cottage
at the extreme angle of it, where Kingsley[A] had been the guest of
Sir Arthur Gordon. It is a long straggling wooden building with deep
verandas lying in a hollow overshadowed by trees, with views opening out
into the savanna through arches formed by clumps of tall bamboos, the
canes growing thick in circular masses and shooting up a hundred feet
into the air, where they meet and form frames for the landscape,
peculiar and even picturesque when there are not too many of them. These
bamboos were Kingsley's special delight, as he had never seen the like
of them elsewhere. The room in which he wrote is still shown, and the
gallery where he walked up and down with his long pipe. His memory is
cherished in the island as of some singular and beautiful presence which
still hovers about the scenes which so delighted him in the closing
evening of his own life.

[Footnote A: Charles Kingsley, who wrote here his "At Last," descriptive
of tropical scenes.]

     [Happiness makes its home with the negroes of Trinidad, whom
     nature keeps in pristine idleness. They have little to do other
     than to pull and eat.]

In Trinidad there are eighteen thousand freeholders, most of them
negroes and representatives of the old slaves. Their cabins are spread
along the road on either side, overhung with bread-fruit-trees,
tamarinds, calabash-trees, out of which they make their cups and
water-jugs; the luscious granadilla climbs among the branches; plantains
throw their cool shade over the doors; oranges and limes and citrons
perfume the air, and droop their boughs under the weight of their golden
burdens. There were yams in the gardens and cows in the paddocks, and
cocoa-bushes loaded with purple or yellow pods. Children played about in
swarms in happy idleness and abundance, with schools, too, at intervals,
and an occasional Catholic chapel, for the old religion prevails in
Trinidad, never having been disturbed.

What form could human life assume more charming than that which we were
now looking on? Once more, the earth does not contain any peasantry so
well off, so well cared for, so happy, so sleek and contented as the
sons and daughters of the emancipated slaves in the English West Indian
Islands. Sugar may fail the planter, but cocoa, which each peasant can
grow with small effort for himself, does not fail and will not. He may
"better his condition," if he has any such ambition, without stirring
beyond his own ground, and so far, perhaps, his ambition may extend, if
it is not turned off upon politics.

Even the necessary evils of the tropics are not many or serious. His
skin is proof against mosquitoes. There are snakes in Trinidad as there
were snakes in Eden. "Plenty snakes," said one of them who was at work
in his garden, "plenty snakes, but no bitee." As to costume, he would
prefer the costume of innocence if he were allowed. Clothes in such a
climate are superfluous for warmth, and to the minds of the negroes,
unconscious as they are of shame, superfluous for decency. European
prejudice, however, still passes for something; the women have a love
for finery, which would prevent a complete return to African simplicity;
and in the islands which are still French, and in those like Trinidad,
which the French originally colonized, they dress themselves with real
taste. They hide their wool in red or yellow handkerchiefs, gracefully
twisted; or perhaps it is not only to conceal the wool. Columbus found
the Carib women of the island dressing their hair in the same fashion.

The water-works, when we reached them, were even more beautiful than we
had been taught to expect. A dam has been driven across a perfectly
limpid mountain stream; a wide open area has been cleared, levelled,
strengthened with masonry, and divided into deep basins or reservoirs,
through which the current continually flows. Hedges of hibiscus shine
with crimson blossoms. Innumerable humming-birds glance to and fro among
the trees and shrubs, and gardens and ponds are overhung by magnificent
bamboos, which so astonished me by their size that I inquired if their
height had been measured. One of them, I was told, had lately fallen,
and was found to be one hundred and thirty feet long. A single drawback
only there was to this enchanting spot, and it was again the snakes.
There are huge pythons in Trinidad which are supposed to have crossed
the straits from the continent. Some washerwomen at work in the stream
had been disturbed a few days before our visit by one of these monsters,
who had come down to see what they were about. They are harmless, but
trying to the nerves.

     [We shall conclude this selection with a leap from Trinidad to
     Jamaica, and the relation of an adventure experienced by our
     author in that island. He was on his way back from an excursion
     into the island.]

The train from Porus brought us back to Kingston an hour before sunset.
The evening was lovely, even for Jamaica. The sea-breeze had fallen, the
land-breeze had not risen, and the dust lay harmless on road and hedge.
Cherry Garden, to which I was bound, was but seven miles distant by the
direct road, so I calculated on a delightful drive which would bring me
to my destination before dark.

So I calculated; but alas! for human expectation. I engaged a "buggy" at
the station, with a decent-looking conductor, who assured me that he
knew the way to Cherry Garden as well as to his own door. His horse
looked starved and miserable. He insisted that there was not another in
Kingston that was more than a match for it. We set out, and for the
first two or three miles we went on well enough, conversing amicably on
things in general. But it so happened that it was market day. The road
was thronged with women plodding along with their baskets on their
heads, a single male on a donkey to each detachment of them, carrying
nothing, like an officer with a detachment of soldiers.

Foolish indignation rose in me, and I asked my friend if he was not
ashamed of seeing the poor creatures toiling so cruelly, while their
lords and masters amused themselves. I appealed to his feelings as a
man, as if it were likely that he had got any. The wretch only laughed.
"Ah, massa," he said, with his tongue in his cheek, "women do women's
work, men do men's work,--all right." "And what is men's work?" I asked.
Instead of answering he went on, "Look at they women, massa,--how they
laugh, how happy they be! Nobody more happy than black woman, massa."

I would not let him off. I pricked into him, till he got excited too,
and we argued and contradicted each other, till at last the horse,
finding he was not attended to, went his own way, and that was a wrong
one. Between Kingston and our destination there is a deep sandy flat,
overgrown with brush and penetrated in all directions with labyrinthine
lanes. Into this we had wandered in our quarrels, and neither of us knew
where we were. The sand was loose; our miserable beast was above his
fetlocks in it, and was visibly drooping under his efforts to drag us
along even at a walk.

The sun went down. The tropic twilight is short. The evening star shone
out in the west, and the crescent moon over our heads. My man said this
and said that; every word was a lie, for he had lost his way and would
not allow it. We saw a light through some trees. I sent him to inquire.
We were directed one way and another way, every way except the right
one. We emerged at last upon a hard road of some kind. The stars told me
the general direction. We came to cottages where the name of Cherry
Garden was known, and we were told that it was two miles off; but alas!
again there were two roads to it,--a short and good one and a long and
bad one, and they sent us by the last. There was a steep hill to climb,
for the house is eight hundred feet above the sea. The horse could
hardly crawl, and my "nigger" went to work to flog him to let off his
own ill-humor. I had to stop that by force, and at last, as it grew too
dark to see the road under the trees, I got out and walked, leaving him
to follow at a foot's pace. The night was lovely. I began to think that
we should have to camp out after all, and that it would be no great

It was like the gloaming of a June night in England, the daylight in the
open spots not entirely gone, and mixing softly with the light of moon
and planet and the flashing of the fireflies. I plodded on, mile after
mile, and Cherry Garden still receded to one mile farther. We came to a
gate of some consequence. The outline of a large mansion was visible,
with gardens round it. I concluded that we had arrived, and was feeling
for the latch when the forms of a lady and gentleman appeared against
the sky who were strolling in the grounds. They directed me still
upward, with the mile which never diminished still to be travelled.

Like myself, our weary animal had gathered hopes from the sight of the
gate. He had again to drag on as he could. His owner was subdued and
silent, and obeyed whatever order I gave him. The trees now closed over
us so thick that I could see nothing. Vainly I repented of my
unnecessary philanthropy, which had been the cause of the mischief; what
had I to do with black women, or white either, for that matter? I had to
feel the way with my feet and a stick. I came to a place where the lane
again divided. I tried the nearest turn. I found a trench across it
three feet deep, which had been cut by a torrent. This was altogether
beyond the capacity of our unfortunate animal, so I took the other
boldly, prepared, if it proved wrong, to bivouac till morning with my
"nigger," and go on with my argument.

Happily there was no need; we came again on a gate which led into a
field. There was a drive across it and wire fences. Finally lights began
to glimmer and dogs to bark: we were at the real Cherry Garden at last,
and found the whole household alarmed for what had become of us.

I could not punish my misleader by stinting his fare, for I knew that I
had only myself to blame. He was an honest fellow after all. In the
disturbance of my mind I left a rather valuable umbrella in his buggy.
He discovered it after he had gone, and had grace enough to see that it
was returned to me. My entertainers were much amused at the cause of the
misadventure, perhaps unique of its kind: to address homilies to the
black people on the treatment of their wives not being the fashion in
those parts.



     [The skilled and popular novelist to whom we owe our present
     selection seems to have entertained for years a vivid wish to
     see the glory of the tropics, the achievement of which desire
     is put upon record in "At Last," the work from which we quote.
     In his "Westward Ho" he had years before given a
     warmly-delineated imaginary picture of the tropics, but waited
     for years afterwards to see these scenes in their picturesque
     reality. He tells well the story of the tropical "High Woods."]

And now we set ourselves to walk to the depot, where the government
timber was being felled, and the real "High Woods" to be seen at last.
Our path lay along the half-finished tramway, through the first cacao
plantation I had ever seen, though, I am happy to say, not the last by
many a one.

Imagine an orchard of nut-trees, with very large, long leaves. Each tree
is trained to a single stem. Among them, especially near the path, grow
plants of the common hot-house Datura, its long white flowers perfuming
all the air. They have been planted as landmarks, to prevent the young
cacao-trees being cut over when the weeds are cleared. Among them, too,
at some twenty yards apart, are the stems of a tree looking much like an
ash, save that it is inclined to throw out broad spurs like a ceiba. You
look up and see that they are Bois immortelles, fifty or sixty feet
high, one blaze of vermilion against the blue sky. Those who have stood
under a Lombardy poplar in early spring and looked up at its buds and
twigs showing like pink coral against the blue sky, and have felt the
beauty of the sight, can imagine faintly--but only faintly--the beauty
of these "madres de cacao,"--cacao mothers, as they call them
here,--because their shade is supposed to shelter the cacao-trees, while
the dew collected by their leaves keeps the ground below always damp.

I turned my dazzled eyes down again and looked into the delicious
darkness under the bushes. The ground was brown with fallen leaves, or
green with ferns; and here and there a slant ray of sunlight pierced
through the shade, and flashed on the brown leaves, and on a gray stem,
and on a crimson jewel which hung on the stem, and there, again, on a
bright orange one; and as my eye became accustomed to the darkness, I
saw that the stems and larger boughs far away into the wood were dotted
with pods, crimson, or yellow, or green, of the size and shape of a
small hand closed with the fingers straight out. They were the
cacao-pods, full of what are called at home cacao-nibs. And there lay a
heap of them, looking like a heap of gay flowers; and by them sat their
brown owner, picking them to pieces and laying the seeds to dry on a
cloth. I went up and told him that I came from England, and never saw
cacao before, though I had been eating and drinking it all my life; at
which news he grinned amusement till his white teeth and eyeballs made a
light in that dark place, and offered me a fresh broken pod, that I
might taste the pink sour sweet pulp in which the rows of the nibs lie
packed, a pulp which I found very pleasant and refreshing.

He dries his cacao-nibs in the sun, and, if he be a well-to-do and
careful man, on a stage with wheels, which can be run into a little shed
on the slightest shower of rain; picks them over and over, separating
the better quality from the worse; and at last sends them down on
mule-back to the sea, to be sold in London as Trinidad cocoa, or perhaps
in Paris to the chocolate-makers, who convert them into chocolate,
"Menier" or other, by mixing them with sugar and vanilla--both,
possibly, from this very island. This latter fact once inspired an
adventurous German with the thought that he could make chocolate in
Trinidad just as well as in Paris. And (so goes the story) he succeeded;
but the fair Creoles would not buy it. It could not be good; it could
not be the real article, unless it had crossed the Atlantic twice to and
fro from that centre of fashion, Paris. So the manufacture, which might
have added greatly to the wealth of Trinidad, was given up, and the
ladies of the island eat naught but French chocolate, costing, it is
said, nearly four times as much as home-made chocolate need cost.

As we walked on through the trace (for the tramway here was still
unfinished), one of my kind companions pointed out a little plant, which
bears in the island the ominous name of the Brinvilliers. It is one of
those deadly poisons too common in the bush, and too well known to the
negro Obi-men and Obi-women. And as I looked at the insignificant weed,
I wondered how the name of that wretched woman should have spread to
this remote island, and have become famous enough to be applied to a
plant. French negroes may have brought the name with them; but then
arose another wonder. How were the terrible properties of the plant
discovered? How eager and ingenious must the human mind be about the
devil's work, and what long practice--considering its usual slowness
and dulness--must it have had at the said work, ever to have picked
out this paltry thing among the thousand weeds of the forest as a tool
for its jealousy and revenge! It may have taken ages to discover the
Brinvilliers, and ages more to make its poison generally known. Why not?
As the Spaniards say, "The devil knows many things, because he is old."
Surely this is one of the many facts which point towards some immensely
ancient civilization in the tropics, and a civilization which may have
had its ugly vices and have been destroyed thereby.

Now we left the cacao grove; and I was aware on each side of the trace
of a wall of green, such as I had never seen before on earth, not even
in my dreams,--strange colossal shapes towering up a hundred feet and
more in height, which, alas! it was impossible to reach, for on either
side of the trace were fifty yards of half-cleared ground, fallen logs,
withes, huge stumps ten feet high, charred and crumbling, and among them
and over them a wilderness of creepers and shrubs, and all the luxuriant
young growth of the "rastrajo," which springs up at once whenever the
primeval forest is cleared,--all utterly impassable. These rastrajo
forms, of course, were all new to me. I might have spent weeks in
botanizing merely at them; but all I could remark, or cared to remark,
there as in other places, was the tendency in the rastrajo towards
growing enormous rounded leaves. How to get at the giants behind was the
only question for one who for forty years had been longing for one peep
at Flora's fairy palace, and saw its portals open at last. There was a
deep gully before us, where a gang of convicts was working at a wooden
bridge for the tramway, amid the usual abysmal mud of the tropic wet
season, and on the other side of it there was no rastrajo right and left
of the trace. I hurried down it like any school-boy, dashing through mud
and water, hopping from log to log, regardless of warnings and offers of
help from good-natured negroes, who expected the respectable elderly
"buccra" to come to grief, struggled perspiring up the other side of
the gully, and then dashed away to the left, and stopped short,
breathless with awe, in the primeval forest at last.

In the primeval forest, looking upon that upon which my teachers and
masters, Humboldt, Spix, Martius, Schomburgk, Waterton, Bates, Wallace,
Gosse, and the rest, had looked already, with far wiser eyes than mine,
comprehending somewhat at least of its wonders, while I could only stare
in ignorance. There was actually, then, such a sight to be seen on
earth, and it was not less, but far more, wonderful than they had said.

My first feeling on entering the high woods was helplessness, confusion,
awe, all but terror. One is afraid at first to venture in fifty yards.
Without a compass, or the landmark of some opening to or from which he
can look, a man must be lost in the first ten minutes, such a sameness
is there in the infinite variety. That sameness and variety make it
impossible to give any general sketch of the forest. Once inside "you
cannot see the wood for the trees." You can only wander on as far as you
dare, letting each object impress itself on your mind as it may, and
carrying away a confused recollection of innumerable perpendicular lines
all straining upward, in fierce competition, towards the light-food far
above; and next of a green cloud, or rather mist, which hovers round
your head, and rises thickening to an unknown height. The upward lines
are of every possible thickness, and of almost every possible hue; what
leaves they bear, being for most part on the tips of the twigs, give a
scattered, mist-like appearance to the under foliage.

For the first moment, therefore, the forest seems more open than an
English wood. But try to walk through it, and ten steps undeceive
you. Around your knees are probably Mamures, with creeping stems and
fan-shaped leaves, something like those of a young cocoa-nut-palm. You
try to brush through them, and are caught up instantly by a string or
wire belonging to some other plant. You look up and round, and then you
find that the air is full of wires,--that you are hung up in a net-work
of fine branches belonging to half a dozen different sorts of young
trees, and intertwined with as many different species of slender
creepers. You thought at your first glance among the tree-stems that you
were looking through open air; you find that you are looking through a
labyrinth of wire rigging, and must use the cutlass right and left at
every five steps.

You push on into a bed of strong sedge-like Sclerias, with cutting edges
to their leaves. It is well for you they are only three and not six
feet high. In the midst of them you run against a horizontal stick,
triangular, rounded, smooth, green. You take a glance along it right and
left, and see no end to it either way, but gradually discover that it is
the leaf-stalk of a young Cocorite palm. The leaf is five-and-twenty
feet long, and springs from a huge ostrich plume, which is sprawling out
of the ground and up above your head a few yards off. You cut the
leaf-stalk through right and left and walk on, to be stopped suddenly
(for you get so confused by the multitude of objects that you never see
anything till you run against it) by a gray lichen-covered bar as thick
as your ankle. You follow it up with your eye, and find it entwine
itself with three or four other bars, and roll over with them in great
knots, and festoons, and loops twenty feet high, and then go up with
them into the green cloud over your head, and vanish, as if a giant had
thrown a ship's cable into the tree-tops.

One of them, so grand that its form strikes even the negro and the
Indian, is a Liantasse. You see that at once by the form of its
cable,--six or eight inches across in one direction, and three or four
in another, furbelowed all down the middle into regular knots, and
looking like a chain cable between two flexible bars. At another of
the loops, about as thick as your arm, your companion, if you have a
forester with you, will spring joyfully. With a few blows of his cutlass
he will sever it as high up as he can reach, and again below, some three
feet down; and, while you are wondering at this seemingly wanton
destruction, he lifts the bar on high, throws his head back, and pours
down his thirsty throat a pint or more of pure cold water. This hidden
treasure is, strange as it may seem, the ascending sap, or rather the
ascending pure rain-water which has been taken up by the roots, and
is hurrying aloft, to be elaborated into sap, and leaf, and flower,
and fruit, and fresh tissue for the very stem up which it originally
climbed, and therefore it is that the woodman cuts the water-vine
through first at the top of the piece which he wants, and not at the
bottom; for so rapid is the ascent of the sap, that if he cut the stem
below, the water would have all fled upward before he could cut it off

Meanwhile, the old story of Jack and the Bean-stalk comes into your
mind. In such a forest was the old dame's hut, and up such a bean-stalk
Jack climbed, to fight a giant and a castle high above. Why not? What
may not be up there? You look up into the green cloud, and long for
a moment to be a monkey. There may be monkeys up there over your
head,--burly red Howler, or tiny peevish Sapajou, peering down at you,
but you cannot peer up at them. The monkeys, and the parrots, and the
humming-birds, and the flowers, and all the beauty, are upstairs--up
above the green cloud. You are in "the empty nave of the cathedral," and
the service is being celebrated aloft in the blazing roof.

We will hope that, as you look up, you have not been careless enough to
walk on, for if you have you will be tripped up at once; nor to put your
hand out incautiously to rest it against a tree, or what not, for fear
of sharp thorns, ants, and wasp-nests. If you are all safe, your next
steps, probably, as you struggle through the bush between tree-trunks of
every possible size, will bring you face to face with huge upright walls
of seeming boards, whose rounded edges slope upward till, as your eye
follows them, you find them enter an enormous stem, perhaps round, like
one of the Norman pillars of Durham nave, and just as huge; perhaps
fluted, like one of William of Wykeham's columns at Winchester.

There is the stem, but where is the tree? Above the green cloud. You
struggle up to it between two of the board walls, but find it not so
easy to reach. Between you and it are half a dozen tough strings which
you had not noticed at first,--the eye cannot focus itself rapidly
enough in this confusion of distances,--which have to be cut through ere
you can pass. Some of them are rooted in the ground, straight and tense;
some of them dangle and wave in the wind at every height. What are they?
Air-roots of wild pines, or of Matapalos, or of figs, or of Seguines, or
of some other parasite? Probably; but you cannot see. All you can see
is, as you put your chin close against the trunk of the tree and look
up, as if you were looking up against the side of a great ship set on
end, that some sixty or eighty feet up in the green cloud arms as big as
English forest-trees branch off, and that out of their forks a whole
green garden of vegetation has tumbled down twenty or thirty feet, and
half climbed up again.

You scramble round the tree to find whence this aerial garden has
sprung: you cannot tell. The tree-trunk is smooth and free from
climbers, and that mass of verdure may belong possibly to the very
cables which you met ascending into the green cloud twenty or thirty
yards back, or to that impenetrable tangle a dozen yards on, which has
climbed a small tree, and then a taller one again, and then a taller
still, till it has climbed out of sight, and possibly into the lower
branches of the big tree. And what are their species? What are their
families? Who knows? Not even the most experienced woodman or botanist
can tell you the names of plants of which he only sees the stems. The
leaves, the flowers, the fruit, can only be examined by felling the
tree; and not even always then, for sometimes the tree, when cut,
refuses to fall, linked as it is by chains of liane to all the trees
around. Even that wonderful water-vine which we cut through just now may
be one of three or even four different plants....

And where are the famous Orchids? They perch on every bough and stem;
but they are not, with three or four exceptions, in flower in the
winter; and if they were, I know nothing about them; at least I know
enough to know how little I know. Whosoever has read Darwin's
"Fertilization of Orchids," and finds in his own reason that the book is
true, had best say nothing about the beautiful monsters till he has seen
with his own eyes more than his master.

And yet even the three or four that are in flower are worth going many a
mile to see. In the hot-house they seem almost artificial from their
strangeness; but to see them "natural," on natural boughs, gives a sense
of their reality which no unnatural situation can give. Even to look up
at them perched on bough and stem, as one rides by, and to guess what
exquisite and fantastic form may issue, in a few months or weeks, out of
those fleshy, often unsightly, leaves, is a strange pleasure,--a spur to
the fancy which is surely wholesome, if we will but believe that all
these things were invented by a Fancy, which desires to call out in us,
by contemplating them, such small fancy as we possess, and to make us
poets, each according to his power, by showing a world in which, if
rightly looked at, all is poetry.

Another fact will soon force itself on your attention, unless you wish
to tumble down and get wet up to your knees. The soil is furrowed
everywhere by holes, by graves some two or three feet wide and deep, and
of uncertain length and shape, often wandering about for thirty or forty
feet, and running confusedly into each other. They are not the work of
man, nor of an animal, for no earth seems to have been thrown out of
them. In the bottom of the dry graves you sometimes see a decaying root;
but most of them just now are full of water, and of tiny fish also,
which burrow in the mud, and sleep during the dry season, to come out
and swim during the wet. These graves are, some of them, plainly quite
new. Some, again, are very old, for trees of all sizes are growing in
them and over them.

What makes them? A question not easily answered. But the shrewdest
foresters say that they have held the roots of trees now dead. Either
the tree has fallen, and torn its roots out of the ground, or the roots
and stumps have rotted in their place, and the soil above them has
fallen in.

But they must decay very quickly, these roots, to leave their quiet
fresh graves thus empty; and--now one thinks of it--how few fallen
trees, or even dead sticks, there are about. An English wood, if left to
itself, would be cumbered with fallen timber; and one has heard of
forests in North America through which it is all but impossible to make
way, so high are piled up, among the still growing trees, dead logs in
every stage of decay. Such a sight may be seen in Europe among the high
silver-fir forests of the Pyrenees. How is it not so here? How, indeed?
And how comes it--if you will look again--that there are few or no
fallen leaves, and actually no leaf-mould? In an English wood there
would be a foot--perhaps two feet--of black soil, renewed by every
autumn leaf-fall. Two feet? One has heard often enough of bison-hunting
in Himalayan forests among Deodaras one hundred and fifty feet high, and
scarlet rhododendrons thirty feet high, growing in fifteen or twenty
feet of leaf- and timber-mould. And here, in a forest equally ancient,
every plant is growing out of the bare yellow loam as it might in a
well-hoed garden-bed. Is it not strange?

Most strange, till you remember where you are,--in one of Nature's
hottest and dampest laboratories. Nearly eighty inches of yearly rain
and more than eighty degrees of perpetual heat make swift work with
vegetable fibre, which, in our cold and sluggard clime, would curdle
into leaf-mould, perhaps into peat. Far to the north, in poor old
Ireland, and far to the south, in Patagonia, begin the zones of peat,
where dead vegetable fibre, its treasures of light and heat locked up,
lies all but useless age after age. But this is the zone of illimitable
sun force, which destroys as swiftly as it generates, and generates
again as swiftly as it destroys. Here, when the forest giant falls, as
some tell me that they have heard him fall, on silent nights, when the
cracking of the roots below and the lianes aloft rattles like musketry
through the woods, till the great trunk comes down, with a boom as of a
heavy gun, re-echoing on from mountain-side to mountain-side; then

     "Nothing in him that doth fade,
     But doth suffer an _air_-change
     Into something rich and strange."

Under the genial rain and genial heat, the timber-tree itself, all its
tangled ruin of lianes and parasites, and the boughs and leaves, snapped
off not only by the blow, but by the very wind of the falling tree, all
melt away swiftly and peacefully in a few months--say almost a few
days--into the water, and carbonic acid, and sunlight out of which
they were created at first, to be absorbed instantly by the green
leaves around, and, transmuted into fresh forms of beauty, leave not
a wrack behind. Explained thus,--and this I believe to be the true
explanation,--the absence of leaf-mould is one of the grandest, as it
is one of the most startling, phenomena of the forest.

     [And thus the writer rambles on, telling fresh marvels of the
     tropic woods, from which a knowledge is attained that "defies
     all analysis."]

[It is that of] the causes and effects of their beauty; that "æsthetic"
of plants, of which Schleiden has spoken so well in that charming book
of his, "The Plant," which all should read who wish to know somewhat of
"The Open Secret." But when they read it let them read with open hearts.
For that same "Open Secret" is, I suspect, one of those which God may
hide from the wise and prudent, and yet reveal to babes.

At least, so it seemed to me, the first day that I went, awe-struck,
into the High Woods; and so it seemed to me, the last day that I came,
even more awe-struck, out of them.



     [British Guiana, the land which seems so strongly inclined to
     extend its borders at the expense of Venezuela, is as yet very
     far from being the active and well-developed settlement which
     might be imagined from the aggressiveness of its rulers. Mr.
     Brown's story of it indicates a land of which nature is still
     largely the lord, and which is so little known that he, as late
     as twenty years ago, was able to discover a river and a
     cataract not previously heard of. The selection we append,
     descriptive of the wild animals of the country, is significant
     of an undeveloped land. Mr. Brown, in his "Canoe and Camp Life
     in British Guiana," describes a number of unsuccessful efforts
     to shoot jaguars, and continues:]

One of the men happened to go a few yards behind one of our
camping-places, when he heard a movement behind him; turning round he
saw a jaguar leisurely surveying him. He fled to the camp with his
story, and I went in search of the animal accompanied by one man armed
with a cutlass. We did not go far before we saw its tracks in the sandy
bed of a dry water-course, and concluded that it had gone off. We gave
up all hopes of seeing it, and, turning round, were on the point of
making our way back to camp, when my companion suddenly exclaimed,
"Look! look! the tiger!" Glancing at the spot indicated I saw it
crouching in a thicket with its head bent down, its body swaying from
side to side, glaring at us with eyes of a greenish metallic hue. The
brute had evidently been following us whilst we were searching for it,
and was working itself into a rage. I took as good aim at its head as
I could, and fired; but instead of seeing it lying dead, I heard it
bounding and crashing through the forest at a fearful pace.

One of my men got a shot at a jaguar on a sand-beach, where it passed
within twenty feet of him, as he crouched on some rocks. The only effect
the shot had on the animal was to make it gallop away a few yards, then
turn for an instant and look at him. The men whom I left in charge on
the New River cut open a hollow log containing young accouries, and took
them out. Their squeals on being seized attracted a puma, which ran
close up to the men, apparently wishing to get the accouries, when one
of them fired at it and it made off.

One evening, whilst returning to camp along the portage path that we
were cutting at Wonobobo Falls, I walked faster than the men, and got
some two hundred yards in advance. As I rose the slope of an uneven
piece of ground, I saw a large puma (_Felis concolor_) advancing along
the other side of the rise towards me, with its nose down on the ground.
The moment I saw it I stopped; and at the same instant it tossed up its
head, and seeing me also came to a stand. With its body half crouched,
its head erect, and its eyes round and black, from its pupils having
expanded in the dusky light, it looked at once a noble and appalling
sight. I glanced back along our wide path to see if any of my men were
coming, as at the moment I felt that it was not well to be alone without
some weapon of defence, and I knew that one of them had a gun; but
nothing could I see. As long as I did not move the puma remained
motionless also, and thus we stood some fifteen yards apart, eying each
other curiously. I had heard that the human voice is potent in scaring
most wild beasts, and feeling that the time had arrived to do something
desperate, I waved my arms in the air and shouted loudly. The effect on
the tiger was electrical; it turned quickly on one side, and in two
bounds was lost in the forest. I waited until my men came up, however,
before passing the place at which it disappeared in case it might only
be lying in ambush there; but we saw nothing more of it.

When returning down the portage and dragging our boats over, we saw a
jaguar sitting on a log near the same spot, watching our movements with
evident curiosity, and although the men were singing as they hauled the
boats along, it did not seem to mind the noise. As soon as it saw that
it was observed, it jumped off the log, and with a low growl made off.
From this I infer that the flight of my puma must have been owing more
to the windmill-like motion of my arms than to my voice.

During our journey across from the New River to the Essequebo, we were
cooking breakfast one morning, when we heard a tremendous rushing and
crashing noise coming towards us through the forest, and then caught a
glimpse of an accourie flying for dear life before a black tiger. Just
after they passed the accourie gave a heart-rending scream as the tiger
seized it, but on my men rushing up to the spot, the tiger left its prey
and fled. When picked up the accourie was quite dead, but on examination
showed no marks whatever of the tiger's teeth. The tiger had evidently
killed it by springing upon it with its legs close together, the weight
of its body giving such a blow that the accourie's life was fairly
knocked out. The men found its dead body just beyond a large log,
slightly raised from the ground, under which it had bolted and lost some
headway, while the cunning tiger took the log in its stride and so came,
as it intended, on the poor accourie's back, with the result we have

On returning to the head of the New River for provisions, we were
followed for many miles by a tiger, for on going back we saw its huge
tracks in the swampy places on our path.

With good hunting-dogs fine jaguar- and puma-hunting might be obtained
on the banks of this river, where without doubt they are exceedingly
numerous. Many of the Indian hunting-dogs trained for deer or tapir will
hunt tigers. When on the track of either of these animals, should they
come across the scent of a tiger, their eager and confident manner of
pressing on after the game is immediately changed, and with hair on
their backs erect they become cautious and nervous to a degree, jumping
at even the snapping of a twig. Abandoning the hunt they take up the
tiger's track and follow it. But should the huntsman call them from it,
or not cheer them on with his voice from time to time, they exhibit
great fear, and keeping close to his heels cannot be induced to hunt any
more in that district for the day. On the contrary, if allowed to follow
the tiger, they track it up with caution, being fully aware of the
cunning dodge practised by that animal, which is, when the dog is close
at hand, to spring to one side and lie in ambush till it passes, when
with one spring the dog is seized.

Ordinary dogs would fall a prey to this trap, but not the self-taught
tiger dogs. Their fine powers of scent warn them of their near approach
to the quarry, when they advance with great caution, never failing to
detect the tiger in time, and when once their eye is upon their enemy it
has no chance to escape. In its pride of strength, the jaguar scorns the
dogs, and with a rush like a ball from a cannon springs madly at one of
them, feeling sure that it cannot escape. It has reckoned, however,
without its host, for the dog eludes the spring with ease, and with
great quickness flies on the tiger's flank, giving it a severe nip. As
the tiger turns with a growl of pain and disappointment, the dog is off
to a little distance, yelping lustily and never remaining still an
instant, but darting first on one side and then on the other. After one
or two ineffectual charges the tiger gives it up, and on the approach of
the hunter, springs into the nearest suitable tree, which it seldom
leaves alive.

     [The Indians describe several kinds of tigers and tiger-cats,
     each of which hunts one kind of animal in particular, whose
     call it can imitate. The deer-tiger is the puma. The wailah, or
     tapir-tiger, is pure black and of great size.]

The Corentyne and its branches were literally teeming with fish of
various kinds, the greater number being haimara and perai. The latter
were so abundant and ferocious that at times it was dangerous, when
bathing, to go into the water at a greater depth than up to one's knees.
Even then small bodies of these hungry creatures would swim in and make
a dash close up to our legs, and then retreat to a short distance. They
actually bit the steering paddles as they were drawn through the water
astern of the boats. A tapir which I shot swimming across the river had
its nose eaten off by them whilst we were towing it to the shore.

Of an evening the men used to catch some of them for sport, and in
taking the hook from their mouths produce a wound from which the blood
ran freely. On throwing them back into the water in this injured
condition they were immediately set upon and devoured by their
companions. Even as one was being hauled in on the line, its comrades,
seeing that it was in difficulties, attacked it at once. One day, when
the boat was hauled in to some rocks, a few of the men were engaged
shooting fish near by, and in so doing wounded a large haimara. Having
escaped from its human tormentors, it made for the open river, but was
instantly attacked by perai attracted by the blood escaping from its
wound, and was driven back to the shelter of the rocks close to the
boat, from which I had a good view of the chase. The large fish
followed by its savage enemies reminded me of a parallel case on
land,--a stricken deer pursued by wolves.

The perai, fortunately, lie only off sand-beaches and in quiet pools,
not frequenting the cataracts, where their presence would be anything
but acceptable to the men when working in the water. I was fortunate
enough to find the spawning-place of some perai on the matted clusters
of fibrous roots of some lianes, which hung from the branches of a tree
into the water, among which much earthy sediment had collected and many
small aquatic plants had grown. The sediment gave weight to the roots,
which kept the clusters under water, and the force of the current made
them buoyant, giving the lianes a slope when the river was high, which
kept them not far from its surface. My attention was attracted to them
by two perai lying close to them, with their heads up-stream, as the men
said, engaged in watching their eggs. Procuring one of the roots I
examined it, and found among it numbers of single eggs and clusters of
small jelly-like young, which had been already hatched. The eggs were
white and about one-eighth of an inch in diameter, with a hard exterior.
The young were very little larger, and had a glutinous surface, which
caused them to adhere together on being taken from the water. They had
not acquired any powers of locomotion, but could just wriggle their
tails like tadpoles. Under a lens they resembled the egg devoid of
its covering, with a gelatinous ridge around three-quarters of its
circumference, one of which expanded into a knob (probably the head),
while the other termination was flattened and tail-like. I could not
detect any eyes or mouth in them, but their bodies were speckled with
gray markings of coloring matter....

In hauling the boats up the shallow rapids near the mouth of the Cutari
the men, whilst wading, were frequently struck by conger eels. Every now
and then a man would call out "Congler, congler," and jumping into the
boat rub his shins, which had been benumbed by a touch from one of these
fish. After half a minute or so the numbness wore off and he took to the
water again. The boat being in a critical condition at the time, it was
impossible for the men to leave the water. They had therefore to brave
out the shocks from these batteries, which must have been very slight,
given probably by small eels, or they could not have stood them.

Small long-bodied fish were very common, and one kind, called courami,
took the baited hook as long as the fisherman who threw the line was out
of sight.

The lukenaine, or sunfish, was captured by my men in a singular manner.
They manufactured an exceedingly rude fly out of a bunch of silk-grass
(_Bromelia karatas_) fibre, and attached it to a large hook with a short
line and rod. Drawing it rapidly over pools among the rocks, it was
immediately taken by the lukenaine, as the artificial fly is struck by
the trout.

Sting-rays were frequently seen on the sandy bottom or grovelling for
worms in the muddy banks under water. My interpreter, William, was
unfortunate enough to step upon one, which, being of the color of the
bottom, was not observed. It drove its spine or sting into the side of
his instep, producing a jagged wound which bled profusely. I immediately
put laudanum on the wound and gave him a strong dose of ammonia. In a
quarter of an hour after he was writhing on the ground in great agony,
actually screaming at times with the pain he felt in the wounded part,
in his groin, and under one armpit. His foot and leg were so cold that
he got one man to light a fire and support his foot over it, persisting
in trying to put it in the flames. I gave him two doses of laudanum,
one shortly after the other, without relieving his sufferings in the
slightest degree. After three hours of intense pain he became easier,
but had returns of it at intervals during the night. For a week he was
unable to put his foot on the ground, and the wound did not heal
thoroughly for six weeks....

We did not see a single cayman during our stay on the Corentyne. It may
safely be inferred that there are none on that river, a singular fact
that cannot be accounted for. Small alligators, of about four feet in
length, are numerous, however, and one of them one night carried off a
young cat which the men had brought from Georgetown. Poor puss had gone
to the water's edge to drink, when the alligator with one blow of its
tail swept it into the water and carried it away. On the following
morning we saw the alligator with its snout resting on a rock near by,
so I shot it; the men dragging it out of the water and leaving it on
the rocks. On returning, some months afterwards, we camped at the same
place, and there among the bones of the alligator saw those of the cat
bleaching in the sun.

Iguanas were numerous, and on one occasion, when one in a tree overhead
was shot at with an arrow, it jumped down to gain the water, but not
calculating its distance accurately, landed on the back of one of the
men, who, seeing it coming, ducked his head and dropped his paddle
overboard. The paddle, being made of paruru, or paddle-wood, was heavy,
and sank, and the man was afraid to dive for it among the numerous

     [The author proceeds to describe the birds and trees of the
     region, ending with an interesting account of the Brazil-nut.]

Upon the borders of the New River and main Corentyne, above the
last-mentioned fall, we met with large groves of Brazil-nut-trees,
and on the ground beneath them obtained numbers of their nuts. I was
fortunate to find some of the nut-cases containing nuts that had
commenced to germinate, each nut sending out long roots from one end
and young plants from the other. The roots were all twisted and matted
together, quite filling up the cavities in the case around the nuts;
yet the nut-case was hard and showed no signs of decay, so that it is
difficult to say how the young plants free themselves. There is a small
aperture where the fruit-stalk was once attached, but in only one
instance did I find a case in which one of the young plants had found
its way out through this and sent forth leaves. It seems to me that when
this happens one plant alone survives of the twelve or fifteen that
commenced to grow, and that its matted roots, gradually filling the
nut-case, eventually burst it, when the plant is free to take root in
the earth. The strong cover of the growing nut is a necessary protection
to the young plant, for without such it would be devoured by one of the
host of animals that are ready to eat it.

I planted some of the sprouting nuts, cut out of their hard outer
covering, on my way up the river, but on returning found that they had
all been dug up and eaten by rats and other small vermin. I therefore
had a lot planted in a box at our camp above King Frederick William IV.
Fall on my first return to that spot, and placed on the stem of a small
tree cut off some five feet from the ground. In this position they were
free from the attacks of small animals, and, being covered with a
shelter of some palm-leaves, thrived wonderfully. These plants were
subsequently sent to Kew, where they arrived in a fine healthy

We found many nut-cases with holes cut in them by accouries, the marks
of the gnawing teeth of those animals being plainly shown. My men used
to open them by chopping off their ends with a cutlass, which, owing to
their hardness, was no easy operation. The quatas, or large black
spider-monkeys, spent a good deal of their time in trying to open them
by beating them against the branches of trees or on hard logs upon the
ground; and as we passed a grove of Brazil-nut-trees it was amusing
to hear the hammering sounds produced by these fellows at their
self-imposed tasks. Where a single monkey was thus employed the blows
were most laughably "few and far between," the creature showing its true
indolent character by the slow way in which it performed its work,
resting for a few minutes between every blow. It also showed an amount
of perseverance, however, that one would not look for in a monkey, and a
knowledge that it would eventually reap a reward for its hard labor.

Goodness knows how long it takes one of these monkeys to break a
nut-case; but the time must be great, for on one occasion, during our
journey from the New River to the upper Essequebo, we got quietly among
a lot of the nut-breakers, and secured a nut-case which one in its hurry
had left upon a log, and which was worn smooth by the friction of the
monkey's hands. This had evidently been pounded for a length of time,
but showed no signs of cracking. Its natural aperture was large enough
to allow the monkey's fingers to touch the ends of the nuts inside,
which were picked and worn by its nails. Near the same place we saw
a nut-case split in two, on the flat surface of a large granite
rock, that had evidently been broken by a monkey, for there were no
Brazil-nut-trees, from which it could have fallen, overhanging the spot.

The blossoms of the Brazil-nut-tree are large and yellow, having a
delicate aromatic perfume. They are similar, but larger than the
caccarali, or monkey-pot-tree (_Lecythis ollaria_), whose flowers are so
powerfully scented.



     [The illustrious traveller and scientist from whose picturesque
     descriptions of life and scenery in South America we here quote
     was born in Berlin, September 14, 1769. After a careful
     university education and scientific labors in Europe, he set
     sail for America in 1799, and during the succeeding five years
     explored a great extent of territory within the areas of the
     present states of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and
     Mexico. For twenty-five years succeeding his return he was
     employed in arranging his collections, publishing the results
     of his observations, and in other scientific labors. In 1829 he
     again became a traveller, and explored a wide district in Asia.
     He died, in his ninetieth year, May 6, 1859. Few men have ever
     done so much for the advancement of science, while his
     published works of travel contain much that is of value from a
     literary point of view. We extract a series of interesting
     passages relating to scenery and incidents in the Orinoco
     region. The first is descriptive of the remarkable "cow-tree."]

When incisions are made in the trunk of this tree, it yields abundance
of a glutinous milk, tolerably thick, devoid of all acridity, and of
an agreeable and balmy smell. It was offered to us in the shell of a
calabash. We drank considerable quantities of it in the evening before
we went to bed, and very early in the morning, without feeling the least
injurious effect. The glutinous character of this milk alone renders it
a little disagreeable. The negroes and the free people who work in the
plantations drink it, dipping into it their bread of maize or cassava.
The overseer of the farm told us that the negroes grow sensibly fatter
during the season when the _palo de vaca_ furnishes them with most milk.
The juice, exposed to the air, presents at its surface membranes of a
strongly animalized substance, yellowish, stringy, and resembling

[Illustration: LA GUAYRA, VENEZUELA]

Amidst the great number of curious phenomena which I have observed in
the course of my travels, I confess there are few that have made so
powerful an impression on me as the aspect of the cow-tree. Whatever
relates to milk or to corn inspires an interest which is not merely that
of the physical knowledge of things, but is connected with another order
of ideas and sentiments. We can scarcely conceive how the human race
could exist without farinaceous substances, and without that nourishing
juice which the breast of the mother contains, and which is appropriated
to the long feebleness of the infant. The amylaceous matter of corn,
the object of religious veneration among so many nations, ancient
and modern, is diffused in the seeds and deposited in the roots of
vegetables; milk, which serves as an aliment, appears to us exclusively
the produce of animal organization. Such are the impressions we have
received in our earliest infancy; such is also the source of that
astonishment created by the aspect of the tree just described. It is not
here the solemn shades of forests, the majestic course of rivers, the
mountains wrapped in eternal snow, that excite our emotion. A few drops
of vegetable juice recall to our minds all the powerfulness and the
fecundity of nature. On the barren flank of a rock grows a tree with
coriaceous and dry leaves. Its large woody roots can scarcely penetrate
into the stone. For several months of the year not a single shower
moistens its foliage. Its branches appear dead and dried; but when the
trunk is pierced there flows from it a sweet and nourishing milk. It is
at the rising of the sun that this vegetable fountain is most abundant.
The negroes and natives are then seen hastening from all quarters,
furnished with large bowls to receive the milk, which grows yellow
and thickens at its surface. Some empty their bowls under the tree
itself, others carry the juice home to their children.

     [The great plains of Venezuela are thus described:]

The sun was almost at its zenith; the earth, wherever it appeared
sterile and destitute of vegetation, was at the temperature of 120°. Not
a breath of air was felt at the height at which we were on our mules;
yet, in the midst of this apparent calm, whirls of dust incessantly
arose, driven on by those small currents of air which glide only over
the surface of the ground, and are occasioned by the difference of
temperature between the naked sand and the spots covered with grass.
All around us the plains seemed to ascend to the sky, and the vast and
profound solitude appeared like an ocean covered with sea-weed. On the
horizon the earth was confounded with the sky. Through the dry mist and
strata of vapor the trunks of palm-trees were seen from afar, stripped
of their foliage and their verdant summits, and looking like the masts
of a ship descried upon the horizon. There is something awful, as well
as sad and gloomy, in the uniform aspect of these steppes. Everything
seems motionless; scarcely does a small cloud, passing across the
zenith, and denoting the approach of the rainy season, cast its shadow
on the earth. I know not whether the first aspect of the llanos excites
less astonishment than that of the chain of the Andes.

When, beneath the vertical rays of the bright and cloudless sun of the
tropics, the parched sward crumbles into dust, then the indurated soil
cracks and bursts as if rent asunder by some mighty earthquake. And if,
at such a time, two opposite currents of air, by conflict moving in
rapid gyrations, come in contact with the earth, a singular spectacle
presents itself. Like funnel-shaped clouds, their apexes touching the
earth, the sand rises in vapory form through the rarefied air in the
electrically-charged centre of the whirling current, sweeping on like
the rushing waterspout, which strikes such terror into the heart of the
mariner. A dim and sallow light gleams from the lowering sky over the
dreary plain. The horizon suddenly contracts, and the heart of the
traveller sinks with dismay as the wide steppe seems to close upon him
on all sides. The hot and dusty earth forms a cloudy veil which shrouds
the heavens from view, and increases the stifling oppression of the
atmosphere, while the east wind, when it blows over the long-heated
soil, instead of cooling, adds to the burning glow. Gradually, too, the
pools of water, which had been protected from evaporation by the now
seared foliage of the fan-palm, disappear. As in the icy north animals
become torpid from cold, so here the crocodile and the boa-constrictor
lie wrapt in unbroken sleep, deeply buried in the dried soil. Everywhere
the drought announces death, yet everywhere the thirsty wanderer is
deluded by the phantom of a moving, undulating, watery surface, created
by the deceptive play of the mirage. A narrow stratum separates the
ground from the distant palm-trees, which seem to hover aloft, owing to
the contact of currents of air having different degrees of heat, and
therefore of density. Shrouded in dark clouds of dust, and tortured by
hunger and burning thirst, oxen and horses scour the plain, the one
bellowing dismally, the other with outstretched necks snuffing the wind,
in the endeavor to detect, by the moisture of the air, the vicinity of
some pool of water not yet wholly evaporated.

The mule, more cautious and cunning, adopts another method of
allaying his thirst. There is a globular and articulated plant, the
_Melo-cactus_, which encloses under its prickly integument an aqueous
pulp. After carefully striking away the prickles with its forefeet,
the mule cautiously ventures to apply his lips to imbibe the cooling
thistle juice. But the draught from this living vegetable spring is not
always unattended by danger, and these animals are often observed to
have been lamed by the puncture of the cactus thorn. Even if the burning
heat of day be succeeded by the cool freshness of the night, here always
of equal length, the wearied ox and horse enjoy no repose. Huge bats now
attack the animals during sleep, and vampire-like suck their blood; or,
fastening on their backs, raise festering wounds, in which mosquitoes,
hippobosces, and a host of other stinging insects burrow and nestle.

When, after a long drought, the genial season of rain arrives, the scene
suddenly changes. The deep azure of the hitherto cloudless sky assumes a
lighter hue. Scarcely can the dark space in the constellation of the
Southern Cross be distinguished at night. The mild phosphorescence of
the Magellanic clouds fades away. Like some distant mountain, a single
cloud is seen rising perpendicularly on the southern horizon. Misty
vapors collect and gradually overspread the heavens, while distant
thunder proclaims the approach of the vivifying rain. Scarcely is the
surface of the earth moistened before the teeming steppe becomes covered
with a variety of grasses. Excited by the power of light, the herbaceous
mimosa unfolds its dormant, drooping leaves, hailing, as it were, the
rising sun in chorus with the matin song of the birds and the opening
flowers of aquatic plants. Horses and oxen, buoyant with life and
enjoyment, roam over and crop the plains. The luxuriant grass hides the
beautifully spotted jaguar, who, lurking in safe concealment, and
carefully measuring the extent of his leap, darts, like the Asiatic
tiger, with a cat-like bound upon his passing prey. At times, according
to the accounts of the natives, the humid clay on the banks of the
morasses is seen to rise slowly in broad flakes. Accompanied with a
violent noise, as on the eruption of a small mud-volcano, the upheaved
earth is hurled high into the air. Those who are familiar with the
phenomenon fly from it; for a colossal water-snake, or a mailed and
scaly crocodile, awakened from its trance by the first fall of rain,
is about to burst from its tomb.

When the rivers bounding the plain to the south, as the Arauca, the
Apure, and the Payara, gradually overflow their banks, nature compels
those creatures to live as amphibious animals, which, during the first
half of the year, were perishing with thirst on the waterless and dusty
plain. A part of the steppe now presents the appearance of a vast inland
sea. The mares retreat with their foals to the higher banks, which
project, like islands, above the spreading waters. Day by day the dry
surface diminishes in extent. The cattle, crowded together, and deprived
of pasturage, swim for hours about the inundated plain, seeking a scanty
nourishment from the flowing panicles of the grasses which rise above
the lurid and bubbling waters. Many foals are drowned, many are seized
by crocodiles, crushed by their serrated tails, and devoured. Horses and
oxen may not unfrequently be seen which have escaped from the fury of
this blood-thirsty and gigantic lizard, bearing on their legs the marks
of its pointed teeth.

     [A widely different scene is that of the forest region, the
     nocturnal noises of whose animal inhabitants are thus
     picturesquely described.]

Below the mission of Santa Barbara de Arichuna we passed the night
as usual in the open air, on a sandy flat, on the bank of the Apure,
skirted by the impenetrable forest. We had some difficulty in finding
dry wood to kindle the fires with which it is here customary to surround
the bivouac, as a safeguard against the attacks of the jaguar. The air
was bland and soft and the moon shone brightly. Several crocodiles
approached the bank; and I have observed that fire attracts these
creatures as it does our crabs and many other aquatic animals. The oars
of our boats were fixed upright in the ground, to support our hammocks.
Deep stillness prevailed, only broken at intervals by the blowing of the
fresh-water dolphins, which are peculiar to the river net-work of the

After eleven o'clock such a noise began in the contiguous forest, that
for the remainder of the night all sleep was impossible. The wild cries
of animals rung through the woods. Among the many voices which resounded
together, the Indians could only recognize those which, after short
pauses, were heard singly. There was the monotonous, plaintive cry
of the howling monkeys, the whining, flute-like notes of the small
sapajous, the grunting murmur of the striped nocturnal ape, the fitful
roar of the great tiger, the cougar, or maneless American lion, the
peccary, the sloth, and a host of parrots, parraquas, and other
pheasant-like birds. Whenever the tigers approached the edge of the
forest, our dog, who before had barked incessantly, came howling to seek
protection under the hammocks. Sometimes the cry of the tiger resounded
from the branches of a tree, and was always then accompanied by the
plaintive, piping tones of the apes, who were endeavoring to escape from
the unwonted pursuit.

If one asks the Indians why such a continuous noise is heard on certain
nights, they answer, with a smile, that "the animals are rejoicing in
the beautiful moonlight, and celebrating the return of the full
moon." To me the scene appeared rather to be owing to an accidental,
long-continued, and gradually increasing conflict among the animals.
Thus, for instance, the jaguar will pursue the peccaries and the tapirs,
which, densely crowded together, burst through the barrier of tree-like
shrubs which opposes their flight. Terrified at the confusion, the
monkeys on the tops of the trees join their cries with those of the
larger animals. This arouses the tribes of birds who build their nests
in communities, and suddenly the whole animal world is in a state of
commotion. Further experience taught us that it was by no means always
the festival of moonlight that disturbed the stillness of the forest;
for we observed that the voices were loudest during violent storms of
rain, or when the thunder echoed and the lightning flashed through the
depths of the wood. The good-natured Franciscan monk who accompanied us
through the cataracts of Apures and Maypures to San Carlos, on the Rio
Negro, and to the Brazilian frontier, used to say, when apprehensive of
a storm at night, "May heaven grant a quiet night both to us and to the
wild beasts of the forest!"

     [The unpleasant conditions of a canoe voyage on the Orinoco are
     thus described:]

The new canoe intended for us was, like all Indian boats, a trunk of a
tree hollowed out partly by the hatchet and partly by fire. It was forty
feet long and three broad. Three persons could not sit in it side by
side. These canoes are so crank, and they require, from their
instability, a cargo so equally distributed, that when you want to rise
for an instant, you must warn the rowers to lean to the opposite side.
Without this precaution the water would necessarily enter the side
pressed down. It is difficult to form an idea of the inconveniences that
are suffered in such wretched vessels. To gain something in breadth, a
sort of lattice-work had been constructed on the stern with branches of
trees, that extended on each side beyond the gunwale. Unfortunately, the
_toldo_, or roof of leaves, that covered this lattice-work, was so low
that we were obliged to lie down, without seeing anything, or, if
seated, to sit nearly double. The necessity of carrying the canoe across
the rapids, and even from one river to another, and the fear of giving
too much hold to the wind, by making the toldo higher, render this
construction necessary for vessels that go up towards the Rio Negro.
The toldo was intended to cover four persons, lying on the deck or
lattice-work of brushwood; but our legs reached far beyond it, and when
it rained half our bodies were wet. Our couches consisted of ox-hides or
tiger-skins spread upon branches of trees, which were painfully felt
through so thin a covering. The fore part of the boat was filled with
Indian rowers, furnished with paddles, three feet long, in the form
of spoons. They were all naked, seated two by two, and they kept time
in rowing with a surprising uniformity, singing songs of a sad and
monotonous character. The small cages containing our birds and our
monkeys--the number of which augmented as we advanced--were hung some to
the toldo and others to the bow of the boat. This was our travelling
menagerie. Every night, when we established our watch, our collection
of animals and our instruments occupied the centre; around these were
placed, first, our hammocks, then the hammocks of the Indians; and on
the outside were the fires, which are thought indispensable against the
attacks of the jaguar. About sunrise the monkeys in our cages answered
the cries of the monkeys of the forest.

In a canoe not three feet wide, and so encumbered, there remained no
other place for the dried plants, trunks, sextant, a dipping needle, and
the meteorological instruments, than the space below the lattice-work of
branches, on which we were compelled to remain stretched the greater
part of the day. If we wished to take the least object out of a trunk,
or to use an instrument, it was necessary to row ashore and land. To
these inconveniences were joined the torment of the mosquitoes which
swarmed under the toldo, and the heat radiated from the leaves of the
palm-trees, the upper surface of which was continually exposed to the
solar rays. We attempted every instant, but always without success, to
amend our situation. While one of us hid himself under a sheet to ward
off the insects, the other insisted on having green wood lighted beneath
the toldo, in the hope of driving away the mosquitoes by the smoke. The
painful sensations of the eyes, and the increase of heat, already
stifling, rendered both these contrivances alike impracticable. With
some gayety of temper, with feelings of mutual good-will, and with a
vivid taste for the majestic grandeur of these vast valleys of rivers,
travellers easily support evils that become habitual.

     [The torment of insects--mosquitoes and venomous flies by day,
     and the _zancudos_ (large gnats) by night--became almost
     insupportable as they advanced. On the upper Orinoco the
     mosquitoes form the principal topic of conversation, the usual
     salutation being, "How did you find the gnats during the
     night?" or, "How are you off for mosquitoes to-day?" Humboldt
     thus describes the situation:]

The lower strata of air, from the surface of the ground to the height of
fifteen or twenty feet, are absolutely filled with venomous insects. If
in an obscure spot, for instance, in the grottos of the cataracts formed
by superincumbent blocks of granite, you direct your eyes towards the
opening enlightened by the sun, you see clouds of mosquitoes more or
less thick. I doubt whether there be a country upon earth where man is
exposed to more cruel torments in the rainy season. Having passed the
fifth degree of latitude you are somewhat less stung; but on the upper
Orinoco the stings are more painful, because the heat and the absolute
want of wind render the air more burning and more irritating in its
contact with the skin. "How comfortable people must be in the moon!"
said a Salivo Indian to Father Gumilla. "She looks so beautiful and so
clear, that she must be free from mosquitoes." These words, which denote
the infancy of a people, are very remarkable. The satellite of the earth
appears to all savage nations the abode of the blessed, the country
of abundance. The Esquimaux, who counts among his riches a plank or
the trunk of a tree, thrown by the currents on a coast destitute of
vegetation, sees in the moon plains covered with forests; the Indian of
the forest of Orinoco there beholds open savannas, where the inhabitants
are never stung by mosquitoes.

     [The story of the voyage closes as follows:]

It would be difficult for me to express the satisfaction we felt on
landing at Angostura [the capital of Spanish Guiana.] The inconveniences
endured at sea in small vessels are trivial in comparison with those
that are suffered under a burning sky, surrounded by swarms of
mosquitoes, and lying stretched in a canoe, without the possibility of
taking the least bodily exercise. In seventy-five days we had performed
a passage of five hundred leagues--twenty to a degree--on the five great
rivers, Apure, Orinoco, Atabapo, Rio Negro, and Cassiquiare; and in this
vast extent we had found but a very small number of inhabited places.
Coming from an almost desert country, we were struck with the bustle of
the town, though it contained only six thousand inhabitants. We admired
the conveniences which industry and commerce furnish to civilized man.
Humble dwellings appeared to us magnificent; and every person with whom
we conversed seemed to be endowed with superior intelligence. Long
privations give a value to the smallest enjoyments; and I cannot express
the pleasure we felt when we saw for the first time wheaten bread on the
governor's table.



     [Don Ramon Paez, in his "Wild Scenes in South America; or, Life
     in the Llanos of Venezuela," has given us some interesting
     pictures of a region little known to travellers. These vast
     plains are inhabited by a people many of whom bear a close
     resemblance in their habits to the Argentine Gauchos. The
     following selection is devoted to a description of this people
     and their region of habitation.]

We left Ortiz as usual, very early the next morning, stumbling here and
there amidst the mass of loose stones which paved the way along the
winding bed of the _quebrada_. In proportion as we advanced on our route
the hills decreased in size, while the loose stones seemed to increase
in quantity. The splendid groves of hardy and balsamiferous trees, which
near Ortiz formed an almost impenetrable forest, gradually became less
imposing in appearance, until they were replaced by thickets of thorny
bushes, chiefly composed of several species of mimosas, with a delicate
and feathery foliage. The traveller accustomed to the shade of a
luxuriant vegetation, and to the sight of cultivated valleys, is struck
by the rapid diminution of the former, and the total disappearance of
the latter, as he emerges from the Galeras of Ortiz; yet he is somewhat
compensated by the almost overpowering perfume shed by masses of the
canary-colored blossoms with which these shrubs are loaded, from the
summits down to the bending branches that trail the ground at every
passing breeze.

Suddenly we entered a widely-extended tract of level land almost
destitute of vegetation. With the exception of a few clumps of
palm-trees with fan-like leaves, nothing but short grass covered its
entire surface, almost realizing the idea of an "ocean covered with
sea-weed." A dense mass of vapor pervading the atmosphere obscured the
horizon, while the fan-palms, seen from afar, appeared like ships
enveloped in a fog. Gradually the circle of the heavens seemed to close
around us, until we became, as it were, encompassed by the sky. We were,
in fact, treading the shores of the great basin of the Llanos, over one
of the ancient shoals or _mesas_, which, like successive terraces, now
form the border of those grassy oceans known as the Pampas. This was the
Mesa de Paya, the seat of one of the cattle-farms to which we were

After wandering for nearly three hours over this monotonous landscape
without compass, and guided only by certain landmarks known to the
_vaqueanos_, we came unexpectedly upon the borders of the Mesa, which
commands an extensive view of the lower savannas. As if by magic, the
dreary scene changed to one of the most glorious panoramas in existence.
At our feet lay a beautiful expanse of meadow, fresh and smooth as the
best cultivated lawn, with troops of horses and countless herds of
cattle dispersed all over the plain. Several glittering ponds, alive
with all varieties of aquatic birds, reflected upon their limpid surface
the broad-leaved crowns of the fan-palms, towering above verdant groves
of laurel, amyris, and elm-like _robles_. Farther beyond, and as far as
the eye could reach, the undulating plain appeared like a petrified
ocean after the sweeping tempest.

But I feel that my descriptions fall short of the reality, and that I
am unable to depict the harmonious effects of light and shade, and the
blending of the various tints of green, blue, and purple, dispersed
over this extensive panorama; the towering palms gracefully fanning
the glowing atmosphere with their majestic crowns of broad and shining
leaves, and myriad other beauties difficult to enumerate.

I could scarcely tear myself away from the spot, so fascinated was I
with the novelty of the scene. My companions, more concerned for the
speedy termination of the journey than the beautiful in nature, set off
at a brisk trot towards the house, which was at no great distance.
Fearing to lose my way among the intricate paths leading to it, I was
compelled to follow in their wake, stopping occasionally to gaze once
more upon those enchanting groves, which seemed to return me to the
highly cultivated fields and green meadows of glorious "Old England,"
from whence I had just returned.

On descending to the plain below, my attention was attracted to an
unsightly group of palm-thatched huts, looking more like huge beehives
than the abode of human beings. A formidable fence of palm-trunks
surrounded the premises and several acres of ground beyond. These were
the _corrals_, or enclosures where the training of the fierce herds
was practised by the hardy dwellers of the Llanos; but no signs of
cultivation, or aught else connected with the rural occupations of the
farmer, were visible in the neighborhood. Presently the cavalcade
stopped before the gate, and all the individuals composing it dismounted
and began to unsaddle their horses, amidst the barking of a legion of
dogs and the braying of all the donkeys in the vicinity.

This was the _hato_, or cattle-farm, of San Pablo we were in quest of,
famous in the annals of the civil wars in Venezuela as the occasional
head-quarters of the constitutional armies, commanded by the owner of
this farm. Our leader was received at the entrance of his estate by a
grave and elderly negro slave, who acted as overseer, and had under
his control all the men and property attached to it. Kneeling upon
the stony court-yard, he kissed the hand extended to him in friendly
greeting, after which he proceeded to unsaddle his master's horse, which
he led to a pond within the enclosure, where the horses were watered.

We purposed remaining a few days at San Pablo, with the object of
incorporating some fresh relays of mules and horses from the abundant
stock of this estate; so we of the staff installed ourselves under
the palm-roof of our rustic mansion, while the rank and file of the
expedition found accommodation in the open barracoons adjoining it,
although none of the party had reason to boast of being better off than
his neighbor.

"It is sad when pleasing first impressions are obliterated," remarks a
sentimental writer; "always painful to become _désenchanté_ on a more
intimate acquaintance with either people or places." I soon found that
I was not in the fairy-land I had imagined, abounding in grottos and
refreshed by sparkling fountains, but in the region of the Llanos, where
the French adage, _Chacun pour soi et Dieu_ _pour tous_, is verified to
its fullest extent. San Pablo, with its vaunted prestige, and in spite
of its proximity to several important marts, was no better provided with
accommodations than the untidy _douar_ of the wandering Arab of the
desert. A rickety table standing against the wall for fear of tumbling
down, two or three clumsy cedar chairs covered with raw hide, and a
couple of grass hammocks, serving the double purpose of beds and
lounges, constituted all the furniture of the great farm. As a
substitute for wardrobes and hat-stands, we were shown a number of
deer-antlers and bull-horns embedded in the walls of reeds and mud,
on which to hang our pouches, bridles, etc.

I searched in vain on our arrival for something like a bowl in which to
lave my hands and face, covered with dust and parched by the broiling
sun of the savannas. Even water was so scarce that it was served to us
sparingly from a large calabash gourd used in bringing it from the
river, nearly a mile distant. It is true there was, within the enclosure
of the houses, a pond or excavation, made while searching for the
remains of a brave officer who fell fighting for his country's freedom.
Sufficient water had accumulated there during the rainy season to
entitle it to the name of _Laguna_ or Lake of Genaro Vazquez, the name
of the aforementioned hero; but it was so filled with _bavas_,--a small
species of alligator,--terrapins, and toads, as to render the water

But to return to our head-quarters, the structure of which struck me so
forcibly at first as a beehive of vast proportions, naturally suggesting
the idea of a "land of milk and honey." Unfortunately, neither of these
could be obtained for love or money, although the woods and pastures of
the estate abounded in both the creatures that produced them. So we were
compelled to resort to our reserved stock of _papelon_ to sweeten our
coffee, and to its own delicious natural aroma in the place of milk. As
to the house itself, it only differed from the rest in that region in
being larger, and perhaps in better order, than are the generality.
Imagine a pyramidal structure, thatched with palm-leaves, the roof
slanting to within a few feet of the ground, and supported on stout
posts of live timber, which served also as framework for the walls, and
you will have some idea of the style of architecture peculiar to the
country. Doors and windows are of no account in a country uniformly warm
throughout the year, and where the inhabitants possess few articles
capable of tempting the cupidity of light-fingered gentry. Therefore an
ox-hide stretched across the openings left in the walls to admit light
and the inmates is all that is required to keep off uninvited guests. As
an exception to this rule, our mansion of San Pablo had one or two rooms
set apart for invalids, provided with doors and windows of solid planks
of timber in the rough; the other apartments had the upper half of the
walls purposely left open, to admit full and free entrance of light and
air. A narrow piazza or corridor, formed by the slanting of the roof to
within five feet of the ground, ran along the entire length of the main
building, and was intended more as a protection to the rooms against the
sun and rains than as a resort for the inmates.

The first step, on arriving, was to secure a place in the open
reception-room for my own chattels and hammock, before all the
spare posts and hooks had been appropriated by my companions. This
accomplished, I proceeded to a thorough examination of my saddle and its
accoutrements, so as to have them adapted to the peculiar mode of
travelling in the Llanos. This care I left to the good judgment of our
attendants, not being myself sufficiently skilled in the art of mending,
greasing, and putting in order the complicated gear of our riding
equipment. In the same predicament were also my two English companions,
and our worthy doctor; a kind word, however, addressed to the
good-natured Llaneros--especially if accompanied with a drop of
aguardiente--never failed of enlisting their services in our favor.

Habit, as well as necessity, is sometimes the mother of invention, as my
experience soon taught me that, to get along in my new quarters, it
would be requisite to set aside the airs and insignia of civilization.
Divesting myself, therefore, of all such superfluities as coat, cravat,
pants, and shoes, I adopted the less cumbrous attire of the Llaneros,
consisting mainly of breeches tightly buttoned at the knee, and a loose
shirt, usually of a bright checkered pattern. Shoes are altogether
dispensed with in a country like the Llanos, subject to drenching rains,
and covered with mud during a great portion of the year, besides the
inconvenience they offer to the rider in holding the stirrup securely
when in chase of wild animals. The leg, however, is well protected from
the thorns and cutting grass of the savannas by a neat legging or
_botin_, made of buff-skin, tightly buttoned down the calf by knobs or
studs of highly polished silver. Another characteristic article of
dress, and one in which the wearers take great pride, is the linen
checkered handkerchief loosely worn around the head. Its object is
ostensibly to protect it from the intensity of the sun's rays; but
the constant habit of wearing it has rendered the handkerchief as
indispensable a head-dress to the Llaneros as is the cravat to the neck
of the city gentleman.

     [The traveller proceeds with further details of the life of
     these people, and with an account of their half-savage method
     of slaughtering their cattle; which we can well omit for a more
     general descriptive passage.]

The people inhabiting the vast region of the Llanos, although claiming
descent from the old Castilian race, once the rulers of the land, are,
in fact, an amalgamation of the various castes composing the present
population of the republic. These are the whites, or the descendants
of the European settlers of the country; the aboriginals or Indians,
and a great portion of blacks. In most of the towns the native whites
preponderate over all others, and represent the wealth as well as the
most respectable portion of the community; in the villages and thinly
populated districts of the plains a mongrel breed, resulting from the
admixture of these three, constitute the majority of the inhabitants.
These are dispersed over an area of twenty-seven thousand square miles,
making a proportion of only fourteen individuals, out of a population
of three hundred and ninety thousand, to every square mile.

This race, although vastly inferior to the first in mental capacity and
moral worth, is endowed with a physique admirably adapted to endure the
fatigues of a life beset with dangers and hardships. Cast upon a wild
and apparently interminable plain, the domain of savage beasts and
poisonous reptiles, their lot has been to pass all their life in a
perpetual struggle, not only with the primitive possessors of the land,
but with the elements themselves, often as fierce as they are grand.
When it is not the alarm of the dreaded viper or the spotted jaguar, it
is the sudden inroad of vast inundations, which, spreading with fearful
rapidity over the land, sweep off in one moment their frail habitations
and their herds. Nevertheless this insecure existence, this continual
struggle between life and death, between rude intellect and matter, has
for the Llanero a sort of fascination, perhaps not so well understood by
people possessing the blessings and ideas of civilization, but without
which he could not exist, especially if deprived of his horse and cast
among the mountain region north of his cherished plains.

The modern Centaur of the desolate regions of the New World, the Llanero
spends his life on horseback; all his actions and exertions must be
assisted by his horse; for him the noblest effort of man is when,
gliding swiftly over the boundless plain and bending over his spirited
charger, he overturns an enemy or masters a wild bull. The following
lines of Victor Hugo seem as though copied from this model: "He would
not fight but on horseback; he forms but one person with his horse; he
lives on horseback; trades, buys, and sells on horseback; eats, drinks,
sleeps, and dreams on horseback." Like the Arab he considers his horse
his best and most reliable friend on earth, often depriving himself of
rest and comfort after a hard day's journey to afford his faithful
companion abundance of food and water.

Few people in the world are better riders than the Llaneros of
Venezuela, if we except perhaps the Gauchos of Buenos Ayres, or equal
to either in the dexterity they display in the wonderful feats of
horsemanship to which their occupations in the field inure them from
childhood. Their horses, moreover, are so well trained to the various
evolutions of their profession, that animal and rider seem to possess
but one existence.

The life of the Llanero, like that of the Gaucho his prototype, is
singularly interesting, and resembles in many respects that of others
who, like them, have their abode in the midst of extensive plains. Thus
they have been aptly styled the Cossacks and the Arabs of the New World,
with both of whom they have many points in common, but more especially
do they resemble the last named. When visiting the famous Constantine
Gallery of paintings at Versailles, I was struck with the resemblance of
the Algerine heroes of Horace Vernet to our own, revealing at once the
Moorish descent of the latter, independently of other characteristic

     [Sir Francis Head, in his "Journeys across the Pampas," gives
     the following description of the infancy of a closely similar

"Born in the rude hut, the infant Gaucho receives little attention, but
is left to swing from the roof in a bullock's hide, the corners of which
are drawn towards each other by four strips of hide. In the first year
of his life he crawls about without clothes, and I have more than once
seen a mother give a child of this age a sharp knife, a foot long, to
play with. As soon as he walks, his infantine amusements are those which
prepare him for the occupations of his future life; with a lazo made of
twine he tries to catch little birds, or the dogs, as they walk in and
out of the hut. By the time he is four years old he is on horseback,
and immediately becomes useful by assisting to drive the cattle into the

When sufficiently strong to cope with a wild animal, the young Llanero
is taken to the _majada_ or great cattle-pen, and there hoisted upon the
bare back of a fierce young bull. With his face turned towards the
animal's tail, which he holds in lieu of bridle, and his little legs
twisted round the neck of his antagonist, he is whirled round and round
at a furious rate. His position, as may be imagined, is anything but
equestrian; yet, the fear of coming in contact with the bull's horns
compels the rider to hold on until, by a dexterous twist of the animal's
tail while he jumps off its back, he succeeds in overturning his

In proportion as he grows older and stronger, a more manly amusement is
afforded him with the breaking in of a wild colt. This being, however, a
more dangerous experiment, in which many a young eagle "is rendered a
lame duck," he is provided with the necessary accoutrements to withstand
the terrible struggle with the animal. Firmly seated upon his back and
brandishing overhead a _chaparro_ vine for a whip, the apprentice is
thus installed in his new office, from which he must not descend until
the brute is perfectly subdued; the coil of lazo in the hands of his
merciless instructor would be the least evil awaiting him should he
otherwise escape safe and sound from the desperate kicks and plunges of
the horse.

Here commences what we may term the public life of the Llanero; his
education is now considered complete. From this moment all his endeavors
and ambition will be to rival his companions in the display of physical
force, which he shows to an admirable degree when, armed with his tough
lazo, he pursues the wild animals of his domain. If a powerful bull or
wild horse tries to escape into the open plain, the cavalier unfurls the
noose which is always ready by his side, and the fugitive is quickly
brought back to the corral. Should the thong give way under the
impetuous flight of the animal, the rider seizes him by the tail, and
whirling round suddenly, pulls towards him with so much force as to
cause his immediate overthrow.

In all these exercises the roving cavalier of the Llanos acquires that
feeling of security and enduring disposition for which he is famous.
Unfortunately, it is often turned to account in disturbing the balance
of power among his more enlightened countrymen; for he is always ready
to join the first revolutionary movement offering him the best chance
for equipping himself with arms of all descriptions. Next to the horse,
the Llanero esteems those weapons which give him a superiority over his
fellow-creatures,--viz., a lance, a blunderbuss, and a fine sword. If he
is unprovided with either of these, he considers himself a miserable and
degraded being, and all his efforts will tend to gratify this favorite
vanity even at the risk of his own life. Therefore he goes to war,
because he is sure, if victorious, of finding the battle-field covered
with these tempting trophies of his ambition. In this, unfortunately, he
is too often encouraged by a host of unprincipled politicians, who, not
wishing to earn a livelihood by fair means, are eternally plotting
against the powers that be.



     [The author of the following selection, with his father, was
     sent in 1867, by the Minister of Public Works at Rio Janeiro,
     to explore the Madeira, and to project a railroad along its
     banks where the rapids rendered navigation impossible. His
     observations during this journey are given in "The Amazon and
     Madeira Rivers," from which we extract his remarks concerning
     the Brazilian forests.]

Everywhere the decomposing organisms serve as bases for new formations.
No particle, however small, is ever lost in the great household of
Nature; but nowhere is her restless activity so conspicuous as in the
tropics, where the succession of vegetable decay and life is so much
more rapid than it is in colder climes; and which will strike the
reflecting student more especially in the wide, forest-clad valleys of
tropical America, and on the Amazon and its affluents.

On the heights of the Cordillera the process is already at work. The
waste of the mountain-slopes, broken off by rills and torrents, and
carried by them into the main river, slowly drifts down-stream in the
form of gravel-banks, until, scattered and rent asunder in a thousand
ways, it finally takes permanent form as light-green islands, which are
soon covered and protected with a dense coat of vegetation.

As every zone of geologic formation in the extensive valley adds its
tribute, these banks are a kind of mineralogical collection, which shows
samples of all the rocks on the river-banks, with the exception,
perhaps, of light pumice-stone, the produce of the volcanoes of the
Andes, which drifts down-stream in large pieces, and is highly prized by
the Tapuia population (on the lower course) for sharpening and cleaning
their weapons and tools. Even when not picked up by hunter or fisher, it
is not lost. It will be arrested by some snag or projection of the
shore, it will so get embedded in the newly-forming sediment, and
thousands of years hence its silicic acid will afford the necessary
material for the hard glassy bark of a bambusacea, or the sharp edge of
a reed. When the currents are not strong enough to move the larger
banks, they at least carry sand and earth with them, and deposit them as
shoals or new alluvion at less exposed spots....

The undermined concave shores are sometimes a serious danger to the
passing barque, as even the slight ripple of a canoe is sufficient to
bring down the loosely overhanging earth, often covered with gigantic
trunks. These concave sides, with their fallen trees and their clusters
of sinking javary-palms, supported sometimes by only a tangled net-work
of tough lianas, give to the scenery that peculiar character of primeval
wildness which is so charming to foreigners.

When one has climbed up the steep shore, often forming huge terrace-like
elevations, and has safely passed through a labyrinth of interwoven
roots and creepers into the interior of the forest, which is getting
freer from underwood at some distance from the river, he is oppressed
with the sensation of awe and wonder felt by man on entering one of the
venerable edifices of antiquity.

A mysterious twilight encompasses us, which serves to intensify the
radiance of the occasional sunbeam as it falls on a glossy palm-leaf, or
on a large bunch of purple orchid-flowers. Splendid trunks, some of them
from twenty to thirty feet in diameter, rise like so many pillars
supporting the dense green vault of foliage; and every variety of tall,
graceful palms, spare and bushy, and bearing heavy berries of bright
yellow or red, struggle to catch a glimpse of the light, from which they
are shut out by the neighboring giants, of which the figueira (or wild
fig-tree) is one of the most striking, in the dimensions of its crown
and stem, and in the strange shape of its roots, which project like huge
outworks. These seem to grow in all directions, forming props, stays,
and cross-bars wherever they are wanted, just as if the whole were a
soft plastic mass, the sole purpose of which was to supply, with a
minimum of material, as much stability as possible to the trunk, whose
wood is of extreme softness and whose roots are not deep. The
pachiuba-palm (_Iriartea exorhiza_) and some species of Cecropiæ exhibit
other extravagances in their roots. They appear as if standing on
stilts, the real trunks only beginning at eight or ten feet above

But, more than all, it is the profusion of orchids and Bromeliæ that
excites our admiration. These bright children of the tropics envelop
with dense foliage as well the fallen and mouldering trunks as those yet
upstanding in full vigor and bloom, thus forming hanging gardens of
astounding magnificence, which reveal leaves and flowers of the most
irregular shapes and colors. Everywhere, on the branches and on the
ground, and even from out the fissures of the bare rock, light ferns and
rich moss spring up and clothe the decaying trunks with fresh green. Of
mosses and ferns, especially tree-ferns, we found a greater exuberance
and a larger variety, in species as well as in individuals, in the
Southern provinces of the empire, São Paulo and Paraná; but for splendid
palms and gigantic dicotyledons the North is decidedly the richer of the

Without the aid of the pencil it is indeed scarcely possible to give an
adequate idea of the magnificence of this vegetation, especially of the
manner in which the different forms are grouped. We may see, it is true,
in our own hot-houses, well-trimmed palms, beautiful orchids with their
abnormal blossoms, and Aroideæ with their bright, sappy, sometimes
regularly perforated, leaves; but how different is this from the virgin
forest, wherein Nature, undisturbed by man, has created her own
prodigies, and where no narrow pots separate her children from the
maternal soil, and where no dim roof of glass intervenes between them
and the blue ether! Nor, in our carefully tended hot-houses, is the eye
ever gratified with such agreeable contrasts as are afforded by the
silver-gray and rust-brown tints of the decayed leaf of the palm or the
fern-tree, or the black bark of the rotting trunk, with the blazing
scarlet of some heliconia blossom. How difficult it must be to give to
every plant, especially to orchids, the exact quantity of light, warmth,
and moisture it requires, can be understood only by those who have seen
clusters of them hidden in the deep shade of the tree-crowns, while
others are exposed to the scorching rays of the sun in the vicinity of a
river or in some clearer part of the forest; some species thriving on
the bare rock almost, and others clinging fast with their white rootlets
to the moist rotting bark of a tree....

But of far greater importance to the half-civilized riverines than
either palms or orchids, for whose beauties they have no eye, are the
cacao and the caoutchouc-tree (_Siphonia elastica_), products of the
virgin forest essential to the future prosperity of the whole country.

Although India contributes to the supply of caoutchouc, the precious
resin which is transformed into a thousand different shapes every year
in the factories of Europe and North America, and sent to the ends of
the earth, it cannot compete with Brazil, which takes the first place
among the rubber-producing countries, in respect as well of the vastness
of its export of the material as of its superior quality.

On the shores of the Amazon its production, it is true, has already been
diminished by unreasonable treatment of the trees; the idea of replacing
the old ones by young saplings never having presented itself,
apparently, to the mind of the indolent population; but the seringaes,
or woods of rubber-trees, on the banks of the Madeira, the Purús, and
other tributaries of the main river, still continue to furnish
extraordinary quantities of it. The province of Amazon alone exports
more than fifty thousand arrobas (one million six hundred thousand
pounds) yearly, while the total of the exports of the whole basin
slightly exceeds four hundred thousand arrobas, or twelve million eight
hundred thousand pounds, per annum....

Unfortunately, there has not been until now the slightest attempt made
to cultivate this useful tree; and all the caoutchouc exported from Pará
is still obtained from the original seringa groves. The trees of course
suffer, as they naturally would under the best of treatment, from the
repeated tapping and drawing-off of their sap, and the rubber
collectors, therefore, must look about for new groves of the tree in the
unexplored valleys of the more distant interior.

The planting of the _Siphonia elastica_ would be a more profitable
investment, as it yields the precious milk in the comparatively short
space of twenty or twenty-five years; but, under the combined influence
of the indolence of the Mestitzoes and the shortsightedness of the
government, measures to that end will be adopted and carried into effect
only when the rubber exportation shall have diminished with the
destruction of the trees, and when European and North American
manufacturers shall have found out a more or less appropriate substitute
for the too costly resin.

Near the Praia de Tamanduá we acquainted ourselves with all the
particulars respecting the collection and preparation of the caoutchouc
at the cottage of a Bolivian seringueiro, Don Domingo Leigue. As I have
already stated, the Siphonia grows, or at least thrives, only on a soil
wherein its stem is annually submerged by the floods to the height of
three feet or more. The best ground for it, therefore, is the _igapó_,
the lowest and most recent deposit of the river; and there, in the
immediate vicinity of the seringaes, may be seen the low thatches of the
gatherers' huts, wretched hovels mostly, rendered tenantable during the
inundations by the device of raising the floors on wooden piles of
seven feet height, in which the canoe, the seringueiro's indispensable
horse, also finds a protected harbor. Unenviable truly must be the life
of the happy proprietor, who has nothing to do in the seringal during
the wet season, and who then has ample leisure to calculate exactly the
intervals between his fits of ague, and to let himself be devoured by
_carapanás_, _piums_, _motúcas_, and _mucuims_; under which euphonious
names are known some of the most terrible of insect pests.

Narrow paths lead from the cottage, through the dense underwood, to each
separate tree; and, as soon as the dry season sets in, the inmate of the
palace just described betakes himself with his hatchet into the
seringal, to cut little holes in the bark. The milk-white sap
immediately begins to exude into pieces of bamboo tied below, over
little clay cups set under the gashes to prevent their trickling down
the stems. The collector travels thus from trunk to trunk; and, to
facilitate operations, on his return visit he pours the contents of the
bamboos into a large calabash provided with liana straps, which he
empties at home into one of those large turtle-shells so auxiliary to
housekeeping in these regions, serving as they do for troughs, basins,

Without any delay he sets about the smoking process, as the resinous
parts will separate after a while, and the quality of the rubber so
become inferior. An earthen jar, without bottom and with a narrow neck,
is set by way of chimney over a fire of dry urucury, or uauassú
palm-nuts, whose smoke alone, strange to say, has the effect of
instantly coagulating the caoutchouc sap, which, in this state, greatly
resembles rich cow's milk. The workman, sitting beside this "chimney,"
through which roll dense clouds of a smothering white smoke, from a
small calabash pours a little of the milk on a sort of light wooden
shovel, always careful, by proper management of the latter, to
distribute it evenly over the surface. Thrusting the shovel into the
thick smoke over the opening of the jar, he turns it several times to
and fro with great rapidity, when the milk is seen to consolidate and to
take a grayish-yellow tinge.

Thus he puts layer upon layer, until at last the caoutchouc on both
sides of the wood has reached about an inch in thickness, when he thinks
the "plancha" ready. Cutting it on one side, he takes it off the shovel
and suspends it in the sun to dry, as there is always some water between
the several layers, which should, if possible, evaporate. A good workman
is thus able to prepare five or six pounds of solid seringa in an hour.
The plancha, from its initial color of a clear silver-gray, turns
shortly into a yellow, and finally becomes the well-known dark brown of
the rubber, such as it is exported.

The more uniform, the denser and freer of bubbles, the whole mass is
found to be, the better is its quality and the higher the price it
fetches. Almost double the value is obtained for the first-rate article
over that of the most inferior quality, the so-called sernamby or cabeça
de negro (negro's head); which is nothing but the drops collected at the
foot of the trees, with the remains of the milk scraped out of the
bottoms of the calabashes. The rubber of India is said to be much like
this sernamby, and, like it, to be mixed with sand and small pieces of
bark. By way of testing the quality, every plancha is cut through again
at Pará; by which means discovery is made, not only of the bubbles, but
also of any adulteration that might be effected with the milk of the
mangaba, that fine plant with dark glossy leaves, now found so often in
European saloons under the erroneous name of rubber-plant....

The wild cacao, with its large lancet-shaped hanging leaves, and its
cucumber-like fruit springing directly from the stem, is one of the
characteristic features of the _virgem_ [or solid soil] on which it
often forms dense thickets, which are all the more impenetrable that the
boughs--exhibiting frequently at the same time the small reddish flowers
and the ripe golden fruit, in which the seeds lie embedded in a sweet
white marrow--bend to the ground and there take root again.

But the india-rubber and the cacao are not the only treasures worth
collecting in these forests. Even now the export of the Pará nuts, the
fruit of the _Bertholletia excelsa_, yields an annual revenue of two
hundred thousand dollars; and the copaiba oil and the urucú, the seeds
of the _Bixa orellana_, used for dyeing, about one hundred thousand
dollars. These sums seem small enough, it is true, but there are perhaps
a hundred times those values of the rich-flavored nuts rotting unheeded
in the forests, and above a score of other rich oily seeds, at present
collected only for the use of the natives, not to mention several resins
which yield the finest varnishes, plants giving the most brilliant hues,
and others with fibres that would serve not only for the finest
weavings, but also for the strongest ropes; besides about forty of the
most indispensable drugs, all which might become most valuable articles
of export....

Notwithstanding the fertility of tropical vegetation, I doubt whether
any other part of the world, in the same latitude, can offer as great a
number of useful plants as does the Amazon Valley; and now, when
all-transforming steam is about to open up to us this rich emporium,
European industry should take advantage of the hitherto neglected
treasures. What might not be done with the fibres, some of which surpass
our hemp and flax in all respects? The curauá, for example, a sort of
wild pine-apple, gives a delicate transparent flax of a silky lustre,
such as is used in the Philippine Islands, on a large scale, it
appears. It is sold under the name of _palha_ at Rio de Janeiro. The
tucum and the javary would make excellent ropes, cords, nets, etc., well
calculated to resist moisture and rot; and the piassaba, the murity,
etc., would readily supply solid brushes, brooms, hammocks, hats,
baskets, mats; while the snow-white bast of others would give excellent

The lianas or cipós of these countries are, besides their minor uses,
quite indispensable to the half-civilized natives for the construction
of their light cottages, taking the place (as they do) of our nails and
cramp-irons, beams, posts, and rafters. The whole palm-leaf roof is
fastened, and artificially interwoven and intertwined, with tough
creepers of nearly an inch thickness....

In the hot lowlands of the Amazon, in the shade of endless forest, there
is many an herb of mysterious virtue, as yet known only to wild Indian
tribes, while the fame of others has already spread over the ocean. Who
has not heard of the _urary_, or _curare_, the quick arrow-poison which,
in the hands of clever physiologists and physicians, promises not only
to become a valuable drug, but to give us interesting disclosures on the
activity of the nerves?

The wondrous tales of former travellers regarding the preparation of
this urary have been rectified long ago. The venom of snakes is not used
for it, but the juice of the bruised stems and leaves of several kinds
of strychnos and apocyneas is simply boiled over a coal fire, mixed with
tobacco-juice and capsicum (Spanish pepper), and thickened with the
sticky milk of some Euphorbiacea to a hard mass. This manipulation,
moreover, is not undertaken by the old squaws of the tribe, devoting
themselves to a painful death thereby, as the old stories ran, but, as
there is no danger whatever, by the young wives of the warriors, who
look upon it as part of their household duties, or by the men
themselves. There are about eight or ten different poisons of similar,
but not identical, composition and preparation, of which the urary of
the Macusi Indians, and the curare, from Venezuela and New Granada, are
considered the most powerful.

This dark-brown, pitchy substance, usually kept in little earthen pots,
is lightly spread over the points of the weapons,--their long arrows,
their light spears, and the thin wooden shafts, of about a foot long,
which they shoot through immense blow-tubes (_sarabacanas_). Immediately
upon the diffusion in the blood of the slightest portion of the poison,
the limbs, one by one, refuse to work, as if overcome with torpor, while
the mind apparently retains its activity until death ensues, which it
does in a few minutes' time, from palsy of the lungs. It is strange that
only those nerves are affected which regulate the movements depending on
our own will, whereas those movements we cannot control--the beating of
the heart, for example--continue unaltered to the very last. Experiments
made by French physicians upon animals have shown that, if the lungs are
artificially kept in activity for several hours, the poison will be
rejected by natural means, and no bad consequences will ensue. Of late
the principal objection to the employment of the urary in medicine--its
unequal strength--has been completely overcome by the effective
alkaloid--the curarin--being extracted. This is about twenty times as
powerful as the urary, and has been used successfully in the treatment
of tetanus. The Indians shoot birds and monkeys, which they wish to
tame, with very weak curare, rousing them from the lethargy which
overpowers them with large doses of salt or sugar-juice; and this
treatment is said to be very effective, also, in the reduction of their

The guraná, prepared from the fruit of the _Paullinia sorbilis_, is a
hard, chocolate-brown mass, of a slightly bitter taste, and of no smell
whatever. It is usually sold in cylindric pieces of from ten inches to a
foot in length, in which the half-bruised almond-like seeds are still
distinguishable; the more homogeneous and the harder the mass, the
better is its quality. To render it eatable, or rather drinkable, it is
rasped as fine as possible on the rough, bony roof of the mouth of the
_Sudis gigas_ (pirá-rucú), and mixed with a little sugar and water. A
teaspoonful in a cup of warm water is said to be an excellent remedy in
slight attacks of ague.

The taste of this beverage, reminding one slightly of almonds, is very
palatable; still, it scarcely accounts for the passionate liking
entertained for it by the inhabitants of the greater part of South
America. It must be the stimulating effects of the paullinin it contains
(an alkaloid like caffeine and theïne) that render it so indispensable
to those who have been accustomed to it. All the boats that come lightly
freighted with ipecacuanha and deer- or tiger-hides, from Mato Grosso
down the Arinos and the Tapajoz, in face of the considerable cataracts
and rapids of the latter, take their full loads of guaraná at Santarem;
and the heavy boats of the Madeira also convey large quantities of it to
Bolivia; for at Cuyabá, as well as at Santa Cruz de la Sierra and
Cochabamba, there are many who cannot do without their guaraná, for
which they often have to pay thirty francs the pound, and who prefer all
the rigors of fasting to abstinence from their favorite beverage. On the
other hand, the mestizo population on the Amazon, where it is prepared
on a large scale by the half-civilized tribes of the Mauhés and
Mundurucús and sold at about three francs the pound, are not so
passionately attached to it; they rather take coffee and a sort of
coarse chocolate, which they manufacture for themselves.



     [To the extract just made from Keller's "Amazon and Madeira
     Rivers," we add the following, in which an interesting account
     of camp-life in the forest and river regions of Brazil is

The lower course of the Madeira presents, for more than four hundred
and sixty miles, a picture of grand simplicity, and, it must be owned,
monotony, which, magnificent as it appears at first, wearies the eye
and sickens the heart at last,--a dead calm on an unruffled, mirror-like
sheet of water glaring in the sun, and, as far as the eye can reach,
two walls of dark green forest, with the dark-blue firmament above them;
in the foreground, slender palms and gigantic orchid-covered trunks,
with blooming creepers hanging from the wave-worn shore, with its
red earthslips, down into the turbid floods. No hill breaks the
finely-indented line of the foliage, which everywhere bounds the
horizon, only here and there a few palm-covered sheds peep out of the
green; and still more rarely do we sight one of their quiet dark
inmates. Stately kingfishers looking thoughtfully into the river, white
herons standing for hours on one leg, and alligators lying so motionless
at the mouth of some rivulet that their jaggy tails and scarcely
protruding skulls might easily be taken for some half-sunken trunks, are
the only animals to be seen, and certainly they do not increase the
liveliness of the scene. Dreary and monotonous as the landscape, the
days, too, pass in unvaried succession.

With the first dawn of day, before the white mist that hides the smooth
surface of the river has disappeared with the rays of the rising sun,
the day's work begins. The boatswains call their respective crews; the
tents are broken up as quickly as possible; the cooking apparatus, the
hammocks and hides that served as beds, are taken on board, together
with our arms and mathematical instruments, and every one betakes
himself to his post. The _pagaias_ (paddles) are dipped into the water,
and the prows of our heavy boats turn slowly from the shore to the
middle of the stream. Without the loss of a minute, the oars are plied
for three or four hours at a steady but rather quick rate, until a spot
on shore is discovered easy of access and offering a dry fire-place and
some fuel for the preparation of breakfast. If it be on one of the long
sand-banks, a roof is made of one of the sails, that rarely serve for
anything else; if in the wood, the undergrowth, in the shade of some
large tree, is cleared for the reception of our little table and

The functions of the culinary _chef_ for the white faces, limited to the
preparation of a dish of black beans, with some fish or turtle, are
simple enough, but, to be appreciated, certainly require the hearty
appetite acquired by active life in the open air. The Indians have to
cook by turns for their respective boats' crews; their unalterable bill
of fare being a pap of flour of Indian corn or mandioca, with fresh or
dried fish, or a piece of _jacaré_ (alligator).

Most of those who are not busy cooking spend their time preparing new
bast shirts, the material for which is found almost everywhere in the
neighborhood of our halting-places. Soon the wood is alive with the
sound of hatchets and the crack of falling trees; and, even before they
are summoned to breakfast, they return with pieces of a silky bast of
about four and a half yards long and somewhat less than one and a
quarter yard wide. Their implements for shirt-making are of primitive
simplicity,--a heavy wooden hammer with notches, called maceta, and a
round piece of wood to work upon. Continuously beaten with the maceta,
the fibres of the bast become loosened, until the originally hard piece
of wood gets soft and flexible, and about double its former breadth.
After it has been washed, wrung out to remove the sap, and dried in
the sun, it has the appearance of a coarse woollen stuff of a bright
whitish-yellow or light brown, disclosing two main layers of wavy fibres
held together by smaller filaments. A more easily prepared and better
working-garment for a tropical climate is hardly to be found than this,
called cáscara by the Indians of Bolivia, and turury by those of the
Amazon. Its cut is as simple and classical as its material. A hole is
cut in the middle of a piece about ten feet long, to pass the head
through, and the depending skirt is sewn together on both sides, from
below up to the height of the girdle, which usually is a piece of cotton
string or liana.

Another branch of industry our Indians were busy at, in their hours of
leisure, was the fabrication of straw hats, with the young leaves of a
kind of little palm, the same which supplies the excellent hats imported
from Ecuador and Peru, and known in Europe under the name of Chile or
Panama hats. Dexterity at all sorts of wicker-work seems to be innate to
this race; and the prettiest little baskets and the finest mats of
colored palm-leaves are to be bought on the Missions of the Mamoré at
the lowest prices.

[Illustration: A SOUTH SEA ISLAND]

But all these occupations are left at the call of the first mate, who
has the proud title of Capitano. The boats' crews crowd round their
pots, each one receives his allotted portion in a calabash or a basin of
horn, and their spoons of the same material are soon in full activity.
If a jacaré has lately been shot, or caught in a _laço_ (sling), every
one, after roasting his own piece of it on the spit, proceeds to cut
at the large slices of the white meat (which, though in appearance
like fish, is as tough as india-rubber) with the satisfaction usually
produced by three or four hours of hard rowing on view of anything
eatable. One tribe especially, the Canichanas, from the former Mission
of San Pedro at the Mamoré, think roast caiman the finest eating in the
world; while others, the Cayuabas from Exaltacion, and the Mojos from
Trinidad, whose palates are somewhat more refined, prefer beef, fish, or
turtle to the musk-exhaling saurian. Notably the turtles, which are not
found on the Guaporé and Mamoré (they are not met with above the rapids
of the Madeira), are prized by them, though we grew rather tired of
them, and no wonder. On the lower Madeira, at our fires, there was
almost daily going on the cooking of turtles, of all sizes, from the
full-grown one of a yard in length to the smallest of the size of a
hand; and in every variety of preparation, too,--whole, and chopped up
as for soup; stewed; and roasted in their own shell or on the spit.

Bathing in the river, immediately after meals, is a luxury invariably
indulged in by all the Indians; and I never remarked that it was
attended by any evil consequences to them.

After a rest of two hours' duration, the cooking utensils, the hammocks,
and improvised tents were carried on board again, and the voyage
continued. A second halt was made after rowing for two or three hours,
when we came in sight of a good place for fishing, such as the mouth of
some smaller river, or an extensive mud-bank. Such places were usually
recognizable from afar, by the multitude of snow-white herons and of
long caimans, which, finding it out before us, crowded there in peaceful
unity, and with similar intentions. The vicinity of the scaly monsters
is scarcely heeded by the Indians, who fish and take their bath,
laughing and jesting, though somewhat hugging the shore, just as if
there were no such thing as the tail or the tooth of the jacaré in the
world; and, indeed, these creatures are themselves in much greater
danger than the red-skins. When the last steak of alligator has been
consumed, one of the Canichanas is sure to ask leave to have some fun,
and to provide at the same time for their next dinner. Of course the
permission is always granted, as the sport keeps up their spirits and
spares our provisions. Without loss of time, then, one of them, having
carefully fastened a strong loop of raw hide at the end of a long pole,
and having dexterously slipped off his bast shirt, creeps slowly through
the shallow water, pole and sling in hand, as near as possible to the
alligator, which looks on at these preparations with perfect apathy,
only now and then betraying a sign of life by a lazy movement of its
powerful tail. But it does not take its eyes off the Indian as he crawls
nearer and nearer. The fatal sling is at arm's length from its muzzle,
and yet it does not see it. As if under the influence of witchcraft, it
continues to stare with its large protruding eyes at the bold hunter,
who in the next moment has thrown the loop over its head, and suddenly
drawn it to with a strong pull. The other Indians, who the while have
been cowering motionless on shore, now rush into the water to the help
of their companion, and four or five of them land the ugly creature that
with all its might struggles to get back into the water, lashing the
sand with its tail and showing its long teeth; but a few vigorous blows
with an axe on the tail and skull soon render it tame enough. If,
instead of dragging back, the alligator were only to rush forward boldly
to the attack of the Indians, they would, of a certainty, leave pole
and sling and run for their lives; but this bright idea never seems to
occur to the uncouth animal, and the strife always ends with its death.
Though there were more than a dozen of them killed during the voyage, I
never thought of sending a rifle-bullet through the thick skull of one,
except on one occasion, when I was afraid that one of our Canichanas was
about to make too close an acquaintance with the hard, jagged tail of an
extraordinarily strong monster, which measured full sixteen and a half

Even before the huge spoil is cut up, four musk-glands, placed by twos
under its jaw, and on its belly, near the beginning of the tail, must be
carefully taken out, to prevent the diffusion, over the whole body, of
the penetrating odor of the greasy, brown liquid they contain. These
glands, which are about an inch and a half long and as thick as a
finger, are carefully tied up and suspended in the sun to dry. Mixed
with a little rose-water, their contents serve, as we were told, to
perfume the raven-black tresses of the elegant Bolivian ladies at Santa
Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba, in spite of, or rather by reason
of, their strong scent, which gives the headache to all save these
strong-nerved señoritas, who love a bull-fight above everything, who
know how to roll the cigarrito, and to dance the fandango with matchless
grace, but who scarcely are able to write their own names.

After such a pleasant interlude of fishing or hunting, the paddles are
plied with renewed vigor until the evening, when sleeping quarters are
selected, either on a sand-bank or in the forest. The canoes are moored
by strong piassaba ropes in some recess of the bank, where they
are protected against drifting trunks; the tents are erected, and
preparations ensue for the principal meal. Meanwhile, after the very
short interval of twilight usual in the tropics, night almost suddenly
throws her dark veil over the valley, and the bright constellations of
the southern sky in quiet majesty adorn the firmament.

While we prepare to take astronomical observations, half a dozen large
fires are lighted round about, in whose fitful blaze the neighboring
forest-trees appear like huge phantoms, looking contemptuously down on
us, poor tiny mortals. Our Indians warm themselves in the cheerful glow,
smoking, and chatting of the day's adventures, or rather of what are
regarded as such,--unusual good or ill luck at fishing and hunting; the
casual meeting of some canoe; or the sight of a seringueiro's poor
cottage. Work over, they take off the rough cáscara, and put on the
camiseta, a cotton garment without sleeves, resembling a wide poncho
sewn together at the sides, and whose dazzling whiteness is set off by
two scarlet stripes along the seams. The ample folds and the simple cut
of the garment, which is made by the Indian women of the Missions on
very primitive looms, give quite a stately, classical appearance to the
numerous groups round the fires. Such must have been the aspect
presented by the halting-places of those daring seafarers, the
Phoenicians, who were the first to call into life an international
commerce, and whose light-rigged barques first ventured to distant
shores, to bring home the precious amber and the useful tin. Only the
dense swarms of mosquitoes, which set in immediately after sunset,
remind us rather unpleasantly that we are far off from those happy
northern regions, where such a nuisance can hardly be well imagined.
Especially in the dense forest beneath cacao-bushes, or under the
close leafage of the large figueiras, where no breath of air incommodes
those light-winged tormentors, it is quite impossible, for the European
at least, to close an eye without the shelter of a mosquiteiro
(mosquito-net); and we could but wonder at our Indians, most of whom did
without it. After supper they simply spread a hide on the ground, on
which, with no covering other than the starry firmament above them,
they slept undisturbed till the dawn, only occasionally brushing away,
as if by way of diversion, the most obtrusive of the little fiends. The
capitanos only, and one or other of the older rowers, allow themselves
the luxury of good cotton hammocks, which are also made by their wives
in the Missions.

Such, with few variations, was the course of our daily life, until we
reached the regions of the rapids, when, of course, the hundred little
incidents connected with the dragging of the canoes through narrow,
foaming channels, and with carrying the goods and the vessels themselves
overland, disturbed the monotony of this rude forest life.



     [It is to "Three Thousand Miles through Brazil, from Rio de
     Janeiro to Maranhão," by James W. Wells, F.R.G.S., that we
     owe the following exciting example of the perils of a hunter's
     life in the wilds of the tropics. Mr. Wells and his
     fellow-travellers, while journeying up the valley of the Sapão,
     far in interior Brazil, came upon traces of the peccary, an
     animal which, from its fearlessness, and its habit of moving in
     troops, is occasionally a very unsafe creature to meet. What
     followed we shall leave the author to tell.]

We were down in the deep, narrow valley, where the slopes of the
table-land surrounded us like a wall, up which there was no visible
ascent. The tall, rank grass was also littered with boulders of
sandstone and short, gnarled, and distorted cork-trees; it was a
toilsome march for both men and animals, but there, certainly, must be
the head-quarters of all the peccaries of the region, for everywhere the
ground was furrowed and rooted up, the grass trodden down in long
lanes, the pools of water turbid, from their wallowing, and the place
odorous as a rank pigsty; and yet, strange to say, not a pig was to be
seen, fortunately for us; for in such an inconvenient place an attack
from these vicious animals in the numbers they could evidently collect
would have enabled them to take us at great disadvantage.

We pushed on the animals to get out of this pig-set man-trap, and
eventually got clear of the labyrinth on the farther side of the last
feeder of the main morass, and, after some difficulty, found an ascent
on to the _geraes_, where we made a bee-line to the Sapão across the

During the passage of the swamps the Don said,--

"Ah! Senhor Doctor, what a shame to leave such a lovely place; if
you and I were only here to-night, what fun we would have with the
peccaries; but, patience, they will make us a visit to-night, because
of the trail of the dogs."

But neither time nor place would permit of carrying out the Don's
desires, as there was neither water nor pasture for the animals. The
Don's remark about the peccaries paying us a visit is owing to a popular
belief that these animals, when in considerable numbers, will follow a
dog's trail for many miles, and attack and kill him. In fact, it is
customary with the hunters to imitate the barking of a dog to attract
the attention of the pigs, and induce them to collect together and make
an attack; when, the hunters being safely ensconced in trees, the game
is perfectly safe, as the men have only to shoot what they require.

The ground traversed that afternoon was not so free from bush as we had
hitherto found, being in many places thickly covered with dense cerrado
(abounding in immense quantities of the india-rubber-producing
Mangaba-tree), where progress was very slow and difficult, and required
the free use of our wood-knives. After a long and wearisome march, we
reached the valley of the Sapão again, quite eight miles from the
peccaries' haunt.

I found the river valley presented much the same characteristics as we
had found lower down. For the purposes of a railway it is admirable; the
gradients are practically level, and the only works of art required
would be in crossing the many _burity_ swamps that intersect the route,
and these, although numerous, are narrow.

Even the Rio Sapão itself could doubtless be made into a good canal, in
the absence of a railway, for there is plenty of water, and the ground
offers great facilities for straightening its course.

Especial care was taken in preparing the camp that night. The Don and
José superintended the operation of constructing the fort, the sides of
which were further protected by spreading over them the hides used for
covering the packs of the mules. Bush was also cut to make up and
enlarge the defences, and a strong stake was driven into the ground
inside the fort for the purpose of securing the dogs in case the
peccaries arrived. The camp was made on the borders of a clump of trees,
to which we were enabled to sling the hammocks, no one caring to sleep
on terra firma that night, but two of the men who were unprovided with
hammocks spread their hides on the ground inside the fort.

After dinner, of course, peccaries formed the sole subject of
conversation, but hour after hour went by, yet no signs of their
presence appeared; and, after arranging the watches for the night, we
turned in, and with the fatigues of the day I was soon asleep.

It appeared to me, however, that I had barely closed my eyes, when I
felt my hammock violently shaken. It was the Don awakening me, saying,
"Wake up, here are the _porcos_, we are going to have some fun." The
first peculiarity that struck me was the prevalence of the odor of old
pigsties. I sat up, looked around, and listened. The pitchy blackness of
night surrounded us, but the fire, burning brightly, sent its flickering
light upon the tree-trunks, the foliage, and the hammocks; two men were
in the fort with gun and knife in hand, and the dogs tied to their stake
were with difficulty kept quiet, and vented their excitement in deep
growls. As I listened it became evident that we were surrounded by some
animals, for in many directions was heard, in the stillness of night,
the sound of bodies moving through the bush, twigs snapping, grass
rustling, etc. It was a moment of suspense, but not for long; for
suddenly, from all around us, came a blood-curdling sound of the
simultaneous snapping of teeth from vast numbers of the enemy, followed
by the appearance of a crowd of charging black animals, rushing with
wonderful speed towards a common centre, the fort. We in the hammocks
each lighted a coil of wax tapers that were prepared ready for the

And what a scene ensued! the fire was rapidly scattered, and partly
extinguished; under and around us was a seething mass of black
peccaries, barely distinguishable in the dim light, but all pushing and
struggling to the front; the men in the fort had discharged their
weapons, and were hard at work, hacking and thrusting at the peccaries
as they endeavored to swarm up the smooth surface of the hides that
covered the sides of the fort. The men in the hammocks, after
discharging their guns, reached down and slashed with their knives at
the swarming animals below them.

The attack was more like the wild, reckless bravery of the Arabs of the
Soudan, for as pig after pig fell squealing and disabled, scores more
struggled for his place. The faint light of the tapers and the partly
extinguished fire served but to dimly illuminate the elements of the
strange, noisy, wildly weird scene; the trunks of the surrounding trees
and their foliage; the swinging hammocks with their occupants reaching
downward, cutting and thrusting with their long, gleaming knives; the
dim figures of the men in the _trincheria_, repelling with shouts and
thrusts the swarming enemy; the wild, rushing, charging forms of the
black bodies of the peccaries, as in great numbers they threw themselves
against the fort, regardless of being struck down one after the other,
and always impelled forward by those in the rear struggling to the
front; others made ineffectual attempts to reach our hammocks or
viciously gashed the trees that gave us support; the extremely
disagreeable and nauseous odors of the animals, their snapping of teeth,
like musketry file-firing, the reports of the firearms, the shouts of
the men, the howling and barking of the dogs, and the dim light, created
an indescribably strange and exciting scene. Every bullet of my revolver
took effect. I shouted to the men to reserve their fire, and fire
volleys, but it was like talking in a gale of wind at sea.

In spite of all efforts, still the battle raged. The animals appeared to
be in immense numbers, for, as far as the faint light would permit, the
ground was seen covered with their moving bodies, rushing, struggling,
the strongest beating down the weakest, grunting, squealing, and
snapping their teeth; and noticeable above everything was the abominable
exhalations from their bodies, an odor like a combination of rank butter
and garlic.

I was getting anxious not only for my baggage, but for the men behind
the fort, who had to cut and thrust like madmen; the excitement was
intense. The strong raw hides were ripped up as though slashed with a
sharp knife, and the bags of beans and farinha were freely streaming
their contents on the ground from innumerable rippings from the keen
sharp tusks.

Although we in the hammocks were quite safe, the fort was trembling;
many of the saddles and bags had been displaced by the sheer pressure of
the enemy. Our few miserable firearms appeared to have no more effect
than so many pop-guns, although the ground was becoming strewn with the
bodies of the slain and disabled. At last I succeeded in getting the men
in the hammocks to fire volleys at a given place, and after a time this
appeared to have an effect, for as suddenly as the attack commenced, so
it ceased; and the animals withdrew simultaneously and in silence.

The Don (his voice chuckling with glee) called to us to get ready again,
as they would probably return. "Ah!" said he to me, in a low voice,
"what a splendid time we are having!" I thought, however, of the men in
the fort, one of whom was stanching blood from his wrist. I told the Don
to go and reinforce them; but suddenly the Don became very deaf; he was
very snug in his hammock and really could not hear me; but José, like a
good fellow, got out, ran for the fort, jumped in, and helped the men to
make good the damages. We could still hear the pigs in the bush, and
presently, without a moment's warning, we again heard that diabolical
crash of teeth from a complete circle around us, followed immediately by
another wild charge, and the battle was again renewed with all its
excitement; but then, after the first flush of excitement, we became
cooler, and José in the fort was a host in himself; this attack was of
much shorter duration, and the enemy once more suddenly retreated. In
the pause that then ensued I thought of Rodrigues, as it then occurred
to me that I had not hitherto noticed him; his hammock was quite still,
and its edges drawn together over his body, that formed a round,
ball-like protuberance in the centre. I saw it all, and could picture
the poor terror-stricken man, coiled up, with blanched face and bated
breath and making himself as small as possible. The men in the fort had
behaved very pluckily.

Six or seven other attacks eventually followed, but each one became
weaker, and at intervals between of longer duration. The eventful night
seemed interminable, and finally it was not until near daybreak that we
heard the last grunt.

At the first lights of gray dawn José proposed to reconnoitre, and went
off for the purpose. At first he proceeded very gingerly from tree to
tree. I proposed to myself to go also, but just at that moment I had a
fellow-feeling for the Don's deafness, and thought what a comfortable
place a hammock was, and that really I could do no good; and further I
remembered that generals should always occupy high, commanding
positions; every one was chary of moving from their places of security.

José soon afterwards returned, and reported that the enemy had finally

Thoughts of the horses and mules then occurred to us, and we anxiously
awaited their arrival, for they had acquired the habit of appearing in
camp of their own accord in the early morning for their matutinal feed
of corn. Thankfully I saw three or four soon after arrive, but two men
had to go for the others, that were fortunately found browsing on a
plentiful supply of the shoots of young bamboos. Happily the animals had
been pasturing in a direction opposite to that from whence the peccaries
came, otherwise there would have been a stampede.

Almost the first thing the men did after the final retreat of the
peccaries was to slash the skin on the top of the loins of the defunct
enemy, and extract the gland that creates the disgusting odor peculiar
to these animals; for if not extracted soon after death, it taints the
flesh to such an extent as to render it uneatable except by Indians, who
do not object to any flavor, and eat all their animal food cooked on the
same principle as a European cook prepares a woodcock. There were
twenty-seven dead pigs found in and about the camp, and also several
wounded, to whom it was necessary to give the _coup de grâce_. The
wounds were mostly from the knives and small axes, but a very
considerable number of the wounded must have got away to recover, or
linger unfortunately in pain.

Six of the plumpest were selected for drying and salting, the
preparations for which, and also to repair the damages done to the bags
of provisions, delayed our departure for some time.

An examination of these animals showed them to be a species of peccary
resembling that known as the _Dicotyles labiatus_, but an essential
difference was noticeable in the absence of the white lips that give the
name to that species; our enemies had black snouts and dark lips,
otherwise they corresponded in other points.

They had four incisors on the upper jaw, and six molars on each side
above and below; while the tusks, although smaller than a pig's, are
much finer and sharper, inclined slightly backward, and closely overlap
each other. Some of the bodies of the animals measured thirty-six inches
in length. They are more slender in build than the common pig, and
covered with long, stiff bristles, colored with alternate rings of gray,
light-brown, and black. These colors vary with the size and age of the
animals, and as either one predominates, they cause the animal to appear
either brown, gray, or black; the largest we found was almost entirely
black, whereas the smallest had quite a brown appearance.

During the battle I could not help noticing the apparent method of
their movements, as though they were led by chiefs. It appears that
their mode of attack on such an occasion as they favored us with is to
surround in silence, by a complete circle, the object to be stormed;
when, at a given signal, a simultaneous snapping of teeth takes place,
followed by a general converging rush to the centre, whereby the largest
and strongest reach the front first, and the smallest bring up the rear;
their retreat is carried out on an equally methodical system. There is a
small, red species known by the Guarany name of _caëitatu_;[B] our
friends are known by the Brazilian cognomen of _queixadas_, or _porcos
de matto_.

[Footnote B: _Dicotyles torquatos._]

From what I had witnessed during the past night, I can quite understand
how these courageous animals in large numbers are capable of surrounding
and destroying a powerful jaguar; and if my dog Feroz had fallen among
them, he would doubtless have made a brave fight, but he would not have
had the slightest chance of escape, and fortunately for us the ropes of
the hammocks did not break, as hammock-strings will sometimes do at
untoward moments, otherwise I should not be here now to tell this tale.

But now, from the camp-fire, comes the odor of roast peccary, for parts
of them were already roasting for breakfast, and emitting a vastly more
acceptable odor to what they did when alive. When ready, it is needless
to say that, after the long night and in the keen, dewy morning air, how
appreciated were our visitors when cooked, and there was not the
slightest trace of the objectionable odor.

     [Shortly afterwards the hunters met another tenant of the
     Brazilian wilds.]

As several peccaries had crossed our path lately, José and the Don cut
three long straight bamboos; to the ends of each we fastened our
sharp-pointed knives, for the purpose of pig-sticking. But the first use
we had for our lances was for a different animal; our dogs had suddenly
disappeared into the tall grass, barking loudly, and a few moments
afterwards a huge ant-bear came rolling out into the open semi-marsh
land, followed by the dogs; it went at a good pace, but with most
extraordinary and ludicrous movements. It became then very interesting
to watch the sagacity of the dogs, as they hung well on to his rear,
trying to seize only the tail of the animal, and keeping well out of
reach of his powerful fore-legs armed with tremendous claws. The dogs,
however, were evidently losing their caution and getting closer, and the
cumbersome beast had already made some particularly rapid blows in
attempting to rip the dogs. Fearing a possible disaster to my faithful
Feroz, we galloped on, but it is amazing the speed these cumbersome
ant-bears can develop. We had to put our animals to their sharpest paces
to come up with the quarry, when we had the opportunity of fleshing our
lances. The bear died hard, lying on its back and striking out with its
fore-legs. The men cut portions of the flesh to eat, but when afterwards
prepared, I found it too strongly flavored with formic acid to be
agreeable, and the dogs refused it.

It then occurred to me that the incident of the discovery by the Don of
the robbery of a bees'-nest some days ago might possibly be explained by
it having been taken by an ant-bear, and not by a prowling stranger as
he supposed.

     [The hunt of the ant-bear was followed a few days afterwards by
     a peccary-hunt, which proved a much less safe occupation.]

A little farther on, in a wide shallow depression, was our host's
favorite hunting-ground (where he had often found considerable
quantities of peccaries), an immense _burityzal_ that extended
apparently from the Chapadas to the Rio Preto.

We halted at José's request and listened, and soon distinctly heard the
grunt of the _porcos_ among the _buritys_, where they feed on the fruits
of the palms that form their favorite food.

Leaving the horses fastened to the trees of a thin _cerrado_ that
covered the sloping ground of the borders of the swamps, and haversacks,
_ponchos_, and other _impedimenta_ suspended to the branches, we
advanced to the attack.

I confess to a feeling of trepidation and a certain bumping of the heart
as we were about to leave the borders of the convenient trees so easy
and apparently purposely constructed for a human retreat from the
peccaries, but at that moment a troop of some dozen of them emerged from
the jungle of the swamp out into the open marshy land, and disappeared
into the adjoining tall grass.

Three of the sons of José, with Antonio, Bob, and José Grosso, started
at a run to cut off their retreat, and soon disappeared amidst the tall
grass a little lower down the hill. After a few moments of suspense, we
heard reports of guns, and shouts to us to look out; at the same time
another troop of peccaries appeared on the open marshes, and followed
the tracks of the others. The grass became agitated by the movements of
the animals, and they soon afterwards entered the more open ground of
the _cerrado_ where we were waiting, pursued by the five men; we all
fired, but as the range was long, there was not much execution. The
animals, about forty in number, now suddenly halted and faced their
pursuers with vicious little stampings of feet and snapping of teeth,
and suddenly charged down upon the men and upon ourselves. Never was
such gymnastic agility displayed as in the way that each of us rushed
for, and scurried up, the nearest trees, many dropping their guns or
knives in their hurry.

José and his sons were the coolest, especially the old man, who, perhaps
a little too stiff for climbing, calmly placed his back against a tree,
clasped it with his left hand, and leaning forward in a semi-stooping
posture, with his long _facão_ at the ready, awaited the furious charge.

How gallantly they come sweeping along with their muzzles well down, but
within a few feet of our trees they suddenly halt, and, snapping their
tusks, make short plunging charges. I had found a comfortable perch up a
short gnarled tree, and taking careful aim at the peccaries near me, I
knocked over three of them in five shots from my revolver.

They were charging José's legs at close quarters, but his long, keen,
sharp pointed knife flashes quickly as he rapidly delivers cuts and
thrusts with telling effect. The other men, safely ensconced in the
trees, have made good shots, but before any of us can reload the
peccaries scamper away. All of us quickly descend from our perches and
rush after the retreating animals, loading our guns as we run, but our
brave foes suddenly halt and face us with a look of defiance, and again
make a gallant charge. How ignominious we appeared as we in our turn
beat a hurried retreat to the nearest trees, where, not having time or
finding conveniences for a climb, we were forced to imitate José's
example and face the enemy with knives; but the peccaries, after a
momentary pause, dashed onward and disappeared amidst the tall grass of
the borders of the swamps, crossed the marshes, and entered the jungle
of the _buritys_.

Although the whole thing happened within a few moments, there were quite
enough elements of danger to spice the sport, for, if in making our
retreat any of us had stumbled and fallen, the consequences must have
been serious, if not fatal. I prefer the pig sticking on mule-back with
our extemporized spears. We gave the _coup de grâce_ to the wounded, but
many got away only partially damaged. We found our bag amounted to ten
pigs, all in excellent condition.

As José and his sons were anxious for another tussle, we proceeded up
the valley, and soon saw here and there a solitary grunter outside the
growth of palms and aquatic vegetation of the swamps; and frequent
grunts, heard amidst the groves, indicated the presence of considerable
numbers of our foes.

A little farther on, a spit of firm land, only covered with short grass,
extended to near the groves, but no one cared to venture so far from the
friendly sanctuary of the trees and possibly meet a huge anaconda coiled
up in the swamp.

José Grosso and one of our host's sons now returned to remain with the
animals, whilst we proceeded a little farther on in quest of a stray
peccary. We walked about a mile, but found not what we hoped for; but on
returning some peccaries were seen straying towards the hills in twos or
threes, homeward-bound to their lairs in the dells and grottos of the
sources of streams at the foot of the bluffs of the Chapadas. We worked
our way amidst the trees, and eventually obtained a few long shots, and
succeeded in bagging two more.

It became a question whether we should pursue our journey to enable me
to take my notes, and camp out and have another probable night-attack of
peccaries, or return to Mato Grande. I thought a night of peace and
quietness preferable, although perhaps very unsportsmanlike, and so we
wended our way homeward.

It is rather unusual that these peccaries make such a brave fight in
daylight, but it was chiefly owing to their accidentally finding
themselves in such considerable numbers on this occasion, as they are
commonly scattered over their feeding-grounds in very small parties
during the day, and return to a common haunt at night, whence they sally
out in immense numbers upon any foe that trespasses upon their
neighborhood, like when they tracked our dogs in the Sapão.



     [Among travellers there have been few more ardent and
     enterprising than the woman from whose writings our present
     selection is made. Ida Pfeiffer was born in Vienna about 1795,
     married, brought up and educated her two sons, and in 1842,
     when nearly fifty years of age, set out on a series of travels
     which she had long contemplated, and in which she spent the
     succeeding ten years. After a series of travels in Asia Minor,
     Scandinavia, and Iceland, she set out in 1846 on a tour of the
     world, which was not accomplished without great hardships and
     dangers. In 1851 she entered on a second journey around the
     world, visiting various new countries. She died in 1858. From
     her "A Woman's Journey round the World" we select the following
     thrilling experience. She had set out from Rio Janeiro, in
     company with Count Berchthold, on an excursion to Petropolis,
     a German colony in the vicinity. Suddenly, in a lonely spot, a
     negro sprang out upon them, knife and lasso in hand, indicating
     by gestures that he intended to murder them and drag their
     bodies into the forest. She gives a vivid description of what

We had no arms, as we had been told that the road was perfectly safe,
and the only weapons of defence which we possessed were our parasols, if
I except a clasp-knife, which I instantly drew out of my pocket and
opened, fully determined to sell my life as dearly as possible. We
parried our adversary's blows as long as we could with our parasols,
but these lasted but a short time; besides, he caught hold of mine,
which, as we were struggling for it, broke short off, leaving only a
piece of the handle in my hand. In the struggle, however, he dropped his
knife, which rolled a few steps from him; I instantly made a dash, and
thought I had got it, when he, more quick than I, thrust me away with
his feet and hands, and once more obtained possession of it. He waved it
furiously over my head, and dealt me two wounds, a thrust and a deep
gash, both in the upper part of the left arm; I thought I was lost, and
despair alone gave me the courage to use my own knife. I made a thrust
at his breast; this he warded off, and I only succeeded in wounding him
severely in the hand. The Count sprang forward and seized the fellow
from behind, and thus afforded me an opportunity of raising myself from
the ground. The whole affair had not taken more than a few seconds.

The negro's fury was now roused to its highest pitch by the wounds he
had received. He gnashed his teeth at us like a wild beast, and
flourished his knife with frightful rapidity. The Count, in his turn,
had received a cut right across the hand, and we had been irrevocably
lost, had not Providence sent us assistance. We heard the tramp of
horses' hoofs upon the road, upon which the negro instantly left us and
sprang into the wood. Immediately afterwards two horsemen turned a
corner of the road, and we hurried towards them; our wounds, which were
bleeding freely, and the way in which our parasols were hacked, soon
made them understand the state of affairs. They asked us which direction
the fugitive had taken, and, springing from their horses, hurried after
him; their efforts, however, would have been fruitless, if two negroes,
who were coming from the opposite side, had not helped them. As it was,
the fellow was soon captured.

He was pinioned, and, as he would not walk, severely beaten, most of the
blows being dealt upon the head, so that I feared the poor fellow's
skull would be broken. In spite of this, he never moved a muscle, and
lay, as if insensible to feeling, upon the ground. The two other negroes
were obliged to seize hold of him, when he endeavored to bite every one
within his reach like a wild beast, and carry him to the nearest house.
Our preservers, as well as the Count and myself, accompanied them. We
then had our wounds dressed, and afterwards continued our journey, not,
it is true, entirely devoid of fear, especially when we met one or more
negroes, but without any further mishap, and with a continually
increasing admiration of the beautiful scenery.

     [The negro was supposed to be either drunk or insane, but it
     proved that he had been punished by his master for some
     offence, and took that mode to obtain revenge. Madame Pfeiffer
     penetrated the Brazilian forests, and thus describes the
     aboriginal savages.]

On a small space, under lofty trees, five huts, or rather sheds, formed
of leaves, were erected, eighteen feet long by twelve feet broad. The
frames were formed of four poles stuck in the ground, with another
reaching across, and the roof of palm-leaves, through which the rain
could penetrate with the utmost facility. On three sides these bowers
were entirely open. In the interior hung a hammock or two, and on the
ground glimmered a little fire, under a heap of ashes, in which a few
roots, Indian corn, and bananas were roasting. In one corner, under the
roof, a small supply of provisions was hoarded up, and a few gourds were
scattered around; these are used by the savages instead of plates, pots,
water-jugs, etc. The long-bows and arrows, which constitute their only
weapons, were leaning in the background against the wall.

I found the Indians still more ugly than the negroes. Their complexion
is a light bronze, they are stunted in stature, well-knit, and about the
middle size. They have broad and somewhat compressed features, and
thick, coal-black hair, hanging straight down, which the women sometimes
wear in plaits, fastened to the back of the head, and sometimes falling
down loose about them. Their forehead is broad and low, the nose
somewhat flattened, the eyes long and narrow, almost like those of the
Chinese, and the mouth large, with rather thick lips. To give a still
greater effect to all these various charms, a peculiar look of stupidity
is spread over the whole face, and is more especially to be attributed
to the way in which their mouths are always kept open. Most of them,
both men and women, were tattooed with a reddish or blue color, though
only round the mouth, in the form of a moustache. Both sexes are
passionately fond of smoking, and prefer brandy to everything. Their
dress was composed of a few rags, which they had fastened round their

The good creatures offered me the best hut they possessed, and invited
me to pass the night there. Being rather fatigued by the toilsome nature
of my journey on foot, the heat, and the hunting-excursion, I very
joyfully accepted their proposition; the day, too, was drawing to a
close, and I should not have been able to reach the settlement of the
whites before night. I therefore spread out my cloak upon the ground,
arranged a log of wood so as to serve instead of a pillow, and for the
present seated myself upon my splendid couch. In the mean while my hosts
were preparing the monkey and the parrots, by sticking them on wooden
spits and roasting them before the fire.

In order to render the meal a peculiarly dainty one, they also buried
some Indian corn and roots in the cinders. They then gathered a few
large fresh leaves off the trees, tore the roasted ape into several
pieces with their hands, and, placing a large portion of it, as well as
a parrot, Indian corn, and some roots, upon the leaves, put it before
me. My appetite was tremendous, seeing that I had tasted nothing since
the morning. I therefore immediately fell to upon the roasted monkey,
which I found superlatively delicious; the flesh of the parrot was far
from being so tender and palatable.

     [As we have begun this selection with a perilous adventure of
     our lady traveller, some other perils encountered by her in
     other parts of the world may fitly close it. The following
     experience in a tiger-hunt took place in India, during an
     excursion to the rock temples of Ellora.]

I had scarcely left the gates of the town behind, when I perceived a
number of Europeans seated upon elephants, coming from the bungalow. On
meeting each other we pulled up and commenced a conversation. The
gentlemen were on the road to search for a tiger-lair, of which they had
received intimation, and invited me, if such a sport would not frighten
me too much, to take part in it. I was greatly delighted to receive the
invitation, and was soon seated on one of the elephants, in a howdah
about two feet high, in which there were already two gentlemen and a
native,--the latter had been brought to load the guns. They gave me a
large knife to defend myself, in case the animal should spring too high
and reach the side of the howdah. Thus prepared, we approached the chain
of hills, and after a few hours we were already pretty near the lair of
the tigers, when our servants cried out softly, "_Bach, Bach!_" and
pointed with their fingers to some brushwood.

I had scarcely perceived the flaming eyes which glared out of one of
the bushes before shots were fired. Several balls took effect upon
the animal, who rushed, maddened, upon us. He made such tremendous
springs, that I thought every moment he must reach the howdah, and
select a victim from among us. The sight was terrible to see, and
my apprehensions were increased by the appearance of another tiger;
however, I kept myself so calm, that none of the gentlemen had any
suspicion of what was going on in my mind. Shot followed shot; the
elephants defended their trunks with great dexterity by throwing them
up or drawing them in. After a sharp contest of half an hour, we were
the victors, and the dead animals were triumphantly stripped of their
beautiful skins. The gentlemen politely offered me one of them as a
present; but I declined accepting it, as I could not postpone my journey
sufficiently long for it to be dried.

     [Madame Pfeiffer had a courage and presence of mind in
     dangerous and difficult situations which often served her in
     good stead. Certainly it needed no slight courage to undertake
     the adventure described in our next selection, a journey among
     the cannibal Battakers of Sumatra. In 1835 two American
     missionaries had been killed and eaten by them, and such a
     journey without a military escort seemed foolhardy. But she
     persisted, and reached a village on the borders of the Battaker
     territory July 19, 1852. Here she sent for the regents of the
     neighboring villages.]

In the evening we sat in solemn conclave surrounded by regents, and by a
great crowd of the people, for it had been noised abroad far and wide
that here was a white woman who was about to venture into the dreaded
country of the wild Battakers. Regents and people all concurred in
advising me to renounce so perilous a project; but I had tolerably made
up my mind on this point, and I only wanted to be satisfied as to one
thing,--namely, whether it was true, as many travellers asserted, that
the Battakers did not put their victims out of their pain at once, but
tied them living to stakes, and, cutting pieces off them, consumed them
by degrees with tobacco and salt.

The idea of this slow torture did a little frighten me; but my bearers
assured me, with one accord, that this was only done to those who were
regarded as criminals of a deep dye, and who had been on that account
condemned to death. Prisoners of war are tied to a tree and beheaded at
once; but the blood is carefully preserved for drinking, and sometimes
made into a kind of pudding with boiled rice. The body is then
distributed; the ears, the nose, and the soles of the feet are the
exclusive property of the rajah, who has besides a claim on other
portions. The palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, the flesh of
the head, and the heart and liver, are reckoned peculiar delicacies, and
the flesh in general is roasted and eaten with salt. The regents assured
me, with a certain air of relish, that it was very good food, and that
they had not the least objection to eat it. The women are not allowed to
take part in these grand public dinners. A kind of medicinal virtue is
ascribed to trees to which prisoners have been tied when they have been
put to death, and the stem is usually cut into sticks five or six feet
long, carved into figures or arabesques, and decorated with human hair;
and these sticks are taken in hand by people who go to visit the sick,
or when any medicine is to be given.

     [Despite this gruesome warning, the daring woman continued her
     journey, and prosecuted it until the 13th of August, when she
     found herself in the most imminent peril.]

More than eighty armed men stood in the pathway and barred our passage,
and before we were aware of it, their spearmen had formed a circle
around me and shut me in, looking the while indescribably terrible and
savage. They were tall robust men, fully six feet high; their features
showed the most violent agitation, and their huge mouths and projecting
teeth had really more resemblance to the jaws of a wild beast than to
anything human. They yelled and made a dreadful noise about me, and had
I not been in some measure familiar with such scenes, I should have felt
sure that my last hour was at hand.

I was really uneasy, however: the scene was too frightful; but I never
lost my presence of mind. At first I sat down on a stone that lay near,
endeavoring to look as composed and confident as I could; but some
rajahs then came up to me with very threatening looks and gestures, and
gave me clearly to understand that if I did not turn back they would
kill and eat me. Their words, indeed, I did not comprehend, but their
action left no manner of doubt, for they pointed with their knives to my
throat, and gnashed their teeth at my arm, moving their jaws then as if
they already had them full of my flesh.

Of course, when I thought of coming among the wild Battakers, I had
anticipated something of this sort, and I had therefore studied a little
speech in their language for such an occasion. I knew if I could say
anything that would amuse them, and perhaps make them laugh, I would
have a great advantage over them, for savages are quite like children,
and the merest trifle will often make them friends. I got up, therefore,
and patting one of the most violent, who stood next me, upon the
shoulder in a friendly manner, said, with smiling face, in a jargon half
Malay and half Battaker, "Why, you don't mean to say you would kill and
eat a woman, especially such an old one as I am! I must be very hard and
tough!" And I also gave them by signs and words to understand that I was
not at all afraid of them, and was ready, if they liked, to send back my
guide, if they would only take me as far as the _Eier-Tau_.

Fortunately for me, the doubtless very odd way in which I pronounced
their language, and my pantomime, diverted them, and they began to
laugh. Perhaps, also, the fearless confidence which I manifested made a
good impression; they offered me their hands, the circle of spearmen
opened, and, rejoicing not a little at having escaped this danger, I
journeyed on, and reached in perfect safety a place called Tugala, where
the rajah received me into his house.



     [The "Naturalist in the Amazons" of Henry Walter Bates is a
     work that has long held a deserved reputation for the closeness
     and accuracy of its observations and the interest of its
     narrative. The author, born at Leicester, England, in 1825,
     accompanied the noted biologist, Alfred Russel Wallace, to
     Brazil, the story of which journey is given in the work cited.
     From it we extract some passages concerning the animal life of
     that country, embracing the doings of the "leaf-cutting" ants
     and the monkeys. Our selections begin in the suburbs of Pará.]

In the gardens numbers of fine showy butterflies were seen. There were
two swallow-tailed species, similar in colors to the English _Papilio
machaon_, a white Pieris (_P. monuste_), and two or three species of
brimstone- and orange-colored butterflies, which do not belong, however,
to the same genus as our English species. In weedy places a beautiful
butterfly with eye-like spots on its wings was common, the _Junonia
lavinia_, the only Amazonian species which is at all nearly related to
our Vanessas, the Admiral and Peacock butterflies.

One day we made our first acquaintance with two of the most beautiful
productions of nature in this department,--namely, the _Helicopis
cupido_ and _endymion_. A little beyond our house one of the narrow
green lanes which I have already mentioned diverged from the mongabu
avenue, and led between enclosures overrun with a profusion of creeping
plants and glorious flowers down to a moist hollow, where there was a
public well and a picturesque nook, buried in a grove of mucajá
palm-trees. On the tree-trunks, walls, and palings grew a great quantity
of climbing Pothos plants, with large, glossy, heart-shaped leaves.
These plants were the resort of these two exquisite species, and we
captured a great number of specimens. They are of extremely delicate
texture. The wings are cream-colored; the hind pair have several
tail-like appendages, and are spangled beneath as if with silver. Their
flight is very slow and feeble; they seek the protected under surface of
the leaves, and in repose close their wings over the back, so as to
expose the brilliantly spotted under surface.

I will pass over the many orders and families of insects, and proceed at
once to the ants. These were in great numbers everywhere, but I will
mention here only two kinds. We were amazed at seeing ants an inch and a
quarter in length, and stout in proportion, marching in single file
through the thickets. These belonged to the species called _Dinoponera
grandis_. Its colonies consist of a small number of individuals, and are
established about the roots of slender trees. It is a stinging species,
but the sting is not so severe as in many of the smaller kinds. There
was nothing peculiar or attractive in the habits of this giant among the
ants. Another far more interesting species was the Saüba (_Oecodoma
cephalotes_). This ant is seen everywhere about the suburbs, marching to
and fro in broad columns. From its habit of despoiling the most valuable
cultivated trees of their foliage, it is a great scourge to the
Brazilians. In some districts it is so abundant that agriculture is
almost impossible, and everywhere complaints are heard of the terrible

In our first walks we were puzzled to account for large mounds of earth,
of a different color from the surrounding soil, which were thrown up in
the plantations and woods. Some of them were very extensive, being forty
yards in circumference, but not more than two feet in height. We soon
ascertained that these were the work of the Saübas, being the outworks
or domes which overlie and protect the entrances to their vast
subterranean galleries. On close examination I found the earth of which
they are composed to consist of very minute granules, agglomerated
with cement, and forming many rows of little ridges and turrets. The
difference in color from the superficial soil of the vicinity is owing
to their being formed of the under-soil, brought up from a considerable

It is very rarely that the ants are seen at work on these mounds; the
entrances seem to be generally closed; only now and then, when some
particular work is going on, are the galleries opened. The entrances are
small and numerous; in the larger hillocks it would require a great
amount of excavation to get at the main galleries; but I succeeded in
removing portions of the dome in smaller hillocks, and then I found that
the minor entrances converged, at the depth of about two feet, to one
broad, elaborately worked gallery or mine, which was four or five inches
in diameter.

The habit in the Saüba ant of clipping and carrying away immense
quantities of leaves has long been recorded in books on natural history.
When employed on this work their processions look like a multitude of
animated leaves on the march. In some places I found an accumulation of
such leaves, all circular pieces, about the size of a sixpence, lying on
the pathway, unattended by ants, and at some distance from the colony.
Such heaps are always found to be removed when the place is revisited
the next day. In course of time I had plenty of opportunities of seeing
them at work. They mount the trees in multitudes, the individuals being
all worker-miners. Each one places itself on the surface of a leaf, and
cuts with its sharp, scissor-like jaws, and by a sharp jerk detaches the
piece. Sometimes they let the leaf drop to the ground, where a little
heap accumulates until carried away by another relay of workers; but
generally each marches off with the piece it has operated upon, and, as
all take the same road to their colony, the path they follow becomes in
a short time smooth and bare, looking like the impression of a
cart-wheel through the herbage.

It is a most interesting sight to see the vast host of busy diminutive
laborers occupied on this work. Unfortunately, they choose cultivated
trees for their purpose. This ant is quite peculiar to tropical America,
as is the entire genus to which it belongs. It sometimes despoils the
young trees of species growing wild in its native forests; but it seems
to prefer, when within reach, plants imported from other countries, such
as the coffee- and orange-trees.... The heavily-laden workers, each
carrying its segment of leaf vertically, the lower edge secured in its
mandibles, troop up and cast their burdens on the hillock; another relay
of laborers place the leaves in position, covering them with a layer of
earthy granules, which are brought one by one from the soil beneath.

The underground abodes of this wonderful ant are known to be very
extensive. The Rev. Hamlet Clark has related that the Saüba of Rio de
Janeiro, a species closely allied to ours, has excavated a tunnel under
the bed of the river Parahyba at a place where it is as broad as the
Thames at London Bridge. At the Magoary rice-mills, near Pará, these
ants once pierced the embankment of a large reservoir; the great body
of water which it contained escaped before the damage could be repaired.
In the Botanic Gardens at Pará an enterprising French gardener tried all
he could think of to extirpate the Saüba. With this object he made fires
over some of the main entrances to their colonies, and blew the fumes of
sulphur down the galleries by means of bellows. I saw the smoke issue
from a great number of outlets, one of which was seventy yards distant
from the place where the bellows were used. This shows how extensively
the underground galleries are ramified.

Besides injuring and destroying young trees by despoiling them of their
foliage, the Saüba ant is troublesome to the inhabitants from its habit
of plundering the stores of provisions in houses at night, for it is
even more active at night than in the daytime. At first I was inclined
to discredit the stories of their entering habitations and carrying off
grain by grain the farinha or mandioca meal, the bread of the poorer
classes of Brazil. At length, while residing at an Indian village on the
Tapajos, I had ample proof of the fact. One night my servant woke me
three or four times before sunrise by calling out that the rats were
robbing the farinha baskets. The article at that time was scarce and
dear. I got up, listened, and found the noise very unlike that made by
rats. So I took the light and went into the store-room, which was close
to my sleeping-place. I there found a broad column of Saüba ants,
consisting of thousands of individuals, as busy as possible, passing to
and fro between the door and my precious baskets. Most of those passing
outward were laden each with a grain of farinha, which was, in some
cases, larger and many times heavier than the bodies of the carriers.

Farinha consists of grains of similar size and appearance to the tapioca
of our shops; both are products of the same root, tapioca being the
pure starch, and farinha the starch mixed with woody fibre, the latter
ingredient giving it a yellowish color. It was amusing to see some of
the dwarfs, the smallest members of their family, staggering along,
completely hidden under their load. The baskets, which were on a high
table, were entirely covered with ants, many hundreds of whom were
employed in snipping the dry leaves which served as lining. This
produced the rustling sound which had at first disturbed us. My servant
told me that they would carry off the whole contents of the two baskets
(about two bushels) in the course of the night if they were not driven
off, so we tried to exterminate them by killing them with our wooden
clogs. It was impossible, however, to prevent fresh hosts coming in as
fast as we killed their companions. They returned the next night, and I
was then obliged to lay trains of gun-powder along their line and blow
them up. This, repeated many times, at last seemed to intimidate them,
for we were free from their visits during the remainder of my residence
at the place.

What they did with the hard dry grains of mandioca I was never able to
ascertain, and cannot even conjecture. The meal contains no gluten, and
therefore would be useless as cement. It contains only a small relative
portion of starch, and, when mixed with water, it separates and
falls away like so much earthy matter. It may serve as food for the
subterranean workers. But the young or larvæ of ants are usually fed
by juices secreted by the worker-nurses.

     [Leaving the ants with this example of their curious habits, we
     shall proceed with the author's description of Brazilian

I have already mentioned that monkeys were rare in the immediate
vicinity of Pará. I met with three species only in the forest near the
city; they are shy animals and avoid the neighborhood of towns, where
they are subject to much persecution by the inhabitants, who kill them
for food. The only kind which I saw frequently was the little _Midas
ursulus_, one of the Marmosets, a family peculiar to tropical America,
and differing in many essential points of structure and habits from all
other apes. They are small in size, and more like squirrels than true
monkeys in their manner of climbing. The nails, except those of the hind
thumbs, are long and claw-shaped like those of squirrels, and the thumbs
of the fore extremities, or hands, are not opposable to the other
fingers. I do not mean to convey that they have a near relationship to
squirrels, which belong to the Rodents, an inferior order of mammals;
their resemblance to those animals is merely a superficial one. They
have two molar teeth less in each jaw than the Cebidæ, the other family
of American monkeys; they agree with them, however, in the sideway
position of the nostrils, a character which distinguishes both from all
the monkeys of the Old World. The body is long and slender, clothed with
soft hairs, and the tail, which is nearly twice the length of the trunk,
is not prehensile. The hind limbs are much larger in volume than the
anterior pair.

The _Midas ursulus_ is never seen in large flocks; three or four is
the greatest number observed together. It seems to be less afraid of
the neighborhood of man than any other monkey. I sometimes saw it in
the woods which border the suburban streets, and once I espied two
individuals in a thicket behind the English consul's house at Nazareth.
Its mode of progression along the main boughs of the lofty trees is like
that of squirrels; it does not ascend to the slender branches, or take
those wonderful flying leaps which the Cebidæ do, whose prehensile tails
and flexible hands fit them for such headlong travelling. It confines
itself to the larger boughs and trunks of trees, the long nails being of
great assistance to the creature, enabling it to cling securely to the
bark; and it is often seen passing rapidly round the perpendicular
cylindrical trunks. It is a quick, restless, timid little creature, and
has a great share of curiosity, for when a person passes by under the
trees along which a flock is running, they always stop for a few moments
to have a stare at the intruder.

In Pará _Midas ursulus_ is often seen in a tame state in the houses of
the inhabitants. When full grown it is about nine inches long,
independently of the tail, which measures fifteen inches. The fur is
thick, and black in color, with the exception of a reddish-brown streak
down the middle of the back. When first taken, or when kept tied up, it
is very timid and irritable. It will not allow itself to be approached,
but keeps retreating backward when any one attempts to coax it. It is
always in a querulous humor, uttering a twittering, complaining noise;
its dark, watchful eyes, expressive of distrust, observant of every
movement which takes place near it. When treated kindly, however, as it
generally is in the houses of the natives, it becomes very tame and
familiar. I once saw one as playful as a kitten, running about the house
after the negro children, who fondled it to their hearts' content. It
acted somewhat differently towards strangers, and seemed not to like
them to sit in the hammock which was slung in the room, leaping up,
trying to bite, and otherwise annoying them.

It is generally fed on sweet fruits, such as the banana, but it is also
fond of insects, especially soft-bodied spiders and grasshoppers, which
it will snap up with eagerness when within reach. The expression of
countenance in these small monkeys is intelligent and pleasing. This is
partly owing to the open facial angle, which is given as one of sixty
degrees; but the quick movements of the head, and the way they have of
inclining it to one side when their curiosity is excited, contribute
very much to give them a knowing expression. Anatomists who have
dissected species of Midas tell us that the brain is of a very low type
as far as the absence of convolutions goes, the surface being as smooth
as that of a squirrel's. I should conclude at once that this character
is an unsafe guide in judging of the mental qualities of these animals;
in mobility of expression of countenance, intelligence, and general
manners these small monkeys resemble the higher apes far more than they
do any rodent animal with which I am acquainted.

On the upper Amazon I once saw a tame individual of the _Midas
leoninus_, a species first described by Humboldt, which was still more
playful and intelligent than the one just described. This rare and
beautiful little monkey is only seven inches in length, exclusive of the
tail. It is named leoninus on account of the long brown mane which
depends from the neck, and which gives it very much the appearance of a
diminutive lion. In the house where it was kept it was familiar with
every one; its greatest pleasure seemed to be to climb about the bodies
of different persons who entered. The first time I went in, it ran
across the room straightway to the chair on which I sat down and climbed
up to my shoulder; arrived there, it turned round and looked into my
face, showing its little teeth, and chattering, as though it would say,
"Well, and how do you do?" It showed more affection towards its master
than towards strangers, and would climb up to his head a dozen times in
the course of an hour, making a great show every time of searching there
for certain animalcula.

Isidore Geoffrey St. Hilaire relates of a species of this genus that it
distinguished between different objects depicted on an engraving. M.
Audouin showed it the portraits of a cat and a wasp; at these it became
much terrified; whereas at the sight of a figure of a grasshopper or
beetle it precipitated itself on the picture, as if to seize the objects
there represented.

Although monkeys are now rare in a wild state near Pará, a great number
may be seen semi-domesticated in the city. The Brazilians are fond of
pet animals. Monkeys, however, have not been known to breed in captivity
in this country. I counted in a short time thirteen different species
while walking about the Pará streets, either at the doors or windows of
houses, or in the native canoes. Two of them I did not meet with
afterwards in any other part of the country. One of these was the
well-known _Hapale jacchus_, a little creature resembling a kitten,
banded with black and gray all over the body and tail, and having a
fringe of long white hairs surrounding the ears. It was seated on the
shoulder of a young mulatto girl, as she was walking along the street,
and I was told had been captured in the island of Marajo. The other was
a species of Cebus, with a remarkably large head. It had ruddy brown
fur, paler on the face, but presenting a blackish tuft on the top of the

The only monkeys I observed at Cametá were the Couxio (_Pithecia
satanas_), a large species, clothed with long brownish black hair, and
the tiny _Midas argentatus_. The Couxio has a thick bushy tail; the hair
of the head sits on it like a cap, and looks as if it had been carefully
combed. It inhabits only the most retired parts of the forest, on the
terra firma, and I observed nothing of its habits. The little _Midas
argentatus_ is one of the rarest of the American monkeys. I have not
heard of its being found anywhere except near Cametá. I once saw three
individuals together running along a branch in a cacao grove near
Cametá; they looked like white kittens: in their motions they resembled
precisely the _Midas ursulus_ already described.

I saw afterwards a pet animal of this species, and heard that there were
many so kept, and that they were esteemed as choice treasures. The one I
saw was full grown, but it measured only seven inches in length of body.
It was covered with long white, silky hairs, the tail was blackish, and
the face nearly naked and flesh-colored. It was a most timid and
sensitive little thing. The woman who owned it carried it constantly in
her bosom, and no money would induce her to part with her pet. She
called it Mico. It fed from her mouth and allowed her to fondle it
freely, but the nervous little creature would not permit strangers to
touch it. If any one attempted to do so it shrank back, the whole body
trembling with fear, and its teeth chattered, while it uttered its
tremulous frightened tones. The expression of its features was like that
of its more robust brother _Midas ursulus_; the eyes, which were black,
were full of curiosity and mistrust, and it always kept them fixed on
the person who attempted to advance towards it.

In the orange groves and other parts humming-birds were plentiful, but I
did not notice more than three species. I saw a little pigmy belonging
to the genus Phæthornis one day in the act of washing itself in a brook.
It was perched on a thin branch, whose end was under water. It dipped
itself, then fluttered its wings and pruned its feathers, and seemed
thoroughly to enjoy itself alone in the shady nook which it had
chosen,--a place overshadowed by broad leaves of ferns and Heliconiæ. I
thought as I watched it that there was no need for poets to invent elves
and gnomes while nature furnishes us with such marvellous little sprites
ready to hand.



     [The story of the Andes and the great river to which this
     mountain-chain gives birth has never been better told than in
     Orton's "The Andes and the Amazon," from which we select the
     following description of Chimborazo and its mountain neighbors.
     James Orton, born at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1830, became a
     Congregationalist clergyman, and in 1867 headed an exploring
     expedition to South America. In 1873 he sought that continent
     again, and died on Lake Titicaca, September 24, 1877.]

Coming up from Peru through the cinchona forests of Loja, and over the
barren hills of Assuay, the traveller reaches Riobamba seated on the
threshold of magnificence,--like Damascus, an oasis in a sandy plain,
but, unlike the Queen of the East, surrounded with a splendid retinue of
snowy peaks that look like icebergs floating in a sea of clouds.

On our left is the most sublime spectacle in the New World. It is a
majestic pile of snow, its clear outline on the deep blue sky describing
the profile of a lion in repose. At noon the vertical sun, and the
profusion of light reflected from the glittering surface, will not allow
a shadow to be cast on any part, so that you can easily fancy the figure
is cut out of a mountain of spotless marble. This is Chimborazo,--yet
not the whole of it,--you see but a third of the great giant. His feet
are as eternally green as his head is everlastingly white; but they are
far away beneath the banana and cocoanut palms of the Pacific coast.

Rousseau was disappointed when he first saw the sea; and the first
glimpse of Niagara often fails to meet one's expectations. But
Chimborazo is sure of a worshipper the moment its overwhelming grandeur
breaks upon the traveller. You feel that you are in the presence-chamber
of the monarch of the Andes. There is sublimity in his kingly look of
which the ocean might be proud.

     "All that expands the spirit, yet appeals,
     Gathers around this summit, as if to show
     How earth may pierce to heaven, yet leave vain man below."


Well do we remember our disappointment as we stood before that wonder of
the world,--St. Peter's. We mounted the pyramid of steps and looked up,
but were not overcome by the magnificence. We read in our guide-book
that the edifice covers eight acres, and to the tip-top of the cross is
almost five hundred feet; that it took three hundred and fifty years and
twelve successive artists to finish it and an expenditure of fifty
million dollars, and now costs thirty thousand dollars per annum to keep
it in repair, still we do not appreciate its greatness. We pushed aside
the curtain and walked in,--walked a day's journey across the transept
and up and down the everlasting nave, and yet continued heterodox. We
tried hard to believe it was very vast and sublime, and we knew we ought
to feel its grandeur, but somehow we did not. Then we sat down by the
Holy of Holies, and there we were startled into a better judgment by the
astounding fact that the Cathedral of St. Paul--the largest edifice in
Great Britain--could stand upright, spire, dome, body, and all, inside
of St. Peter's! that the letters of the inscription which run round the
_base_ of the dome, though apparently but an inch, are in reality six
feet high! Then for the first time the scales fell from our eyes, the
giant building began to grow; higher and higher still it rose, longer
and deeper it expanded, yet in perfect proportions; the colossal
structure, now a living temple, put on its beautiful garments and the
robe of majesty. And that dome! the longer we looked at it the vaster
it grew, till finally it seemed to be a temple not made with hands; the
spacious canopy became the firmament; the mosaic figures of cherubim and
seraphim were endowed with life; and as we fixed our eyes on the zenith
where the Almighty is represented in glory, we thought we had the vision
of Stephen. Long we gazed upward into this heaven of man's creation, and
gazed again till we were lost in wonder.

But the traveller needs no such steps to lift him up to the grand
conception of the divine Architect as he beholds the great white dome of
Chimborazo. It looks lofty from the very first. Now and then an expanse
of thin, sky-like vapor would cut the mountain in twain, and the dome,
islanded in the deep blue of the upper regions, seemed to belong more to
heaven than to earth. We knew that Chimborazo was more than twice the
altitude of Etna. We could almost see the great Humboldt struggling up
the mountain's side till he looked like a black speck moving over the
mighty white, but giving up in despair four thousand feet below the
summit. We see the intrepid Bolivar mounting still higher; but the hero
of Spanish-American independence returns a defeated man. Last of all
comes the philosophic Boussingault, and attains the prodigious elevation
of nineteen thousand six hundred feet,--the highest point reached by man
without the aid of a balloon; but the dome remains unsullied by his
foot. Yet none of these facts increase our admiration. The mountain has
a tongue which speaks louder than all mathematical calculations.

There must be something singularly sublime about Chimborazo, for the
spectator at Riobamba is already nine thousand feet high, and the
mountain is not so elevated above him as Mont Blanc above the vale of
Chamouni, when, in reality, that culminating point of Europe would not
reach up even to the snow-limit of Chimborazo by two thousand feet. It
is only while sailing on the Pacific that one sees Chimborazo in its
complete proportions. Its very magnificence diminishes the impression of
awe and wonder, for the Andes on which it rests are heaved to such a
vast altitude above the sea, that the relative elevation of its summit
becomes reduced by comparison with the surrounding mountains. Its
altitude is twenty-one thousand four hundred and twenty feet, or
forty-five times the height of Strasburg cathedral; or, to state it
otherwise, the fall of one pound from the top of Chimborazo would raise
the temperature of water thirty degrees. One-fourth of this is
perpetually covered with snow, so that its ancient name Chimpurazu--the
mountain of snow--is very appropriate. It is a stirring thought that
this mountain, now mantled with snow, once gleamed with volcanic fires.
There is a hot spring on the north side, and an immense amount of
débris covers the slope below the snow-limit, consisting chiefly of
fine-grained, iron-stained trachyte and coarse porphyroid gray trachyte;
very rarely a dark vitreous trachyte. Chimborazo is very likely not a
solid mountain; trachytic volcanoes are supposed to be full of cavities.
Bouger found it made the plumb line deviate 7" or 8".

The valleys which furrow the flank of Chimborazo are in keeping with its
colossal size. Narrower, but deeper, than those of the Alps, the mind
swoons and sinks in the effort to comprehend their grim majesty. The
mountain appears to have been broken to pieces like so much thin crust,
and the strata thrown on their vertical edges, revealing deep, dark
chasms, that seem to lead to the confines of the lower world. The
deepest valley in Europe, that of the Ordesa in the Pyrenees, is three
thousand two hundred feet deep; but here are rents in the side of
Chimborazo in which Vesuvius could be put away out of sight. As you look
down into the fathomless fissure, you see a white fleck rising out of
the gulf, and expanding as it mounts, till the wings of the condor,
fifteen feet in spread, glitter in the sun as the proud bird fearlessly
wheels over the dizzy chasm, and then, ascending above your head, sails
over the dome of Chimborazo. Could the condor speak, what a glowing
description he could give of the landscape beneath him when his horizon
is a thousand miles in diameter! If

     "Twelve fair counties saw the blaze from Malvern's lonely height,"

what must be the panorama from a height fifteen times higher!

Chimborazo was long supposed to be the tallest mountain on the globe,
but its supremacy has been supplanted by Mount Everest in Asia, and
Aconcagua in Chile. In mountain gloom and glory, however, it still
stands unrivalled. The Alps have the avalanche, "the thunderbolt of
snow," and the glaciers, those icy Niagaras so beautiful and grand. Here
they are wanting. The monarch of the Andes sits motionless in calm
serenity and unbroken silence. The silence is absolute and actually
oppressive. The road from Guayaquil to Quito crosses Chimborazo at the
elevation of fourteen thousand feet. Save the rush of the trade wind in
the afternoon, as it sweeps over the Andes, not a sound is audible; not
the hum of an insect, nor the chirp of a bird, nor the roar of the puma,
nor the music of running waters. Mid-ocean is never so silent. You can
almost hear the globe turning on its axis. There was a time when the
monarch deigned to speak, and spoke with a voice of thunder, for the
lava on its sides is an evidence of volcanic activity. But ever since
the morning stars sang together over man's creation Chimbo has sat in
sullen silence, satisfied to look "from his throne of clouds o'er half
the world." There is something very suggestive in this silence of
Chimborazo. It was once full of noise and fury; it is now a _completed_
mountain, and thunders no more. How silent was Jesus, a completed
character! The reason that we are so noisy is that we are so full of
wants; we are _unfinished_ characters. Had we perfect fulness of all
things, the beatitude of being without a want, we should lapse into the
eternal silence of God.

Chimborazo is a leader of a long train of ambitious crags and peaks; but
as he who comes after the king must not expect to be noticed, we will
only take a glimpse of these lesser lights as we pass up the Western
Cordillera, and then down the Eastern.

The first after leaving the monarch is Caraguairazo. The Indians call it
"the wife of Chimborazo." They are separated only by a very narrow
valley. One hundred and seventy years ago the top of this mountain fell
in, and torrents of mud flowed out containing multitudes of fishes. It
is now over seventeen thousand feet high, and is one of the most Alpine
of the Quitonian volcanoes, having sharp pinnacles instead of the smooth
trachytic domes--usually double domes--so characteristic of the Andean
summits. And now we pass in rapid succession numerous picturesque
mountains, some of them extinct volcanoes, as Iliniza, presenting two
pyramidal peaks, the highest seventeen thousand feet above the sea, and
Corazon, so named from its heart-shaped summit, till we reach Pichincha,
whose smoking crater is only five miles distant in a straight line from
the city of Quito, or eleven by the travelled route.

The crown of this mountain presents three groups of rocky peaks. The
most westerly one is called Rucu-Pichincha, and alone manifests
activity. To the northeast of Rucu is Guagua-Pichincha, a ruined flue of
the same fiery furnace; and between the two is Cundur-Guachana.
Pichincha is the only volcano in Ecuador which has not a true cone
crater. Some violent eruption beyond the reach of history or tradition
has formed an enormous funnel-shaped basin two thousand five hundred
feet deep, fifteen hundred in diameter at the bottom, and expanding
upward to a width of three-fourths of a mile. It is the _deepest_ crater
on the globe. That of Kilauea is six hundred feet; Orizaba, five
hundred; Etna, three hundred; Hecla, one hundred. Vesuvius is a portable
furnace in comparison. The abyss is girt with a ragged wall of dark
trachyte, which rises on the inside at various angles between forty-five
degrees and perpendicularity. As we know of but one American besides the
members of our expedition (Mr. Farrand, a photographer) who has
succeeded in entering the crater of this interesting volcano, we will
give a brief sketch of our visit.

Leaving Quito in the afternoon by the old arched gate-way at the foot of
Panecillo, and crossing a spur of the mountain, we stopped for the night
at the Jesuit hacienda, situated in the beautiful valley of Lloa, but
nearly ruined by the earthquake of 1859. On the damp walls of this
monastery, perched ten thousand two hundred and sixty-eight feet above
the ocean, we found several old paintings, among them a copy of the
_Visitation_ by Rubens. The sunset views in this heart of the Andes were
surpassingly beautiful. Mounting our horses at break of day, and taking
an Indian guide, we ascended rapidly by a narrow and difficult path
through the forest that belts the volcano up to the height of twelve
thousand feet, emerging gradually into a thicket of stunted bushes, and
then entered the dreary _paramo_. Splendid was the view of the Eastern
Cordillera. At least six dazzling white volcanoes were in sight just
across the valley of Quito, among them table-topped Cayambi, majestic
Antisana, and princely Cotopaxi, whose tapering summit is a mile above
the clouds. Toiling upward we reached the base of the cone where
vegetation ceased entirely; and tying our horses to some huge rocks
that had fallen from the mural cliff above, we started off on hands and
feet for the crater. The cone is deeply covered with sand and cinders
for about two hundred feet, and the sides are inclined at an angle of
about thirty-five degrees. At ten o'clock we reached the brim of the
crater, and the great gulf burst suddenly into view.

We can never forget the impression made upon us by the sight. We speak
of many things here below as awful, but that word has its full meaning
when carried to the top of Pichincha. There you see a frightful opening
in the earth's crust nearly a mile in width and half a mile deep, and
from the dark abyss comes rolling up a cloud of sulphurous vapors. Monte
Somma in the time of Strabo was a miniature; but this crater is on the
top of a mountain four times the height of the Italian volcano.
Imagination finds it difficult to conceive a spectacle of more fearful
grandeur or such solemn magnificence. It well accords with Milton's
picture of the bottomless pit. The united effect of the silence and
solitude of the place, the great depth of the cavity, the dark
precipitous sides, and the column of smoke standing over an unseen
crevice, was to us more impressive than thundering Cotopaxi or fiery
Vesuvius. Humboldt, after standing on this same brink, exclaimed, "I
have never beheld a grander or more remarkable picture than that
presented by this volcano;" and La Condamine compared it to "the Chaos
of the poets."

Below us are the smouldering fires which may any moment spring forth
into a conflagration; around us are black, ragged cliffs,--fit boundary
for this gate-way to the infernal regions. They look as if they had just
been dragged up from the central furnace of the earth. Life seems to
have fled in terror from the vicinity; even lichens, the children of the
bare rocks, refuse to clothe the scathed and beetling crags. For some
moments made mute by the dreadful sight, we stood like statues on the
rim of the mighty caldron, with our eyes riveted on the abyss below,
lost in contemplating that which cannot be described. The panorama from
this lofty summit is more pleasing, but equally sublime. Towards the
rising sun is the long range of the Eastern Cordillera, hiding from our
view the great valley of the Amazon. To right and left are the peaks of
another procession of august mountains from Cotocachi to Chimborazo. We
are surrounded by the great patriarchs of the Andes, and their speaker,
Cotopaxi, ever and anon sends his muttering voice over the land.

The view westward is like looking down from a balloon. Those parallel
ridges of the mountain chain, dropping one behind the other, are the
gigantic staircase by which the ice-crowned Chimborazo steps down to the
sea. A white sea of clouds covers the peaceful Pacific and the lower
parts of the coast. But the vapory ocean, curling into the ravines,
beautifully represents little coves and bays, leaving islands and
promontories like a true ocean on a broken shore. We seem raised above
the earth, which lies like an opened map below us; we can look down on
the upper surface of the clouds, and, were it night, down too upon the

The first to reach the brink of the crater were the French Academicians
in 1742. Sixty years after Humboldt stood on the summit. But it was not
until 1844 that any one dared to enter the crater. This was accomplished
by Garcia Moreno, now President of Ecuador, and Sebastian Wisse, a
French engineer. Humboldt pronounced the bottom of the crater
"inaccessible from its great depth and precipitous descent." We found it
accessible, but exceedingly perilous. The moment we prepared to descend
our guide ran away. We went on without him, but when half-way down were
stopped by a precipice.

On the 22d of October, 1867, we returned to Pichincha with another guide
and entered the crater by a different route. Manuel, our Indian, led us
to the south side, and over the brink we went. We were not long in
realizing the danger of the undertaking. Here the snow concealed an ugly
fissure or covered a treacherous rock (for nearly all the rocks are
crumbling), there we must cross a mass of loose sand moving like a
glacier down the almost vertical side of the crater; and on every hand
rocks were giving way, and, gathering momentum at each revolution, went
thundering down, leaping over precipices and jostling other rocks, which
joined in the race, till they all struck the bottom with a deep rumbling
sound, shivered like so many bomb-shells into a thousand pieces, and
telling us what would be our fate if we made a single misstep. We
followed our Indian in single file, keeping close together, that the
stones set free by those in the rear might not dash those below from
their feet; feeling our way with the greatest caution, clinging with our
hands to the snow, sand, rocks, tufts of grass, or anything that would
hold for a moment; now leaping over a chasm, now letting ourselves down
from rock to rock; at times paralyzed with fear, and always with death
staring us in the face; thus we scrambled for two hours and a half till
we reached the bottom of the crater.

Here we found a deeply furrowed plain strewn with ragged rocks, and
containing a few patches of vegetation, with half a dozen species of
flowers. In the centre is an irregular heap of stones, two hundred and
sixty feet high by eight hundred in diameter. This is the cone of
eruption,--its sides and summit covered with an imposing group of vents,
seventy in number, all lined with sulphur and exhaling steam, black
smoke, and sulphurous gas. The temperature of the vapor just within the
fumarole is 184°, water boiling beside it at 189°.

The central vent or chimney gives forth a sound like the violent
bubbling of boiling water. As we sat on this fiery mount surrounded by a
circular rampart of rocks, and looked up at the immense towers of dark
dolerite which ran up almost vertically to the height of twenty-five
hundred feet above us, musing over the tremendous force which fashioned
this awful amphitheatre,--spacious enough for all the gods of Tartarus
to hold high carnival,--the clouds which hung in the thin air around the
crest of the crater pealed forth thunder after thunder, which,
reverberating from precipice to precipice, were answered by the crash of
rocks let loose by the storm, till the whole mountain seemed to tremble
like a leaf. Such acoustics, mingled with the flash of lightning and the
smell of brimstone, made us believe that we had fairly got into the
realm of Pluto. It is the spot where Dante's "Inferno" ought to be read.



     [Squier's "Peru: Incidents of Travel and Exploration in the
     Land of the Incas" is the source of our present selection. The
     author, Ephraim George Squier, was born in Albany County, New
     York, in 1821. He studied the aboriginal monuments of New York,
     and afterwards travelled and made extensive archæological
     researches in Central America. He was appointed United States
     Commissioner to Peru in 1863, and made important studies of the
     ancient ruins of that country. We give his interesting account
     of the perilous crossing of the Apurimac.]

The great and elaborate highways, or public roads, which the chroniclers
and the historians, following their authority, tell us were constructed
by the Incas throughout their vast empire, all radiating north, east,
south, and west from the imperial city of Cuzco, if they existed at all
in Central and Southern Peru, have disappeared, leaving here and there
only short sections or fragments, hardly justifying the extravagant
praise that has been bestowed on them. The modern mule-paths, miscalled
roads, must necessarily follow nearly, if not exactly, the routes of the
Indians under the Empire. The physical conformation of the country is
such that communication between _puna_ and _puna_, and from valley to
valley, must always be made by the same passes. All these passes over
the mountains are marked by huge piles of stone raised, like the cairns
of Scotland and Wales, by the contribution of a single stone from each
traveller as an offering to the spirits of the mountains, and as an
invocation for their aid in sustaining the fatigues of travel. These
great stone heaps still exist, and will remain to the end of time,
monuments marking forever the routes of travel in the days of the Incas.

We know, therefore, from these rude monuments very nearly what were the
ancient lines of communication. These are also further indicated by
remains of the _tambos_, which occur at intervals all through the
country, and oftenest in places remote from supplies, in cold and desert
districts, where the traveller stands most in need of food and shelter.

The modern voyager would consider himself supremely fortunate were he to
find one in a hundred of these tambos, now in existence; for travelling
in Peru is infinitely more difficult and dangerous than it was in the
days of the Incas: more difficult, because the facilities are less; more
dangerous, because the laws are more lax, and the moral standard of the
people lower. The influence of Spain in Peru has been every way
deleterious; the civilization of the country was far higher before the
Conquest than now.

As I have said, few traces of the Inca roads, such as are described by
the early writers, and such as Humboldt saw in Northern Peru, are now to
be found in the southern part of that country; and as the modern
pathways must follow the ancient lines, I infer that they never existed
here, for there is no reason why they should have suffered more from
time and the elements in one part of the country than in another.

Between Cuzco and the sweet valley of Yucay there are numerous traces of
an ancient road, some sections of which are perfect. These sections
coincide in character with the long reaches in the direction of Quito.
They consist of a pathway from ten to twelve feet wide, raised slightly
in the centre, paved with stones, and the edges defined by larger stones
sunk firmly in the ground. Where this road descends from the elevated
_puna_--a sheer descent of almost four thousand feet into the valley of
Yucay--it zigzags on a narrow shelf cut in the face of the declivity,
and supported here and there, where foothold could not otherwise be
obtained, by high retaining-walls of cut stone, looking as perfect and
firm as when first built centuries ago.

High mountain-ranges and broad and frigid deserts, swept by fierce,
cold winds, are not the sole obstacles to intercommunication in the
Altos of Peru, and among those snow-crowned monarchs of the Andes and
Cordilleras. There are deep valleys, gorges, and ravines among the
mountains, or cut deep in the plains that alternate with them, in which
flow swelling rivers or rapid torrents, fed by the melting snows in the
dry season, and swollen by the rains in the wet season. They are often
unfordable, but still they must somehow be passed by the traveller. A
few bridges of stone were constructed by the Spaniards, some after the
Conquest, and a few others have been erected by their descendants; but,
as a rule, the rivers and mountain-torrents are passed to-day by the
aid of devices the same as were resorted to by the Incas, and at points
which they selected.

Had the principle of the arch been well understood by the ancient
inhabitants, who have left some of the finest stone-cutting and masonry
to be found in the world, there is no doubt the interior of Peru would
have abounded in bridges rivalling those of Rome in extent and beauty.
As it was, occupying a country destitute of timber, they resorted to
suspension-bridges, no doubt precisely like those now constructed by
their descendants and successors,--bridges formed of cables of braided
withes, stretched from bank to bank, and called _puentes de mimbres_
(bridges of withes). Where the banks are high, or where the streams are
compressed between steep or precipitous rocks, these cables are anchored
to piers of stone. In other places they are approached by inclined
causeways, raised to give them the necessary elevation above the water.
Three or four cables form the floor and the principal support of the
bridge, over which small sticks, sometimes only sections of cane or
bamboo, are laid transversely, and fastened to the cables by vines,
cords, or thongs of raw hide. Two smaller cables are sometimes stretched
on each side as a guard or hand-rail. Over these frail and swaying
structures pass men and animals, the latter frequently with their load
on their backs.

Each bridge is usually kept up by the municipality of the nearest
village; and as it requires renewal every two or three years, the
Indians are obliged at stated periods to bring to the spot a certain
number of withes of peculiar kinds of tough wood, generally of that
variety called ioke, which are braided by experts, and then stretched
across the stream or river by the united exertions of the inhabitants.
Some of the larger and most important structures of this kind are kept
up by the government, and all passengers and merchandise pay a fixed
toll. Such is the case with the great bridge over the Apurimac, on the
main road from the ancient Guamanga (now Ayacucho) to Cuzco.

The Apurimac is one of the head-waters of the Amazon, a large and rapid
stream, flowing in a deep valley, or rather gigantic ravine, shut in by
high and precipitous mountains. Throughout its length it is crossed at
only a single point, between two enormous cliffs, which rise dizzily
on both sides, and from the summits of which the traveller looks down
into a dark gulf. At the bottom gleams a white line of water, whence
struggles up a dull but heavy roar, giving to the river its name,
_Apu-rimac_ signifying, in the Quichua tongue, "the great speaker." From
above, the bridge, looking like a mere thread, is reached by a path
which on one side traces a thin, white line on the face of the mountain,
and down which the boldest traveller may hesitate to venture. This path,
on the other side, at once disappears from a rocky shelf, where there is
just room enough to hold the hut of the bridge-keeper, and then runs
through a dark tunnel cut in the rock, from which it emerges to trace
its line of many a steep and weary zigzag of the face of the mountain.
It is usual for the traveller to time his day's journey so as to reach
this bridge in the morning, before the strong wind sets in; for during
the greater part of the day it sweeps up the cañon of the Apurimac with
great force, and then the bridge sways like a gigantic hammock, and
crossing is next to impossible.

It was a memorable incident in my travelling experiences, the crossing
of this great swinging bridge of the Apurimac. I shall never forget it,
even if it were not associated with a circumstance which, for the time,
gave me much uneasiness and pain. The fame of the bridge over the
Apurimac is coextensive with Peru, and every one we met who had crossed
it was full of frightful reminiscences of his passage: how the frail
structure swayed at a dizzy height between gigantic cliffs over a dark
abyss, filled with the deep, hoarse roar of the river, and how his eyes
grew dim, his heart grew faint, and his feet unsteady as he struggled
across it, not daring to cast a look on either hand.

Our road to the bridge was circuitous and precipitous, leading down the
steeper side of the ridge of La Banca, where it seemed hardly possible
for a goat to find foothold. It was a succession of abrupt zigzags, here
and there interrupted by a stretch of horizontal pathway. To see our
cavalcade it was necessary to look up or down, not before or behind. It
was like descending the coils of a flattened corkscrew. In places the
rocks encroached on the trail so that it was necessary to crouch low on
the saddle-bow to pass beneath them, or else throw the weight of the
body on the stirrup overhanging the declivity of the mountain, to avoid
a collision. The most dangerous parts, however, were where land-slips
had occurred, and where it was impossible to construct a pathway not
liable at any moment to glide away beneath the feet of our animals.
The gorge narrowed as we descended, until it was literally shut in by
precipices of stratified rock strangely contorted; while huge masses of
stone, rent and splintered as from some terrible convulsion of nature,
rose sheer before us, apparently preventing all exit from the sunless
and threatening ravine, at the bottom of which a considerable stream
struggled, with a hoarse roar, among the black boulders.

There was foothold for neither tree nor shrub, and our mules picked
their way warily, with head and ears pointed downward, among the broken
and angular masses. The occasional shouts of the arrieros sounded here
sharp and percussive, and seemed to smite themselves to death against
the adamantine walls. There was no room for echo. Finally the ravine
became so narrowed between the precipitous mountain-sides as barely to
afford room for the stream and our scant party. Here a roar, deeper,
stronger, and sterner than that of the stream which we had followed,
reached our ears, and we knew it was the voice of the "Great Speaker."
A little farther on we came in view of the river and two or three low
huts built on the circumscribed space where the two streams came close
together. Our muleteers were already busy in unloading the baggage,
preparatory to its being carried across the bridge on the cicatrized
backs of the occupants of the huts.

To the left of the huts, swinging high in a graceful curve, between the
precipices on either side, looking wonderfully frail and gossamer-like,
was the famed bridge of the Apurimac. A steep, narrow path, following
for some distance a natural shelf, formed by the stratification of the
rock, and for the rest of the way hewn in its face, led up, for a
hundred feet, to a little platform, also cut in the rock, where were
fastened the cables supporting the bridge. On the opposite bank was
another and rather larger platform, partly roofed by the rock, where was
the windlass for making the cables taut, and where, perched like goats
on some mountain-shelf, lived the custodians of the bridge. The path
could barely be discovered turning sharp around a rocky projection to
the left of this perch, then reappearing high above it, and then, after
many a zigzag, losing itself in the dark mouth of a tunnel.

My companions and myself lost no time in extracting the measuring tapes
and sounding lines from our _alforjas_, and hurriedly scrambled up the
rocky pathway to the bridge. It was in bad condition. The cables had
slacked so that the centre of the bridge hung from twelve to fifteen
feet lower than its ends, and, then, the cables had not stretched
evenly, so that one side was considerably lower than the other. The
cables on either hand, intended to answer the double purpose of stays
and parapets, had not sunk with the bridge, and were so high up that
they could not be reached without difficulty; and many of the lines
dropping from them to the floor, originally placed widely apart, had
been broken, so that practically they were useful neither for security
nor for inspiring confidence.

Travelling in the Andes soon cures one of any nervousness about heights
and depths, and is a specific against dizziness. Nevertheless, we all
gave a rather apprehensive glance at the frail structure before us,
but we had no difficulty in crossing and recrossing--as we did several
times--except on approaching the ends, to which our weight transferred
the sag of the cables and made the last few yards rather steep. A stiff
breeze swept up the cañon of the river, and caused a vibration of the
bridge from side to side of at least six feet. The motion, however,
inspired no sense of danger.

We carefully measured the length and altitude of the bridge, and found
it to be from fastening to fastening one hundred and forty-eight feet
long, and at its lowest part one hundred and eighteen feet above the
river. Mr. Markham, who crossed it in 1855, estimated the length at
ninety feet and the height at three hundred feet. Lieutenant Gibbon,
who crossed it in 1857, estimated the length at three hundred and
twenty-four feet and the height one hundred and fifty feet. Our
measurements, however, are exact. The height may be increased perhaps
ten feet when the cables are made taut. They are five in number, twisted
from the fibres of the _cabuya_, or maguey plant, and are about four
inches thick. The floor is of small sticks and canes, fastened
transversely with raw-hide strings. The Indians coming from Andahuaylas
and other districts where the cabuya grows, generally bring a quantity
of leaves with them wherewith to pay their toll. These are prepared and
made into rope by the custodians of the bridge, who must be glad of some
occupation in their lone and lofty eyrie.

Our baggage was carried over the bridge, and the animals were then
led across one by one, loaded and started up the mountain. The space
is too limited to receive more than two loaded mules at a time, and
instances are known of their having been toppled over the precipice
from overcrowding. We led our horses over without difficulty except in
getting them on the bridge. But once fairly on the swaying structure
they were as composed as if moving on the solid ground. Perhaps even to
the lowest animal intelligence it must be apparent that the centre of
the bridge of the Apurimac is not the place for antics, equine or

Mounted once more, we commenced our steep and difficult ascent. At one
place the sheer precipice presented itself on one side, and a vertical
wall on the other; next it was a scramble up a ladder of stairs, partly
cut in the rock and partly built up with stones against it; then a
sudden turn, with a parapet built around it in a semi-circle, to prevent
descending animals from being carried into the abyss below by their own
momentum. Our cargo-mules toiled up painfully above us, stopping every
few steps to breathe, while the muleteers braced themselves against
their haunches to afford them some support and rest.

We had scarcely reached half-way to the mouth of the tunnel, which
enters the mountain at the base of a vast vertical mass of rock, when
our attention was arrested by the shouts of our men and a commotion
among the animals above us. It was occasioned by a descending train of
loaded mules, just plunging out of the black throat of the tunnel. The
mountain mule always seeks to take the wall of the animal it meets,
being perfectly aware of the danger of trying to pass on the outer side
of the pathway; and it sometimes happens that neither will give way
under any amount of persuasion or blows. The muleteers have to unload
the animals, which may then be got past each other. A similar difficulty
occurred now, and the conductor of the advancing train hurried down to
warn us to dismount and seek the widest part of the path, or some nook
by its side, and there await the passage of his mules. He had hardly
done speaking when we saw one of our own mules, loaded with our trunks,
come plunging down the narrow zigzagging way, evidently in fright,
followed wildly by its driver. Just before reaching the place where we
stood, the animal fell, going literally heels over head, and would have
been carried over the little platform of rock into the river had not the
master of the descending train caught the falling mule by its foreleg,
and in this way saved it from tumbling over. He at once placed his whole
weight on its ears, thus preventing it from struggling, and thus
obviating its destruction, while we detached its cargo. A foot farther,
and the mule would inevitably have been lost.

It was with no little satisfaction that we saw the last mule of the
train pass us, and resumed our ascent. We found the tunnel a roomy one,
two or three hundred yards in length, with openings from the face of the
precipice for the admission of light and air. Through these we caught
brief glimpses of the grand and solemn mountains on the opposite side
of the cañon, and through them came in also, hoarse and sullen, the
deep voice of the river. I am uncertain as to how far this tunnel may
be ascribed to the Incas, but feel sure that their bridge across the
Apurimac was at precisely the same point with the present one. We
were fully two hours in ascending the steeps, and reached the high
mountain-circled plain in which stands the straggling town of Curahuasi,
a well-watered village buried among trees and shrubbery.



 A Fine Scenic Route                  HENRY T. FINCK                  31
 Amazon and Madeira Rivers, Forests
     of the                           FRANZ KELLER                   200
 Andes, Monarchs of the               JAMES ORTON                    251
 Animals of British Guiana            C. BARRINGTON BROWN            169
 Ants and Monkeys, Brazilian          HENRY W. BATES                 240

 BACON, ALFRED TERRY                  Country of the Cliff-dwellers   59
 BATES, HENRY W.                      Brazilian Ants and Monkeys     240
 Besieged by Peccaries                JAMES W. WELLS                 219
 Big Trees, Lake Tahoe and The        A. H. TEVIS                     68
 BRACE, CHARLES LORING                Mariposa Grove and Yosemite
                                          Valley                      88
 Brazilian Ants and Monkeys           HENRY W. BATES                 240
 British Guiana, Animals of           C. BARRINGTON BROWN            169
 BROWN, C. BARRINGTON                 Animals of British Guiana      169
 BUTLER, W. F.                        Winnipeg Lake and River         21

 Canoe- and Camp-life on the Madeira  FRANZ KELLER                   212
 Chicago, New York, Washington        OLIVER H. G. LEIGH               5
 Chinese Quarter in San Francisco     HELEN HUNT JACKSON              78
 Cliff-dwellers, Country of The       ALFRED TERRY BACON              59
 Country of the Cliff-dwellers        ALFRED TERRY BACON              59

 Destruction of San Salvador          CARL SCHERZER                  137

 FINCK, HENRY T.                      A Fine Scenic Route             31
 Forests of the Amazon and Madeira
     Rivers                           FRANZ KELLER                   200
 FREMONT, JOHN C.                     South Pass and Fremont's Peak   42
 Fremont's Peak, South Pass and       JOHN C. FREMONT                 42
 FROEBEL, JULIUS                      Route of the Nicaragua Canal   130
 FROUDE, JAMES ANTHONY                Scenes in Trinidad and
                                          Jamaica                    145

 HAYDEN, FERDINAND V.                 In the Yellowstone Park         49
 HUMBOLDT, ALEXANDER VON              Life and Scenery in Venezuela  179

 Inca High-roads and Bridges          E. GEORGE SQUIER               261
 In the Yellowstone Park              FERDINAND V. HAYDEN             49

 JACKSON, HELEN HUNT                  Chinese Quarter in San
                                          Francisco                   78
 Jamaica, Scenes in Trinidad and      JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE           145

 KELLER, FRANZ                        Forests of the Amazon and Madeira
                                          Rivers                     200
 KELLER, FRANZ                        Canoe- and Camp-life on The
                                          Madeira                    212
 KINGSLEY, CHARLES                    The High Woods of Trinidad     157

 Lake Tahoe and the Big Trees         A. H. TEVIS                     68
 LEIGH, OLIVER H. G.                  New York, Washington, Chicago    5
 Life and Scenery In Venezuela        ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT         179
 Llaneros of Venezuela, The           RAMON PAEZ                     190

 Madeira, Canoe- and Camp-Life on the FRANZ KELLER                   212
 Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley   CHARLES LORING BRACE            88
 Mexico, A Sportsman's Experience in  SIR ROSE LAMBERT PRICE          99
 Mexican Lowlands, Scenery of the     FELIX L. OSWALD                108
 Monarchs of the Andes                JAMES ORTON                    251
 Monkeys, Brazilian Ants and          HENRY W. BATES                 240

 New York, Washington, Chicago        OLIVER H. G. LEIGH               5
 Nicaragua Canal, Route of the        JULIUS FROEBEL                 130

 ORTON, JAMES                         Monarchs of the Andes          251
 OSWALD, FELIX L.                     Scenery of the Mexican
                                          Lowlands                   108

 PAEZ, RAMON                          The Llaneros of Venezuela      190
 Peccaries, Besieged by               JAMES W. WELLS                 219
 Perils of Travel                     IDA PFEIFFER                   232
 PFEIFFER, IDA                        Perils of Travel               232
 PRICE, SIR ROSE LAMBERT              A Sportsman's Experience in
                                          Mexico                      99

 Route of the Nicaragua Canal         JULIUS FROEBEL                 130
 Ruins of Yucatan, Among the          JOHN L. STEPHENS               119

 San Francisco, Chinese Quarter in    HELEN HUNT JACKSON              78
 San Salvador, Destruction of         CARL SCHERZER                  137
 Scenery of the Mexican Lowlands      FELIX L. OSWALD                108
 Scenes in Trinidad and Jamaica       JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE           145
 SCHERZER, CARL                       Destruction of San Salvador    137
 South Pass and Fremont's Peak        JOHN C. FREMONT                 42
 Sportsman's Experience in Mexico     SIR ROSE LAMBERT PRICE          99
 SQUIER, E. GEORGE                    Inca High-Roads and Bridges    261
 STEPHENS, JOHN L.                    Among the Ruins of Yucatan     119

 TEVIS, A. H.                         Lake Tahoe and the Big Trees    68
 Travel, Perils of                    IDA PFEIFFER                   232
 Trinidad, The High Woods of          CHARLES KINGSLEY               157
 Trinidad and Jamaica, Scenes in      JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE           145

 Venezuela, Life and Scenery in       ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT         179
 Venezuela, The Llaneros of           RAMON PAEZ                     190

 Washington, New York, Chicago        OLIVER H. G. LEIGH               5
 WELLS, JAMES W.                      Besieged by Peccaries          219
 Winnipeg Lake and River              BUTLER, W. F.                   21
 Woods of Trinidad, The High          CHARLES KINGSLEY               157

 Yellowstone Park, In the             FERDINAND V. HAYDEN             49
 Yosemite Valley, Mariposa Grove and  CHARLES LORING BRACE            88
 Yucatan, Among the Ruins of          JOHN L. STEPHENS               119


Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors; otherwise,
every effort has been made to remain true to the authors' words and

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